50 ways to lead your lesson

The problem is all inside your head”, she said to me
The answer is easy if you take it logically
I’d like to help you in your struggle to be free
There must be fifty ways to lead your lesson…

Paul Simon

Last week the inimitable Kristian Still challenged the good people of Twitter to amass 50 different ways to introduce learning objectives. Well, after much cajoling and exhortation from Mr Still we managed it!

I thought it might make an interesting experiment to see how well they each work. I reckon I can cover most of them before the end of term and it might make interesting (if utterly unscientific) reading to see how I get on.

Day 1 – Monday 10th October

Have decided to score the techniques out of 10 (10 being good, 1 being bad) against two measures: ease and impact. I hasten to add in case Ben Goldacre or someone is watching, that this is entirely arbitrary and in no way scientific.

Lesson 1  Yr 7 anagram

The objective was To be able to use different reading strategies. I decided that doing the whole thing as an anagram would be a bit mad and potentially take for ever. So I displayed To be able to use different _ _ _ _ _ _ _    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ and then jumbled up ‘reading’ and ‘strategies’. Someone shouted out the answer after about 2 seconds so maybe this was a bit too easy. But it did focus them on the key words and it possibly made them interact with the objective a way they wouldn’t normally.

Ease: 9 Impact: 3

Lesson 2 Yr 10 Facebook Status

The objective was going to be ‘to get on with your controlled assessment’ but I thought under the circumstances I’d put a bit more effort in so it became ‘To be able to proof read and redraft your work’


Despite it feeling like an enormous faff, they enjoyed the gimmick of it looking like a facebook status update (although they were clamouring for a photo. Why?) and they all heartily enjoyed giving it a thumbs down to signify their opprobrium. So far, so silly. But the comments bit was more interesting and several come up with really interesting responses. I didn’t have time to take it further as they really did have that pesky controlled assessment to write.

Ease: 6 Impact: 6

Lesson 3 Yr 11 Learning journey

Bit of a cheat this one as I’d already all but planned the lesson and had the Learning Journey cued up and ready to play:

The lesson was on the techniques in the build up to and aftermath of the death of Curley’s wife in John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. I displayed the slide and asked the students to decide on what they felt would be a suitable learning objective. I’m already a big fan of learning journeys and as always, this elicited some wonderful responses and although the responses converged as you might expect, they had to do a fair bit of thinking about what they would be learning.

Ease: 5 Impact: 8

Lesson 4 Yr 10 Expand a sentence

This was basically the same lesson as Period 2 with a parallel class and if I was less of a numpty I would simply have used the same method. But I didn’t. The objective remained essentially the same: To be able to proofread and redraft your work. The expanding sentence I chose was “Proofreading and redrafting will improve your writing.” I asked the studes to add ‘because’ and come up with reasons why this might be the case. And d’you know what? They came up with some gems! I have to say I was a bit sniffy about this one at first and had almost dismissed it as lacking any whizzbang, but on reflection I think it wins today’s prize.

Ease: 9 Impact: 8

Oh, if you have any other suggestions please add them here

Objective Quest Day 2, Day 3, Day 4 and Day 5

18 Responses to 50 ways to lead your lesson

  1. Great idea to blog your attempts… I may have to do the same!

    Today I tried the sign generator and, if nothing else, seeing their lesson objective displayed on a menu board certainly got Year 13 engaged and talking straight away. I don’t think any other LO so far this term has had them talking as they were sitting themselves down!

    I’m going to try the expand the sentence idea tomorrow and possibly the Facebook status.

    I shall report back!

  2. learningspy says:

    Haven’t tried the sign generator yet; sounds a bit like the Einstein one? Look forward to hearing more about your progress.

  3. Well, I will definitely be using the journeys effort, probably the fb effort as well. I tried the missing word rather than anagram, if nothing else it adds something to the students focus / interest.

    As for inimitable, very humbled.

    • learningspy says:

      Yes. Inimitable is certainly better than risible!

      Working through these techniques it’s clear that many are v similar to each other. Also there a few I feel quite reluctant to try. Maybe they will prove interesting?

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  10. Jim Daniels says:

    On http://www.signgenerator.org you can find some sign gens.

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