Teaching Tools

Individual Lesson Planning

Individual Lesson Planning

Posted by: San Francisco Film Society

Before beginning in the classroom, there should be a lesson plan in place in advance of each class. These questions are designed to help filmmaker instructors and classroom teachers to work together to plan the individual filmmaking program lessons and outline what resources and activities are required to keep students learning and engaged. 

The Anatomy of a Media Arts Lesson Plan section of this guide contains an in-depth discussion of how to best approach lesson plan construction. 

Note to classroom teachers: We assume you are more than familiar with the construction of a lesson plan, but this can be used as a simple guide for any media arts instruction you undertake on your own or as part of a teaching artist partnership. 


What learning goals do you hope to achieve with this lesson? How will this support your overarching themes and goals? 


What tangible outcomes do you hope to achieve with this lesson? In addition to using the lesson plan as a way to identify and plan how to achieve pedagogical goals, you should also identify what students will make, watch or complete during each session. 


What do you need to complete the lesson? Are there additional materials needed beyond the general equipment/materials identified in advance of the work? 


How long will the lesson (and each of its component parts) take to accomplish? Make sure to give an estimate of how long the lesson as a whole will take and to set time frames for sub-activities planned. 

Intro/Warm-Up/Skill Review 

Arts education often occurs in the classroom on a semi-regular basis and with a visiting instructor. For this reason, it is important to begin classes with a warm-up that allows for students to review where they are in their media arts instruction and/or to review skills acquired in earlier lessons. In earlier stages of this process, showing film selections can be ideal, to help frame film and media’s importance to the lives of students, as well as to frame project ideas and technical filmmaking lessons. 


The lesson plan should clearly articulate the primary lesson being delivered. While with project-based learning, this may simply be a continuation of an ongoing project, it is important to present an overview of exactly what will be taking place for each session and to plan out classroom management items (e.g., student groupings, offsite logistics, etc.) 


Time allowing, each lesson should accommodate space for students and educators to reflect on the work done in the classroom. As educators must revise, reflect, plan and do damage control—students should also be offered the opportunity to do so, through a short activity or discussion.

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