At the start of her lesson, Flo has a Do Now on the board as students are coming into the room. She’s using a Carousel Whiteboard quiz with three questions on content from a few weeks ago, and three questions on the current topic. She stands carefully in the doorway, making sure that she can easily see into and out of the classroom, as well as control the number of students who are entering at any one time. She greets each student with a good morning as they come in, stops a couple of students whose uniforms need a bit of tidying and has a quiet and encouraging word with a student who has been tricky in the past. She looks back into the classroom and publicly compliments the students who have got started, saying she’s proud of them for showing how much they care about their studies.

Once all students are in the room, Flo goes to the front corner of the room and waits a minute or so before calling the register. A student puts their hand up and, seeing they have forgotten their book, she non-verbally signals to them to go get some paper from the side. Another student has a question, and she signals them to wait, and then once the register is done, quickly moves to that student and answers their question in a whisper. She quickly walks up and down the tables to check that everyone is working and so that they know she is paying attention to them. She goes back to her favourite spot in the front corner of the room, waits another minute and asks students to stop working.

Flo is very good at her job. She’s clearly got her routines down pat, and there is a lot to praise here. Her lesson start is calm and focussed, giving the students opportunity to do retrieval, giving Flo useful information about their knowledge and setting the tone for the rest of the lesson. However, there is one chink in her armour…

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