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Lesson planning A little bit goes a long way - Mr T Beattie

If you take a minute to do a quick google search with the words 'lesson planning' many of the articles that flag up appear to be aimed at student teachers and NQT's. Indeed one of the articles from Sec-ed.co.uk starts off with the words, 'The art of planning lessons is a key challenge to master for the new teacher...'. It could be argued though that planning lessons is a key challenge to master for all teachers, whether you have 3 or 33 years experience.

with New courses, A shifting focus on skills development, enhanced educational technology and diverse Student needs the content of our lessons can't afford to stand still. Whilst some of our subject specific context will always remain static - there is validity in the argument that the content of our lessons shouldn't do the same.

Change is needed. However, as always, the age old problem of the time we have in a working day still remains as vexing as ever. So as teachers we need to become efficient in our planning in order to lighten the burden of the changes and adaptation that is required to keep our craft driving forward. Or if we can't lose the burden there is only one thing left to do. Cheat.

The five minute lesson plan isn't cheating. It might feel like you are cheating a little bit. But it is a really useful resource that can help bring a fresh perspective to your lessons.

Used by thousands of teachers in thousands of schools all over the globe the Five minute lesson plan is a great resource for planning a lesson. Sitting somewhere on the spectrum between 'door handle' teaching and a detailed pro-forma it is definitely worth experimenting with this resource. Click on the underlined link above to take you to @teachertoolkit and look around some of the great resources on offer. The video below gives you a little run through how to use the resource. There is also a longer webinar available here.

I have started using a lesson planning pro-forma I have designed called the BIG 5. It is extremely stripped back, but allows me to enter into a thinking process regarding where the learning is going during my lessons and how the learner is going to get there.

Aptly called the Big 5 as there are 5 Big things I want to at least think about before I teach a class. How I fill out the pro forma changes regularly, depending on the lesson the boxes could be quite empty. I might decide to only put the class and date in the overview, or at times I like constructing success criteria with the pupils, so that section might be initially blank. At other times the boxes might be quite full, especially if I am doing something a bit different or using a pedagogy for the first time and want it to succeed. There is a section at the bottom for notes, so, depending on the stage and class I can add in info such as homework, support for learning, resources, social goals and other specifics that might be needed for that lesson.

Why not give the five minute lesson plan or the Big 5 pro forma a go and let me know how you get on, for Harris staff it is available to print from the learning and teaching folder on the staff shared drive**. Similarly if you have any hints and tips for time effective lesson planning send me an email to ddtbeattie520@glow.sch.uk, I'd love to hear from you.

**I caught up with Mr Price our English NQT at Harris this year, he had mentioned he had been using the Learning and Teaching resources on the staff shared drive, here is what he said...

As an NQT two of the biggest difficulties I face are creating new resources and assimilating the mass of information that accompanies becoming a teacher. When one considers adding in the theoretical approaches it can seem overwhelming. I do however, try to approach the theoretical and policy areas as best I can. So when I heard that Harris had a focus on AiFL and Co-operative Learning as part of the School Improvement Plan I took a note to take a good look at these areas in the shared folder. Although I had expected the material to be dry and theoretical I found that there were actually a huge number of practical activities and strategies. This has been especially beneficial to me as I don’t have the experience to draw on to create these materials and I doubt any human being could be innovative enough to invent all of these ideas on their own. I think many of the activities will be familiar to experienced teachers as they use plenty of them already but to someone like me with a hunger for new knowledge, the AiFL and Co-op Learning area has been like a sweet shop stacked high with new and exciting items to lift up and try. In addition to giving me a great number of ready-made activities to incorporate into my lessons it has also been a great learning experience, deepening my knowledge and understanding of AiFL and Co-op Learning through applying it. In short I have found the AiFL and Co-op Learning material a very pleasant, beneficial and illuminating surprise.

Credits:

Created with images by Estée Janssens - "untitled image" • geralt - "change new beginning risk" • Matvevna - "station city clock" • Ilya Pavlov - "untitled image"

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