Over the course of the job hunting process I attended quite a range of interviews; all but one asked me to be observed teaching as well as having the spoken interview. These lessons ranged from the shortest being 8 minutes, no I’m not kidding, 8 minutes, up to the longest being 45 minutes to showcase my teaching talents with a group of children I didn’t know. Here are some of the lessons,which have been taught to years 3/4/5 in variations that I found worked really well.
Click Clack Moo
If you have not already heard of this book you really should check it out it’s fab! The basic plot outline is that the cows find an old typewriter (you’ll probably have to explain what this is) and begin writing messages to the farmer and demanding things. This is a really fun book and with a class you don’t know it’ll immediately get them giggling. There is also a lot of repetition of ‘click, clack, moo’ so I found it was fun to ask the children to demonstrate their best ‘moo’.
After this the text can be used in many ways but I used it to spark a speaking and listening debate. The class was divided into 3rds with each 3rd being a different character: duck, farmer and cow. They had to be that character, think like that character and have done the same things as that character. Chn then had to decide on a question to ask each of the other groups, what would their character want to know about them? The group that were going to be asked the question were then given a couple of minutes to decide an answer before they are asked to stand and explain themselves…
I made this bit as formal as possible to add a bit more fun to the proceedings, first I would ask the questioners’ spokespeople to stand, and then those being asked. The question would be asked and the answer given, then as the person in charge I may add some extra information or we may just move on to the next group.
There are many, many lesson ideas for using Smarties in the classroom for lessons; I found them particularly useful as an engaging tool for a 30 minute lesson.
Each table was given a tube of smarties and their first job was to count them…each person counted them separately to check they all had the same number (frequently they didn’t!). Pause the class here to expect outrage as they find out that there is not the same amount of smarties in every tube, in fact, we found that the number of smarties ranged from 29 – 36 in a tube.
Next you can begin an analysis into your smarties, how many of each colour? Which colours are more popular? Is this the same in every group? Can they begin any other analysis; how about fractions? What fraction of the smartie tube’s content are blue? Using this process you can extend the lesson as long as it needs to be. The children are engaged and genuinely interested as they feel they’re being potentially cheated out of smarties. Of course there is also the bribe at the end that they may get to eat one of them as well.
Bring an object to your lesson
There are of course lots of different routes you can follow when you are deciding what object to bring to a lesson of this style and what they could do with it. My initial reaction was to take an object that wasn’t that exciting, an odd approach I know, but I wanted them to be the creative ones.
I decided to take plastic cups…run of the mill, plain old, plastic cups. The chn then, after a small amount of input, had to create an amazing advertisement to make me want to buy their cup more than all the rest.
The idea was not that they decorate their cup and make it more appealing in that sense but that they’re able to use language well enough to manipulate me into thinking that I need to have that cup. The children really enjoyed this activity and we had lots of fun with language including puns and gags!
Noah’s Ark Maths Puzzle
This lesson is based around a problem taken from the NRich maths problems for KS1. It follows the gist of…when Noah is counting the animals into the Ark he trips and falls over, this means he does not see which animals enter the Ark, only their legs. He sees 12 legs walk into the Ark…which animals could have entered the Ark whilst Noah couldn’t see?
This lesson is a fab lesson for hands on approaches, children can look at figurines of animals and count the legs, grouping them to check they have the right numbers or they can record their answers through drawing the number of legs on. All in all the children will learn there is not one answer but there are lots of lots of different possibilities.
I found that in the plenary it was nice to look at who had found the most animals that could have gone into the ark (still with only 12 legs) and the least. This lesson can spark lots of discussion with the children and can be simply differentiated for a class that you’re unfamiliar with.