1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Planning advice

Discussion in 'Primary' started by Jenerena, May 12, 2012.

  1. I posted this in student teachers, but realised that I could really do with advice from those in the sector who have been doing this years and may be in a better position to advise.
    I'm currently on my final primary PGCE placement and I can smell the
    finish line in 6 weeks time. The problem is, I have had a massive
    problem throughout my placements and it's already causing problems with
    my mental state, and it will cause problems for my teaching and my
    relationship as it happened in my previous placement.
    Basically, I
    spend far too long planning. Every lesson takes several hours to think
    of, then prepare, then type up, and I get so far behind with my planning
    that I end up planning for the next day each night, and it just adds
    extra stress as I'm just running around the next day getting everything I
    need and hoping the school has what I need for the lesson.
    I did
    all my medium term plans over the Easter holidays, but the problem is I
    just couldn't get them done 'properly' in time to be satisfied with
    them, and so I've basically ignored them and have re-planned everything.
    But also, even though this is a good thing in some ways, assessment of
    learning makes me want to change a lot of the planning, and so I end up
    planning as I go along. I can't sustain this kind of last-minute
    organisation, and it's driving me nuts.
    My biggest issue is first
    of all, the learning objectives. I get so wound up over them. Whether
    they're the right ones, whether they are progressive of the previous
    lesson, whether they will lead to progression. I worry whether they're
    worded right, whether they should be taken from schemes. A lot of the
    scheme objectives seem to be vague and not based on skills, and yet I
    read that they should be based on skills. I don't know what to trust,
    and I don't know whether I should be thinking of them myself.
    The next big issue I have is actually engaging with
    the objectives. Somehow I just can't think of the outcomes straight
    away. I find it very difficult to think almost immediately what the
    children actually need to do to meet the objectives and it
    results in hours and hours of searching the internet for examples of
    planning that miraculously have the same objectives, or an activity to
    pop up that would meet the objectives. Sometimes I start with the
    activities and then amend the objectives. It's just all wrong and
    getting stressed over it all the time doesn't help either.
    Dont'
    get me wrong, my teaching is good; at least it has been graded good with
    some outstanding features. My plans have been graded outstanding, but
    that's only because I'm spending so long agonising over them. I want to
    be able to select my learning objectives within 5 minutes, take another 5
    minutes to establish my criteria/outcomes, and then spend an hour
    typing up a lesson plan and preparing resources. I'm only doing 50%
    teaching at the moment and I'm due to do 90% soon (in a Y6 class so have
    had to start small due to SATs), and yet it's killing me. Sometimes I
    have to get up at 5am to finish my lesson plan, and go in feeling so
    unprepared that the lesson suffers. They never ever go the way I plan
    exactly anyway.
    I really want to change this, as it's the biggest
    source of stress for me right now and I absolutely dread sitting down to
    plan a lesson as I know I'm just going to feel anxious 3 hours later as
    I haven't decided on what the content of the lesson will be.
    Progression between lessons is also a big source of stress.
    Thank
    you in advance, and sorry for the long rant. It seems many other
    students have this issue but I still can't seem to solve it. Advice from
    mentors/tutors have said things like 'focus on the objective and go
    from there' etc etc, but even the objectives are giving me stress!
    Hopefully I'm not the only one either.

     
  2. I posted this in student teachers, but realised that I could really do with advice from those in the sector who have been doing this years and may be in a better position to advise.
    I'm currently on my final primary PGCE placement and I can smell the
    finish line in 6 weeks time. The problem is, I have had a massive
    problem throughout my placements and it's already causing problems with
    my mental state, and it will cause problems for my teaching and my
    relationship as it happened in my previous placement.
    Basically, I
    spend far too long planning. Every lesson takes several hours to think
    of, then prepare, then type up, and I get so far behind with my planning
    that I end up planning for the next day each night, and it just adds
    extra stress as I'm just running around the next day getting everything I
    need and hoping the school has what I need for the lesson.
    I did
    all my medium term plans over the Easter holidays, but the problem is I
    just couldn't get them done 'properly' in time to be satisfied with
    them, and so I've basically ignored them and have re-planned everything.
    But also, even though this is a good thing in some ways, assessment of
    learning makes me want to change a lot of the planning, and so I end up
    planning as I go along. I can't sustain this kind of last-minute
    organisation, and it's driving me nuts.
    My biggest issue is first
    of all, the learning objectives. I get so wound up over them. Whether
    they're the right ones, whether they are progressive of the previous
    lesson, whether they will lead to progression. I worry whether they're
    worded right, whether they should be taken from schemes. A lot of the
    scheme objectives seem to be vague and not based on skills, and yet I
    read that they should be based on skills. I don't know what to trust,
    and I don't know whether I should be thinking of them myself.
    The next big issue I have is actually engaging with
    the objectives. Somehow I just can't think of the outcomes straight
    away. I find it very difficult to think almost immediately what the
    children actually need to do to meet the objectives and it
    results in hours and hours of searching the internet for examples of
    planning that miraculously have the same objectives, or an activity to
    pop up that would meet the objectives. Sometimes I start with the
    activities and then amend the objectives. It's just all wrong and
    getting stressed over it all the time doesn't help either.
    Dont'
    get me wrong, my teaching is good; at least it has been graded good with
    some outstanding features. My plans have been graded outstanding, but
    that's only because I'm spending so long agonising over them. I want to
    be able to select my learning objectives within 5 minutes, take another 5
    minutes to establish my criteria/outcomes, and then spend an hour
    typing up a lesson plan and preparing resources. I'm only doing 50%
    teaching at the moment and I'm due to do 90% soon (in a Y6 class so have
    had to start small due to SATs), and yet it's killing me. Sometimes I
    have to get up at 5am to finish my lesson plan, and go in feeling so
    unprepared that the lesson suffers. They never ever go the way I plan
    exactly anyway.
    I really want to change this, as it's the biggest
    source of stress for me right now and I absolutely dread sitting down to
    plan a lesson as I know I'm just going to feel anxious 3 hours later as
    I haven't decided on what the content of the lesson will be.
    Progression between lessons is also a big source of stress.
    Thank
    you in advance, and sorry for the long rant. It seems many other
    students have this issue but I still can't seem to solve it. Advice from
    mentors/tutors have said things like 'focus on the objective and go
    from there' etc etc, but even the objectives are giving me stress!
    Hopefully I'm not the only one either.

     
  3. rooney1

    rooney1 Occasional commenter

    Well done for getting so close to the end of your PGCE. You have to try and be disciplined about the amount of time you spend planning or else it will, as you are finding, take over your life. Try to plan two or three lessons together - then it will be easier to see the progression - you can tweak them as you go along. If you get the objectives and learning outcomes clear on your medium term plan - just copy and paste them in. Think of the lesson content as you do the objectives - at least what type of thing you want to include - then look at text books and resources that are in school - it can save loads of time - or limit yourself to looking at no more than three lots of resources on the internet - choose one that fits and than personalize it to suit the children.
    You will get quicker as you get more experienced - but don't wear yourself out. Ask your teacher mentor to help you - perhaps once SATs are over - maybe you could ask them to plan a couple of lessons with you to show you how they do it more quickly.
    Above all don't spend hours trawling the internet for resources - it's so addictive!
    Good luck
     
  4. james.

    james. New commenter

    The first thing you need to realise is that planning as a qualified teacher and planning as a student are completely different.

    As a student I'm guessing you'll be doing medium term plans, weekly plans and lesson plans, you won't need as much once you get going full time. Medium term plans will be a list of objectives, whilst weekly plans will show each lesson. Individual lesson plans won't be needed.


    Think about the end outcome first, then plan each lesson as a step towards this outcome. The school may have something in place already, medium terms plans, a skills curriculum which you could use. If not, use the national curriculum, or the frameworks, take an objective, turn it into something child friendly. Keep the lesson simple so children can reach the objective. It doesn't have to be flash, it has to create an opportunity for learning.If you are using APP at all this could be a good place to start as it will tell you what the children need to know for the level you are teaching at.


    It sounds like you just need to know what to teach, this will come with experience as you get to know the curriculum and expectations. For now, use the class teacher and your mentor, it's what they are there for.


    Keep going, it sounds like you are doing the right things. It used to take me hours to plan, it still takes a long time but not as long. It does get easier and more manageable!
     
  5. When I was a student, all of our planning had to be done in huge foolscap books, which had to be completed daily as we had to evaluate at the end of each day before we could plan the next. It was such a ridiculous way of doing it, and everything had to be handwritten. We were all exhausted by the end of each teaching practice and it's a miracle any of us passed the course!
    Anyway, I found that for tricky lessons, I would think about how I wanted the page to look in their books at the end of the lesson and work backwards from there. Obviously, I used the objective first but these were much vaguer back in the good old days when English was still called English and we mostly wrote nice stories! I do think, though, that some teachers plan wonderful lessons and put a huge amount of effort into their planning without really thinking about the end product.
     
  6. As an NQT, planning takes me ages too. It used to take hours but, as I've planned more, I can recycle ideas that weren't used before or adapt ones that worked really well.I've become a lot faster too and have picked up ideas from around the school.
    I went into a school that has a one A4 page per lesson planning policy. This isn't too difficult for me right now as it's what I was used to on placement. As I understand it, though, this is rare for the majority of schools. The school I was in on final placement just had one A4 sheet per half term (per week for literacy and numeracy).
    So take solace in the fact that you're unlikely to be planning in this much depth once you get a job.
     
  7. I hope you are finding things easier...
     

Share This Page