So, three weeks into the half term and my progress towards Outstanding has been slow and steady. I wrote in my first post that I knew this would not be a short experience…how perceptive! I am working far harder than ever before in this job, and for much longer too. This has obviously taken a toll on me (combined with the unrelenting Autumn term) and I am now looking for ways to work smarter rather than harder. Any ideas, please leave a comment!
I wrote last time that my two foci were differentiation and final plenaries. I have tackled the former with the provision of ‘crib sheets’ and/or ensuring that the weaker students have a WAGOLL (What A Good One Looks Like – basically a modelled answer) in their books from which to work. The more able are catered for with extension tasks.
Final plenaries are something that I have yet to work on much, for the simple reason that I appear to be overplanning at the moment, and this has led me to consider my whole planning and working structures. Following a recent CPD session I had been attempting to complete an Outstanding lesson plan for all lessons – incredibly time consuming work, and in all honesty, probably a large waste of time. I need a lesson plan to meet my needs whilst meeting the requirements of my school, and after tinkering with the school lesson plan, I have decided to create my own version. When it’s complete, I will share it on here. The main development in my planning has been the increased use of the concept of ‘stickability’ (for a guide, see here) – the main bit students MUST take away from my lessons. This is completed once my objectives and outcomes have been decided, and gives my planning a real focus.
So final plenaries have not been going so well, but mini-plenaries have, thanks in part to Diagnostic Questions. This site contains ‘hinge questions’ which allow you to check, very swiftly, whole class understanding of the topic, giving instant feedback and allowing you to adapt the lesson accordingly. But this throws up two issues for me straight away:
- I have traditionally followed a lesson plan, and tried to do so rigidly (I would fall squarely within the Tight/Tight, lesson-plan-oriented approach described here!)
- I feel I lack the required agility/adaptability at present for this to have the desired effect (bit of a Catch 22 here, I recognise, as only through practice will my skills in this area develop
My new priorities are as follows:
- continue working on differentiation until it is firmly embedded in the classroom
- develop a lesson plan which suits my needs (in short – focuses on my priorities, short time to complete, allows for contingency planning)
- seek out examples of Outstanding agility/adaptability in lessons
…which leads me to ask: if you have any links, or resources, which I might find useful, please leave a comment. I’d love to hear of your thoughts and ideas. Thanks in advance