We had a great start to the Thursday morning thriller in 2015 with a full house and the promise of some inspiration for lesson planning from Science supremo Jack Swales!
Last January we had a redesign of our lesson planning methodology with the aim of increasing the freedom that teachers had to plan and also to encourage high quality and sustained learning from the students.
We settled on a four stage plan that contains the following elements:
Jack told us about his use of the revised methodology and shared some very useful resources for making lesson presentations. Jack’s presentation can be downloaded here Thursday Thriller and his lesson template here AL ppt template
The core of Jack’s presentation was based around an exemplar lesson that he has taught. A key benefit from the consolidate stage was seen to be the ability of students to link what they have learned previously to a new topic. Rather than a simple stand alone starter the idea of an activity that bridges the gap between old and new learning is not only powerful in producing a strong start to lessons but also a great opportunity for the teacher to address any issues that arise at the start of a lesson or to ensure that the next stage of the lesson is ready to go. It has become clear that over time the students that are frequently exposed to this type of lesson start are adept at linking learning and explaining relational concepts.
After encouraging thinking about the lesson topic Jack quickly ensures that students are getting involved with the practical aspects of the learning. This boosts engagement and allows them to build on the initial thoughts about the topic generated in the connect phase.
Also as part of the Activate stage Jack starts to get students start to try to develop an explanation relating to the lesson topic. He also provided a hand written resource that allows students to select statements or to add their own ideas when starting to construct the Diamond 9. This stage could be referred to a first thinking.
In the demonstrate phase Jack starts to refine the student’s thinking to enable them to develop their thinking towards being able to achieve a more complex outcome but still relating to the lesson elements that have come before. This could be referred to as best thinking (for now!)
Finally in the consolidate phase Jack tries to draw the learning together, possibly using a relevant exam style question to ensure students get regular practice and understand the requirements of the syllabus they are following.
A key part of the work that Jack has done to try to embed the different stages of our lesson plan into his daily practice has centred around a very simple but very effective powerpoint template. It shows the names of the different stages of the lesson along the sides of the screen, along with the colours that we use to represent each section of the lesson. Jack commented that by simply displaying the names of the stages it initially created enquiry from the students about what it meant and after explanation they quickly were able to understand that the requirements of them were different at different times. I am really heartened by this as it represents a shift from students just learning content to reflecting upon how they are learning and trying to approach learning differently at different times.