The LEARN Model for Effective Lesson Planning in PE

Teachers have the unique opportunity to rethink and realign their lessons to meet (in many cases) new learning objectives.  This is also a chance to re-evaluate the process for lesson planning so that the plans follow current best-practices for quality instruction.

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The first questions to ask is, what are the elements of a traditional lesson?

Below are some general components of most quality physical education lessons (in no particular order):

  • Warm-up
  • Stretching
  • Fitness Component
  • Main Lesson
  • Cool-down
  • Closure

It is important to realize that these components should not exist in isolation from each other.  If possible, every effort should be made to connect learning and concepts during a lesson and from one lesson to another.

LEARN Lesson Plan Model

To assist with this, there is a lesson plan model which helps teachers organize these basic concepts.  The LEARN lesson plan model uses the acronym L-E-A-R-N to assist with writing the individual components of the lesson plan.

L = Link to Background Knowledge

E = Engage and Explain

A = Active Learning

R = Reflection

N = Next Steps

LEARN PE Lesson Plan Template


After stating an objective for your lesson, the LEARN model provides guidance for developing lessons that meet all the basic criteria for a high-quality instruction and focus on key components of effective instruction.  The most important thing to notice is that the lesson plan format is designed to encourage users to connect lessons (using background knowledge) and be more reflective in the process to connect learning outside of physical education class.   Although the look and the order of the lesson plan may appear different, all the components of a basic lesson are included. 

Now I know what you’re thinking- why do I need to re-write all my lesson plans?  For me, it is not about re-writing my lesson plans but being more reflective about how my lessons connect together and what my expectations for student learning really target.  Educational best practices should be used in every content area, including health and PE.

For our school division, there has been a huge shift in the requirements for classroom teachers and lesson planning.  Those expectations will likely make it to “resource” classes eventually so this is a timely subject for our health and physical education teachers.  With that being said, I think it is important to be pro-active rather than re-active.  I do, of course, realize that a great lesson plan that has all the right elements does not always equal great instruction but I would like to think that being thoughtful and prepared would help a teacher at any level be more successful when actually teaching the lesson.  I think the key word is “thoughtful”.  Teaching with intention and with a clear learning target in focus should result in student learning…we hope. 🙂

Feel free to share your favorite lesson plan template for comparison purposes.

One Response

  1. I like starting a skill with the students seeing it on a video. I could front load this on google classroom the nights before.

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