I waited over the weekend, taught on the Monday and went to a staff meeting where the idea was pitched: "50/100-minute lessons". There was a lot of negativity in the room, but I made a few points that were more constructive than destructive, shying away from my normal response of 'AAARRGH! CHANGE! NOOOOOOO!'
I think that in maths the kids need opportunities for repetition - my starter is always the previous lesson's work to test understanding and give an opportunity for consolidation. Taking my year 8s into account, they had 3 lessons per week last year and this gave a decent number of opportunities to recap. I thought that 50-minute lessons, and having four of them, would be totally worth the change and extra planning time, but that 100-minute lessons, and having only two of them, would limit the number of chances for consolidation. I also think that 50-minute lessons from hour-long ones wouldn't make too much of a difference to lesson structure, but that a change to hour-long lessons would challenge students' attention spans too much and make us totally re-think our lesson structure.
So, the decision was made... Mostly 100-minute lessons with some 50-minutes. Making us totally re-think our lesson structures.
Our curriculum leader and assistant curriculum leader visited Trinity Academy in Halifax and brought something that looks like the following back. I put our own slant on it and came up with:
The idea is that lessons are delivered in the same way so that any changes between sets have a limited effect on the kids who move.
I'll be putting these on my SMART Notebook files:
To go along with these, I'm looking at using these icons my .notebook files too:
I've also thrown these together:
These icons will be used when students are set a task to highlight the expected noise levels and anything that exceeds those expectations will be reprimanded.
The whole lesson might look something like this:
0 - 10 minutes - Starter activity. This is likely to be a recap of work from the previous lesson or an appropriately chosen @mathschallenge starter.
10 - 20 minutes - Teacher instruction (I do!). This is where I'll do my bit, imparting wisdom and knowledge whilst students listen diligently.
20 - 30 minutes - Class discussion / Whiteboard work (WE do!). This is the part of the lesson where students will answer a few questions on whiteboards or I'll ask for hands up or direct questions at individual students.
30 - 55 minutes - Paired work (we do!) / Individual work (You do!) in exercise books. During this part of the lesson, students will work with those around them or individually on tasks set on the whiteboard or from a textbook.
55 - 65 minutes - A mini-plenary. An opportunity to share the answers to the tasks they've completed, as well as a chance to recap the key points to the first part of the lesson.
65 - 75 minutes - Teacher instruction (I do!). An opportunity to extend learning or go through a few problems relating to what has been covered in the first part of the lesson.
75 - 90 minutes - Individual work (You do!) in exercise books. A chance for students to show their ability to solve problems or their extended knowledge.
90 - 100 minutes - Plenary. A chance to recap on what we've done today, hand out any homework and 'RAG' their learning using the following:
I intended to write this post in a few weeks, but having shared the forthcoming 100-minute lessons on my blog yesterday, I was given advice from many on Twitter last night, and figured I should add this here. I'll also be posting a 'during' blog after a few weeks and 'after' during October half term to recap my experiences in the first half term of this year.
@emmaemma53: "Important to break up the lesson with lots of short activities", "challenge is to maintain the pace and focus"
@MrGibbsMaths: "Great opportunities to assess throughout - starting points, progression and plenary"
@WorkEdgeChaos: "You'll get to about 80 minutes and then their brains will give up", "just keep it snappy, lots of review, and anticipate brain shutdown"