Planning lessons, is probably one of my favourite parts of being a teacher.
If I’m honest it wasn’t until half way through my NQT year that I started to see that it’s not so much the planning lesson by lesson that’s important it’s the planning of learning as a whole over a period of time.
Initially I would lesson plan by looking at the SoW and planning each lesson by what the scheme said should be taught. I later came to realise I hated this, it made teaching rigid and meant I was pretty much teaching to the test.
When I became Head of Humanities I was provided with the opportunity to start from scratch. The school was in its first year of opening, the former HoD left nothing behind so I literally had a blank canvas to work with. Whilst at times it was hard, it meant I learnt a lot about structuring learning over time – for each topic for each year group I’d consider the knowledge and understanding required, identify the skills focus, create a variety of forms of summative assessment and organise opportunities for formative assessment.
In my first year (2014 – 2015) I was writing schemes of work like this…
These would be for each year group (7,8,10 & 11) for each topic (6 per year in KS3) for each lesson of the topic. This was the expectation. Since I was the only one in the department I had to plan each lesson, resource each lesson and then embed it all into the SoW.
Last year (2015 – 2016) I decided this was too time consuming and eventually started writing schemes of work more along these lines…
This was much easier, it simply outlined the topic title and skills focus, assessment weeks and data input weeks. The resources provided the lesson outline, resources etc. so why did I need to repeat it all in another document? The lessons were organised clearly into the department folder like so…
…this meant that any other teachers teaching Humanities could quite simply find out which lesson they were on and find it in the folder along with all the resources necessary to teach it. All they needed to do then was differentiate to suit their classes.
For each topic I had the outcomes in mind and outlined at them at the start of the SoW. This meant non-specialists knew the aims and objectives for the SoW.
From the feedback I received from non-specialists this made it a lot easier to know where they were in the SoW and where they were heading with it; making it easier to prepare for summative assessments and data input.
Over the long term, I’d look at the skills being taught across the year to ensure an even spread of each assessment objective (see table below) for the key Humanities subjects of Geography and History. Each formative assessment would assess students ongoing knowledge and understanding and would focus on particular assessment objectives.
For example this assessment (below) focused primarily on source interpretation as part of assessment objective HAO3 Source Skills. However the task required students to draw upon their knowledge and understanding of the topic which meant they also covered aspects of other assessment objectives. This helped when providing holistic grades for students.
So this has been approach to planning over time, hope it’s provided some ideas to help you.