Session 327: Refresh my tired planning

Thursday 3rd November 2016

Still working from old literacy or numeracy strategies? Still pulling out those schemes of work that were devised during the last century? Tired of the churn of topics and planning that seem to come around so quickly every few years? Then this was the #UKEdChat session for you. Following on from the popular online poll, this session will explore the best way to keep planning up-to-date and relevant for learners.

The following questions were asked:

  1. What aspect/s of your planning do you currently find the most challenging?
  2. How do you manage keeping your planning and programmes of study updated?
  3. What is the best unit of work you have ever found and taught with?
  4. How can the school community liven up tired old planning?
  5. What are the best strategies to ensure your planning cycle is fresh, relevant and updated?
  6. Let’s end on a positive – when have you seen the greatest outcomes from planning that you conceived?


The discussion began with a question on what aspect of planning is most challenging. There were many different answers, but a lack of time and finding suitable inspiration, stimulus and resources seemed to be common answers. A few UKEdChatters talked about the value of Twitter and YouTube in helping with these.

On managing planning, many participants tweeted about the different levels of planning required in their school, e.g. whether weekly lesson plans were required to be submitted to the SLT before the week commenced. The level of planning required seemed to directly relate to how teachers cope and manage their planning.

Interestingly, in reply to the question about units of work UKEdChatters almost universally said they create their own and only used ‘off the shelf’ schemes to glean ideas, if at all. I didn’t see a single teacher name a particular scheme, although a few people mentioned their own products.

On livening up the tired old planning, many great ideas were suggested and I suggest you see the archive for details, but some most answers involved creating a sense of purpose and making the planned activities have meaning. Some suggestions included having events and themes which allow the pupils to work towards real world goals and skills, and involving the widest segment of the school and community as possible.

The final two questions echoed many of the themes on the first half of the discussion. Many tweeps voiced the need to build on similar lessons from previous months or years and to never stick to the same plan, even if it seems successful as there is always room for improvement. Planning is such an important aspect of teaching and preparing well and carefully thinking through a plan often makes or breaks a lesson and, as one lesson is built on the previous one, can impact on learning for days or weeks. But there are as many ways to do it as teachers!

I hope you plan to join UKEdChat again next week.

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About UKEdChat Editorial 3187 Articles
The Editorial Account of UKEdChat, managed by editor-in-chief Colin Hill, with support from Martin Burrett from the UKEd Magazine. Pedagogy, Resources, Community.

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