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Dos and don'ts of the plenary session;English

Do plan your plenary sessions over a week - don't regard each one as a one-off.

Do look for ways of adapting the excellent suggestions for numeracy hour plenaries for use in the literacy hour.

Do be flexible. Some teachers find it useful to have shorter plenary sessions at the beginning of the week and a longer one on Friday when the week's work can be reviewed.

Don't try to have everyone taking part in the plenary every day - even one representative from each group is too many. If you do, the plenary just becomes "show and tell" at high speed.

Do think of the type of language pupils need to tell the class what they've done, and model this language over preceding lessons so they are able to use it.

Do prepare classroom assistants for supporting a group or individual in a plenary contribution by giving them specific suggestions before the lesson.

Don't always go back to the carpet for the plenary session - valuable time can be wasted reorganising the class unnecessarily. Janet McPhee

Literacy consultant Janet McPhee has produced a two-page handout with hints on plenary sessions. Send a stamped addressed envelope and four first class stamps to: Janet McPhee(Plenary), Peterborough Education Dept, Bayard Place, Broadway, Peterborough, PE1 1FB.

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