I’m currently teaching An Inspector Calls to a mixed-ability GCSE class. So far, my lessons for the unit have tended to start in the same way:
The recap either takes the form of a question about an aspect of the content covered during the previous lesson or as a quotation that can be discussed. I talk for a bit and then the class contribute. This usually takes about five minutes or so.
The introduction to the lesson itself is always done through a question (and not, for example, an objective). As the lesson progresses, the question is regularly returned to and remains the primary focus.
The literacy task requires students to copy and correct a short passage that is relevant to the new content that will be covered later on. I usually take the text from either the BBC Bitesize website or the British Library website. Students highlight the corrections they’ve made and I take them through the errors at the end. Another block of about five minutes.
The vocabulary task requires students to have a go at spelling twelve words correctly. The words are then used, wherever possible, throughout the rest of the lesson. For example, Mrs Birling has a responsibility to help Eva because she has the power to do so, primarily through the provision of financial assistance.
Finally, I usually set the class a brief retrieval task. Students find quotes linked to five short statements. I usually try to link the statements to whichever words we looked at earlier (e.g. responsibility/irresponsibility and judgement/ judgemental).
And after all that, I begin the ‘main’ part of the lesson and we start covering new content. It struck me today that I spend far longer now than I ever have done going back over ‘old’ content (often about a third of a lesson or so). In short, I’ve slowed right down. And I think it’s working. However, as a disclaimer of sorts before I sign-off, I should point out that it’s not uncommon for there to be stuff from the previous lesson that needs to be continued right at the beginning of the next. Where that’s the case, we just crack on. Mostly though, I use the structure I outlined at the start of the post.
Thoughts and feedback welcome.
Thanks for reading –
Find my blog post on Judging the Quality of Student Work here
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