This post examines the Simmons and Hawking (2009) reading ‘Planning to Teach an ICT Lesson’ and discusses some of its key/interesting points. There was lots more to this reading so make sure you do it!
“Taking the time to establish our learning objectives provides a powerful way of focusing our attention on learning rather than activities” (p.57)
Definitely an important part of the lesson. This allows students to get an idea of where you are headed and what is expected. Hattie (2012) also contends that this will benefit students by enabling them to better monitor their progress (p.67).
Checking for understanding is also important throughout the lesson. Don’t assume that students have met all the learning objectives within the lesson (Simmons & Hawking , 2009, p. 64).
Polling the students using a quick Google form, Socrative exit ticket, or simple show of hands helps you subgroup a class into flexible learning ability groups.
“Where the balance is towards ‘teaching time’ children are often entertained and their teacher feels like they are teaching their socks off, but actually there is only limited learning taking place” (p.75)
This is definitely one of the things that rang true for me throughout this reading. In my early teaching years, I tended to spend more time in almost lecture/board notes mode while commanding every student in the room to give me their undivided attention. I didn’t think about having the students move around. I didn’t think about the fact that their previous class had a 40-minute lecture, I didn’t think about the different types of learners. in my current school, we have seventy-five minute lessons. I try to get at least 3-4 different types of activities going throughout this time as an attempt to engage all learners.
“Whenever you set an activity tell pupils how long they have and regularly remind them how long they have left” (p.76)
Students will use every drop of time that you give them. I normally think of the most realistic time you’d need to complete the activity then subtract 3-5 minutes. The trick is that you can always add more time…
“Where a class typically arrive with low energy levels you could engage them in a quick mental warm up activity before beginning” (p.77).
Starter activities are great for captivating attention, getting students motivated and energised about what will happen next.
Simmons & Hawking’s seem to cast worksheets in a positive light. They argue that they are a way to save the teacher’s voice, creates a calmer atmosphere and provides an opportunity for differentiated self paced learning” (p. 80).
I do not share their enthusiasm. Students should be engaged and motivated by the work they’re doing. I can’t remember where I heard or read this idea, but I can’t remember one single worksheet that I’ve ever completed in my primary or secondary career. That’s interesting… I think teachers should be focused on creating STAR moments. That is, Something They’ll Always Remember.
“Finish the main activity with plenty of time for the plenary” (p. 81).
This is a great time to get feedback on your students’ learning. Exit tickets are the new black. Use them to gain knowledge of your students understanding and your teaching. Ask your students. Check out some other ideas here: http://goo.gl/XWNJ3H
Hattie, J. (2012). Visible Learning for Teachers: Maximizing Impact on Learning. London: Routledge.
Simmons, C., & Hawkins, C. (2009). Planning to teach an ICT lesson. Teaching ICT. pp.54-105. Retrieved from https://www.csu.edu.au/division/library/ereserve/pdf/simmons-c1.pdf