A Lesson Plan Template

ABOUT THIS TOOL: This template is designed to encourage instructors to plan instructional sessions that derive from their instructional objectives, also known as “backward design.” An example lesson follows the template.

From: Wiggins, Grant and McTighe, Jay. 2005. Understanding by Design. Expanded 2nd ed. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Title: Give a title for the lesson.

Introduction: Provide a brief introduction of the lesson, including contexts for use and possible adaptations.

Time needed: Estimate how much time the lesson takes; suggest possible time modifications.

Lesson Objectives: What are the instructor(s)’ goals for this session?

• Consider using SMART goals
(S-specific; M-measurable; A-achievable; R-relevant; T-time bound)
• Goals usually use an action verb
• Consider creating goals that engage multiple levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy of educational objectives. Many handouts available online, such as this one, offer a variety of verbs for each level of Bloom’s.
• While this objective may sometimes be nearly identical to a Primary Source Literacy (PSL) learning objective listed below, lesson objective differs in a at least two ways: (1) it may be narrower in scope; (2) it is typically written in language that can be easily shared with learners.

PSL Guidelines Learning Objective Addressed:

What objective(s) in the Primary Source Literacy Guidelines are addressed
by your learning goals?


How will you know the learners have achieved the objective?

Format or type of material used:

What type of special collections or archival material is used in this lesson? (e.g., artists’ books; early modern manuscripts; literary archives) Is this lesson
adaptable to other examples of this type of material?

Technology/equipment needed:

What technology and/or other equipment is needed to conduct this


Describe the activity step-by-step.

• Consider using the basic three-step model of (1) direct
instruction/demonstration/modeling (“I do”) (2) guided practice
(“we do”) (3) independent practice (“you do”)
• Consider estimating the amount of time each step will take ahead
of time.

Direct Instruction (“I do”)

What does the instructor do to convey information, demonstrate, or
model the activity?

Guided Practice (“We do”)

What do the students do with the instructor’s guidance to practice the

Independent Practice (“You do”)

What do students do on their own?

Follow Up/Notes:

What additional information or feedback do you need to gather? What is
needed to prepare for the next lesson? What does your assessment
suggest for preparing for the subsequent lesson?


Describe any modifications that may need to be made to the lesson to make it accessible for persons with disabilities.

Digital modifications or extensions:

Offer tips for conducting this lesson using digital surrogates


Provide any references for further information about this lesson or technique.

Prepared by Melissa Barton and the RBMS Instruction and Outreach Committee, 2019


Sample Lesson

Title: Searching the Finding Aid Database to Identify Useful Archival Material

Introduction: This lesson provides a simple and straightforward approach to teaching students to use a discovery database to locate and request primary sources. It specifies using a finding aid database, but it can be modified for any database. The lesson assumes a request system that is integrated with
discovery, such as Aeon, but pencil-and-paper requesting can be broken out or omitted from the lesson.

Time needed: The lesson is designed to take 50 minutes total, but it can be condensed by spending less time on the “guided practice” portion.

Lesson Objectives: Students will be able to use the finding aid database to identify and request resources on a given research topic. [Note: this is fairly generic and could be made more specific per your institution’s resources and the content of the given course.]

PSL Guidelines Learning Objective addressed:

II.B: Use appropriate, efficient, and effective search strategies in order to
locate primary sources. Be familiar with the most common ways primary
sources are described such as catalog records and archival finding aids.
II.E: Recognize and understand the policies and procedures that affect
access to primary sources, and that these differ across repositories,
databases, and collections.


Instructor will observe as students locate resources for their topic at the end of class. Instructor will review students’ item requests.

Format or type of material used:

Archives are used in this lesson, and any archival collection in which
students are likely to find material relevant to their research will work.

Technology/equipment needed:

Computer with projection capabilities and one networked desktop/laptop
computer for each student (or one for every two students)


Direct Instruction (“I do”)

1. As students enter, ask them to complete online poll stating what
they are looking for today. Have “diaries” as an example. (5 min)
2. Explain what finding aids are. Demonstrate how to navigate to
finding aid database via library home page. Demonstrate
searching and viewing results using THINK ALOUD strategy. (10

Guided Practice (“We do”)

3. Students will search for FRANZ FANON in pairs. A few groups will
share out their results. (10 min)
4. Students will search for a topic of their choosing in pairs. A few
groups will share out their results. (10 min)

Independent Practice (“You do”)

5. Students will search for their own topics on their own and
request at least one item. Instructor will circulate to ensure that
all students are searching successfully. A few students will share
out their results (15 min).

Follow Up/Notes:

Send instructor email asking whether students have been able to locate materials for their projects

Accessibility: Some may need to use a screen reader

Digital modifications or extensions:

For this lesson, no rare material is used, but you might consider building
in a demonstration for how students may determine whether the
material they’re requesting has been digitized.

References: None

Contributed by Melissa Barton and the RBMS Instruction and Outreach Committee, 2019

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