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Primary to 7/8 English

Discussion in 'English' started by hels07, Aug 20, 2018.

  1. hels07

    hels07 New commenter

    Hi there,
    In September I’m making the jump from year 6 to year 7 and 8 English teaching.
    I know the texts I will be teaching but I was just wondering if anyone had any helpful tips for me- how do you structure your lessons over the week? What do your timetables look like?
    Many thanks
  2. roamingteacher

    roamingteacher Established commenter Forum guide

    Lessons aren't so much structured over a week as over a unit (often a half term). Unless you're in a tiny school, you may be co-planning or at least have a colleague teaching similar classes to you.
    Timetables are variable depending on the school, and you could teach the same class between 2 and 4 times a week.
    Expect to teach across different years (though they may spare you GCSE for the first year at least.)
    Welcome 'up'!
    pepper5 likes this.
  3. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Yes, roamingteacher suggests you may be teaching the same text to different set groups, so you can plan generally and then differentiate depending on the group. Yes Schools will have their own planning models, but you'll have colleagues to help and share planning with.

    Re Writing, do check all the assessment crteria used by the School. When I taught in Middle School we noticed that students 'levels' dropped as they were mainly taught to pass the SAT in year 6 and then had to 'relearn' how to write in a more flowing, less stilted fashion.
    pepper5 likes this.
  4. rachelsays

    rachelsays New commenter

    As roamingteacher says, planning in secondary is quite different to primary. We don't plan on a week by week basis but more on a unit basis. So you look at how many units you have to cover per year and then from that you can work out how much time you will have for the teaching of each unit. Not all units will need the same amount of time - novels tend to take the longest to teach, and you might get through a non-fiction unit in as little as three weeks. If there are five or six units to cover per year, it's important that you plan each unit out in advance to ensure that you get through the material in the required time. It's very easy for inexperienced teachers who haven't thought through their unit plans in advance to spend far too long teaching units - particularly novel based ones - and then find themselves falling behind, getting out of sync with other classes and rushing to catch up for the rest of the year.

    So, once you know how long you've got, you work backwards from the end goal - what do they need to be able to do at the end of the unit, and what knowledge and skills will you need to teach them to get them there? Which knowledge and skills will they need first and how will you build on those week-by-week so that they can meet the aims of the unit by the end? So for example if I'm starting the year by teaching a novel, with the aim that students can develop a personal opinion about a novel and respond to an essay question of their choice by the end of the unit, I might plan to spend week one teaching chapters 1-3, week two teaching chapters 4-6, week three teaching chapters 7-9 and week four teaching chapters 10-12, with week five doing wrap up lessons on themes, characterisation and context to draw the novel together and week six on essay writing. I normally also factor in a few 'buffer' lessons in case students haven't got something as quickly as I expected, or if I want to allow students to spend an extra lesson working on a project that they were all really enjoying, etc.

    Secondary teaching will cover topics in far more depth than in primary and will also move at a faster pace, so you need to bear this in mind when planning. On average, a secondary English teacher will see KS3 classes 4 or maybe even 5 times per week, depending on how long your school's lesson periods are. In all the schools I've worked in, I've seen KS3 every day. So that's also something to think about - you need to have a good amount of variety factored in during the week to keep your classes interested and ensure they're not doing the same types of activity too frequently. Getting them to do analytical writing every day, for example, will get dull very quickly. Make sure you intersperse intensive academic work with more creative or discussion based activities to develop all of their skills.

    Have you had the chance to see some schemes of work and an overview of the year's units? If you've never seen secondary planning before, take a look on the English resource section on TES as you'll see some good examples there that will give you an idea of what it involves.

    Good luck!
  5. roamingteacher

    roamingteacher Established commenter Forum guide

    Great advice!
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  6. hels07

    hels07 New commenter

    Thank you! That is a great help :)
    rachelsays likes this.

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