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Preparing Lessons That Change Lives

Writers' and Tweakers' Checklist 

It's one thing to write an interesting character lesson or to have in hand a cool curriculum; quite another to tweak this month's lesson to make it effective for my unique group of students. In almost thirty years of lesson planning, I've found that the following guidelines help me edit my lessons for effectiveness. Try using them to evaluate each of your lesson plans.


Of the scores of items I could target, I consider these to be the most essential for effectiveness and the easiest to overlook.



  1. Does the purpose statement reflect the needs of my students?
  2. Does everything in the lesson drive me toward accomplishing that purpose?

Lesson Elements…

  1. Will the introduction hook students to the topic?
  2. Know Feel Do. Does it lead them to know the subject, engage their feelings and give them specific, doable action points?
  3. Does the outline flow logically?
  4. Are my transitions from one point to the next clear?

Appeal to Students…

  1. Does it appeal to the felt needs of my students?
  2. Is there enough interaction and activity?
  3. Does it give them new thoughts or new angles on old thoughts? Or, does it merely restate what was already obvious to them?
  4. Does it take into account the learning characteristics of their age-group?
  5. Do the illustrations appeal to the interests of my students?
  6. Did I open up a part of my life to them?
  7. Will my students think that I really care about them?


  1. After teaching will I evaluate the lesson objectively? (for example - anonymous surveys or anonymous input from students to teacher, passed on to me as the community leader.)

Although it's been said that "practice makes perfect," actually "practice makes permanent." A teacher can make the same mistakes over and over for thirty years. So, perhaps we could better put the saying this way: "Proper preparation leads to perfect performance." Through self-evaluation (#1 - #11 above) and outside evaluation (#12 above) we can continually grow more effective in impacting the lives of students.


Copyright September 17, 2003, Legacy Educational Resources, www.character-education.info.