Miranda finds that adaptable and flexible lessons are something that every supply teacher should have up their sleeve.
The most useful things I find are the one or two adaptable and flexible lessons that can be delivered across different year groups with a few minor adjustments. For example, I have lessons on poetry and on myths and legends, which I then tailor according to the year group and the level that the children are at. A quick look at the Literacy books should help you to determine this. With the same basic text on the story of Icarus (rewritten by me, so it works for me), I can encourage Y6 to look at bias in writing and to create a diary entry with contrasting view points for Icarus and Daedalus, I can get year 3 and 4 practicing their script-writing skills, with Year 4 editing their work and making changes – all culminating in a performance – if you dare!
By simplifying the story, I encourage higher ability Years 1 and Year 2 children to consider character traits in the context of the ill-fated decision that Icarus makes, and prompt them to define character in a more complex way, which includes some vocabulary building. For example, making a mistake (by flying to close to the sun) or making the wrong choice (by not doing as your father tells you on one important occasion) might not mean your character is ‘naughty’ or ‘bad’ or ‘mean’ but may mean that you are ‘foolish’ and ‘disobedient’ and ‘childish’ or ‘immature.’ With the lowest ability children (and sometimes the very highest), I often use a role on the wall (on a big roll of wallpaper), to support this lesson. The main point is that the resources are the same but my delivery with those resources pays flexible heed to the class that I find myself in front of.
I feel better for knowing that I have some stuff under my sleeve – lessons that I know and understand. Most of the day will probably involve working in a new context, with lessons that have been planned for me or where I need to wing it. So, having at least two hours of work that I know like the back of your hand, is a confidence booster and also – if you get your planned work in early – a great way of showing the children that you know what you are doing. You are the person who is in charge for the day…even if you don’t know where the pencils are kept.
Do you have a perfect supply teacher lesson? Would you like to share it with your colleagues on our online community? Contact Megan by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.