Hopefully you have not spent your summer working and enjoyed the r and r of the summer holidays but, when the new year in September arrives, it can bring us crashing back from our holidays with a start. There are lessons to plan, seating plans to do and potentially even SOW to write, and that’s before the marking piles up! Here are 5 ideas to help you cruise into September:
- Is there a lesson which can be used with multiple classes and year groups? A Geography or Science in the news set of lessons? Creative writing from your holidays? Calculating how many miles the class has travelled on their holidays (has the class collectively travelled around the world?) Sharing new languages learnt? Recipes from students travels? etc etc. If there is something, a lesson(s) which can be re-used with different classes or year groups could really reduce the pressure those first few days.
- Avoid giving new books out or getting students to do lots of extended writing in their books (which may require written/ individual feedback). We start year 7 with a 6 lesson SOW where they work on flip chart paper in groups.
- Seating plans can be quite time consuming, with lots of thinking time looking at data, student groups, identifying key characters, colour coding, etc and there is often the desire to get the students organised perfectly in their seats from day one. However, especially if you do not know the class, starting the year with a more randomised seating plan is fine. Try register order, by age, or first name for the first few lessons while you get to grips with working out who you want where and the needs of the students.
- If SOW need planning I really can not advocate the benefits of joint planning enough. More thoughts here. Also, if your team uses Powerpoints or something similar to teach with and still has detailed word SOW I would really consider if you need both. We have moved away from word processed, lesson by lesson, activity by activity SOW and moved to a medium term overview (at KS3 this is one A3 page which identifies the main aims of each of our topics, and at KS4 we just use knowledge organisers/ topic checklists which we give to the students) which identify the main points to be covered in the lessons and then just share our PowerPoints for each lesson- significantly reduced workload.
- Get into a routine:
- Spend 10 minutes going through the school calendar and identifying when parents evening, open evenings, and reports are due.
- Decide which evening you are going home early and not doing any work.
- Have your green pen in your hand ever lesson to reduce marking load.
- Write to do lists (and stick to them!)