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Practical Cover Lesson Plan to Overt a Potential Disaster

01/11/16

In this blog Julieanne gives us tips when dealing with a particularly difficult class or lesson plan.

What do you do when you get to a lesson and it’s a practical? Well there are a couple of things to think about first before we charge right in and make bold sweeping changes to a lesson that has been already planned. Think about the lesson subject, is it one you are very comfortable with teaching, say your specialism is English, and you are covering a lesson in PE. If you have no idea about PE then this could be a problem, likewise if the subject is Art, you could be in for a rough ride. You specialise in DT and are arty, but a practical lesson with paints out and pupils not wanting to work on the last day or term, is a recipe for disaster, and when a teacher hands over, showing you the work, they say good luck with that class, you know it could be a long old lesson.

So what can you do??
Work has been set and you really do not want to change what they have been doing, this may be their last chance to complete something, but that said, if the pupils are unsettled, not doing what you are asking then very quickly things will descend into chaos. You can and should get control of the class, so that they are achieving, even if they are not completing exactly what their teacher has set. Now if outside of work you are or have been in the past a sporty kind of person, then rounder’s with year 7’s and another PE member of staff teaching their group, on the field will be ok, but if not and you have a lesson where there is little structure and no format set for you, then without doubt the lesson with turn into a living hell, I have been there and it was horrible. So how to turn that potential disaster around.

1. First look at what they have been set, if you want to, you can tell the class that they will be doing a practical lesson, but if they are unable to do it sensibly, they will be doing paper work instead.
2. Make sure you know of any spare classrooms, so you can move the whole class from say a Drama studio, to a classroom with desks. This way you have a plan up your sleeve if you need to.
3. If it starts to go down hill, then give the class a reminder telling them that if they are unable to be sensible you they will be packing up and moving to do written work, this usually motivates them. Remember if you say to the class ‘this is you last chance’, you have to be prepared to follow through with the tidying up and moving.
4. You can move to a new class room if where you are is the field, the hall or say a drama or dance studio, otherwise you may choose to stay were you are.
5. Once there you can get them to do written work in relation to the work set, say a poster to advertise the rounder’s rules, or written work on the subject.

Remember there are other options you can use, such as getting the head of department if they are near, or the head of year, but remember make sure you have implemented some of your arsenal of strategies so you can tell the person helping you tame these wild beasts what you have done. There may be a time delay too between sending a couple of really good pupils to get help and them coming along to help you.

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