The most important aspect of planning for me is the Daily Planning by the teacher. It needs to marry up what the students are doing with where they need to be. It needs to:

a) Be flexible. While it is useful to have a series of lessons planned prior (and I am sure there are many departments who would love to have a sequence of lessons planned for the entire year), this kind of planning reflects an inadequacy of planning. The learning isn’t personalised, and the teacher is somewhat disempowered. I know of an outstanding school with a great English department who specified that the teachers needed to teach every lesson in a particular sequence. I can appreciate that that is somewhat necessary  for some departments to show the teacher next year what they have already covered. But there are surely better ways of doing so…

b) Form part of Medium Term Plan (MTP). Without solid MTPs, the act of daily lesson planning will be inefficient. A sound MTP needs to marry key-terms and concepts of what should be learned – it should not necessarily be a sequence of pre-defined lessons.

c) Be useful for the teacher. As mentioned in my previous post, the writing up of Daily Lesson Planning into an observer’s form is more for the observer than the teacher. Simply writing what is being done, and at what times, is no good. It is difficult to follow exact timings, and may not help the teacher.

d) Not repeat information. Using ICT in a lesson plan is essential, I think. Adapting, tweaking and merging previous information is essential and useful.

d) Be able to reflect where students were before: My markbook allows me to adapt the planning of the next lesson in respect of what criteria (and, to an extent, the quality of work hitting that criteria) was achieved before.

e) Not be content based – it should be more criteria based: Daily lesson planning can dip into a pool of activities for the sakes of variance. However, it shouldn’t focus on the content – it needs to make clear by which criteria the lesson aims to function.

f) Allow the sharing of criteria and the timings of the lesson: I think the two most essential things in a lesson are these. Criteria.

Daily Lesson Plans should have:

Learning Objective relating to criteria/keywords etc from MTP and elsewhere.
Rubrics! This should reflect the differentiation etc.
Lesson Timings (if useful to the class) Timings should be generous with classes that struggle.
What lesson title/LO occured before: 
What lesson title/LO might happen next
Focus of the lesson:
Progress shown: By which criteria will progress be made explicit
Hinge questions: Questions that students should be able to answer – show understanding.
More explicit marking and student response time built in. 

My DLP on Sunday involves planning the sequence of lessons for that week. I make the criteria and L/O explicit with my students, but I don’t have explicit marking time built in, save for Mondays after I have marked Sundays. This is, for me, not so efficient. Not every task needs to have marked criteria if the students aren’t going to respond to that marking (or if the marking has no extended use).

I think my next step is to:

a) Research effective MTPs.
b) See how to adapt my DLP to these MTPs.
c) See how all this can be done efficiently so more time is available to enjoy life and its treasures!