Aiming to personalise your teaching according to yours students is what teaching is actually about. There is an assumption that the ‘cleverest kids will learn by osmosis’ (and perhaps they will!) while those who struggle require personalised support in order to function. The truth is that all students respond to personalised teaching (that is, teaching that reacts to how they seem to understand, or not).
I believe a major aspect of this focus occurs in planning.
In my last video I spoke about the distinction of planning that the students see, and planning that the teacher sees. The purpose of planning (for the teacher with experience) is to know what you are going to do, to collate resources, and to plan the week ahead. However, I have become increasingly conscious of the planning that I do that:
a) I rarely (if ever) read during the lesson.
b) Would be useful to share with the students, but doesn’t.
Therefore, I have tweaked my planning from before. In a large part, this was motivated after seeing a brilliant and hilarious PowerPoint from a famous teacher in York. It was ambitious and expansive, and made me realise that planning that the students should be possible.
Planning that the students see:
a) In the form of a PowerPoint. Each lesson is hyperlinked via the first slide so F5 in read mode will allow me to select any lesson that week (especially when navigating through a PowerPoint of a hundred slides or so…)
b) Contains an entrance and plenary activity explictly shared. This practice has somewhat slipped from its height this time last year. Becoming more conscious of the need for variety.
c) Contains the rubric for success that lesson (related to levels, but more importantly looks at the category). The category of a rubric does not indicate necessarily the level of application or evidence needed to secure that category: just that the work is specific to that category.
d) Has a single week of lessons on one PowerPoint.
Planning that the Teacher sees:
a) In the form of a Word document. The lesson are planned in sequence (as I cannot stand that planning when you have to flick through a book to get to the new lesson). The L/O and resource are indicated (and hyperlinked) and my marking is indicated, too. Most activities are peer and self-marked (with marking for literacy from me). Activities that require explicit teacher-marking are decided in advanced and booked in.
b) I don’t decide on how the lesson will be taught from this planning. I do, however, flesh out the lesson by indicating what differentiation is needed. Occasionally this is worksheets, but also this is in terms of support and providing culturally relevant material from which the students can find an entry point.
c) Has a copied rubric of success on the basis of the AF being completed that week. Here there is also the opportunity to personalise the rubric according to the activity.
d) Have a term or so lessons in total (120 pages +)
What would I like?
I feel that this form of planning has the right balance between being tight and focussed, and yet allowing me to vary and flesh out lessons in response to the students. I still feel that I need to marry such planning with:
a) Students recording progress in learning diaries (perhaps via a Hyperlink that goes in both sets of planning so students can see what to record in LDs)
b) What to record in my markbook, and when (and why!)
My ambition, as ever, is to leave myself with the space and time to be creative when I know that the groundwork of planning and marking is entirely covered. We’ll see!