Are you struggling to plan every lesson every week? Are you getting to the afternoons and feelings sooooo worn out because of the amount of energy you put into teaching everyday?
Well, let me let you in on my little secret....
Every teacher needs to have at least one lesson every week that takes almost no time to plan or prep but that is still of high value to their students!
Having at least one lesson like this is sooo beneficial for helping you plan and teach all the other really valuable lessons that require more planning, preparation and in the moment energy from you.
So for you lucky ducks today I am going to give you ten lessons that are dead easy and can be used for ANY primary year level.
Ready for it?
Its reading a novel!
I'm not talking about the novel that sits in your classroom and you read it when you have a spare few minutes to fill. I am taking about devoting a 50 minute lesson to it EVERY week. The basic format is students listen to you read for 20 to 40 minute and then do a short activity (that requires no prep!) in the remaining time.
I've done this with year 1s, 2s, 3s, and even 6s and it works with all of them!
It definitely helps if you are animated while you read but if you are not or you need a break get a recorded version of the book you are reading!
Here are the reasons this is such a valuable lesson:
Students learn to sit
In our day and age this is a skill that actually requires teaching and practice!
Start off with shorter stints of reading, then longer sessions with movement breaks in between and then full listening sessions from there on out.
I'm serious when I say that I do this with my year 1s! I have even developed this skill in my 3 year old daughter! She picked up The BFG the other day and asked me to read it and before I knew it we were a quarter of the way through in ONE sitting!
They can do it, they just have to learn!
Students need to listen to adults reading
I could go on and on about the benefits of this point!
They learn about expression, fluency, expand their vocabulary, it helps develop a love of reading, it broadens their knowledge, it helps them write stories, it improves their imagination and the list goes on and on.
I don't have to tell you that most kids DO NOT get this at home.
Students learn to create images in their heads
'It's like a movie but in my head'.
Creating images is an important reading strategy that aids comprehension. This is a great chance to practice it.
Students can practice summarising and answering comprehension questions
Before each session I always ask students to summarise what has already happened. I will also stop occasionally to ask them questions such as predicting what will happen next or what a new word means.
Students expand their vocabulary
I have already mentioned this one but I think it is important enough to say again. Too often the books we use during guided reading or the texts we give them for other activities don't contain big, new words as they have to be at the students own reading level.
So lets get to the good stuff!
Ten FREE lessons you can just steal and teach!
I am a HUGE fan of Roald Dahl (who isn't!?!!!) so the first book I ALWAYS read my students is Matilda! So here is the book broken into 9 sections and 10 activities you can do!
Lesson 1: Read pages 1 to 23
Activity: Prior to reading, have students study the front cover and write a prediction about what they think it will be about. Really look at and discuss all the elements on the cover.
At the end of the lesson have students give their thoughts on Matilda's life. This could be done with an Inside/Outside Circle, Community Circle or just as a discussion as a whole class.
Lesson 2: Read pages 24 to 42
Activity: Have students choose one of the two pranks and write a retell about the events.
Lesson 3: Read pages 43 to 59
Activity: Draw a picture of Mr Wormword and around him put words (or phrases) that describe his character or appearance. For older students I would get them to write characteristics on one side and appearance on the other.
Lesson 4: Read pages 60-83
Activity: Have students complete a Venn Diagram comparing Miss Honey and Miss Trunchball. (I just get students to draw two large circles on paper but you could always photocopy them a template. If you are in one of those cool schools with ipads then there are apps you can use).
Lesson 5: Read pages 83 - 127
Activity: Re-read the description of the chokey again and have students draw a picture of it. Have them label the different features.
Lesson 6: Read pages 128- 152
Activity: Make a flowchart (or do a retell if that's too hard) of the events that happened in either Lavender's or Bruce's story. Again you could provide a template or use an app if getting the students to free hand it is too hard.
Lesson 7: Read 153 to 186
Activity: What would you do if you have Matilda's magic powers? Depending on the amount of time and your students you could either get them to write this as a story, write a paragraph or two on the idea or just jot the things down in a list.
Lesson 8: Read 186 - 209
Activity: The students write what they think Matilda is going to do or what she could do to get back at Miss Trunchball.
Lesson 9: Read 209 to the end
Activity: Have students do a values line where they stand along an imaginary line from one end of the classroom to the other. One end is loved the book, the other is hated the book. Have students give reason why they are standing where they are.
Also have students discuss the best and worst bits of the books. What they liked and didn't like.
You might also like to go back through each chapter and quickly summarise what happened and have students graph their interest with a line that goes up if they really like it or down if they didn't it.
Activity: Write a book review about Matilda. Below I have attached a great template for you to use.
For year 1s I enlarge this to A3 and for older kids I do not give them a template at all.
So there you have it! The planning done for 10 of your lessons for next term! Let me know in the comments below if you are going to use this and if I get a good response I'll write another for a different book!