Lesson plans, learning plans and activities for all learning styles there must be an inspector calling, says Gill Moore
WE KNEW the inspectors were coming, so I'd presented my best lessons all the week. I had duplicate copies for the schemes of work with all the curriculum references in place. I had immaculate lesson plans, all timed. I had differentiated worksheets. I had activities to appeal to all learning styles. I had evidence of using IT. I wrote up every individual learning plan.
But by Friday I hadn't been observed, and my lesson that morning had "expect the inspectors" written all over it. This was the moment I would go all out for a Grade 1.
We were to construct a leaflet about the Day Centre where the class is held. In the previous week we'd talked to the manager, collected the information we needed, and marched around with the digital camera.
I'd printed off all the pictures and a pro forma for everyone to make their own leaflet.
I'd made a word bank for those who could write, one in size 36 point for the student with visual difficulties, and a cut-and-paste version for the student who can't write at all.
The day dawned wild and wet. I arrived early, just in time to help my colleague collect all her carefully-printed worksheets from under the hedge where the wind had blown them as she got out of her car. We took them inside and spread them on the radiators to dry. I set up all the students' folders with their differentiated skills sheets. I fetched the portable whiteboard and rearranged the furniture to make space for the wheelchair.
I got all the students into their seats and started promptly, asking them what was the purpose of a leaflet? "To give you information" one replied.
"You can pick them up, or you can send them," said another.
I was impressed with what they had retained from the previous week. We looked at the leaflets I had collected from the doctor's and the Post Office and located the titles and the logos. We chose a title for our own leaflet. I handed out the pro forma with a title outlined and a space for a photo.
We turned over the pro forma and located the address of the day centre.
"It should have a map" said John, unprompted.
"What a good idea," I said, whipping out copies of the map I had prepared earlier, Blue Peter style. We discussed the map and marked the centre's location. We opened the leaflets and inside we wrote information against the pre-printed bullet points, using the word bank. We chose and glued photos into the spaces.
"It couldn't have gone more smoothly" I said to my colleague as we made our way back to the car park. "It's just a pity that no-one came to see the lesson."
"Never mind," she said, "they may come next week instead."
"It's not all over?" I cried in distress. "Do you mean we have to go through all this again?"
"Oh yes," she said cheerfully, "but don't bother doing a new lesson. Just repeat the one you did this week. The students won't remember they did it all before."
Gill Moore is a basic skills teacher