“Let’s Work”

I’m gonna show you how
Show you how to work

Prince – Let’s Work – Controversy

I haven’t written a blog for a while, then two in one weekend. I want to show you how I am trying to work smarter, not harder!

I love twitter! It’s opened my eyes to amazingly talented teachers and their ideas up and down the country that I would NEVER have had access to without it. When teachers tweet, eventually many also blog; that’s where the real gems are.

In 2015 I read Planning for next year: subtract three and add three by Andy Tharby. Overnight that single post changed the way I teach in my classroom with regards workload and purpose of my planning. Another blog you should read is Chris Curtis The Photocopier is jammed.

Firstly, PPT.  My main issue with individual ppt and resources for lessons, is this; I have folders with a set of 24 ppt individual lessons, relevant resources, extracts needed, worksheets for students, and clips or images to engage and differentiate teaching. Take Macbeth, I have the above for a year 8’s middle ability, a year10 top set, a year11 set 4 revision, a year11 set 2 revision and year 10 controlled assessment (old spec). When I teach the following year I change my SOW so end up with tweaked versions of the folders. It’s crazy, I must have over 100 ppts alone for Macbeth.

Regarding resources: I’ve sat in some lessons where 3 or 4 individual resources have been given out, and over time I’ve begun to feel a) it’s not necessary and b) they ‘can’ be more distracting.

So what have I changed?  Firstly, I work closely with my HODs long-term and mid-term plans.  At the start of any unit, I write my SOW broken down lesson by lesson.

When I read a new text I annotate as I read.  Students usually have a copy of the book. I display any extract(s) on the whiteboard.  If I want to use a clip or images in my lesson, I sourced them as I created my SOW and again just display on the whiteboard as needed. On the back of my SOW I have Andy’s  Question templates printed on the back.

I give students the lesson aim at the start, verbally, and write questions, or tasks on the board as I go along. By doing this I have become more fluid with the class… if they don’t understand a concept I can spend longer on it, or we can move on. The questions are tailored to the individual lesson rather than fixed by a ppt.

I know my text inside out, I annotate, add questions and write a model answer (see image below) on my ‘teacher’ version. I could put this all on ppt, but the reason I don’t is I honestly think you get distracted and spend time making them ‘pretty’… but does that add to learning? I’d rather save that time and spend it with my family! Also by annotating your copy and creating a second ppt version for students I feel I am duplicating work. These are the types of resources I spend my time on now…


The above can be downloaded from “Betcha by Golly Wow”  language resources, then find my folder @FKRitson and there’s several in there with the other paper 2 resources.

Below are other examples of the resources I’ve shifted to using. Those can be downloaded from Student A-Level help and “Slave” – AQA Paper 1 and “Slave” – AQA Paper 2.


In other words, I spend more time understanding the spec, mark scheme, what I want my student outcomes to be, alongside the actual text.

I tend to create a lot of resources, such as this one, that I can use over and over. I have a folder on my desk with one copy of all of these printed out and refer to them constantly. This can again be downloaded from “Betcha by Golly Wow” go to language and literature sections, they’re in the tabs with @FKRitson.


For students, here’s a couple of the style of resources I make up for them:

I no longer print resources for a class (I do for the few students that may find looking up and down distracting). I just display the relevant section on the board and move the document up/down as needed.  Both of those can be found on “Slave” – AQA Paper 2.   Sentence stems, or paragraph structures, again, I have on word that I just attach to my electronic unit/SOW and display on the screen as needed.

This means I could in theory use one resource for several lessons – I differentiate my questions and expectations for each year group or ability range.  How many resources have you created and only used once?

I’m trying to get cleverer with my resources, find one that is effective; one that students learn from and then make them re-use it over and over! Like this:


What am I trying to achieve?  Through the use of a decent resource ensure students nail a concept. A resource that enhances their learning: not makes their books look pretty! A lot of this directly links to my last blog “Time”.   I do need to stress I do use ppt and I still have them in my lessons, but rarely. I focus on the text.

There are other ideas I have linked to this blog and “Time“, that I’ll be working on over the summer and will blog then.

I want to try and work smarter! I want my students to learn because they are working harder than me!

(By the way, if you do want any of the resources and can’t quite locate them, leave me a message or tweet me and I’ll point you in the right direction).

3 thoughts on ““Let’s Work”

  1. Pingback: Educational Reader’s Digest | Friday 12th May – Friday 19th May – Douglas Wise

  2. Great ideas here for working smarter. Also ties in with my recent move back to paper and pens despite being in a BYOD school -again because of the distraction factor you highlight here. Thank you for these ideas and your resources.


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