Am starting to feel slightly exhausted by all the different objective introducing techniques whirring around my head like a cloud of relentless cheerful wasps. I long to use the same one all day for all my lessons but am stubbornly committed to seeing it through. At least until the end of the week. And the surprising reality is that as of today I have only managed to plough through 15 of the buggers!

Lesson 1 – Year 9 – Create Fun Signs

This was a lesson I’d agreed to cover for a colleague so that she could go on a learning walk around the faculty. She had planned the lesson and all I had to do was monkey about with the objective. So, I made my way over to to turn To be able to work effectively as part of a team into a ‘fun sign’. The bad news was the that the objective was too long to fit on the sign. And this wasn’t a particularly long objective. So, short of time and impatient I instead plumped for a quick ‘missing keyword’ and simply missed out effectively.

Ease 10 (didn’t work) Impact 0

Lesson 2 Year 10 – Going Solo

Now, I’m really excited about SOLO taxonomy and have written about it here. The objective was for the students to begin thinking about powerful forces in Of Mice and Men and I wanted them to be able to measure their progress from pre-structural to at least relational. So (gasp!) I didn’t have a learning objective, just a series of statements:

  • I don’t know anything about powerful forces in section 1 Of Mice and Men (pre-structural)
  • I know one thing about powerful forces in section 1 Of Mice and Men (uni-structural)
  • I know a few things about powerful forces in section 1 Of Mice and Men (multi-structural)
  • I can use the things I know about powerful forces to explain their impact on the story and characters in section 1 of Of Mice and Men (relational)
  • I can use what I know about powerful forces in section 1 of Of Mice and Men to be able to speculate about how they will impact on the rest of the novel (extended abstract)
I asked them where they felt they were and, because we hadn’t started reading the novel they were all at the pre-structural stage. I then asked then to come up with an objective which might help them move to at least the relational if not the extended abstract level. And it worked. Brilliantly! This isn’t the place to bang on about how useful SOLO is for getting students to see how to make progress but I hope you get a sense of how this system can be used for enabling students to see their own learning. I’ll admit it takes a fair bit of time to get your head round the 5 levels of understanding but once its secure, you (and the students) will be able to move through them with the grace of a young gazelle.
Ease: 4 Impact: 10
Lesson 3 – Year 10 – Leave it until the end
I have to admit that this lesson was pretty much the same as Lesson 2 and was essentially still the Going Solo technique but in the spirit of the quest, I left the writing of the learning objectives until the plenary stage of the lesson. Now, this wasn’t really a fair or objective test of the technique and I am of course very ashamed of myself. But, thinking about the way the two lessons went, I preferred the objectives been written at the start of the lesson as it help to direct the students through the rest of the lesson. I’ve used this technique on lots of other occasions and it can be very effective to reveal the point of the lesson at the end. So it seems fairer to judge this technique on its own merits rather than on its success in this lesson.
Ease: 9 Impact: 6
Lesson 4 – Year 9 – Voki
Very gimmicky this one but surprisingly simple. You have to sign up at but after that it takes minutes to sort out an animated talking head to speak your objective to the amazed audience of learners agog at your technical competence. Well. Sort of. I have to say, I don’t like the animations that much but it’s all good fun and certainly worth a go although it would become tedious quickly if repeated. I went for Jesus for no other reason than that  could:

Ease: 7 Impact 4

Lesson 5 – Year 9 – Don’t Always Introduce Learning Objectives

How’s that for lazy! This lesson is a class I see once a week with a colleague taking their other three lessons. They have a lesson with her Period 1 and she had set up an activity which she asked me to continue. So, we began with a plenary of their previous lesson and then cracked on: introducing another objective would have felt unnecessary and I would have been doing it for no other reason than the illogical nonsense that lesson can only be successful if they follow an Ofsted approved path.

Ease: 10 Impact: 4

I have another 5 lesson day tomorrow and am beginning to buckle under the groaning weight of all this innovation. Hope you won’t be disappointed if I cheat a bit.