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I hate lesson planning...:(

(42 Posts)
HauntedLittleLunatic Sun 23-Sep-12 15:31:51

I'm a PGCE student so still taking me well over an hour to plan 1 lesson sad. I am crap at using other peoples resources...I want to do everything my way and have invented so many wheels but mine all seem to be square and aren't exactly doing the job they are designed to do sad

All my plans seem to get ripped to shreds by my mentor so I am planning everything twice sad

I am starting placement again tomorrow (after failing to complete last year due to extenuating circumstances) - first teaching on Weds. I hate these first few lessons the most until I get half a handle on where the kids are at in the specifications/level of knowledge.

notnowImreading Sun 23-Sep-12 15:40:22

What subject, what age? Put your requirements on here and someone will be able to help you out - from the sign in thread it looks as though we cover most areas of education between us.

The PGCE is the seventh circle of hell and it does get better.

AViewfromtheFridge Sun 23-Sep-12 15:42:06

It WILL get better! With regard to wanting to do everything "your way", although in an ideal world you would, for the sake of your sanity, sometimes it's worth taking what other people have done and just tweaking it a bit.

I remember in my first year, I spent HOURS creating resources etc...then I discovered the joy of textbooks! Obviously, you're not going to go in and say, "Turn to page 35 and work through all the exercises," but you can definitely pick and choose bits.

Your comment about your mentor is interesting. What's your relationship like with him/her? They are supposed to be supportive and provide constructive criticism, rather than sapping your confidence, although sadly, many aren't.

What subject/ key stage are you and maybe someone can give you some more specific hints, tips or even resources.

AViewfromtheFridge Sun 23-Sep-12 15:48:01

Also, presumably you will be observing the classes you're taking over, and talking to the current class teacher, who should be able to tell you exactly where they are.

By mentioning the spec, I'm assuming you're secondary. In my experience, the first couple of lessons are the most important. Be very clear about your expectations regarding behaviour and conduct, regardless of the age or ability of the kids. In the past, I've had classes literally spend 20 minutes coming in and out of the classroom until they could do it in silence...twenty minutes well spent as eventually they realised I meant business.

HauntedLittleLunatic Sun 23-Sep-12 16:26:09

I am secondary science.

My Yr7s will be under control(well plans will) as have taught the same topic in previous school so already have some resources, ideas and learning from past experience.

My Yr9s are doing AQA A C1 chemistry - metal alloys then copper extraction

My Yr10s are doing AQA A B1 Biology - just done hormones coming up to drugs. Have taught this before badly so know how not to do it.

re. Lesson plans, didn't get much support on Phase1, Phase 2 expected completely different lesson content so foundered a bit. Have new mentor now tho.

HauntedLittleLunatic Sun 23-Sep-12 16:41:40

I will be observing 1 lesson each before teaching them. I still find it hard tho to pitch it at the right level.

Although I should know what prior knowledge they should have but always pitch it wrong for the first few lessons.

AViewfromtheFridge Sun 23-Sep-12 16:54:05

I'm English so can't help with the content, but if you explain to your current mentor that you didn't get much support on your first placement, I'm sure they'll be understanding.

I had a great mentor at my first school and a terrible one at my second...I definitely regressed rather than made progress! It's such a lottery, and so unfair.

You could start a new thread asking science teachers for help maybe?

HauntedLittleLunatic Sun 23-Sep-12 17:03:34

I'll be fine.

But I do feel a right wally in those first lessons saying my names Mrs Lunatic and I expect you to all listen to the person that is speaking....I never know quite qhat to include in those speeches...any tips on that would be good. I have a seperate safety one that I do before first practical based on school rules.

TheFallenMadonna Sun 23-Sep-12 17:06:36

I'm a Science teacher. Is the expectation that you plan all your lessons from scratch? Our trainees tend to write SoL for one or two groups (which is necessary), and then differentiate from our own SoL for the others.

TheFallenMadonna Sun 23-Sep-12 17:08:11

And do you have to give them the safety talk? We do it at the start of the year for each group, but they'll just have done one. It would be a bit samey. Are you doing anything different?

HauntedLittleLunatic Sun 23-Sep-12 17:26:06

Yup. I have school SOW and lesson plans available but have to write my own but can use their resources etc.

TBH they have departmental plans but nobody sticks to them - they mix and match resources from the department with TES stuff. They call it "supported lesson planning". I don't have the schools plans yet tho and will only be able to access the KS3 plans from school as they are a based on a commercial package.

I did redo safety with my groups in March. One group needed it cos they were hideous in the lab. I did it with my Yr8s and mentor thought it was a good idea. I only showed a slide and highlighted the points that were relevant to todays experiment. Highlighted that the rules were as appropriate in my classrtoom as the regular teachers. Was literally 5 mins before prac.

Knowsabitabouteducation Sun 23-Sep-12 18:16:43

It's appropriate to go over safety before the practical. It shouldn't take five minutes, though.

I tend to lesson plan by considering all the resources I have for a topic and the put these together to meet the learning objectives.

I would not create my own resources if I had a good alternative available.

TheFallenMadonna Sun 23-Sep-12 18:51:31

Well yes, essential to highlight relevant safety issues before any practical. Not just your first. I thought you meant more of an intro lesson.

Where were you falling down in your planning last placement?

HauntedLittleLunatic Sun 23-Sep-12 20:38:49

Last time - my first practical with yr7 was hideous. So next lesson was completely spent doing safety related activities.

Then when I had my first Yr8 practical I put the school safety rules up asked them to read and identify the most relevant ones for todays practical (so they were reminded of them all and focussed on the relevant).

WRT my planning.
Phase 1 - over half my timetable was with a pretty weak teacher. She didn't have strong subject knowledge (Chemical symbol for Potassium is P anyone hmm?), weak behaviour management. SLT made indirect comments about her - "sometimes you learn what not to odo when observing other teachers". I would show her plans. She would glance at them, maybe turn her nose up then say - thats fine. Rarely made any feedback on the plans. After the lesson she would tell me where in the plan all my problems originated, the sorts of things I could have addressed at planning stage. Mentor didn't know I wasn't getting support from her until last couple of weeks and I didn't really know any better. My main problems were that I was spending too much time talking the kids weren't doing enough doing. I also struggled with terms of maintaining engagement and getting through everything on plan although this is more of an execution problem not planning.

Come phase 2. My planning is crap. I also didn't adapt very well to the resources available, style of teaching that works in school 2. I was under immense stress at this point due to terminally ill father. Teacher 1 wants a practical in virtually every lesson, so I end up restructuring. Teacher 2 - kids are on v tight deadlines to meet exam dates so I am having to contract 3 lessons into 2. Teacher 3 - very much like weak teacher at first school so having learnt I am asking more focussed questions about suitability of specific lesson plan components.
Phase 2 - they also want to see 7 days plans at a time. I end up changing because of feedback or because I don't make the progress and have to adapt. I just end up planning everything twice.

And now...well I have written 1 set of lesson objectives in last 5hrs (I have eaten and had shower)...I just dither...spend ages searching TES for the perfect resourse....lose track of what I have found....go round in circles..I struggle if I don't have deadlines. I don't have to teach this till Weds so will dither till Tues night....

Oh and I have a MN weakness.

Knowsabitabouteducation Sun 23-Sep-12 21:31:52

You have to realise that you are training and aren't a teacher with five year's experience.

Lesson pace is one of the things that most student teachers struggle with, especially by repeating the same questions over and over (paraphrased) because they are not confident that the pupils "get it". Again, this gets better quite quickly as your confidence grows.

The mixed messages you are getting is also fairly normal. You are getting a lot of experience really quickly. It is good to be exposed to different teaching styles, and lesson planning styles, even if confusing at times.

I don't think it is good to spend 5 hours working on learning objectives. You should be getting these from the scheme of work. If you are struggling to put them into pupil-friendly language, move on with the nuts and bolts of your lesson, and then go back to improve it.

When things go wrong in a lesson, you really need to reflect on it, which I am sure you are. If a practical is chaotic, why was that? Did the students understand the instructions? Was there a problem with collecting equipment? Did the experiment work? Was there blatant disregard of safety rules?

What is your subject knowledge like? Do you have interesting anecdotes that will engage the children (if not, these will come). Do you do a lot of "what do you think?" questions, without actually teaching the students the answer?

HauntedLittleLunatic Sun 23-Sep-12 21:39:04

I haven't actually spent 5hrs on LOs....its just that's all I have physically written. I have found resources have a mental plan and have procrastinated over other random stuff...task avoidance. In fact since my last post I have written a whole plan. Just need to copy the slides I want from one PPT to another, write some pupil friendly objectives and change a misleading diagram.

I am reflecting. And hopefully will much more this phase as under less external pressure.

I thought my subject knowledge was good...but quickly exposing weaknesses. I have however learnt today that jewellery is never pure gold and I shall be suggestijng that my pupils verify that on the Tiffany website.

I do tell the kids too much. I need to do more activities where they discover stuff for themselves. Its just when I try and do that I get 25 blank faces staring back at me... lesson plan...purification on copper from its ore....thinking I will do an electrolysis practical....

Knowsabitabouteducation Sun 23-Sep-12 21:42:45

Purification of copper ore is a reduction using carbon rather than electrolysis. smile

Normally you mix copper oxide powder with charcoal and heat for about 10 minutes. If you are lucky, you will see a reddish substance.

TheFallenMadonna Sun 23-Sep-12 21:56:12

You can do heating with carbon to extract from ore, electrolysis and extraction with scrap metals (displacement) to extract from copper salts. They won't all be able to do all of them in a single lesson.

HauntedLittleLunatic Sun 23-Sep-12 22:01:01

But thats not what my textbook and specification say...smelting to extract before purification by electrolysis (either using the impure copper as electrode or as a salt solution).

Knowsabitabouteducation Sun 23-Sep-12 22:01:30

I think that it would be a good idea to take a peek at the Chemistry controlled assessment, or the practice controlled assessment, as this may be a topic (reactivity series) that lends itself to a wider investigation.

HauntedLittleLunatic Sun 23-Sep-12 22:07:50

I was thinking of either - displacement of copper from sulphate solution onto iron nail - left overnight.

OR getting them to do an electrolysis. Thinking of using carbon electrodes in CuSO4 so they can see the build up of Cu on the elctrodes.

I would love to be able to use a copper coin as my anode "scrap copper" but dunno if it will work.

Might do a starter showing them that old copper coins are pure copper and new ones are copper plated using a magnet. Hasn't got a lot to do with purification of copper but is copper related and has got wow factor (well I think so).

My big concern with this group is that they are Yr9 GCSE so haven't actually covered the Yr9 SoW so not sure if I need to teach them displacement from scratch. Need to check with teacher.

Knowsabitabouteducation Sun 23-Sep-12 22:13:47

Smelting is reduction using carbon and heat.

The idea is that the copper you produce from the carbon reduction is impure, so you would use electrolysis as a polishing.

Electrolysis is usually demonstrated when considering the decomposition of sea water.

I can't think of a school practical where the primary purpose of the electrolysis of copper salt is shown as a method for purifying copper. It is a good practical to demonstrate what electrolysis is, however - especially with Copper chloride where you clearly identify the copper and chlorine.

The students need to know that ores are purified according to their position in the reactivity series - below carbon, and its carbon reduction, and above carbon electrolysis. Going straight in with electrolysis for copper will miss this key point.

Knowsabitabouteducation Sun 23-Sep-12 22:20:00

Cross posted smile

I think you need to focus on the learning objectives. If you are teaching about displacement reactions, then that is one thing. Getting metals from their ores is another.

If they haven't a clue about the reactivity series, they really do need a remedial lesson or two, IMO. I don't know why schools just skip Year 9. I am having to do Y9 work to my AS students who are new to the school because their secondary school skipped Y9. Madness!

HauntedLittleLunatic Sun 23-Sep-12 22:23:01

Hmmm...they have already done the blast furnace and iron extraction
Then they are doing alloys (leading on from iron)
Then copper (which is smelting and electrolysis - I was going to do electrolysis practical cos interesting and easy and I have seen a few (old style) exam Qs about electrolysis and copper purification)
Then aluminium and titanium...

But I do see what you are saying....this is where experience helps.

HauntedLittleLunatic Sun 23-Sep-12 22:24:51

I think it is rubbish too. This lot are doing triple science, but they will almost all be doing it at foundation level. I would have thought they would have been sooo much better doing Yr9 and then higher tier double award...but not my call.

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