Teaching: Planning Expectations and Targets
Effective planning in the long and medium term as well as for individual lessons is important if pupils are to enjoy a coherent experience of science learning at school. It is needed to achieve teachers' educational aspiration for pupils to optimise learning as well as to engage and inspire so that the pupils become independent, cooperative and enthusiastic learners. The provisional nature of all planning for teaching also has to be recognised. Decisions always have to be made in the light of partial information and evidence. Therefore it is essential that trainees reflect critically during and after the process. This article provides guidelines for planning at the foundation stage, at KS 1&2 and in the secondary school. A number of downloads are provided that give insight into the processes and materials used with trainee science teachers at some institutions and which can be adapted/updated for use elsewhere if appropriate.
The main focus from the standards perspective is on Q21-24 but the importance of professional attributes (Q1-9) and of teachers own knowledge and understanding (Q10-15) and dependence on other 'skills' must be recognised.
Keywords: Planning, Lesson preparation & evaluation, Targets, Learning objectives.
Lesson Planning requires the trainee to use all their skills and knowledge to produce plans that are appropriate for the pupils they are going to teach. They will primarily be addressing the Standards covering the section on 'Planning' Q21-24, although others such as Q1(High expectations) are also crucial.
Good planning is needed to achieve teachers' educational aspiration for pupils to optimise learning as well as to engage and inspire so that the pupils become independent, cooperative and enthusiastic learners. The provisional nature of all planning for teaching also has to be recognised. Decisions always have to be made in the light of partial information and evidence. Therefore it is essential that trainees reflect critically during and after the process. Teaching is a strong learning experience so trainees need to value and evaluate their skills, knowledge and attitudes in this light too. There is 'always a better way' especially in the light of hindsight. The next time it will be different and hopefully pupils will learn even more effectively.
Guiding Trainees to Write a Medium Term Science Plan
The medium term plan for Knowledge and Understanding in the Foundation Stage is likely to consist of one or more units of work that will occupy half a term or a set number of weeks. Medium term plans for the development of scientific knowledge and skills may be based on a topic e.g. 'People who help us' or on a science idea (knowledge / concept), such as 'Pushes & Pulls' or 'Sounds'. A scheme should usually indicate the science aspects within Knowledge and Understanding of the World Science learning intentions; a list of teacher-led and play activities, methods of assessment; required equipment and resources; safety considerations and links to the National Curriculum.
Download P2.0_2.0a 'Foundation Stage: Guiding Trainees to Write a Medium Term Science Plan'
Guiding Trainees to Write an Effective Activity Plan
The trainee teachers should be expected to write Activity plans to cover both teacher-led tasks, planned play activities and notes for group times that have a chosen scientific focus. The activities may be taken from the mentor's medium term plan or one written by the trainee, depending on the stage of training reached. Brief outlines of the planned activities will be needed for other adults working in the class or setting. Activity plans should usually include the overall aim of the session, science learning intentions, type of activity, resources, how groups will be organised, how the activity will be developed during the session, assessment of children's learning and attitudes, differentiation and safety considerations as well as the personal action points that the trainee is focusing on.
Download P2.0_2.0b 'Foundation Stage: Guiding Trainees to Write an Effective Activity Plan'
Support Materials for Planning in the Foundation Stage
There is a variety of online and hard copy materials that can support trainees to write medium term and activity plans. These include details of the Early Learning Goals and advice on assessing them www.qca.org.uk/ca/foundation and publications giving general planning help including short videos of science in Foundation Stage classrooms www.azteachscience.co.uk. There are also good books covering background reading, publications supporting topics and activities for the Foundation Stage and publications about play. A range of these is suggested in the attachment.
Download P2.0_2.0c 'Planning in the Foundation Stage: Support Materials'
Guiding Trainees to Write a Medium Term Plan (Scheme of Work)
Medium term plans for Key Stage 1 & 2 usually cover a unit of work for a term or half a term. There is no set format but a scheme of work should show progression in skills and concepts, continuity for the child within the school framework and long term plan. Even if trainees use the QCA Scheme of Work units rather than create medium term plans from scratch, trainees need to understand how the units are developed and should be able to customise them for the specific needs of each class and school.
A scheme should usually indicate broad learning objectives or aims that refer to the Programmes of Study. Science learning outcomes should give a clear idea of teachers want children to learn. The scheme should also include activities, teaching strategies, assessment methods and criteria as well as resources.
Download P2.0_3.0a 'Key Stage 1 & 2: Guiding Trainees to Write a Medium Term Plan or Scheme of Work'
Guiding Trainees to Write an Effective Lesson Plan
Lesson plans outline structures vary from school to school. Therefore the format can follow suggestions from the training institution, partnership school's style or be left to the individual trainee to devise, justify and evaluate. Whatever the format, the ownership of the plan must be the trainee's. For example, just taking the QCA units without customising them for the particular needs of the class and adding aspects such as assessment methods would be inadequate.
In any plan there are important points that should be covered. These include 2 or 3 science learning outcomes that can be achieved in this one lesson; assumed existing pupil knowledge; grouping, organisation and differentiation; the activity method that outlines what will be taught, how the lesson will be presented and what the children will do; key words and questions; assessment of learning; as well as the trainee's personal action points that give one or two targets that the trainee hopes to improve during the lesson.
Download P2.0_3.0b 'Key Stage 1 & 2: Guiding Trainees to Write an Effective lesson Plan'
Support Materials for Planning in Key Stage 1 & 2
There is a variety of online and hard copy materials that can support trainees to write medium term and activity plans. These include the QCA Schemes of Work. There are also booklets and videos giving general planning help from the ASE and www.scicentre.org.uk.
There are also good books and publications supporting planning and developing investigations, showing how different science topics can be presented and publications to help linking literacy, numeracy and ICT effectively to science work. Some of these are suggested in the attachment.
Download P2.0_3.0c 'Planning in the Key Stage 1 & 2: Support Materials'
Guiding Trainees to Write an Effective Lesson Plan
Plans will be different in different schools. Trainees are likely to have to use the format used in their school placement. Plans should normally include learning intentions that can be achieved in the one lesson; a detailed lesson structure covering pupils' and teacher activities, teaching points and timing; key words, definitions and etymology; the assumed pupil knowledge, differention and methods to assess the planned outcomes; resources, safety and risk assessment; as well as the trainee's personal action points that give one or two targets that the trainee hopes to improve during the lesson.
Different lesson types (such as debates, drama and practical investigations) and age groups may need slightly different and/or additional categories.
Download P2.0_4.0a 'Lesson Planning for Secondary Science'
Support Materials for Planning in Secondary Schools
There are many books that can be used to support trainees' understanding and skills of planning. These include helping trainees to develop progression, differentiation, questioning and formative assessment. Other publications help trainees provide investigations in relevant contexts; make planning links with literacy, numeracy and ICT as well as using resources appropriately and safely. The attachment suggests some of these books with specific pages indicated.
Download P2.0_4.0b 'Planning in the Secondary School: Support Materials'
Section Developed by:
Tina Jarvis University of Leicester
Jenny Mackness University College St Martins
Barbara Leedham DeMontfort University
John Oversby University of Reading
Published: 23 Nov 2005, Last Updated: 28 Mar 2008