5 Tips for Planning an Engaging Unit of Work

Written by Dan

Last updated

As a teacher, one of the most important things you can do is to focus on planning an engaging unit of work for your students. This process can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be! In this blog post, we will discuss five tips for planning an excellent unit of work. Let’s get started!

Look at the National Curriculum (NC)

The National Curriculum is a document that contains the learning objectives for every subject in every year of schooling. It is there to ensure that all students across the country receive a quality education and are taught the same things. This curriculum is essential because it ensures students receive a rounded education and are prepared for their future. It also helps to level the playing field between schools so that all students have the same opportunities.

When planning our unit of work, we need to look at what objectives we want to be taught during our unit of work. For example, let’s look at an example from the National Curriculum for year 4.

Planning an Engaging Unit of Work

Objective:

Add numbers with up to 4 digits using the formal written methods of columnar addition where appropriate.

I would look at this objective and think about how best to get my students to access it. I would look at this objective and come up with a sequence of learning outcomes such as this:

  • Learning Outcome (LO): I can add numbers with up to 4 digits using column addition.

Similarly, this NC Objective:

  • Solve addition and subtraction two-step problems in context, deciding which operations and methods to use and why.

May turn in these LOs:

  • I can solve addition word problems.
  • I can use mathematical language when explaining my reasoning

When planning any unit of work, we need to look at our yearly overview documents to ensure that every objective is met across the year at least once. It may well be necessary that you need to teach specific objectives twice throughout the year to help your class master them.

Check out your Progression Documents

It can be daunting to think about how much information children need to learn to be successful in school and life. However, educators have a tool to help make the task more manageable: progression documents. Progression documents map out the skills and knowledge children need to acquire at each stage of their schooling. This ensures that teachers cover all the essential bases and allows parents to see exactly what their child should be learning at each year level.

The progression documents are similar to the National Curriculum but will be more personal to the school. Schools can decide which year groups will focus on specific skills and objectives, so it is essential to check your planning ideas against your school’s documents to ensure that you are not teaching something that your school wants to be the focus in another year group.

Progression documents can also be used to assess students’ progress over time. By clearly understanding what skills and knowledge students should acquire, educators can more easily identify areas of weakness and adjust their instruction accordingly. Ultimately, progression documents are valuable for ensuring that all students receive a well-rounded education.

Planning an Engaging Unit of Work

Check your Overview

A well-crafted unit of work can be a thing of beauty. All the pieces fit together seamlessly, and the students move smoothly from one learning experience to the next. However, creating such a unit of work can be daunting, especially for new teachers. Thankfully, there can be help available in the form of overview documents.

These documents are created by leaders of learning or subject leaders in some schools and provide teachers with an outline of what needs to be taught during each unit of work. This can take much pressure off teachers, who often need to dig deep into the National curriculum to determine what they should be teaching. With an overview document, teachers can easily see what needs to be taught and plan their lessons accordingly.

Plan your lessons

Now that you know what you want your students to learn, it’s time to start planning the lesson. This is where you combine your prior learning about the subject and develop creative, exciting ways to stimulate long-term learning in your students. It’s important to remember that every child is different and will learn in different ways, so it’s essential to be flexible in your lesson planning.

Here are some general tips to help you create an engaging and effective lesson plan. First, make sure that your objectives are clear and achievable. Second, consider how to make the material enjoyable and relevant for your students. And finally, don’t forget to leave room for class discussion and questions! By following these simple tips, you can be sure your next lesson will be a hit with your students.

Reflect on Learning

At the end of every lesson, taking a step back and reflecting on how it went is essential. What went well? What could be improved? This is especially important if you’re teaching the same unit of work next year. You can ensure your students get the most out of the lesson by taking the time to assess it.

There are a few things to remember when reflecting on a lesson. First, consider the goal of the lesson. Did you achieve it? If not, why not? Second, think about the students’ engagement. Were they engaged throughout the lesson? If not, why not? Finally, think about your teaching. Did you feel like you were able to communicate the material effectively? If not, what could you do differently next time?

By reflecting on your lessons, you can ensure that your students are getting the most out of them. So don’t forget to reflect!

By following these simple tips, you can be sure that your next unit of work will be a hit with your students. By planning and being conscious of the different ways that students learn, you can create a unit of work that is both engaging and educational. So don’t hesitate to try out these tips the next time you plan a unit of work. Your students will be sure to thank you for it!

FAQ

Where do you start with lesson planning?

There is no one answer to this question as it will depend on the individual teacher and the subject they teach. However, an excellent place to start is by looking at your school’s progression documents and planning your lessons accordingly. You can also look at overview documents which can provide an outline of what needs to be taught during each unit of work.

How do you make lessons relevant for students?

There are a few things to keep in mind when trying to make your lessons relevant for students. First, think about the goals of the lesson and how they fit into the bigger picture of what your students need to learn. Second, consider how to make the material enjoyable and engaging for your students. And finally, don’t forget to leave room for class discussion and questions!

How long should a unit of work be?

There is no one answer to this question as it will depend on the individual teacher and the subject they teach. However, a good rule of thumb is to plan for approximately 5-10 weeks per unit of work. This will give you enough time to cover all of the material without feeling rushed. This will be directly related to how many weeks there are in the half-term you are teaching and how many lessons you need to fill.

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About The Author

I'm Dan Higgins, one of the faces behind The Teaching Couple. With 15 years in the education sector and a decade as a teacher, I've witnessed the highs and lows of school life. Over the years, my passion for supporting fellow teachers and making school more bearable has grown. The Teaching Couple is my platform to share strategies, tips, and insights from my journey. Together, we can shape a better school experience for all.

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