Do you too think that planning a unit of work is a little like planning a journey? And with that thought, I often ask myself how I can fill it with fun, discovery, adventure, learning – and all other elements of a good trip in order to open and grow minds?
As all good journeys, I move through considering the destination, identifying the landmarks I hope to see along the way, ensuring I’m heading in the right direction, considering which modes of transport I shall use to get there and taking a break somewhere along the way to acknowledge how far I’ve come. I then read the opinions of others who have visisted the same places, and decide how I’m going to make a record of my own experience.
Which roughly translates into how I plan a unit of lessons and looks something like this:
- The Strands – all my planning starts from the ‘strands’. If i ensure I’ve cover those, I can be more confident my students are making progres in the skills that count for English assessment
- APP – after ensuring I am guiding the students to learning the right stuff to progress in English, I like to know there are benchmarks to measure progress. I use the APP grids for self, peer and teacher assessment.
- Bloom’s Taxonomy – after having decided where I’m trying to get them to by the end of the unit and how we’ll know whether or not we’re heading in the right direction. it’s time to think about not running before we can walk. To make sure the students have some knowledge before they try to applyt it. And only then, to make sure we push on to higher skills.
- The reading strategies – Now is the time to look at the more basic reading skills for researching and collating information – fact and opinion, making links etc
- Writing conventions – once the students feel confident they have something they want to share, they care about correct use of structure, punctuation. spelling – looking at presentational devices for non-fiction and media texts which are more information based.
- Platforms for writing – giving them a real audiences for their work motivates them to better writing and presentation. Giving them options of a range of output such as presentations, moving image and sound files and print.
- The reading strategies – now that they have the confidence of a knowledge base, higher reading skills to read between the lines, form own ideas on writer’s pov and effect on readers can be explored.
- Choices in writing – being selective about vocabulary, sentence structures, rhetorical devices, text structure to show voice in their own creative writing.
- Platform for writing – again, giving them a real audience for their work will motivate better engagement
Note to self – do some digging around for ‘progress arcs’.
How do you prioritise your long term planning?