Beyond the curriculum: 'Special People' planning for primary teachers
Here's why we decided to make new Special People lessons: You inspired us!
Many teachers, particularly at this time of year, worry about cover. We think: “If I get sick, what will supply teachers or HLTAs teach my class?” “What if I get called away to an 'urgent' rehearsal of the Christmas production, or can't even get in due to 'leaves on the line?”
Creating high-quality lessons that HLTAs or supply teachers can teach in these situations is something that we get asked about a lot here at PlanBee HQ. That's why we decided to create one-off lessons and mini-schemes of work to help in just those times of need.
Planning 'Special People': Our desire to create meaningful, inspiring learning experiences
When we started thinking about how to make these new lessons, we wondered how we could make them fit neatly into an existing curriculum category. The answer was: we don’t need to. The new National Curriculum (which we pore over obsessively at the Hive) is great, but providing depth and enrichment beyond this is something that we felt shouldn’t be ignored.
I wanted the new Special People lessons to touch upon a number of curriculum objectives but, more than that, I felt that engaging and inspiring children was more important than making sure every activity fitted neatly into a curriculum-shaped box.
What better way to inspire children than by teaching them about important, influential and motivational people who have achieved great things? In today’s celebrity-obsessed culture, learning about people who are famous for more than appearing on a reality TV show has, I think, enormous value.
Freshen up your planning: Share the lives of fascinating, aspirational figures with your class!
We know from personal experience that having planning up your sleeve for when everything has gone out the window – and both you and your class need a change of scene – is really important.
Instead of getting the paints out, followed by an enthusiastic round of ‘Heads down, thumbs up’, teach your class about Helen Keller! Relate her conquest over almost insurmountable problems to children's own experiences of overcoming difficulties.
Or explore Martin Luther King, Jr's ‘I Have a Dream' speech, and encourage your class to consider what they dream of for the future of our world.
We know, truly, that school timetables are exacting (making it hard to ‘range beyond the National Curriculum specifications’), but we also know that sometimes it's one-off lessons like these that can really stick with the children and fire their imaginations.
Fitting it in: Creating space for learning experiences beyond the National Curriculum
We also wanted to create lessons that could supplement your current teaching topics. Are you teaching our Let’s Visit Australia Geography scheme for KS1? Why not teach them about Captain James Cook and his voyages of discovery aboard HMS Endeavour?
Or maybe you’re focusing on transport and travel in lower KS2 - why not introduce your class to Amelia Earhart or the Wright brothers? We’re great believers of immersing children in a topic as deeply as possible and these new lessons are another way of doing so.
Which Special People would you like to teach your class about?
We will be making a plethora of one-off lessons for both class teachers and supply teachers but, as is often the case with our small team, we don’t have the bee-power to get it all done straight away! For now, though, we hope that you or whoever might end up taking your class for the odd lesson or two will enjoy teaching and learning about some of the people who have achieved, invented, explored, written and campaigned their way into our collective consciousness.
We hope you love the new Special People lesson plans, presentations and printable resources…
…we've loved making them!
You can find out more about Becky’s plans for making life easier for busy teachers, or ask her about anything PlanBee- or education-related on Twitter @PlanBeeBecky. If you’ve got an idea for a special person you’d like us to make planning for, let us know - we’d love to hear your ideas!
Use Special People lessons to see if PlanBee is right for you!
There's a selection of short schemes of work in our new Special People collection – one-off lessons, and mini-units of work with just 2 or 3 lessons included. They're perfect if you're looking to trial PlanBee resources, or just want to grab something that's affordable and will fit into your existing, busy timetable! It's quick and free to sign up and become a member of PlanBee. Once you're signed up, it takes only seconds to browse, purchase and download ready-to-teach resources not only from new Special People collection but from the ENTIRE PlanBee catalogue of KS1 and KS2 planning. There's even a growing collection of completely free resources for our members!