Explicit Instruction Diagram
Plan with End in Mind

Plan with the end in mind

Lesson Plan infographic

Marine Freibrun, author of Getting Started with Teacher Clarity, suggests when you plan a lesson or unit you start with the end in mind. Ask yourself some “end in mind” planning questions:

  • What do you want your students to learn from lesson?
  • What do you want your students to get out of the activity?
  • What will your students need to do to make progress toward mastery?

What To Teach

Freiburn explains we need to identify what we want our students to know and do. We will start with the Common Core Standard.

CCS. Math Content 3.OA.D.8
Solve two step word problem using the four operations. Represent these problems using equations with a letter standing for the unknown quantity. Assess the reasonableness of answers using mental computation and estimation strategies, including rounding.

We will deconstruct this standard by using Freibrun’s Deconstructing Standard template:

Using the standard listed above, we will list one of each complete sentences in the standard:

Sentence From the Standard:

Solve two step word problems using the Four-operation

Keywords and phrases:

Two-step word problem


Actions and verbs:

Solve Using

How to Teach

Freibrun uses an Explicit Instruction Lesson Plan template in which I created I attach a PDF.

Learning Intention:

After deconstructing the standard, we list one learning intention – we are learning how to solve two-step word problems using the four operations.

After we deconstructed the standard, the author chose one of the few learning intentions from the standard listed above and outline a procedural direct instruction lesson. (Highlight in Green-First Step)

Independent Practice

Let’s determine what students will have to complete for independent practice based on the Learning Intention. Freibrun suggests plan with the end in mind and asks yourself, “Does the independent practice match the learning intention?” This will help plan how to model the skill and check for understanding during the guided practice. Look at statement for independent practice below:

Solve four-step word problems, one with each of the four operations. (This shows that they are identifying action words and justify their reasoning.)

Review (Prior Skills)

Once the independent practice skill matches with Learning Intention, you will want to think about the skills students already know that can help them in this lesson. This will be the review portion of your instruction. The review can comprise vocabulary, a previous skill that is a foundation for learning the new skill, or something related that will remind students that they already know skills that will help them with this new learning. See Review statement:

*Examples of number sentences with adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing.

*Examples of one step word problems.

*Examples of order of operations.

Big Idea (why)

After determining what students will need to review before the lesson, it is important to explain the “why” behind the lesson. For the real-world connection, try to connect the lesson’s objective to a real-world situation, making the lesson applicable for students. This is a great time to go over the success criteria related to the learning intention. Look at the Big Idea below:

Success Criteria (How to Measure Student Success) I can identify the four-operations used in math to solve problems.I can use the order of operations to solve word problems.I can use CUBES to solve word problems.I can solve one step word problems using CUBES. Real World Connection Solving two-step problems happens daily as we go grocery shopping, are trying to figure out measurements for recipes and cooking or building or creating something in our backyards or houses.

Model (Skills, concepts, meta-cognition)

How will you model this skill to your students since we are thinking about the learning intention? Author includes steps for students to follow in a procedural lesson. Look at the Model list below:

  1. Read the word problem.
  2. Circle the numbers.
  3. Determine the action words in the word problem that will help identify the operations.
  4. Underline the question.
  5. Solve, explain, justify (Include a model)

For this skill, I would also use a graphic organizer to help students organize their thinking.

Freibrun notes during the gradual release portion of the lesson it is best to communicate and show a simple model to your students. This will lessen the confusion during the gradual release portion. Freibrun recommends starting with one model, using metacognition and think aloud strategies as you explain your thinking. Your model should not have any mistake. State the steps to your students after going through one example, and have the steps posted on the board or on an anchor chart so they are visible to your students. Freibrun states you can tell your students that the modeling time is the teacher’s time to share and show his/her thinking strategies, and that questions can come during the guided practice.

Guided Practice/Gradual Release

When you gradually release students to practice, check for understanding throughout the release. Author mentions you might ask them to complete the first gradual release question with you as an entire group when you first release students. You continue to model metacognition and think aloud strategies and ask students to share their ideas with a partner and with the entire group. Afterward, you might ask students to work with a partner and complete the next questions independently. Throughout the lesson, author suggests constantly check for understanding by using whiteboards, observations, and listening to students’ conversations as they talk things out with their table or group partners. See below:

Choose problems that students will answer on their whiteboards. These problems typed out on a sheet of paper and printed so that students can slip the paper into a sheet protector. Students can use their whiteboard markers to write on the sheet protector and show their work.


When most of your students have understood the learning intention and have shown progression through the gradual release, close the lesson by asking a few questions. Ask students to restate the objective. Have students try to include some Depth-of-knowledge level 2 and 3 questions into the closure so they challenge students. See Closure below:

 *Restate the objective.

*Depth-of-Knowledge level 2 question.

*Depth-of knowledge level 3 question.

Hook Section

You will write out the hook after planning the lesson.

Deconstructing Standards Template

Explicit Instruction Lesson Plan Template

After design instruction you can visit https://educationblogdesk.com/6-ways-to-make-thinking-visible-a-powerful-practice/powerful-learning/how-meas-scs/

for more information on making thinking visible.