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How can I reduce the amount of time spent planning

(9 Posts)
HauntedLittleLunatic Sun 30-Sep-12 19:25:11

Have posted on TES. But desperate for advice so posting here too:

I am 5 weeks away from (supposedly) completing my PGCE after having a break over the summer (unforeseen circs.)

I am still spending far too long lesson planning. Typically 2-3hrs, often longer, very occassionally shorter. I probably spend an hour looking searching for resources, half an hour trying to fill the gaps and an hour typing up the plan. Even if I plan the activities with a class teacher it still takes me an hour to type up the plan and find/prepare any resources.

The feedback on my plans is often negative and I am asked to make changes - fair point. But then that can be an extra hour to plan.

I am asked to provide plans a week in advance (I haven't yet acheived that) which cripples me at the weekend. The as a result of either feedback and/or not acheiving what I want or expect during the week I have to change plans for the end of the week.

I just seem to be constantly planning. I have no time to reflect upon and evaluate my classroom performance which I so desperately need to do. I have no time for marking. I have no time for anything else.

I am currenly getting an average of 6hrs sleep a night and it just isn't enough. I am so exhausted and so desperately need to cut down my planning time but don't know where to start.

MammaBrussels Sun 30-Sep-12 20:13:06

I found I used to over-plan lessons while I was doing my PGCE. My mentor suggested I do some lessons where I didn't use a lesson plan - just prepared resources. I could see where I was over-thinking things.
Could you ask your mentor for some advice?

Good luck

HauntedLittleLunatic Sun 30-Sep-12 20:26:43

I will.

My lesson plans are much much shorter than the ones that the school use. 2 of my teachers I am working with want every single box ticking with very precise language and everything thought out. I can see why. My paperwork is much more in order than on phase 1 and I have a much more comprehensive portfolio of evidence.

My mentor has said he diesn't care what boxes are ticked...a lesson plan is about the execution not what is written down.

On phase 1 when I got too busy my plan consisted of resources and half a scrap of paper with some random timimings and activities written down. I got by.

I need to improve my classroom management but spend so much time planning that I don't have time to thinking about how I will deal with various scenarios etc.

I love it when I have good relaxed lessons. But they are so few and far between that I am becoming so demoralised. I need to get back on the up. And quickly.

I know I just need for it all to click into place. I just need it to happen quickly.

EvilTwins Sun 30-Sep-12 23:19:03

What age are you teaching? If it's secondary, have a look at The Lazy Teacher's Handbook. It's got lots of ideas for getting the students to do more whilst you do less. I'm sure there's a section in there about planning.

How are you doing it at the moment? I tend to prepare for a succession of lessons in one go- for example, this afternoon I did a PowerPoint which will cover two if not three yr12 lessons. I am being observed on Wednesday with that class but also see them on Tuesday so will use my resources to write up the lesson plan for the ob depending on how they get on. Could you do the resources/ sort out ideas for more than one and then write the plans based on that? It might sound odd but I've found doing the resources and THEN the plan easier than doing it the other way round. Also means you have an idea of progression in your head, which is A Good Thing (OFSTED says)

If you're primary, ignore all of the above.

HauntedLittleLunatic Mon 01-Oct-12 00:12:31

Yes secondary.

I am currently finding resources, then writing plan. I still have 2 to write for tomorrow. sad Although I think I just about know what I am doing with them.

I find it hard to write a succession of plans because things innevitably get shifted to next less cos less than hoped for progress. And because when I have 3 lessons to plan for tomorrow....planning for Friday just isn't going to happen.

MammaBrussels Mon 01-Oct-12 14:10:48

Are you finding resources or creating them? I always find it quicker to create resources than to find them. What kind of timetable do you have? You're only doing about 50% aren't you?

mnistooaddictive Mon 01-Oct-12 18:50:42

When i trained we didn't have the internet, so you used school resources or made your own. I think the internet now encourages us to think the 'perfect' resource is there if only you keep looking!
Think about what you want to teach and how you want to do it and then prepare resources. Lesson planning is a process you go through not an end result. It gets quicker as you get used to it as you know more what works and you build up a set of standard lessons. choose a maximum of 3 websites that you like the best for resources and look at them only. What subject are you? WE may have more detailed advice.

slipslider Mon 01-Oct-12 23:12:48

I would suggest planning lessons in succession as stated before but you stated that these would usually change due to progress of the children. If you plan a few lessons and then make changes and scribble them on your plans, it shows you are adapting to the needs of the children based on your assessments during the course of the lesson. You will get brownie points for this! If questioned then inform your mentor you made the changes as X group had not got this so it needs revisiting before moving them on so there is no point teaching the next lesson until they have got that.
I recently had lessons planned on adjectives and I knew my children had used them the previous year as I had seen their work and talked to them about it. When we came to it they had the misconception that any big word was an adjective because they had been encouraged to use 'WOW' words and so they could not tell me something like 'blue' was an adjective. We had to scrap the subsequent lessons and go back to using senses to describe things and using skills to find out what words meant if we didn't know rather than assume it is, for example a verb or adjective etc. I scribbled on my plans - revisit using senses and reason why.

MelangeATrois Tue 09-Oct-12 00:36:26

I'm an NQT and I use a spreadsheet for outline planning and this is what I actually use day to day. Then any lesson plans I do are for observations/ofsted etc.

Column 1 - the standard lesson
Lesson 1: A cell each for Settling, Starter, Main, Plenary, etc. Each contains a couple of sentences - an outline of what pupils will do "practice x/develop y/learn a" rather than what YOU are doing.
Below these, lessons 2,3,4 and so on down the spreadsheet.

Then going across into columns 2,3,4 etc contain brief notes on the differentiations I will make for each class I teach. At the top of their columns I have the total number of kids and numbers of SEN in the class. The notes are things like "omit this - concept too complex" "do this but just cover crotchets and quavers" " do as a whole class" "Naveed to lead group (drummer)"

I find that this way I don't get bogged down in box ticking until I know what I'm doing and have the resources sorted.

If you don't cover things in a lesson, then it's easy to cut and paste stuff into next week's cells.

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