Why should you use Booklets in your lesson?

Who has been using booklets? Who has always used booklets? They are something that has gone and out of fashion more times that I can remember. I’ve used them, abandoned them, seen them used in other schools successfully, brought them back, abandoned them again!

So I now say YES to booklets! I’m sure somewhere I’ve said no to them before, but I am a convert. I am there with the booklets.

I’m going to compare and contrast my life before booklets to my life with booklets at Key Stage 3, Year 7.


Life before bookletsLife after booklets
Plan or edit a scheme of work.Plan or edit a scheme of work.
Possibly work on Lesson Plans and/or PowerPoints if there was time prior to the teaching.Possibly work on Lesson Plans and/or PowerPoints if there is time prior to the teaching.
 Create a booklet with the resources and key knowledge needed for each lesson in the scheme of work, retrieval activity for the beginning of each lesson and a space for reflection after each lesson.

Okay, so here is the first problem of creating booklets, is the time factor. It is an extra job. There’s no way of getting around that. But, we decided on the content, the scripts, the knowledge focus, the script, the stimulus etc… So, it isn’t a massive task to use that same information for the Scheme of Work and pop it into a booklet.

Prior to the lesson

Life before bookletsLife after booklets
Review or write lesson plan and/or PowerPoint.Review or write lesson plan and/or PowerPoint.
Print out and cut resources 

So, first benefit is that there no printing out resources – which I always ended up forgetting and printing out in a hurry ten minutes before the lesson. The time saved just doing that prior to the lesson for every year group and every time you teach them, I think is probably equal to the amount of time you used to create the booklets in the first time. And that use of time is far less frustrating, urgent and stressful than using that time each day, printing out resources and worrying about printers, time and money.

In the lesson

Life before bookletsLife after booklets
Open books – hand out retrieval practice resources, glue them in to books and do the task while the register is taken.Open the booklets to the relevant page and do the task.
Improvisation starterImprovisation starter
Introduce context of script, referring to PowerPoint, quite teacher led.Students read context description in booklet. I then clarify issues, explain complex words and expand on the material given to them. I give them things important extra information to annotate and highlight in their booklet.
Hand out the script extract and awkwardly glue into book because it is always bigger than the book. Or not glue it in and risk it getting lost or mauled.Open the booklet to the script extract.
Annotate the awkwardly glued in or loose and getting mauled script with character notes etc…Annotate the script with character notes etc…
Increasingly maul the book / script as they act out the scene.Act out the scene using the booklet.
Write a reflective piece if appropriate about the performance work in books.Write a reflective piece if appropriate about the performance work in booklets.

The saver here is time, simplicity and consistency. There is no gluing in, no handing out resources and no figuring out what to do with scripts. Everyone has the same, you can run the lesson without any interruption based on handing out resources. They are neat, clean and friendly booklets covering the material you want to cover. All the prior work is contained in a really accessible way, allowing you and the students to refer to it easily. It contributes and helps build momentum and knowledge in your lessons.

Cover situation

Life before bookletsLife after booklets
Panic and resent being ill and having to spend time on creating a lesson for a cover teacher. Thinking of creating resources and sending them to school hoping that someone else has time to print them off before the lesson.Go to the next lesson in the booklet and adapt that lesson and lesson content to be taught and covered in a cover lesson.

There is a long list of good pedagogical reasons why you should use booklets, but I think it is also a wellbeing issue. Booklets, whilst they need an initial input of time, reduce the workload from the moment they are created.

So I shall leave you with my five top tips for making them work for you.

  1. Do review and edit the booklet when you review the scheme of work. They should be linked and allow you to make minor adjustments to your teaching as you go through the scheme of work.
  2. Don’t create booklets months or terms in advance. Make them as and when you need them.
  3. Don’t tie yourself down to specific written tasks – have a blank space where students write down the questions.
  4. Make sure that they contain everything you need for the lesson and design it appropriately. If you aren’t sure on the exact content you’ll cover, then have more open question retrieval activities that you can set the specific questions for in the lesson.
  5. Have blank space in the booklet for annotating and writing extra work in.