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Instructional Plan Design Analysis

Instructional Plan Design Analysis

Instructional Plan Design Analysis

This week’s written assignment is a four page essay that describes and displays your higher order thinking skills about three specific lesson plan templates, each based on a specific view of lesson planning. The goal is for you to analyze all three and compare them so as to make an informed decision about the strengths of each model and to help determine which template would be best for you to try in week three. Pay careful attention to the instructions for the assignment and address each of the discussion points in parts “a,” “b,” and “c .” The Grading Rubric can assist you with crafting your paper.

Instructional Plan Design Analysis

Three instructional plan templates constructed by a variety of leaders in education provide solid examples of what quality instructional plans should include. The work of Madeline Hunter dates the furthest back and is still used today, primarily in the elementary setting. Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe provide a more modern approach to curriculum and lesson design with their model of Understanding by Design (UbD). Others, as modeled by the New York State Educational Department, work closely to align their instructional plans with the Common Core State Standards.

Review each of the provided instructional plan designs:

  • Common Core Aligned Instructional plan Template Preview the document
  • Understanding by Design-Backwards Design Lesson TemplatePreview the document
  • Madeline Hunter’s Instructional Plan FormatPreview the document

Analyze each instructional plan and structure a Word document, essay-style as such:

  1. Introduction: Introduce the essential elements, purpose, and value of creating and following a high-quality instructional plan. Include a thesis stating your intent to highlight key elements of each respective plan as well as your intent to identify what you find to be the most effective plan while justifying your reasoning.
  2. Body: Discuss the following for EACH instructional plan design. (Do not list—this is paragraph format without headings/subheadings.)
    • The source’s name (i.e., Hunter).
    • Key components representing most essential instructional plan requirements (standard, objective, activities, assessments, etc.).
    • Unique components (What makes each plan different from the others? What is notably missing or added compared to the others?).
    • Description of how Gradual Release of Responsibility Model is or is not represented.
    • Description of how assessment is embedded and potentially supports informing a teacher of student mastery of the objective(s).
    • Evidence that the instruction plan stimulates critical thinking.

Your intent in this first part is to:

  • Inform the reader through the introduction and body.
  • Identify the instructional plan template that YOU believe is the most well-rounded and high-quality and justify your reasons with research and examples.
  1. Conclusion: Make a selection between the three templates as to which one represents the best instructional plan to you. Include the key elements you’ve explored thus far. Explain its strengths, and recommend two ways to make it more effective and high quality. Be sure to justify why enacting your recommendations would make it better. Your essay will be between four  pages, not including the required cover and reference pages, and should follow APA formatting requirements. You must include a minimum of five peer-reviewed articles or web references (in addition to the textbook), including the three from which the templates came, at least one from any reference used in Weeks One or Two, and one outside source of your own.

Please look at each attachments below.



Lesson planning is a key teacher skill. It is one of the first things taught in many teacher education programs, and is a skill that once learned will pay continued dividends to teachers over the entire length of their career. This guidance begins with links to three specific lesson planning templates, and then seeks to outline and discuss effective lesson planning.

Three Lesson Planning Templates

There are three lesson planning templates associated with this week’s assignments. They are the Common Core Aligned Standard TemplatePreview the document, the Understanding by Design: Backward Design TemplatePreview the document, and Madeline Hunter’s Instructional Plan TemplatePreview the document. Each lesson plan template will lead the user to designing an effective lesson plan.

Of particular interest here is the Understanding by Design templatePreview the document. Wiggins and McTighe (2002, 2005) have conducted considerable work in both curricular and lesson design. Their Understanding by Design model is the basis for EDU 676 at Ashford University.

Lesson Planning – From Standards to Summative Assessment

Good lesson planning begins with a review of relevant state standards. As I noted in last week’s Guidance, our current system is largely standards based, and thus a reference to the relevant standards is in order when beginning to plan, regardless of grade or subject.

Then we come to the planning itself. In general, lesson planning encompasses several items: The standards to be taught, the methods and materials to be used, how class time will be allocated, what students will do during the lesson (including and differentiated instruction that is needed), how the lesson will be organized so that a gradual release of responsibility for learning to students occurs, and how the lesson will be assessed. The assessment should include formative assessments (embedded within the lesson) and summative components, as well as making provisions for any reteaching that needs to occur between the two types of assessment. Using one of our three templates can help to insure that the necessary components are included. As we can see, lesson plans are comprised of several parts, and all must fit together, with the standards serving as the ‘glue.’

Of interest here is the gradual release of responsibility for learning to students (Figure 1). Teachers should focus on ways in which they can help their students to become independent, thinking learners. Using Vygotsky’s (1978) Zone of Proximal Development (also known as Scaffolding) is the place where many teachers begin to accomplish this. Initially, it involves finding connections between what students know about a topic and the topic of study, then providing supports as students begin to learn more about the topic, and then gradually removing these supports as they learn more. Frequent, embedded formative assessments can aid in this process. Knowing how to do this is a key teacher skill.
teacher responsibilityTeachers then put their plan into motion. As noted in last week’s guidance, there are distractions to contend with, and not every student will learn the required standards the first time—hence the need for formative assessments (so you can determine who still needs to learn the standards), reteaching (as needed; this is best informed by the results of the embedded formative assessments), the gradual release of responsibility, and differentiation (students do not all learn in the same ways).

As teachers conduct these activities, they will eventually want to devise a summative assessment to finalize and report what has been learned. These should be created to assess the standards, and should not try to fool or trick students. A successful lesson concludes with students having learned the standard—then it is time for the next one.

Practical Lesson Planning Advice

Of course, lesson planning is primarily a practitioner’s art—the lesson plan only has value when put into effect in a real classroom setting, with real students. This naturalistic setting is where teachers take the lesson plan as written, and adapt it to changing conditions in the classroom. These changes can come about as the result of disruptions (a real thing), student questions, “teachable moments,” etc. Teachers need to be prepared to address these when they occur. Moreover, teachers should recognize that a plan is just that—a plan. Adhering to a failing plan (regardless of the reason for failure) will not get us very far.


Lesson planning is at the heart of a teacher’s professional practice. Effective planning leads to effective teaching, and thus effective planning is a must. Moreover, effective lesson planning blends the art and science of teaching in a way that makes the most of a teacher’s experiences. It is a skill that will pay professional dividends long after it is learned.

Additional Resources

  • Sousa, D., and Tomlinson, C. (2011). Differentiation and the brain. How neuroscience supports the learner-friendly classroom. Bloomington, IN: Learning Tree Press
  • Stiggins, R. (2011). An introduction to student-involved assessment FOR learning (6th Edition). New York: Prentiss-Hall, Pearson Education
  • Wiggins, G. and McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by design. Expanded 2nd edition. New York: Prentice Hall


Laurier, W. (2011). Madeline Hunter’s lesson plan formatPreview the document. Retrieved from’s+lesson+plan+format.pdf

McTighe, J. & Wiggins, G. (2002.). Understanding by design frameworkPreview the document. Retrieved from

Tompkins-Seneca-Tioga Board of Cooperative Educational Services. (n.d.). Common core standards. Retrieved from

Vygotsky, L.S. (1978). Mind in society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press

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