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Lesson plans - do you use them?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by gailrobinson, Aug 26, 2011.

  1. Hello all,
    We're looking at developing a tool to help with lesson planning and we wanted to get a bit of a steer from you guys about the usefulness of lesson plans.
    Do you think they're a useful tool or a waste of time and paper? Do you still use them? If so, is it through choice or obligation?
    Any thoughts you have would be much appreciated, just post a message in this thread. We look forward to getting your feedback.
    Best wishes
  2. Hello all,
    We're looking at developing a tool to help with lesson planning and we wanted to get a bit of a steer from you guys about the usefulness of lesson plans.
    Do you think they're a useful tool or a waste of time and paper? Do you still use them? If so, is it through choice or obligation?
    Any thoughts you have would be much appreciated, just post a message in this thread. We look forward to getting your feedback.
    Best wishes
  3. fishtail

    fishtail New commenter

    You have to use lesson plans at various times of your career--esepcially when training, as an NQT, for OFSTED and performance management and so on. It is good practice to plan every lesson, clearly, but for more experienced teachers this may be either a rough plan, a plan in the head (quite feasible when you know a topic very well) or something based on a SOW which has plans in it which you would then adapt as classes suit. If you are observed a lot you have to have a written plan, so ASTs also tend to do it more.
    I plan lessons still, don't always write them down as neatly as for OFSTED (the boxes can interrupt the flow a little) and like them to be adaptable.
  4. We have to plan in ridiculous detail on a format that is a nightmare to work with. I spend hours doing the bloody things and then can't read them properly as the boxes don't flow well so end up writing stuff out again in my planner.
  5. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Planning needs to be a working document and contain as much or as little detail as the teacher feels they need. Mine gets scribbled on and changed and added to retrospectively if the lesson moves in a direction I hadn't planned originally. I confess I find following someone else's planning difficult so don't understand the me, me,me threads.
    I agree with PFF some formats are nightmares. I recently had a final year student in my class and she had to produce 4 or 5 pages for each lesson!
  6. This is all really useful information - many thanks for taking the time to post your messages and do keep them coming.
  7. I moved to a school last September (through reorganisation not choice) and for the first time in my career have been expected to hand in lesson plans for Literacy and maths on the school's format. I have found this extremely time consuming as the form is not the way I have chosen to plan lessons in the past. I feel as if my professionalism is not trusted as I have to prove I am including certain elements in my lessons. If I was allowed to hand in planning in my own preferred format I would not mind so much!
    My preferred way to plan is to use the IWB I have everything on there I need to teach the lessons beginning with the LO and Success Criteria. I have activities etc for the lesson starter and can even then save any evidence of the children's input, I can include my differentiation by listing my groups with the task for each. It also allows me to have links to any worksheets or websites I intend to use. I can scan in work from previous lessons as examples etc etc. Given my choice I would print the pages off and hand in as my planning instead of having to write the same info again on to someone elses format which to me is a complete waste of time!
  8. I do use lesson plans. We have quite a few initiatives in our school and they all have to be shown on lesson plans. It also helps to check everyone in the year group covers all the elements. They are complicated some times and I find supply teachers cannot always follow them as they are used to different formats in different schools. I personally find them useful but am a bit OCD!
  9. Snap - All except for moving to new school bit. Have always had to do this.
    We hand in Maths and Literacy every week (in advance) and foundation at the begining of the term
    I spend hours planning and never use it!
    I use an IWB notebook that have everything l need on, with links etc, and which l spend even more time preparing at the w/end.
    I wish l could hand my Notebook in and know other schools allow this.
    Stupid waste of time producing plans l never use. We have another OFSTED format we have to use when they come too!
  10. InkyP

    InkyP Star commenter

    We team teach, dividing up the areas for planning. It's important that we understand each other's planning.
  11. I've just completed my PGCE so I'm used to planning in minute detail, in my new school I am required to hand in a weekly planning form for literacy and numeracy. I am finding it a little unwieldy but I am planning in quite a lot of detail, possibly because I'm new! I hope I can reduce the amount of time spent on planning in the future. I too would prefer to hand in my Smartboard Notebook, as, like others, I sequence my lessons on this and this is how I ensure I cover everything. I only glance at my plan at the beginning of a lesson to remind me then I just go with the flow!
  12. I do a long term plan giving an overview of the year.
    A medium term plan each half term. I am changing schools this year so have done key skills based topic planning for the first half term.
    Unit overview for English
    Weekly plans for English and Maths. I have now got into the habit of not putting these in too much detail as they usually have to be adpated by Tuesday!
    Like other posters I plan using my Smart notebook slides on a daily basis.
    Individual lesson plans would be done for Ofsted and performance management
  13. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    I do my own planning on supply if I'm there for a while to my own format honed over years.
    I need to know where I'm going with a lesson (my lesson focus) and what I expect the children to achieve (success criteria) and also so I can feed back to the teacher what's been covered/completed etc.
    For MTP I like to know what my expected outcomes are, what previous knowledge needs to be assessed, any specific vocabulary which I need to teach and how this planning relates to cross-curriclar areas.
    Like other posters when I was last in school I used my Smartboard for my short-term planning which is easier to 'tweak'.
  14. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    I wouldn't think a planning tool here will be massively useful to be honest, though it is a nice idea.

    Those of us that have to do 'proper' lesson plans generally need to use the school given format and those who can do their own thing already have what they do.

    I can't imagine not planning, but can't see that I'd use a new 'tool'. Sorry.
  15. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    I agree I don't think there is a generic planning format that suits everyone's needs
  16. At the start of each half term our head wants all plans in so he can check them and discuss with us if he has any issues with them (surprisingly helpful during my NQT year, if a little daunting!)
    I find making plans (especially medium) makes my life easier in the long run. I can glance at it and it helps me to focus on the learning objectives and gives me a few ideas on how to teach it. I can also then change it and adapt the ideas if I no longer think that it would be very effective.
  17. becky70

    becky70 Occasional commenter

    I still use them after many years of teaching. We plan in year groups at my current school so we work on Lit and Num plans together.
    We have a set format at my school so wouldn't be able to use a tool from TES.
  18. The problem with planning is that many headteachers harp on about differentiation with children yet will not apply this to teachers. Some teachers no matter how experienced still want a detailed lesson plan and have to plan it themselves and can't follow anyone elses planning. This is an individual choice. However, what happens is that this type of teacher's planning - through no fault of their own - is the expetation set for everyone to plan in such a manner. Now this is where those teachers who can plan and evaluate lessons plans whilst sat on the loo & spinning at least 6 plates become rather irate at having to spend so much (to them) what is useless time.
    Indeed lesson plans are needed but the question is to what detail? and what is wrong with a perfectly simple bought SOW? yes once again the some headtechers will say "its not personalised enough, there is no differentiation" but where is personalisation & differentiation when it comes to indivdual teachers?!!!
    Lesson planning will always be a bug bear to teachers!

  19. I completley agree. I have to hand in termly MTPs in advance and English and maths plans weekly. The latter have to be annotated (in a certain colour pen!!) so I sometimes find myself writing down all sorts of useless information just for the sake of it. I once actually had my plans handed back to me because I had annotated in the wrong colour. I was asked to print them out again and re-annotate them in the colour requested.
    The prescription involved in our English and maths plans is mad: I've been at the school for a full year and yet still, every week, I have to look back and check which bits I'm supposed to highlight, in which colour; which bits are underlined; which bits are in bold, which bits need to be italicised... it's a nightmare. It often takes me longer to fill in the planning form than it does to teach the lesson.
    At my GTP school, plans were not handed in, and did not have to follow a school-imposed format. Some people obviously did more than others, but I presume that everyone did what they felt was necessary and efficient for their own teaching.
    Interestingly, the NUT make it very clear that a teacher's planning is for him or herself, not the headteacher or anyone else who may feel the need to scrutinise it. The NUT also make it clear that teachers should not have a school planning proforma imposed upon them, and that teachers should not be burdened with excessive planning demands.
    I like the actual process of planning lessons, but find our school format very restrictive and frustrating. I know that it impacts negatively on teaching and learning in my classsoom, and I know that it impacts negatively on my work/life balance.
    If I was completely left to my own devices, I would still plan, and probably in some detail for English and maths, but I would include the detail I need to teach well and take learing forward, not the detail required by someone else. I would also probably hand write my plans rather than use a silly table which has a mind of its own. I'd also write them in lots of different lovely ink colours, which bore no relation to anything other than the fact that they were nice colours to write in.

  20. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    I sooo wish I worked with you! We could start a revolution!

    Can we do the same thing for marking as well?

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