Constructing a unit of work

By Victor Hudson,2014-12-08 10:49
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Constructing a unit of work

    Constructing a unit of work

    Underlying principles:

    ; Each unit should cover development under the three main headings of

    Speaking and Listening, Reading and Writing in a coherent and

    meaningful way.

    ; Taking account of its timing in the term/year, it should lead learning at a

    challenging pace towards the end of year expectations or beyond.

; It should follow or build upon the teaching sequence, broadly moving from

    Reading, through Analysis into Writing (although these will not necessarily be

    strictly segregated as activities for example, the ‘reading phase’ of a unit

    may well involve writing which supports the reading objectives such as note-

    taking or summarising).

; It should involve development across all or most of the literacy learning

    strands, including speaking and listening, but not necessarily cover all the

    objectives in each strand. (Full coverage over the term/year will however be

    ensured by the long-term plan see ‘Rationale for planning’.)

; It should fully integrate the appropriate use of ICT, opportunities to develop

    key aspects of learning and assessment opportunities. The planning

    should consider opportunities for literacy learning both within dedicated

    literacy teaching time and also across the whole curriculum.

; It should involve a wide variety of enjoyable and engaging learning

    opportunities, related to children’s experience, building on previous learning

    and therefore appropriately personalised. It will lead to a meaningful

    outcome which has a real and clearly understood purpose and audience.

    ; Each unit should provide enough time for the achievement of the above,

    without being so protracted as to lead to loss of interest, or preclude coverage

    over the year of development in all key objectives across the full range of

    texts. Usually 3-4 weeks per unit provides about the best balance on this, but

    timing can be flexible, within the constraints of the long-term plan.

    Basic process:

; Identify the organising theme and all the associated key learning

    objectives for the unit from your long term plan.

    ; Map the key reading and writing strand objectives against the three main

    parts of the teaching sequence (Reading, Analysis and Writing), thus

    defining the three main teaching phases of the unit.

; Check the progression documents for the main aspect(s) of work being

    covered (e.g. narrative, spelling) and, dependent on the stage of the year

    when the unit is to be taught, define clear learning outcomes for each phase

    of the unit and the unit as a whole. Ensure these represent progression from

    previous learning and will lead at an appropriate pace towards the end of year

    expectation (or beyond where appropriate).


    ; Add initial thoughts on content for each phase of the unit (texts to be used,

    main learning activities/opportunities, etc.). Ensure that these provide

    enjoyable and engaging activity that leads meaningfully and purposefully

    towards the required outcomes for each phase and that each phase similarly

    builds towards the outcome for the unit as a whole. Consider how this content

    can be exploited through the whole curriculum bringing other curriculum

    areas into the literacy teaching and developing literacy learning in other


; Add in the objectives for the Speaking and Listening strands, looking for

    suitable opportunities in the proposed learning experiences for these to be

    pursued/developed. If necessary, amend the content to accommodate these

    meaningfully. Add to or extend the learning outcomes to cover these.

; Consider and, if missing, add in the appropriate use of ICT in a similar way.

    Ensure that the reading and writing of on-screen text is sometimes included

    in the range of experiences.

; Consider the key aspects of learning appropriate to the children concerned

    and in a similar way identify or add in the opportunities for these to be


    ; Consider appropriate assessment and in a similar way identify or add in the

    opportunities for this to be integrated.

    ; Design an introduction to the unit, considering how it will be related to the

    children’s experience and their previous learning, how the learning objectives

    will be communicated to them and how they will understand the purpose and

    relevance of outcome(s).

    ; Allowing ample opportunity for meaningful and varied learning experience,

    add approximate timings for each phase of the unit within the overall time

    allocated in the long-term plan. Firm up the proposed teaching sequence and

    its content in the light of all these considerations.

; Identify appropriate (‘child speak’) learning targets for individuals and/or

    groups of children to be pursued through phases of the unit and the unit as a


    N.B. Although the above process is presented as a particular sequence for the

    sake of clarity, in application it may not be as strictly linear as this suggests.


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