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Help with lesson planning for lower ability year 9 and year 10

Discussion in 'Science' started by rugbylovingmum, Feb 4, 2017.

  1. rugbylovingmum

    rugbylovingmum New commenter

    Hi, I am a trainee teachercoming up to the end of my first placement and things have been going fairly well generally. My behaviour management is improving and my lesson planning is okay for my year 7, 8, 12 and higher ability classes but I am really struggling with my lower ability year 9 and 10 classes. I had an awful lesson on Friday and the teacher told me (kindly) that it was because they were bored. I know she is right and I think the problem is I find those classes intimidating because their behaviour hasn't been great and they constantly look bored (with all teachers) so I'm falling back on what I'm comfortable with which is my lecturing background (talk at them then test). Totally wrong I know but I'm struggling to come up with activities I believe will engage them and I can manage with a 'lively' class. I haven't taught many lessons with these classes yet either. It's okay if I have a demo or practical to build the lesson around but I find theory lessons tough.

    What types of activities do you find work well with those classes? I'm going to try to observe these classes as much as possible but any ideas would be great.

    The things I have tried and have a good/okay reaction are:
    Making flip books
    Wordsearches or unscramble words as starters (not my favourite but they needed practice with key terms)
    Making fact files from info sheets around the class was okay.
    Completing tables of similarities and differences between processes.
    Any games like bingo or catchphrase as a plenary

    Things that haven't gone well:
    Making posters (they said it was repeating stuff we had done)
    Cut and stick activities - they pulled the glue sticks to bits and threw it at each other.

    I hate these classes and feel like a rubbish, boring teacher with them so I need to turn this around. Every lesson feels like a battle i am losing. It's making me feel like giving up on teaching but I know that really I'm just tired and I don't know what to try next. I enjoy my other classes most of the time. This teaching lark is a bit of an emotional roller coaster!

    I have posted this in the trainee section too - I hope its okay to post in both forums!
  2. wanet

    wanet Star commenter

    If its a science lesson, are you doing any practical work. What you are trying to teach might help us give advice.
    applecrumblebumble likes this.
  3. rugbylovingmum

    rugbylovingmum New commenter

    With one class I've been teaching the cell cycle, differentiation, stem cells and plant cloning. We will be cloning cauliflowers but that's it for practical work. Before that I did specialised animal and plant cells and orders of magnitude which was also a bit light on practical work - some staining but that's it. Most of these lessons have been okay - better if there is practical work.

    With my other class my disastrous lesson was on osmosis - there is a practical in the following lesson (potato chips in different salt solutions). I did diffusion the week before which was much better - the lesson had a demo and practical (the visking tubing with starch and iodine one). It was specialised cells before that - those lessons were okay but I was just getting to know the class and struggled with behaviour at first. It doesn't help that I have them last lesson on a Friday!

    With my year 7s, 8s and 12s I've had practical work in pretty much every lesson but I can manage the theory lessons with those classes too.
  4. applecrumblebumble

    applecrumblebumble Lead commenter

    Go with wanet, practical get them making something ( making salts) or solving a problem (separating a complex mixture salt, sand, cork and iron filings) measuring currents in a circuit or problem circuits (switching circuits on off with 1 switch) making yoghurt but modify the instruction with various groups and evaluate the outcome, keep practical simple but with a purpose. They will see through a practical that is a waste of time. Maybe have a look at btec or applied science practicals and see if it fits in with your scheme.
  5. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Cuttings from geraniums are more reliable than cauliflower clones.

    Go for lots of short activities
    I used a lot of true / false - then correct the false statements. This can give them a set of revision notes, review previous topics or current knowledge.
    Match words and definitions
    Lower ability kids find mind maps very difficult to do unless you structure them well in advance.
    Focus on videos can improve if they have a set of simple one word answer questions.
  6. rugbylovingmum

    rugbylovingmum New commenter

    Thanks phlogiston, that's really helpful. I am going to plan out my remaining couple of lessons today and the 'true/false then correct' type activity will fit really well into one of them. I'd rather do geranium cuttings too but we are expected to do the practicals in the SOW so I'll have to do the cauli cloning this time.

    I need to go into my second placement and let them know that these are the classes I am struggling with/need more support with. I'm not good at asking for support face to face, I tend to try to sort issues out by myself, but I need to get over that so I can build up my confidence with these classes.
  7. ssaleh21

    ssaleh21 New commenter

    Try a debate - could definitely work with stem cells.

    Also I give them a topic to research about and ask them to teach the class for 20/30mins. Check their PPTs before they present. This worked really well for my year 9 lower sets last year.

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