- The big picture: How does the session fit into the scheme of work/main topic? What knowledge are learners coming to the session with already? What links have you made/can you make? Describe the lesson in 30 seconds!
- Objectives: The objectives for the current session. The arrow is just a visual reminder that the session is building on what’s gone before. Try to incorporate at least 2 different leveled objectives – perhaps allowing learners to choose their own.
- Engagement: What’s the hook? How will you gain learners’ attention at the start and throughout the session in ways that are exciting and meaningful (without the you having to work too hard!)?
- ‘Stickability’: What will stick in learners’ minds as they leave the session? What key point(s) should they remember and bring back to the next session?
- AfL: How will you assess where your learners are at during the lesson, so as to know how to take them where you want to go? What Assessment for Learning (AfL) strategies are you going to use? What key questions will help you to lure learners into learning? Plan for various AfL strategies to allow learners to see progress. Use a Targeted-Question grid to help frame higher-order questions. Where possible, use the Pose Pause Pounce Bounce AfL strategy to stimulate discussion and incorporate stretch and challenge.
- Keywords/Numeracy: Literacy has never had such a high-profile as it has at the moment. Encourage learners to read aloud. Pick out keywords and extrapolate their meanings. Plan what keywords you want learners to learn. This promotes high levels of literacy which is an Ofsted focus. You should also add numeracy to this section. Every session should involve some mathematical content, where applicable.
- Differentiation/Groupings: Plan what activities you will provide for gifted and talented students (G&T); learners with SEN (Special Educational Needs) and EAL (English as an additional language). How will you embed Equality and Diversity (E&D)? What sort of groupings are needed? What are they doing and when? Is this mapped to a seating plan with current levels of progress?
- Learning activities: What is going to happen in the session from start to finish? Identify as many opportunities for learner-led learning as possible. The four boxes on the template do NOT denote a four-part lesson. Just use as many as required to show what needs to happen.
Session planning is not just a box-filing exercise, and the sections do not have to be completed in the order that they are presented on the template. Every box should have some content, even if only to show that a particular aspect of teaching and learning is ‘N/A’; This indicates that every aspect of teaching, learning and assessment has been considered.
The following video shows how Dulwich College identifies strategies for AfL and differentiation after outlining each learning activity.
Remember that the end of a training session is just as important as the start, so learners should not simply pack up and drift out of the room. This is an opportunity to reinforce ‘stickability’ and set expectations for the next session.