First of all, there is no right way to plan. The most important thing is that the plan gives you enough information to teach that lesson. Your plan should also leave you room to adapt and change as needed. It can be easy to get carried away planning a whole unit in advance, printing and photocopying all the resources then stressing out when the class didn’t get lesson 2 or 3 and you’re having to try a different tact. It’s also very easy just roll with the team planning without making changes for your class because you are exhausted, stressed and worried about ‘inconsistency across the year group.’
If you want planning to work for you these are my top tips:
1. Don’t overdo it! You know you may have to adapt your planning anyway so keep it simple. All you need is enough information for you to teach that lesson. Save the detail for when someone is covering your class
2. Use your own style. You may have a set template from you school but what you add to it is up to you. The planning must make sense when you read it, so having your own style really helps.
3. Who are you pitching to? Does the whole class need to have the same input? Do you want a group with your TA or completing an independent task? Do you want to do some flipflop teaching? Balance out who you pitch to and how so you can avoid a class of fed up, fidgety kids with pins and needles.
4. Work backwards. What outcome are you looking for at the end of the lesson? Start there then add the rest.
5. Take a step back. Think about how your pupils can be leaders of their own learning. Could they select resources, peer mark or create their own success criteria? Encourage their independence and save yourself some unnecessary extra work.
6. Involve your TA. What do you want them to do? Who with? What should the outcome look like? Your TA should be a valued member of your classroom, give them the confidence to take their own initiative but be clear about what you need too. Communication is key.
7. Extras? Think about what you find useful to have on your planning. Do you need a few differentiated questions? Maybe you like to add a list of resources, so you can set up your classroom quicker? Maybe you like to add key vocabulary, so you remember to talk about those words during your intro? Decide which extra bits are useful for you and add them on.
8. Don’t be afraid. This is last but certainly not least. You know what is best for your class, take ownership of that and make the plan work for your pupils. If you have good engaged children making good progress then what else do you need?
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