Components of Lesson Planning: Goals, Objectives, and Standards
"The goal of the lesson plan is the action intended for the students. The objective of the lesson plan is the way the teacher will measure the progress of the students."
There are certain components of lesson planning that help to clarify the plan for the teacher while helping to keep the focus of the plan on student learning. Seasoned teachers often find themselves glossing over the terms, goals, objectives, and standards while novice teachers may have a hard time differentiating between the terms. Nevertheless, a clear understanding of the difference between the lesson goal and the lesson objective will help guide any teacher into a focused and well organized lesson plan. Understanding the state standards will allow teachers to identify the skills and strategies one might apply to his/her students.
The goal of the lesson is the action intended for the students. The goal often gives direction for the student and guides them into the activity for that particular day. While teaching photosynthesis, the goal for the students might be to label a particular chart correctly. The goal for the lesson plan is not measurable. However, it provides the practice and the foundation for the larger objective.
The objective of the lesson plan is the way the teacher will measure the progress of the students. The objective will contain the scope of the goal along with clear, observable behaviors. The objective of the lesson plan may take more than one day to obtain. Often, there are several goals that are surpassed in an effort to reach the overall objective. An example of an objective for the same science lesson would would include a measureable outcome: Students will correctly identify the stages of photosynthesis and be able to show their understanding by identifying the stages with the plants in the greenhouse, explaining the effects of photosynthesis on life forms, and discussing ways that photosynthesis is evident in our environment. It is a good idea to explain to the students as you start the lesson what the objective will be.
The standards associated with the lesson plan are determined by the state. While most states are now using Common Core State Standards, several states like Oklahoma, Texas, Alaska, Nebraska, and Virginia have not adopted the CCSS and are using state standards. The standards of the lesson plan dictate what is being taught in the classroom in terms of the skills that should be mastered for a particular grade level; however, the teacher still has the creative authority to bring in tools and activities that teach a particular skill or set of skills.
Understanding the difference between the specific components of a lesson planning will make the job much easier, but most importantly, it will benefit the students in the classroom. The best way to have a productive classroom is to have a pertinent lesson plan.