After speaking to numerous teachers on courses, meetings, moderations etc about their lessons I often hear the same comments time and time again, that they feel their plenaries aren’t as strong or as successful as what they would like them to be. More often than none, by the end of the lesson practitioners often want to pack up and move on to the next part of the day. We have all been there, you totally lose track of time (unless you are being observed) and then all of a sudden its time for the next activity.
This was something that I myself was guilty of during my NQT year at times, so something I knew I needed to develop. This year however, after making sure my plenary has an equally important part in my lesson I have truly seen the benefits in my children’s learning and progress. Ive filled the gaps a lot quicker, put intervention in place and identified the children’s next steps in their learning.
I did however want to avoid the usual ‘stand up and share with the class what you have been learning about routine so I had to start brainstorming ideas on how I could excite the children into sharing their learning and identifying what they needed next.
My first brilliant discovery came from my previous deputy head, who told me about her catwalk plenaries when she was class based. Immediately I fell in love!
Choose a tune of any kind (my favourite at the moment is Crazy in Love by Beyonce). Split the children into two groups on the carpet and make a ‘cat walk’ for you selected student(s). Play the music and one at a time welcome to children to the end of the catwalk who will then explain what they have been learning about in the lesson and answer questions from you if/when you ask. This can be adapted and manipulated where appropriate, but personally the basic idea is great and really assists our speaking and listening in Reception.