All entries for Saturday 30 April 2011
April 30, 2011
Another successful lesson - despite technology failure.
The pupils didn’t quite get as far as the higher end work because the pupils were slightly late arriving, but they all managed to get up to level 5 work and met the first two objectives. They did lots of practice, building their basics right up. They managed to simplify equations and get a decent definition going. This will be extended in the next lesson so that they can do higher level work.
I have never seen that class get through as much work as they did today.
This new lesson structure is really working out for me.
I had a very successful year 8 lesson today. I am quite pleased. I managed to implement a lot of what I learnt in the last week of term and had a very good lesson with some strong feedback.
I have introduced a new seating plan, am using the ‘no hands up’ rule and have just overall improved the work they do and the way I teach. All have had massively positive results.
The seating plan was well thought through and everyone now sits in L shapes. Two boys and two girls. I have sat the worst one’s on their own and the whole class has been reshaped. It helped that I asked the class teacher to enforce this as they listened to him a lot more than they would to me. I had put up the seating plan on the door and they all found their seats themselves. 3 out of 23 complained but Sir and I both managed to make it work. All in all they are quite ok with it. It eliminates the amount of choice they have at the start so less time wasted.
The no hands up went down surprisingly well too! I wrote all their names on individual lollipop sticks and whenever I asked a question or wanted answers to questions I would pull out a stick and that pupil would have to answer. At one point when I was going over answers to some questions that were on the board I forgot to pull out the sticks and it was endearing to hear the pupils say “Miss use the sticks!”.
I managed to chunk up the lesson a lot more, with a variety of tasks and slow progression, but it being quite apparently there. Giving the pupils time to go to work and then pulling them back. It was the first time I felt in charge of all them, using the lesson to bring them back in and let them do work on their own. It worked.
I also tried the EXIT TICKET and this was very successful.
A new start.
Time to start implementing.
I went into school over the Easter for two days to help at Easter School for the year 11 and A Level pupils.
I spent one day with year 11 and one day with a level pupils and it was a lot of fun. The best part was that on the year 11 day, some year 9 and 10s had also come to get extra help and they made massive amounts of progress! This was so amazing to see, as everyone that was in was motivated and extra absorbent!
I ended up working quite a lot with the A Level pupils to just go over things they weren’t sure about. They had a few misconceptions that I worked them through.
One of the most common error was when they were asked to solve trig equations and to find solutions between 0-360d. they didn’t know how many values they were looking for, or how to do it. The CAST method confused them and they couldn’t work with it correctly. I ended up teaching them how to read values off the sine/cosine graphs and they worked with this really well. It made sense to them straight away and linked together concepts that were quite disjoined in their minds.
It was nice to work with those who wanted to learn as opposed to behaviour management – which is what a lot of my lessons have been about so far. I was able to teach something substantial and take pupils from low levels to much higher but just clarifying things for them.
It was really nice as by the end of the two days, the deputy head found me and had written me a letter to thank me for my help. Unnecessary but appreciated all the same.
I have labeled all pupils with the alphabet and have given the information i have been presented with about the pupils.
Still deciding which three pupils I should focus upon.
I have chosen this class as it is the one that i am learning the most from and the study will probably make the most impact here.
The aim of today’s session was to see how the use of literacy can be increased throughout the curriculum. It was very interesting. The general view was that most departments are already trying certain methods but that we shouldn’t let focus slip.
A couple of very good ideas that I took –
The idea of a pocket display
This has about 8 pouches and you hang it near the front of the class. Once a new word has been discussed a pupil writes it down on a bit of card and this gets slotted into one of the pouches. This remains on display, clear and visible and pupils can make full use of this.
The L- Shaped Tables
So that pupils can work alone, in pairs or in fours. And minimises distractions.
K-F-L - Know, Find, Learn
This was an interesting concept where you use grids to frame learning. There are three sections:
“what do I know?”
“what will I find out?”
“”what have I learnt?”
The middle column is a set of questions/objectives the teacher will want to meet. The first column allows pupils to write what they may already know or what they feel may be relevant. Once the topic/lesson has been taught, they go back to the grid and fill it in with what they have no learnt. Encouraged to be as detailed as possible. The idea of the EXIT TICKET works well with this too as that would allow levels to be given to the amount a pupil has learnt.
I really liked this and I hope to use something like this next term.
More directly addressing the point of the session, the department worked together to devise something that could be done to increase the use of literacy in mathematics.
Some of the department thought that this could be done through song, poetry and rap.
Another idea was to focus more on where the concept came from or a bit more on whom discovered it. E.g. by telling the class how the Cartesian coordinates were created succeeded in securing the interest of a rowdy year 8 class whilst allowing the expanded use of literacy in the maths classroom.
One of the teachers and I came up with the idea of furthering the KFL concept. We thought it would be a good idea if we created a mind map at the start of a topic with subheadings and asked pupils to fill in which bits they knew. Then at the end of the topic we give it out again and see if they can fill in any more. This would assess their ability and allow the pupils to write in their own words what they have learnt.
If the topic was Pythagoras the mind map would have the following subheadings –
Key Definitions – Opposite, Hypotenuse, Adjacent, Squared, Square Root,
About Pythagoras –
And anything else suitable.
The blank document is given out and pupils fill in what they already know, realise that they will need to be able to fill in all of the boxes, and at the end of the topic they fill in what they have learnt. This leaves room for the teacher and pupil to also know where the pupil is struggling.
I had a very good mentor meeting today. This week the focus was on how my planning is not brilliant, and if I have a good lesson idea it doesn’t often execute very well. So this was the focus of the discussion.
My mentor spent a good while sitting with me and explaining all the key aspects he tries to cover in all of his lessons. This included things like ‘Key words’ and always linking each task to the objectives to show progress.
He gave me a structure to a lesson. How to start it, when to move on, etc..
You’d think I would know this all by now.
One of the tips I have been given is to write the objectives in “All, Most, Some” form. This would improve the differentiation aspect and tighten my lesson.
This was another thing I need to work on, tightening the lesson, so that every pupil has something to do.
Pace is always something I have struggled with. It is about me taking charge of the class and leading them forwards with me.
This meeting was something I should have encouraged earlier. The content was very useful and has given me a lot to think about.
So my performance has gone down a grade. I am expected to end the placement on a 2/3 but am currently missing on quite a few sections. This is based mostly on my Lesson Observations.
Professional Knowledge and Understanding Q10 – Q21 is the one section which I am doing ok in at the moment but I need to work on the other sections - Professional Attributes – Q1-Q9 and Professional Skills Q22 – Q33.
For section one I would make my key target to include
-planning well in advance and communicating ideas with the class teacher and mentor. This would eliminate the concern in this section and would push me to a higher level of teaching.
For section two my target is:
- make sure all pupils are always catered for, SEN/ EAL/ high performers/ weaker pupils.
- Keep on improving assessment techniques.
For section three I am working on:
- strong lesson objectives so that they apply to all pupils and set the pace of the lesson.
- Pupils should be aware of their learning journey – what did they know, what did they learn. This can build a strong learning process.
I don’t doubt that this is an accurate analysis of my performance this term. By the end of the term I was almost losing the will to live and my lessons have a lot to be improved on.
My illness hasn’t helped at all but there is nothing I can do about that – now I just have to make improvements for next term. The best part for me is that all of a sudden everyone has jumped in and is giving me solid steps on what to do to improve. I have had meetings with my mentors and Warwick and have actual steps to follow to make the improvements I need to. I am quite motivated for next term and I am sure it will all make a great difference.
There is a member of the department who is doing his Teach First training at my school and we thought it would be a good idea if we did some team teaching with a year 9 class.
Due to external circumstances there wasn’t enough time to make it the best planned lesson but we thought we would give it a go just to see how well it worked.
In the end the lesson worked out ok. It wasn’t the best, but also not quite the worst.
We had decided to split the lesson so that he would settle everyone, introduce the topic and I would go through some examples and then set pupils some work. That was he could circulate and I could make sure all was going well.
The experience was strong as it allowed Sir to mingle with his class on a one to one basis and I was in front of a class I didn’t know. We discussed it after the lesson and had a lot to learn from each other.
The success for me included getting along with the class, who were struggling to work well with their teacher. There was one point when the pupils started discussing a pupil who was cutting her hair off for charity and it looked as though the class attention could be lost. I knew what they were talking about and so I joined in from the front of the class saying that it was an amazing thing she was doing and everyone should support. Everyone nodded and got back to work. Sir picked up on this and said it worked really well as it took 20 seconds away from the lesson, but ended the chatter and they went straight back to work. It worked as an approach as yelling “be quiet” wouldn’t have got any of us anywhere. Good relationships were formed between all of us and progress was made.
The topic we were teaching was one that we could have allowed a lot more exploration with, i.e. the pupils could have been left to discover the corresponding or alternate rules themselves through experimentation and it could have been extended to proofs and triangles.
If I do a lesson like this again I will ensure I explore as many concepts as possible.
Also, I found this team teaching a very good experience and we hope to do this again next term, with the same class and more rigorous planning.
Red Nose Day is always something I remember from school. This school is making a big investment into this day and have got all sorts of activities on. I really enjoy being a part of this as I feel there is a larger community that I am a part of. It is taking away from the fact that I am at this school as a guest and I feel really welcome. Its taken long enough I guess, but it is always a nice reminder to feel a part of something.
The school takes charity very seriously and encourages this amongst all pupils. This really shows me the strong social aspect and interests of this school to make pupils incredibly well rounded.
So far I have taught a few Citizenship lessons on the topic of Democracy and the conflict in Darfur. The point was to encourage pupils to see the struggles of other children across the world.
The pupils had no idea where Darfur was and struggled to relate to the children there. Probably because they had no was to see how it could be real. The stories were so terrible that I could understand why the pupils couldn’t quite view it as ‘real’.
I got carried away by this topic and really enjoyed teaching it as I got to bring out my Politics knowledge. The class ended up in a debate about whether voting was good or not. I was pleased to probe and we got as far as talking about how streetlights should operate on a vending-machine principle so that tax is avoided!
Citizenship is fun - I got the pupils writing stories and working in pairs and coming up with all sorts of solutions and potential causes. They were quite excited by the topic of Darfur by the end but it did take some work. I ended up doing some acting to try and encourage a response.
The generic PowerPoint that was given out on Darfur to everyone was bland and there were some things I wasn’t happy with so I made my own and sent it to my mentor. I didn’t realise but he then sent it around to all the teachers and the school ended up using my PowerPoint! This was nice =)
To try and improve my idea of pace I observed an English lesson today with an assistant head with the objective of addressing pace. It was quick moving and they got through a lot of work with a lot of different task types.
I wondered how this was done. My classes lack this movement and this needs to be worked on. Still slightly unsure about how to do this…but I think it goes down to me taking control and leading the class forward based on what I feel is appropriate, levelling the work at the right stages so that what I think, really does happen.
My lessons need to be tighter. So that if I do an active activity I can pull the pupils back in and calm them down. The ordering of tasks is important.
My lesson plans are much better now and i have been told that i have improved upon quite a few of my targets.
This week I am focusing on pace of lessons. This is linked to my target of lesson planning with plenty of days to spare so that I can get enough feedback on them. I am struggling to keep up but have to try.
(i can only upload this example - the others are similar)
The year 8s can’t do any multiplication. It is bad. Every Friday they have number lessons to try and boost their basics.
That is why the class teacher and I have come up with the idea of the Multiplication project. This is where for 4 weeks their homework is to learn a particular set of times table and at the end of each week they will get certificates.
Have a look –
I hope this goes well.
Tutor time so far has not really done much for my imagination. It hasn’t been so productive and I am not quite sure about how much impact I can have at the moment. So far I have seen it as a time to relay any messages and for the tutor to keep an eye on everyone – in terms of having their diary, good uniform, etc.
Once a week they watch the news on Oddbox, which is very good for them as they gain access to the goings on in the world through an interactive means and this always works very well. The pupils find it funny and do take a lot from it. I like this.
Building on this I have started to show some videos that I have come across in my time. Some funny videos that keep the class engaged and cause a discussion. I would like to carry on discussing the graphics or the song and this is working well as those who often misbehave have a lot to say in regards to it.
The class wanted to listen to a pop song, Friday, and so I played it to them and we discussed why it was so awful. This led onto a whole fact giving session by each member of the class about how pop songs are made and how businesses are started!
I like the idea of bringing general knowledge in to tutor time. Although I am sure there are tutor time resources available on the school drive somewhere…I have yet to find these.
After the training day I had with PP1 school I feel that I have a strong approach to marking. I always make sure each page is recognised and feedback is given on each lesson. I encourage a dialogue between myself and the pupil by asking questions and leaving a couple of minutes in the lesson for pupils to write back what they think about the feedback I have given them. In lessons I always allow pupils to write what they don’t understand and I can clarify it with them through their books.
Further to this, after each lesson or two I will write two or three more questions based on that topic for the pupil to do to confirm their knowledge and extend them. This is where I feel I make the most contribution to formative assessment, and I feel it is successful. However, I do feel it is difficult to keep it up with a whole set of class books. I find it hard and draining, but the benefits are clear and I couldn’t imagine marking with ticks or crosses.
Observed a citizenship lesson today. This left me quite confused. There was a generic PowerPoint and the tutor made the pupils write a story. The lesson followed on from the theme of the week; “Young Carer’s”. The school had held assemblies and brought in visitors to talk about the increase in the number of Young Carer’s in Coventry. To keep this going that was incorporated into Citizenship. After going over what the role actually meant, the pupils had to develop their ability to empathise and they had to write a diary entry as though they were a Young Carer. This worked wonders for their literacy skills and got them to really think about how they would feel – the whole point of Citizenship. I shall be taking Citizenship lessons soon.
Target for this week is to ensure my lesson plans have more depth to them. This includes putting in what kind of behaviour I expect, what I will do about it, questions I will ask and to whom, how I will lay things out on the board, timings, and also details about potential decisions I may have to make at certain points. I was given some examples and can use these to work with.
So the year 11’s are going to be looking at Reaction Times and shall be conducting their own experiments. I have helped them see how they should structure their work and what sections they should include. They don’t appear too worried about it so we are hoping they work well. It is weird to see that sometimes I feel that they aren’t listening, but then when I look back 10 minutes later they have produced a lot of good work. I like that I am getting the chance to work with older pupils. I have found that there is time for me to get to know them and prompt them by encouragement and appealing to their needs instead of trying to force them to behave.
I enjoy talking to them and working with them; they ask structured questions when they don’t understand something and I can make this better. This is the one class I feel I am making a difference. It is great to see that I explain something and when I come back to it they have made significant progress.
Differentiation has been talked about for months now and its importance is prominent. Implementing it is always difficult though. I have managed to cater for the weakest pupils but now I need to work on pushing the top end so that they don’t get bored and fall behind. The technicality of this seems hard as there are only a few pupils who are at the top end of my classes but it is something I must focus on now.
The assemblies at this school are strong. They take place once a week and are always based on a topic. The year manager always gives prizes to the pupil with the best attendance and a deputy head will tell stories and push for good behaviour. All the teachers gather around and make sure uniform is perfect and everyone is listening. I take my tutor down to the hall for these assemblies and make sure they uphold the values of the school.
Met the new year 11 group this week. They are a massive class. The teacher with them is fantastic and can control them all – something I know I would find hard. But I find it very mixed. Half of them are really motivated and want a better grade but the other half are quite complacent and have said to me that they can’t be bothered because they already have their GCSE. It must be tough to work with such a diverse class.
There is concern that these pupils won’t end up with five A* to C grades in summer and so the maths department has decided to enter them in for Statistics GCSE at Foundation Level. So at the moment they are going to be working on their statistics coursework and won’t get much extra support for the exam, however the school feel that the pupils should be fine at Foundation level. I guess if it works then this is a good move. They are quite good at maths so the opportunity is good. Some wanted to do the higher paper but were turned down as there isn’t time to work for it.
There is still discussion going on about the coursework question and how to go about it but this should be sorted in the next few days.
I have been told that I need to work on my “teacher presence”.
This was linked to my year 8 lesson where pupils don’t actually know that I am there and in charge. I don’t quite know what to do with this at the moment…how do you improve teacher presence? Any advice?
My year 11 class has changed. I was in the Intervention group and did starters and group work, but found out that actually I would be better in the top set group. So I am going to start that lesson from Monday.
There are 45 pupils in that class (!) and they all have already got their grade C at GCSE. They are retaking the exam in June so they can get As or Bs. There are 3 pupils in their who have already done C1 and passed it – whatever that means.
There was a supply teacher in today and I didn’t know. They had been set a past paper and they didn’t seem too pleased.
I ended up teaching a spontaneous lesson on trigonometry and it went really well. There wasn’t the standard structure to the lesson of starter and plenary but I didn’t think they needed it, nor were they in the mood. I ended up going from the basics of the graphs, all the way up to trig identities and solving equations. I was pleased to see that they understood the structure of the exam questions and correctly got through the questions in the past paper they were looking at.
Got some very good feedback and so was pleased. =)
This group is made up of 15 pupils and they are re taking their GCSE. It is odd, as they are quite grown up but quite weak. Almost half of the group are EAL and have recently come into the country so have had troubled education life. Some are those who had previously had behavioural problems and so didn’t concentrate whilst at school.
However, despite all of this they are quite motivated. They seem to have realised that they need to get their act together and work hard. I find it weird that they aren’t getting the amount of support that the intervention group are getting but I am hoping to try and help them.
I end up taking revision lessons with the class, going over a whole topic and setting practice questions. They often ask to go on MyMaths and always make a good attempt at their work.
The problem I have had is that they seem to forget everything! They always understand the work and get the answers correct, but half an hour later, they can’t remember anything.
Not brilliant. Tried to get them to do converting between fractions and decimals, questions first and then some origami cubes so they could apply their learning to a 6 sided shape. It could have worked except I couldn’t quite get the link between the cube and the lesson objectives across.
Also half the pupils felt the cube wasn’t cool enough for them to bother with. Hm.
This class is settled and have a strong routine in place. They come into the class and set up the tables. They have strong starters and plenaries and those who play up are always kept in at break. There are a few characters in the class but the teacher makes active attempt to keep routine in their lives. This is something I will have to keep up.
What a scary class. I am already terrified. I was with the teacher and in the first lesson he sat everyone in a circle and had a chat with them about their behaviour from the previous term. They discussed a seating plan and they were all asked what they want from a maths lesson. I was watching and was introduced to the class as their new teacher. I was scared! They wanted interactive lessons, use of laptops and half wanted to sit in groups and half wanted to sit alone.
It was decided that half would sit alone and half in groups, with the teacher not talking very much. Great.
This year 11 group is nice. They are trying all the techniques they can think of to try and make sure that these pupils get their Grade C’s. There are some in the class who are worthy of a B but they have other hindrances such as their confidence. There is one girl who is very able but she refuses to believe she has any potential and so always stops the amount of work she does and loses her concentration. They have extra sessions with TAs and other teachers and spend a lot of time in school after the day is out. They are working hard and the head of department spends a lot of time ensuring assessment takes place and they are always practicing. I wish them all the best.
My role will be to join in with this and to make sure the one to one training continues. I work with small groups, teach parts of the lessons and work with targeted individuals.
My timetable has been arranged. I have a massive mix of classes and levels and am going to be sole teaching, team teaching, observing and group teaching.
I’ve also got the opportunity to teach Citizenship and am attached to a year 8 tutor group.
In more detail:
Year 7 – Level 3 – 5
Year 8 – Level 4 – 5
Year 8 – Tutor and Citizenship
Year 11 – Intervention group
Year 12 – AS Level
Year 12 – GCSE Resit group