Planning Cards

New Planning Cards – January 2021

Link to Planning Cards and Instructions pages

From Prediction to Publication

Several of my courses refer to the use of planning cards. Here is an explanation of how they developed and what they do.

The latest National Curriculum tells us what to teach but not how. Many teachers, especially those new to the profession, found it hard to put together an effective teaching sequence and were often left thinking ‘What do I do in Literacy tomorrow?’ This was stressful and a drain on their time and energy. I really like the reading to writing  sequence from the previous curriculum and started to revisit the idea of a three phase approach: reading and responding – reading and analysing – writing. Working with teachers in my Keighley schools, especially Holycroft Primary, we began to develop a five phase approach to this sequence: prediction – comprehension – Test Structure/Punctuation and Grammar – planning, drafting and editing and publishing. We found that this gave the children and the teachers a structure to their work which made them feel secure.

But what do we do  in each phase? I compiled a selection of ideas for each phase and these became a central part of my CPD. These are all designed to provide active involvement in learning with speaking and listening and the use of quality texts at the heart.

In training sessions, after sharing the ideas, I developed the idea of ‘Post-it’ planning where teachers chose a book and then sketched and/or wrote on sticky notes what they would do in each phase and what the recorded outcomes would be.


‘Post-it’ planning for the Matchbox Diary

In January 2016, I was asked to lead training on the reading to writing sequence in a local school. Conscious that some teachers had already attended a ‘Post-it’ planning session and anxious to avoid wasting their time, I came up with the idea of replacing the sticky notes with pre-made planning cards symbolising the ideas and colour coded to match the phases. The idea being that when planning together, those who knew the idea could explain them to their colleagues. This worked really well and has become a fundamental part of what I do with individuals, small groups and during CPD.


Planning cards in action  for The Red Prince


Phase 1 – Prediction – Planning cards

Each time we plan a unit, we select the appropriate cards for each phase and identify the recording and writing opportunities throughout the unit and main written outcome.

As well as cards for fiction, there are also cards for non-fiction, film literacy, challenge cards for more able children and concept of  a sentence cards for younger or less able children.

Planning cards are usually made available as a free download to the teachers I work with in school or who attend my courses.

Planning cards for the Prediction phase can be downloaded for free here and there is a page with explanations and examples here.