How Does A ChatGPT Lesson Plan Compare to My Typical Plans?

Lauren Racela, OFLA Technology Integration Committee Chair
French Teacher, Milford High School

By now, I am sure you have heard about the wonders of AI resources, specifically ChatGPT. There is truly no limit to the amount of content that you can create using this tool! Today, I want to break down an AI-generated lesson plan. What was done well? What needs improvement? And most of all, how can teachers use AI resources like ChatGPT to improve their classes?

This is the lesson I will be reviewing. I gave ChatGPT a very simple explanation of the lesson I wanted – something for French II about cooking, while also incorporating -ER verbs. ChatGPT created a 1-hour lesson with a warm-up, presentation of new material, guided practice, application, and close. There is also an assessment category that addresses future learning.

My biggest qualm with the lesson plan is that it is pretty traditional and dry. The lesson starts with a discussion about French cooking and then a review of regular -ER verbs. This is okay, but it is not very interesting or creative. If the goal was to review -ER verbs, I would rather use a game or something more interactive. Some steps are too vague, such as  “Encourage students to ask questions and participate in the cooking process by using the verbs they have learned.” As teachers, we know that students typically need more direction than that. The lesson plan also suggested that the teacher should “Assign homework for students to practice using regular -ER verbs in sentences related to cooking.” Once again this approach is uninspiring. 

Although I noted some weaknesses in the lesson, I found some great things worth mentioning. The cooking demonstration and the idea of making a fruit salad with the students is one I could see myself using. The lesson plan provided specific sentences with the verbs manger and couper, which I include as a part of my curriculum for this unit.

ChatGPT also created some realistic goals regarding time management that felt similar to what I do in my classroom. I like to start with something brief and open-ended for the first 5-7 minutes, then move into direct instruction, then spend the most time on guided and independent activities with a short wrap-up at the end. 

To improve this lesson, I could input vocab words or a list of verbs that my students already know and ask ChatGPT to create activities with those verbs. I could even ask ChatGPT to generate this verb list for me!

Overall, these lesson plans can be helpful if you’re feeling stuck. While I do not think I would teach this lesson exactly as it is written, reading through a ChatGPT lesson plan could help if I wanted to see more ideas on how to present a topic. Also, the more specific you are, the better your results will be. For example, I could have specified to ChatGPT to include a game or activity in the lesson plan. There is also always the “regenerate answer” option, so if you do not like the first attempt that ChatGPT makes to answer your question, you can retry the same question, and ChatGPT will create a slightly different result.

As we move forward and technology continues to evolve, it is to our benefit to research what is out there. I encourage you to experiment with all the AI resources available! Even if you do not use the output provided, it is interesting to see what is possible.

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