Students:  I thought it might be helpful to have another example, so I’m attaching here a lesson plan from one of the most recent workshops I did for a WRIT 150 class here at USC. The students were tasked with writing an Op-Ed on a topic of their choosing using some research. So attached is what I did with them. It’s quite rough but I thought it might give you some more idea of directions you can take, especially for the next parts of the assignment sequence.


Kevin Klipfel

LIM 511 Lesson Plan Example


Goals and Understandings

  1. Please provide a detailed explanation of your chosen instruction context, including the setting, your students, and any relevant information.

My lesson is for a “one-shot” information literacy workshop at the University of Southern California Libraries (USC). The goal of information literacy instruction at the USC Libraries is to introduce students to basic information literacy skills that will provide the foundations for successful research throughout their academic career.

Beginning information literacy instruction at USC primarily takes place in WRIT 150, a course all USC Freshmen are required to take in their first year. Information literacy instruction in these classes is “embedded:” librarians teach research skills required for specific research assignments in a particular course. The goal of embedded instruction is to teach students research skills within a meaningful, relevant learning context, so that these skills can transfer to other, related context.

This lesson plan is tailored to a section of WRIT 150 with the following assignment requirements:

Writing Task: Write a thesis-driven three to four-page mock Op-Ed for a specific publication/blog/ or readership. Take care to research the publication’s Op-Ed page to examine the scope and style of previous Op-Eds to determine if the publication is a good fit for your chosen concern or idea.

Sources: If appropriate to your paper, provide sources to support your view. There is no specific amount of source material required; however, for a four-page paper two to four sources are within a proper ratio. If you hold an expertise, you may establish that within your paper and offer your experiential evidence as support.

  1. What are the established goals for my instruction? What will students understand based on my instruction?

The overall goal of my instruction is for students to be able to develop the information literacy skills needed to write an informed Op-Ed on a topic of personal significance to them. In my experience and in consultation with the course instructor, I believe it will be helpful for students to see how to take a “vague” topic idea – where all research starts off – and be able to use specific information literacy skills to inform themselves on their topic and express themselves in writing using research backed by evidence.

My goal is for students to understand that research is borne out of genuine curiosity or things we think about in our ordinary lives; that there are specific strategies they can use to refine a research topic from a broad interest; and that research at the college level is an iterative process that requires many different searches of multiple modes of information.

  1. Essential Questions:

Write out a list of 3-5 essential questions that you hope to address in you lesson, then provide a detailed explanation for why you think these questions are essential questions.

Given these considerations, my lesson will address the following essential questions:

  1. How can I turn things I am interested in or passionate about into a general research topic?
  2. How can I turn my broad interest into a specific research topic for an Op-Ed?
  3. What is a ‘scholarly conversation?’ What is the best way to enter into a “scholarly conversation”?
  4. Students Will Know & Students Will be Able to…

What key knowledge and skills will students acquire as a result of this lesson?

  • Students will be able to use an online scholarly encyclopedia to locate background knowledge on a topic of authentic interest.
  • Students will be able to use an online scholarly encyclopedia to locate a “seminal” peer-reviewed scholarly article on a topic of authentic interest.
  • Students will use keyword searching to search the USC Libraries general search for at least two peer-reviewed scholarly articles on a topic of interest.

What should student be able to do as the result of your lesson?

After my lesson, students will be able to use information to think critically about a topic and write a well-informed Op-Ed on an issue that matters to them.

How will these skills transfer beyond this immediate learning context? What are some situations you see these skills transferring to?

These skills will transfer to most of the research students will conduct at the university level. Additionally, students will be able to transfer these strategies to non-academic contexts where the goal is to become informed by credible information about a topic and to express one’s opinion informed by and backed by research. As such, the goal is to use this context to teach critical thinking skills across domains.


For Part 2, you’ll practice beginning to “think like an assessor” about your learning plan. Indeed, though it may often seem to you that students are learning, good design also involves more formal assessments of student learning. Your goal in Part 2 is to think like an assessor by answering the following questions about your lesson:

  1. What kinds of evidence would show that students have achieved the desired results of your instruction?

The evidence that would show students achieved the desired results of my instruction would be if the students are able to achieve the learning goals set out for them. This relates directly to the learning goals I set out in the first part of this lesson plan.

One goal is for students to be able to use a scholarly encyclopedia to gain the requisite background knowledge to engage in a scholarly conversation of a topic of interest. Thus, an assessment piece that measures whether students are actually able to complete this task would be a valuable assessment piece.

A second learning goal is for students to be able to use that encyclopedia to actually locate a “seminal” article on this topic. Evidence that students were successfully able to complete this task would help me assess whether students were successfully able to meet this learning goal.

Lastly, my goal is for students to be able to successfully use keywords to locate two scholarly articles on their topic. It would, thus, be helpful to be able to see students’ keywords and see if these keywords led to them successfully locating to quality peer-reviewed articles on their topic.

  1. What specific performance tasks would provide concrete evidence of student learning in your scenario? What problems or scenarios might you use to measure your students’ learning?

The performance tasks in this lessons are for students to:

  • use a specific scholarly encyclopedia through the USC Libraries, CREDO REFERENCE, to find background info on their paper and narrow their topic
  • locate a seminal article on their topic using the USC Libraries general search box and use that source to further narrow down their topic.
  • develop keywords to locate two scholarly articles using the USC Libraries general search box.
  1. What plan might you implement to measure student learning within the context of your instruction scenario? Be specific (for example, if you ask the students questions or provide students with concrete scenarios, be sure to include a description). What software, tools, or other technologies might help you assess your students’ learning?

I plan to use Qualtrics survey software for students to concretely demonstrate their own learning. After a short “mini-lesson” presentation, students will be asked to spend most of the time period completing the following active learning exercise:

This simple assessment should give me a very specific, concrete sense of whether the goals for my instruction have been met.


  1. What concrete learning activities and experiences will help you achieve your desired results? Your objective in Part 3 of this project is to provide an answer to this question by detailing the concrete learning activities you plan to implement in your session.

There are two major learning activities that I will use for this lesson.

The first learning activity is modeling topic development through narrative. I try to approach teaching students empathically. What this means for the current purposes is that I looked at the students assignment requirements – to choose an magazine or newspaper to write an informed Op-Ed on a topic of their choosing – and I modeled some specific research strategies through a narrative. I imagined that I was a student in the course and demonstrated how I’d go about taking a vague topic idea, use resources to narrow down the topic and find important info on it, and broke down the specific information literacy skills I used that they can then transfer to their own projects.

I used a specific narrative that was relevant to my life. I told the students that I had just been to Las Vegas with my wife to see a heavyweight championship fight between my favorite boxer, Tyson Fury, and heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder. I told the students why this interested me (I box, etc). and also what makes me such a fan of Tyson Fury. Not only is he a great boxer, but he has gone through (as have I, I briefly discussed) serious metal health issues. In short, Tyson Fury won the heavyweight championship in 2015 but had to give it up because he went through a period of terrible suicidal depression. However, he came back to boxing in 2017 and has now become a huge ambassador for mental health. Specifically, I told the students that I recently read an article how Tyson Fury is “redefining masculinity” by being so open about his mental health problems. In our culture a man is “supposed” to be tough and showing emotions is considered “weak.” However, this creates a serious stigma around mental health, especially for men. So one way that Fury is “redefining” masculinity is by overcoming “toxic masculinity” by being open about his mental health struggles and letting people know that you can be, e.g., a fighter and also show your emotions, even when they’re as vulnerable as depression or suicide.

So, I told the students, it might be cool to treat stigma around mental health as a men’s health issue – and maybe I could fashion my op-ed specifically for Men’s Health magazine to argue that mental health and de-stigmatizing depression is an important men’s health issue.

I then modeled for students how I took that kind of vague topic – my favorite boxer Tyson Fury and just having come back from a Las Vegas title fight– to develop keywords, “e.g, depression stigma mental health men athletes etc”, combined these in various ways, and developed info about my topic.  I showed them how to use research encyclopedias to get an overview of “stigma around mental health,’ how to find “seminal articles” using that resource, and also how to do keyword searches in the library.

The second strategy was active learning through meaningful cognitive engagement. We devoted the rest of the session to the students’ own searching of information for their Op-Eds. To scaffold the students’ learning environment, they were given a link to the active learning exercise from Part Two of this assignment. I then went around to work with students individually to help them brainstorm ideas and locate information sources.

  1. Why do you believe these specific learning activities will help you achieve your learning goals? Please be specific, and reference any relevant readings or learning theories that have been discussed in class.
  2. The first method I used, narrative modeling, has been demonstrated in the research literature to facilitate intrinsic motivation. The facilitation of intrinsic motivation has been demonstrated across multiple studies to facilitate learning (see Klipfel Cook).

[…] Additionally, I sought to develop relationship rapport through being vulnerable and talking about a topic that mattered to me. This followed on the Rogerian three core conditions …

[You should go into much more detail here J.]

  1. The second method is active cognitive engagement through practicing essential, transferrable concepts. I chose this methodology because research indicates that practicing the “deep structure” of learning in a meaningful context facilitates retention and transfer of information. (See Klipfel/Cook)….

[You should go into more detail here but ya get the idea]

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