Lesson Planning – Again!

Lesson planning – again, that’s what we teachers do and something I have been giving a great deal of thought to recently.
I wrote not long ago on the subject and since then have tried Ross Morrison McGill’s 5 minute lesson plan and decided I was right to like his idea! Using the template places a real emphasis on what the students are learning, how they will learn it and how will they progress from here.
As I said in that post I wanted to adapt the template a little for my own use and have done so. Combining mostly Ross’s ideas with the Maths version I discovered (I originally found this on the Suffolk Maths site, I believe Emily Hughes is the author) and then tweaking a little for me I have my own version! I wanted a bigger box for Assessment for Learning, to include vocabulary and to have the option to complete the plan electronically. So I have modified the shapes and added text boxes to the various parts of the diagram to make it possible to use electronically.
Knowing that this subject is one I will return to, I have given this 5 minute plan its own page (as part of the I’m Looking For.. series) which I will keep updated as I use this method for planning.T
Thinking also about observing lessons I have been reading various articles and blogs and came across David Didau’s ‘Where Lesson Observations Go Wrong’. Many of David’s comments really struck a chord with me, particularly his comment ‘no one knows my kids in my classroom like I do‘. That is so true; I think we would all like to think that any observer coming into our lesson has that in mind. If I observe a lesson in any capacity I want the teacher to know that I appreciate how well they know their students.
I do like David’s suggested questions (reproduced below – thank you David) for observation feedback – questions like this make for a good conversation between the observer and class teacher. If I have planned my lesson properly, thinking about all the aspects mentioned in the five minute plan above then I should easily be able to answer these questions and in fact be glad to be asked them. The questions emphasize quite rightly that this is but one lesson in a sequence of lessons and only a tiny snapshot of my interaction with that class.
  • Where does this lesson fit into your sequence of teaching?
  • What have students had to learn in order to get to this point?
  • What did they already know?
  • How will you develop what students have done so far?
  • How might the next lesson be adapted in light of what happened this lesson?
  • How do you know if students are making progress?
  • Why did you make the decision you made today?
  • Is there anything you might do differently?.

These questions are useful for reflection – have an imaginary conversation with yourself even if you are not being observed. Actually come to think of it – isn’t that best of all – to get really good at observing ourselves?!