With Ofsted planning ‘no notice’ inspections its more important than ever to be aware of the new 2012 requirements for teaching. With this in mind I have compiled a guide which will help to gain the much sought after ‘outstanding’ lesson observation.

Please keep in mind that lesson plans are not compulsory. I believe that they are certainly advisable as aid to memory at the very least.

*List objectives for lesson on board with student’s initials or group names. Add their assessment level and keep this visible throughout the lesson for easy reference for teacher and support staff and pupils. (Knowing their own level is the key to AfL).

*Have lesson plan in front of you to ensure you don’t miss a vital step. Share the plan with staff to give them ownership. It’s their observation too and you can’t do it effectively without them. Give them a plan and 1 for the observer.

*Lesson plan should show objectives and assessment level, groupings and staff support.

*Put key words on working wall.

*Put each child’s level and objective on a card in front of them. Easy memory aid for teacher and child.

*Resources should be ready prepared, ICT set up and ready for use.

*Emoticons ready for plenary.
(This seems like overkill on preparation but it’s worth it when your lesson goes well).

*Introduce lesson in own style. Tell the children their objectives, either individually or by groups. No need to labour the point but be sure they understand their objective. This is the point of AfL and the point of the lesson.

*Point out key words for lesson on working wall.

*Possibly re-cap a little on last lesson and continue lesson in own style.

(All of this should take no more than 5 minutes).

*Use own style for starter and main body of lesson. Remember to use key words, they aren’t a bolt on extra. They are required for Ofsted 2012 key skills.

*Move children to their activity and explain the activity. Direct the staff, even though they have the plan to hand. It shows you are the manager in your class.

*During the activity, circulate, check learning and don’t be afraid to stop the lesson to attend to misconceptions. Refer to AfL. If a child achieves their objective easily, ask them how they can improve their work and move their learning outcome forward.

*Refer to your key words occasionally.

*Take pictures of objectives achieved and post to Evernote or school portfolio.

*Remind the children of their objectives and key words. Discuss the work. Remember it’s not a show and tell session, it’s a time to reflect on learning and suggest ways of improving. Can they explain their learning, ask how they can move to the next level.

Peer Assessment
*Ask the children to briefly rate their group’s work. Use A4 size emoticons. I use cartoon thumbs up or thumbs down for this.

*I then rate the work of the class as a whole. I use A4 smiley for good working and learning or A4 bemused emoticon for a class who could have worked better or who have been distracted. I don’t use a sad face as I prefer to remain positive.

*End lesson in own style. Either give a taster of next lesson or thank children and staff for their hard work.

I hope this helps anyone who is experiencing their first observation. Remember to enjoy yourself and demonstrate your own growing teaching skills.