Checklist: Lesson Plans Success

Creating a lesson plan is a competency that pre-service teachers must learn, but it is rarely discussed among faculty in post-secondary institutions. Yet creating a lesson plan that integrates Universal Design features requires some thought. Research suggests that students with learning disabilities are more likely to succeed in classes where the instructor plans for instructional supports at the beginning of lesson plan development, rather than modifying materials as an afterthought (Spooner 2007, Hitchcock 2001). The following checklist is designed to support instructors seeking to develop inclusive and universally designed lessons.

  1. Standards: Lesson is consistent with national standards (such as the Mathematics Association of America or National Council of Teachers of Mathematics)
  2. Goals: Lesson goals are clearly stated and are consistent with the unit goals.
  3. Anticipatory set: Prepare students for lesson by helping students connect their prior knowledge to the new knowledge through an activity.
  4. Lesson agenda:
    1. Review of prior concepts
    2. New knowledge introduced and modeled by instructor
    3. Instructor presents new concepts using multiple formats (some combination of auditory, visual, kinesthetic, and tactile)
    4. Students practice new concepts with instructor supervision and feedback
    5. Students practice new concepts independently through homework assignments
  5. Instructional supports: available for students who request them
    1. Assistive technology for reading, writing, and creating graphic displays of information
    2. Extended time on tests, testing environment free of distractions
  6. Reflection: students reflect on the strategies and processes used to learn during the activity, class, and/or lesson
  7. Assessment:
    1. Formative assessment done frequently through projects and quizzes
    2. Summative assessment in the form of a comprehensive unit test


Hitchcock, C. (2001). Balanced instructional support and challenge in universally designed learning environments. Journal of Special Education Technology, 16, 23-30.

Spooner, F., Baker, J., Harris, A., Ahlgram-Delzell, L. & Browder, D. (2007). Effects of training in universal design for learning on lesson plan development. Remedial and Special Education, 28(2), 108-116.