The new Ofsted framework states that in outstanding lessons “staff set work that consolidates learning, deepens understanding and develops skills”. In my humble opinion, a well-planned plenary can really help us to achieve this.
Here are three ideas that you might want to try to finish off your lesson:
- What’s the question?
Give students the answers and ask them to come up with a question to match. This helps them to think a little more critically. You could add some challenge to this by asking everyone in the class to come up with a different question.
- Sketch it
Ask the students to sketch an important idea / theme from the lesson. Again this gets them thinking in a different way. You can add an extra challenge by asking the students to partner up with their sketches, and it is up to the partner to try to explain the image.
This one is probably my all-time favourite plenary! It has never failed to engage even the most “challenging” class. My preferred approach is to split the class into two teams. You then add a key word to the board and ask one member of the team to come and stand with their back to the board. It is up to the rest of the team to get their team mate to say the word. You can add challenge to this one by adding some words to the board that they can’t say (for example, if you had “metaphor” as the word you could add restriction words such as “simile”, “comparison” and “language”. If the team mentions any of the restricted words (which they frequently do in the excitement) the opposing team gets the point. The self-policing happens pretty quickly!