If a lesson is a journey, then a lesson plan is a map.
Creating maps takes some skill. You need to take certain steps to make sure the journey is productive and the destination is reached.
The aims are the destination. Make sure you know where you want the students to arrive by the end of the lesson.
The students' current level is the start of the journey. Take a good look at every student, as they don’t start from the same place. Choose the most appropriate starting point for everyone.
Activities are the markers and signposts along the way, following on from one another until they reach the destination. Work backwards from the end. Which activities support each other in a logical way? Which of these will encourage the most student interaction / engagement / autonomy?
How will you know when they’ve arrived (what can the students show you that will prove it)?
The materials are the supplies. You’ll probably need support materials, but a journey with too much luggage is no fun for anyone.
Pick a student from the class. Imagine you’re in their shoes. Take two minutes visualise the journey. Will it work? Will it be effective? Will you reach the destination happy, confident and having learned something?
Most importantly, remember that a map is not the journey. Minor deviations, inspired by the students and guided by you, are what make good lessons great.