Crick Software blog

Andrew Cumming

Interactive plenaries

26th July 2023

A lot of the time, we can forget the most important part of the lesson: reflection.

This period is often found during the plenary aspect of a lesson once the main activity has been completed. However, due to time restraints, a plenary can sometimes be forgotten, and the children are expected to move to the next task of the day.

This was something I struggled with when I used to teach year 4. Having to stick to the compulsory 55 minutes per lesson, which needed to include engaging starter activities and enough time for everyone to understand and complete the objective, meant that plenaries were something that I couldn’t always plan for.

The great thing about Clicker is that we can utilise activity sets in several ways to create plenary opportunities. Lesson-appropriate activities only take a couple of minutes to plan and create but enable children to reflect on what they have learnt.

The first example of a great plenary builder is a Talk Set. Sometimes, we can over-rely on children physically writing their ideas on paper, rather than communicating with peers. Building a Talk Set allows children to share their ideas verbally, without you worrying about, “how will I show their progression if they haven’t put it on paper?” Because what’s great about Talk Sets, is that you can record ideas on the activity itself, so you don’t need to worry about losing them! Children can truly reflect and share ideas within their recordings, consolidating their understanding. This is a great way to round off a lesson.

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The second example is a Connect Set. Although these are very useful for the main activities to support writing, using one at the end of a lesson would allow you to see if the children have understood the concepts covered, like fronted adverbials and expanding sentences. They could work in groups using whiteboards or even use an interactive whiteboard to create some sentences of their own.

You could even get the children to share some of their own ideas from the work they have completed in the lesson.

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Plenaries are an integral part of the lesson: they allow us to consolidate understandings and reflect upon what we have learnt. They don’t have to be time consuming or overthought either; a simple retrieval activity or voice note recording can be the difference between all children demonstrating their knowledge at the end of the lesson versus only those who flourish with pen and paper.

Free ‘How to adopt Rosenshine’s 10 Principles with Clicker’ PDF!

Using plenaries is one of many pedagogical choices teachers employ in their classroom. For other examples of how Clicker can support teaching practices, our ‘How to adopt Rosenshine’s 10 Principles with Clicker’ PDF is full of handy tips and tricks to keep your children learning and engaged using Clicker.

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