What is a Lesson Plan?

Lesson plans cannot be assigned to a class.

Lesson Plans are written for teachers and designed to demonstrate good practice for teaching a given topic. They follow a standard format and are edited and published through the CMS.

Each lesson plan typically includes (in order):

  • Lesson overview - What is this lesson plan about and what is included in the lesson plan?
  • Objectives - What is the objective of this lesson plan?  What should students get out of it?
  • Grade level - For which grades levels is this lesson plan appropriate?
  • Suggested time allotment - how long should the lesson plan take to complete?
  • Media resources used - what types of media are required to complete this lesson?
  • Supplies - What are the materials needed to complete this lesson plan?  Can range from hardware such as projectors and computers to media resources.
  • Lesson preparation - What does the teacher need to do beforehand to be ready to present the lesson plan to students?
  • The lesson
  • Assessment/check for understanding

Each of these is considered a “section” of the lesson plan.  Lessons are typically broken into parts to organize the content into appropriate groupings and/or structure multiple-day lessons.  If there are sequential steps (numbered things to do) within a lesson or a lesson part, each step will automatically get numbered.

An example of a lesson plan: https://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/89d31590-82d9-4436-8039-cf5a11ff1e91/revivalist/

More traditional lesson plans can also be presented as primary or supplemental assets (in PDF format) with a learning-object resource.

How to create a lesson plan

  • From the main dashboard on the left hand side, click Resources (Figure 1).

Figure 1


  • On the upper right side of the page, click Add Resource (Figure 2).

Figure 2


  • In the Content project textbox, begin typing the name of the content project to which this lesson plan belongs. When the list of available content projects appears, click the one to which you want to add your lesson plan (Figure 3.1). 
  • In the Title textbox, type the Title of your lesson plan (Figure 3.2). This title appears on search results when users search for your lesson plan. It is also the main title at the top of your lesson plan page. 

  • Click the Type dropdown menu and click Lesson Plan (Figure 3.3).
  • In the Resource code textbox, type a title for your resource (Figure 3.4). We recommend using the title, series, episode ID for your resource code. Example: friction-crashcourse-1006
  • The slug field will auto-populate when the resource is saved or you can add a slug manually (Figure 3.5). 
  • Click Choose File in the Lesson Plan poster image section to select a representative image for your lesson plan (Figure 3.6). This image will show up in search results and on the main page of your lesson plan.
  • Click Save and continue (Figure 3.7).

Figure 3

  • The Guid is generated automatically (Figure 4.1). This is an identifier used by PBS LearningMedia.
  • The email address of the person who created the lesson plan in the PBS LearningMedia CMS is assigned automatically (Figure 4.2). This is derived from your PBS LearningMedia login.
  • A thumbnail of your poster image displays (Figure 4.3).
  • Next to Overview & Procedure, click Show to expand the section (Figure 4.4).

Figure 4

Overview & Procedure

The Overview & Procedure section holds the "meat" of the lesson plan.  This is where most of your content resides.  Each textbox in this section has a corresponding title which surfaces on your lesson plan (i.e.: Prep for Teachers).  None of these fields are required, however, we suggest adding as much information as possible to create a more complete lesson plan.  Each section contains a text editor where you can add and format text and links as well as add images and bullets and work in HTML mode.  To add links, simply highlight the text you want to link and click the link icon in the toolbar as demonstrated in Figure 1.3.

  • The Lesson Summary should provide an overview of the lesson plan including the purpose and goals of the lesson plan. Use this space to describe what's expected from students and teachers when using this lesson plan. When adding a link to your support material, be sure to click +R to add a resource (Figure 1.1) and +A to add as asset (Figure 1.2). Do not click the link icon unless you are adding an external link (i.e.: a URL on a website outside of pbslearningmedia.org) (Figure 1.3). In this example we are adding a resource. (warning) This is the first text users see and what they will use to determine the contents and purpose of the lesson so be sure this is very descriptive.

  • In the Time Allotment textbox, type the estimated breakdown of time it will take to complete the lesson plan (Figure 1.2).  Figure in homework and study time to create a more complete estimation.  Example: Two 45-60 minute sessions plus homework.

Using the +R and +A buttons to link your text is very important to ensure that when a resource has been unpublished or become otherwise unavailable, it can be tracked. This prevents broken links in your content. Please be sure to use these buttons when linking your support material text. Use the link icon to link text to outside sources. PBS is not responsible for links on websites outside of PBS LearningMedia. 

Figure 1


  • In the Learning Objectives section, describe the goals that should be achieved when students complete this lesson (Figure 2.1).  What will they be able to discuss when finished? 
  • The Prep for Teachers section is intended to provide a space where teachers can discover what they need to do before presenting the lesson plan to students.  This can include the equipment necessary to complete the lesson plan or any handouts that are required.
  • In the Supplies section, add any supplies necessary to complete this lesson plan.  Supplies can range from hardware such as projectors and computers to media resources such as books or video clips.

Figure 2

  • An additional custom section is available for adding text that does not fit into any of the other categories.  Type a title for the section (Figure 3.1) and supporting text (Figure 3.2).

Figure 3

The Procedure section is dedicated to the actual "how to" of the lesson plan. What are the steps involved to complete the lesson plan?  Be as specific as possible so when it comes time to introduce the lesson plan to the class it goes smoothly. 

  • In the Introductory activity section, record the steps involved to ramp up to the actual activities (Figure 4.1).
  • In the Learning activities section, (Figure 4.2).
  • In the Culminating activity textbox, include details of any activities that supplement in-class activities (Figure 4.3).
  • When finished, click Save and continue editing at the bottom of the page.

Figure 4

  • Next to Attributions, click Show (Figure 4).
  • Click the Role dropdown menu and click the role that best describes the attribution you are adding (Figure 5.1).  See attribution definitions
  • Click the Entity dropdown menu and click the Entity you are adding (Figure 5.2). 
  • The logo automatically appears to the right under the Logo column (Figure 5.3).
  • In the Text textbox, type any text you wish to accompany the Attribution logo (Figure 5.4). (does not currently surface on front end)
  • Click Save (Figure 5.5).

Figure 5

  • Next to Support Materials, click Show (Figure 11).

Figure 11

Keep in mind that lesson plans cannot be assigned to a class.

Figure 12