The Lesson Organizer Routine

The Lesson Organizer Routine helps teachers "frame" a lesson so students see the big picture. Through use of the routine, teachers introduce and build a lesson so students understand the main idea of the lesson, relate the lesson to their background knowledge, understand how the information is structured, distinguish the most important content from the less important, and understand what they are expected to do.

Research has shown that regular, explicit, and flexible use of the Lesson Organizer Routine by secondary classroom teachers can have a significant influence on student learning. In one study, secondary teachers' use of the routine resulted in increased identification of important elements in a lesson and increased verbal recall of information by low-achieving students and students with learning disabilities in general education classes. In a second study, when the instructor used the Lesson Organizer Routine to introduce a reading assignment, students with learning disabilities earned significantly higher scores on a test over the assignment than students in a comparison group. A third study combined teachers' use of the Lesson Organizer Routine with use of the Unit Organizer Routine. Results showed that students whose teachers regularly and consistently used the Lesson Organizer Routine scored an average of 15 percentage points higher on unit tests than students whose teachers used the routine irregularly.

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The Lesson Organizer Routine Research (.pdf)

Author(s): B. Keith Lenz, Richard W. Marrs, Jean B. Schumaker, and Donald D. Deshler

Publication Info: Edge Enterprises, 1993

This product is published by Edge Enterprises, Inc.  Professional development is recommended, see the SIM Events page for sessions.

Research Articles

  • Lenz, B.K., & Adams, G. (2006). Planning practices that optimize curriculum access. In D.D. Deshler & J.B. Schumaker (Eds.), Teaching adolescents with disabilities: Accessing the general education curriculum (pp. 35-78). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. This chapter reviews issues related to planning for students with disabilities, different kinds of planning interventions, and studies on teacher planning, including a review of lesson planning, unit planning, and course planning research.
  • Mittag, K.C., & Van Reusen, A.K. (1999). One fish, two fish, pretzel fish: Learning estimation and other advanced mathematics concepts in an inclusive class. Teaching Exceptional Children, 31(6), 66-72. Using a combination of research-based approaches (Cooperative Estimation Techniques, calculators, and the Lesson Organizer Routine), a team of teachers successfully taught fifth-grade students in an inclusive classroom to use various strategies to learn advanced mathematics concepts and skills.

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