So what is involved in a lesson plan? The elements are time honored and available in the FAA Flight Instructor Handbook. It starts with "objective" and proceeds to "critique." The key element however is the "objective." This is what you want to occur in demonstrable terms (you have to see it occur by your student's hands ...not yours). It could be as simple as "the student will demonstrate a rectangular pattern over the ground at a constant altitude in coordinated flight, adjusting for changing ground speed and maintaining an equal distance from the roads through manipulation of the flight controls and division of attention." Set a reasonable objective standard for altitude variation and drift based on student level (Is this a first-time effort of getting ready for the test?)
The element lacking in the "FAA lesson plan" is the first one in the door for me: "prerequisites." I insist on this because it lets me know if the student is qualified and prepared to successfully embark upon a particular lesson. For example; a prerequisite for a ground reference lesson might be accurate altitude and airspeed control in straight and level flight (not hard but not present sometimes.) Additionally, some preparation reading and viewing this maneuver would be necessary or the time aloft will be wasted or worse frustrating and a negative experience. So when we meet and exchange pleasantries, a quick assessment and evaluation of the student's level is essential. If they are qualified, you can move it along and fill in the blanks with a some pre-flight discussion and verbal quizzing. To be successful, always get something back from your student that proves to you they are processing and integrating what you are saying. This is also a good tool to bring in peripheral knowledge items such as systems that may not be covered directly in a lesson. Be creative and have fun. A bit of laughter and humor makes a lesson much more enjoyable for both of you and defuses some nervousness and tension.