Trial lesson ideas for primary school job interviews

Writing in the Guardian, primary teacher Sway Grantham shares some tried and tested ideas for interview lessons that will engage students and impress observers. Here’s one for starters with a link below for more…

While job hunting, I attended quite a range of interviews; all but one asked me to be observed teaching as well as having the spoken interview. It was a mixed bag, the shortest lasting for just eight minutes (no, I’m not kidding) and the longest being 45 minutes, and all involved showcasing my teaching talents with a group of children I didn’t know…

Smarties maths: counting, analysis and fractions

There are many, many lesson ideas for using Smarties in the classroom for lessons; I found them particularly useful as an engaging tool for a 30 minute lesson.

Each table was given a tube of Smarties and their first job was to count them. Each person counted them separately to check they all had the same number (frequently they didn’t). Pause the class here to expect outrage as they find out that there is not the same amount of Smarties in every tube, in fact, we found that the number of Smarties ranged from 29 to 36 in a tube.

Next you can begin an analysis into your Smarties; how many of each colour? Which colours are more popular? Is this the same in every group? Can they begin any other analysis; how about fractions? What fraction of the Smartie tube’s content are blue? Using this process you can extend the lesson as long as it needs to be. The children are engaged and genuinely interested as they feel they’re being potentially cheated out of Smarties. Of course there is also the bribe at the end that they may get to eat one of them as well.

The important thing to remember with interview lessons is that for both the children, and the observers, you are one in many and the best way to make an impact is to cause a scandal. Finding out that there aren’t a fair number of Smarties in a pack will sure do that.

After the initial discovery you can take the lesson as far as you want based on the school’s brief and the age of the children. In its simplest form it can be a grouping activity and a comparison of larger/smaller groups but as you move up through the year groups it can be recording the data in tally charts or creating fractions/percentages to describe the differences.

With very little input from you, mostly through questioning, the children should progress through the lesson from not knowing anything about their Smarties, to being able to draw conclusions based on their data. You have therefore shown progress. As for differentiation, using the data handling levels you can pitch the expectations for each groups at different levels.

See two more lesson ideas at:  Trial lesson ideas for primary school job interviews

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