Implementing a Model Lesson Plan
While the 24 Hour Temperature Cycle Lesson Plan did not fit the purposes of my college
level writing classroom, I chose a different lesson plan that aligned with the purposes and
standards of my freshman composition class. The lesson corresponds with the
PowerPoint presentation submitted for the educational application of PowerPoint
assignment and is designed to further demonstrate effective visual design for writers on
In my writing class, students produce a wiki research project at the end of the semester
and in order to help them understand the concept of visual design, this lesson provides
first hand experience in evaluating positive and negative qualities of web sites so that
they may use those skills in their own wiki design. The lesson is a modified version of a
writing exercise provided in the course text Writing: A Guide For College and Beyond by
Lester Faigley. The actions of the lesson plan go as follows:
Before beginning the lesson, tables and chairs should be arranged to create groups of four
and students should be logged into their own laptop computers.
1. Teacher instructs students to visit the college’s homepage on their computers
(www.jccmi.edu) and has the homepage projected on the overhead for the class to
2. Teacher then asks students to browse through the college’s homepage then
discuss with their group what they like or don’t like about the web site. After 3-4
minutes of group discussion, the class comes back together and groups volunteer
3. Teacher listens and expands on the ideas students present then explains five
important elements of evaluating the effectiveness of a web site: Audience and
purpose, content, readability, visual design, and navigation. In specific terms, the
teacher provides questions for students to ask themselves as they review web sites
for each individual topic:
• Audience and Purpose: How does the site identify its intended audience?
What is the purpose of this part of the overall site?
• Content: How informative is the content? Has the site been updated
recently? What do you want to know more about?
• Readability: How readable is the text? Are there any paragraphs that go
on too long and need to be divided? Are headings inserted in the right
places, and if headings are used for more than one level, are these levels
• Visual Design: Does the site have a consistent visual theme? Does the key
information stand out on each page?
• Navigation: How easy or difficult is it to move from one page to another
on the site? Is a consistent navigation scheme used throughout the site?
4. After explaining the five different areas of examination, the teacher asks students
to look at the college’s homepage again this time with audience and purpose,
content, readability, visual design and navigation in mind. Students discuss
the five different areas with their group and nominate a writer to record the
group’s discussion. During this time, the teacher circulates from group to
group answering questions and guiding discussions that may wander off track. After
ten minutes, the class rejoins again as a whole to share results.
5. Each group explains their answers to the questions provided on the five different
areas of effective web sites. During this time, the teacher uses the web site on
the overhead to point out the areas students are explaining and to follow up on
ideas students present. The teacher’s role at this point in the lesson is also to listen
closely to student responses and connect their ideas and analysis to the
implementation of their own writing on the web though the wiki research
project and encourage students to make correlations between the two as well.
6. Once the discussion has had time to develop and expand on all important
elements of web site evaluation, the teacher asks students to visit another web
site, this time of their choice. Students repeat the above steps and evaluate
another web site as a group, recording answers, and explaining their reasons to the
rest of the class.
7. While each group is explaining their web site and how they evaluated it, the
teacher displays the web site on the overhead and clicks on the areas students
8. At the completion of the lesson, the teacher asks students to summarize the main
points of evaluating web sites and how they might use this knowledge in their
own design of the wiki research project. Students discuss their answers first in
their groups, then share their ideas with the rest of the class in a full class
Benefits and Challenges
The benefit of using this lesson in the classroom is to have students actively involved in
evaluating web sites while the teacher walks through the web site and their ideas on the
overhead. Students have the opportunity to navigate the Internet and web sites while
working individually and in groups. This promotes collaborative learning and knowledge
building by sharing ideas with peers and working together to effectively evaluate a web
site. The lesson itself allows students to understand qualities that they might seek in their
own projects in writing on the web and the use of the Internet makes the abstract concepts
very real by allowing learners to see how they operate in a real situation.
The challenges of this lesson can vary greatly, but during my implementation of this
lesson in class the computer at the teacher station disconnected from the Internet. This
prevented me from displaying the web sites on the overhead as students discussed them.
In order to reconnect my computer, I had to restart the computer and log back into the
system again, which on average usually takes approximately ten minutes. This had a
profound effect on the fluidity of the lesson because it was an abrupt and unexpected
occurrence that required my attention to fix, subsequently removing me from floating
from group to group during their discussion time. This led some groups to get off focus
and lose sight of the task at hand.
While the primary challenge in my implementation was unreliable technology, other
potential challenges may exist such as problems with student computers, groups that get
off task, and ensuring that each student is participating actively in their group
discussions. These challenges, however, can be fully addressed if the instructor is present
and available to move from group to group during discussion time. The challenges can
present minor problems, but I believe the benefits far outweigh any roadblocks this lesson
The technology of the Internet was used in this lesson to place learners in an active
position to achieve the educational goal of evaluating a web site so that similar concepts
may be applied to their own presentation of writing during the course of their wiki
research project. Rather than having the instructor explain on the overhead how to
interpret each web site, students were asked to do this both on their own and in their
groups. Having students actively participating online allowed for confidence building in
using the Internet, dynamic interactions among peer groups, and a hands-on approach to
evaluating web sites.
While this lesson could be adapted to exclude the Internet by having the teacher simply
explain or lecture on the different evaluation techniques, allowing students to navigate
web sites and practice how the concepts take shape in real life provides learners with a
much more dynamic experience. The Internet gains active learners, rather than passive
observers in the analysis of web sites. Without the use of the Internet, many of the
concepts presented in this assignment would remain abstract and not tangible for students
to apply in their own design.
I will use this lesson again because I think it really helped my students understand and
visualize in a concrete way how web site design can significantly influence writing. In
the future, I will change the second portion of the lesson which allows students to choose
their own web site to evaluate. While this worked in some groups, other groups had a
difficult time agreeing on a web site and ended up choosing sites that did not fully display
the concept of the five areas of focus. When I use this lesson again next semester, I will
choose the second web site we review in class then assign as homework the opportunity
for them to choose their own web site and evaluate. This will bring some of the concepts
with them at home and encourage them to think deeply about how web site design plays
an integral role in their wiki research project and ultimately, their writing.
In the past, I have assigned the evaluation of a web site strictly as homework and did not
spend a lot of in-class time discussing it. My reasoning for this was that at the end of the
day, it is still a writing class (not a web site design class) and so I did not want to lose
sight of my role and expectation as the teacher. However, after trying this lesson in class I
do believe it had a much more profound effect than it ever had as homework and I found
it easier to connect the ideas directly to their wiki research project. The lesson itself only
took half a class period to complete and so I believe it was time well worth spending. My
students were able to synthesize what writing on the web means in context to the
assignment they were working on and begin to understand what visual design can do to
enhance their writing.