Step 3 For Lesson Planning Anything: Introduction of New Material

Alright! We have our independent practice & guided practice already created. Going back an additional step, we need to teach the actual material.

Introducing new material has traditionally been done (and is still done, especially in Spain) by a teacher at the front of the room informing students who are sitting in desks set up in rows and columns. Many refer to this as a “sage on a stage” (i.e, the teacher has all of the information, and disperses this information to students who did not previously have the information) vs. a “guide on the side” (i.e., students and teachers working together to learn new information), while others believe this adage to be outdated. Regardless of your perspective, one thing that cannot be argued is that having different, engaging strategies for introducing new materials is a good thing.

Culture and Language assistant as  “Sage on a Stage”

Culture and Language assistant as “Sage on a Stage”

Culture and Language assistant as  “Guide on the Side”

Culture and Language assistant as “Guide on the Side”

In future lessons, we will go over many different ways to introduce new material to a class in a different manners. For now, let’s look at some basic questions to guide us as we examine this step in detail.

Step 3: Introduction of New Material

  • KNOWLEDGE/SKILLS:

  • How will you explain/demonstrate the knowledge/skills required of the objective, so that students begin actively internalizing key points?   

  • Potential Misunderstandings:

    What potential misunderstandings do you anticipate? How can you proactively mitigate them? How will students interact with the material?    

  • Checks for Understanding:

    How/when will you check for understanding?  How will you address misunderstandings?

  • Expectations:

    How will you clearly state and model behavioral expectations? Why will students be engaged?


We’re going to use my dad’s lesson described in How to Teach Anything to give examples of this step.

it would look something like this:

Step 3: Introduction of New Material

  • KNOWLEDGE/SKILLS:

    I will demonstrate how to hold a bat, then ask the student to hold the bat and move their hands as necessary. I will also demonstrate what a batting stance looks like, ask the student to copy, then move their legs if necessary.  I will repeat this process of demonstrating and adjusting for all other skills, including putting the baseball on the tee, resting the bat on your shoulder, and swinging the bat.

  • Potential Misunderstandings:

    Potential Misunderstandings: Students keep their legs straight, leave the bat on their shoulder before swinging, don’t follow through, etc.

    • Proactive Mitigation: At the very start, remind students to bend their legs, keep their bat up before swinging, and follow all the way through. Keep reinforcing these actions throughout the lesson.

  • Checks for Understanding:

    I will check for understanding immediately by holding the bat throughout the swing and address misunderstandings at the end.

  • Expectations:

    I was engaged because baseball was my favorite sport. Their students might be engaged because this entire activity is hands on.

    Again, outlining behavioral expectations is not really needed as it’s just 1-1. However, based on previous understandings, some unstated expectations would be:

      • Movement: Move how/when I tells them to

      • Voice: Don’t talk when I am  talking

      • Participation: Always do what I say


What are your tricks for introducing new material? Do you believe the “sage on the stage” and “guide on the side” debate is outdated or still applies?