A typical GCSE lesson

How a GCSE lesson works with Craig’n’Dave resources

Lesson plans

Every lesson of the whole course has an easy to follow lesson plan in PowerPoint format. This means you have zero preparation to do, and you can literally walk into the classroom and display the plan on the board without even looking at it in advance! Everything you and the students need is right there, including their first starter activity embedded. We reckon even non-specialists could teach the theory aspects of the course with our resources.

Stage 1

Before the lesson for homework

Craig’n’Dave support a flipped classroom approach to teaching and learning. You don’t have to use our resources in that way, but it’s how they work best. Students should watch one or more of our videos BEFORE the lesson for homework. These are signposted in our lesson plans.

As students watch the video, they should pause it when they see the “take notes” icon. They should then record the information on-screen in an exercise book in preparation for the lesson. This is the classic “teaching” or “chalk-and-talk” part of the lesson. They will need these notes to complete activities within the lesson. The great thing about video is students can pause, rewind and re-watch. Absent students can catch-up on the lesson too.

We now have official Craig’n’Dave Cornell notebooks available.

Videos for every bullet point of the specification are provided on our student website and hosted on YouTube for FREE. Your students don’t need access to YouTube in school because they watch the videos for homework. However, if you want to host them locally, they can be purchased on a memory stick from our shop. Our videos are also available on the ClickView platform.

Watching a video in advance of the lesson is a great way to teach and learn because:

  1. More time in the lesson is created because there is less chalk and talk.
  2. A teacher can start with questioning from a baseline knowledge.
  3. Encourages independence.
  4. Students can pause, rewind and rewatch if they don’t understand.
  5. Absent students are never left behind.
  6. Each video is ~12 minutes long or less, so there is no irrelevant waffle!
What if they don’t watch the videos?

Teaching in a flipped classroom way doesn’t suddenly mean every student does their homework! Some never did and some never will! If students don’t watch the video and make notes perhaps they can share notes with a friend? Alternatively perhaps they could watch the video in the lesson with headphones? You will also find that they can often complete the activities simply by pausing the video on relevant slides of the video without actually watching it.

Don’t let a few students who don’t do their homework or don’t remember to bring their book to class put you off. Just anticipate it will happen. What’s important is that you aren’t tethered to the front of the class teaching at the pace of the slowest student. Building habits and high expectations early in the course will help a lot. Remember this is a new approach for students and they will take a few lessons to adapt.

Flipped classroom allows students to make progress on their own. This means you can help students who were unable to do the homework while the other students continue working.

Remember in Computer Science when something doesn’t work we don’t give up!

Alternative approaches

If the flipped classroom isn’t for you then you could use one of these alternative approaches. What is important is that students understand the theory before they start pages of our workbooks otherwise it will be too hard and confusing for them.

Alternative approach 1: Gather the students around the board at the beginning of the lesson and show them the video. They need access to the video for themselves in the lesson to be able to use the theory notes in the video to complete the activities.

Alternative approach 2: Students watch the video individually making notes in exercise books at the beginning of the lesson. You may need to set homework to complete the workbook pages with this approach.

Alternative approach 3: You teach the content at the beginning of the lesson in a traditional way. Just be sure to include everything students need to complete the activities. Giving them some notes or a knowledge organiser would help.

Stage 2

Starter activity

5 mins – every lesson has a starter activity that should be shown to the students on the board so they are “engaged on entry”. These are throw-away activities that just get the students thinking about the topic before the lesson starts.

Alternatively students could engage with Smart Revise if you have subscribed to that product too.

Stage 3

Set homework for next lesson

2 mins – students make a note of which video to watch for homework in their diaries, or whatever method your school uses.

Students will need an exercise book to record the signposted notes in each video.

Students should also use Smart Revise if you have subscribed to that product too.

If you use an alternative approach to flipped classroom you may need to set homework to complete the activities.

Stage 4

Share the objectives

1 min – objectives are shared with students, these are included in the lesson plan PowerPoint.

Stage 5

Theory activities and workbook

20 mins – most lessons are split into two main parts: theory and programming activities.

Using the notes that students took for homework, they complete pages in the PowerPoint format workbook included in a premium subscription. Instructions for students are written in the notes section of each slide, but can also be introduced by the teacher. Use this time to question individual students more deeply about their understanding of the topic.

Stage 6

Practical programming activities

25 mins – students largely work independently on programming. We believe that little and often is the best way to learn programming. We try to get some programming time into almost every lesson. To support this a premium subscription includes both learning tasks and differentiated challenges. The time is flexible. Some lessons will require more time for theory, others less. You may also want to have the occasional full lesson just working on programming.

We present challenges in a range of formats including worded scenarios, flowcharts, pseudocode and Parsons problems. Students are not expected to complete every programming challenge!

Use this time to help students who are struggling, and review completed challenges. Students should call you over to look at their programs when they are complete. Look out for use of comments, descriptive variable names, appropriate use of counter and condition controlled loops and selection statements. Immediate verbal feedback for this work is more effective than written feedback. Challenge the more able students to ensure their programs have full validation and exception handling.

Stage 7

Plenary recap, questioning or Smart Revise

7 mins – recap objectives at the end of the lesson. You can also use this time to have class discussions and question overall understanding of the objectives of the lesson. This is also a great time to spend 5 minutes on Smart Revise instead. Our revision platform is great as a course companion. Teachers can unlock topics as they are taught allowing students access to an increasing amount of content as the course progresses. Smart Revise has proven to increase knowledge retention and attainment.

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