Tips for Teachers: 27. Effective Plenaries

Mar 19, 2024 | Blogs

Tips for Teachers: 27. Effective Plenaries

Mar 19, 2024 | Blogs

“Effective Plenaries in a lesson are those that help the teacher to make sure all students understand what they have learned. They can be used as an opportunity for reflection, or simply as a way of summarising or reinforcing key points from the day’s lessons. (https://www.structural-learning.com/post/a-teachers-guide-to-lesson-plenaries) 

When you include plenaries in your lessons there are 3 important things Phil Beadle (2013) informs us we should keep in mind:

1. Plenaries need to be planned,

2. Give sufficient time for them,

3. Get the pupils to do the work. 

Features of effective plenaries: 

  • Planned and executed so a teacher can assess understanding of the whole class. 
  • Used throughout the lesson as a form of assessment. 
  • Enough time for pupils to participate and demonstrate their understanding and learning. 
  • Highlights pupil misconceptions to ensure they are addressed promptly, before becoming embedded. 
  • Kept simple so everyone knows what they are doing and how to access the plenary. 
  • Summarises learning and gets everyone involved. 
  • Links to prior and future learning. 
  • Accessible for all learners to be able to demonstrate their understanding. 
  • Happens at the most effective time in a lesson. 
  • Used as an opportunity to celebrate success and provide feedback. 
  • Allows a teacher to evaluate learning to adapt teaching in the moment or subsequent lessons. 
  • Provide opportunities for pupils to reflect on their own learning and understanding. 
  • Consolidate skills and knowledge. 
  • Identifies next steps for individuals and groups of pupils. 

Ideas for plenaries: 

  • Write / draw 5 things you have learned today 
  • Exit tickets 
  • Think-pair-share 
  • Show me white boards 
  • Mind map / brainstorm / brain dump 
  • Venn diagram 
  • True or false 
  • Hinge questions 
  • Tell me / show me 
  • Summarise 
  • Label a diagram 
  • Timelines 
  • Bingo 
  • Guess the question 
  • Odd one out 

This blog was written by Bretta Townend-Jowitt, Education Consultant and Trainer. 

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