I have changed the title of my reflections to ‘improving lessons’ to reflect the ongoing process. Furthermore, I believe that continual progress is not possible. In the esoteric way of changing and modifying and adapting and keeping my interest (at least) continual progress is possible. But to improve results and improve paper work and the rest is not. But that is not the point of these reflections.
I began to use the NC learning objectives as part of my planning. This was useful for a degree, although as usual my homework marking routines often subside compared to my exam class preparation (and rightly so.) I was happy enough with my Year 8s approached their planning and writing too. I wonder, though, if there is something in preparing a resource to assess what the students feel they know about each of the things that I intend to teach in that topic? While not always possible, it might be useful. Again, I think KISS (Keep it simple, stupid!) and decide that I will approach at least three things.
My Year 9s wrote creatively in response to a film, but I feel that another film could have been chosen, and another task decided. It took us most of the half term to focus upon this, although we did move onto the speaking and listening towards the end.
My Year 10s began to (and in many cases have finished) two pieces of creative writing. They need to finish an OMAM piece of creative writing, and that is my focus for the next half-term. If they could also finish a piece of analysis to complete their Shakespeare, that will be brilliant, too.
My Year 11s have left, although I intend for them to complete evaluation forms based upon the past year. These have more credibility, I think, when they are critical and specific (although students are generally very positive and pleasant. Their evaluation last year led to me to adjust my questioning to include thinking time.
Revision of Learning Objectives
I now regularly use variations on the anagram learning objective (usually with variations of devising different phrases, and of choosing the most important word, and of – with some Bloom’s Training – understanding the type of learning or thinking necessary.) I feel that the 54321 LO is also useful. The rebus is decent, but it’s a little too heavy in prep time. In addition, the music/film/game one is reasonably effective (although again it requires a little inspiration on my part to adapt to younger students with less cultural knowledge.)
The lingo2word.com is a strange one – it hasn’t gone down too well, and I do not enjoy it either. Not much evaluative commentary on that one – I don’t think I ever write in textspeak myself.
The wordsearch LO is not one that I did during the past time. Again, it was pretty time consuming. However, for lower abilities it would be useful (this could 70 seconds to create, for example) http://www.armoredpenguin.com/wordsearch/Data/2012.06/1006/10063132.083.pdf
To try: the 321 L/O (3 things I know, 2 questions I have, 1 analogy…) as usual, even just 1 and 1 and 1 is useful.
KWL = knowledge, what do I want to know… L = plenary.
Miss out a keyword from the L/O – what could it be?
Revision of plenaries
The pyramid plenary, the creative plenary and the evaluation tree were all used to great effect. Neighbours and flow-chart were also useful. Top tips was especially good for exam work (and, indeed, enable my revision lessons to be especially effective.)
As easy as 1-2-3 was my aim for the new plenary: this involved students explaining three different statements. This required some preparation, although it could have been part of the lesson. Again, I think this might be my new plenary, and I will continue to use the ones garnered before.
As always with plenaries, they require a goodly amount of time to use properly. Rarely is time given to them as much as should be done. However, this is due to judgement. Therefore, I am a happy for another term simplifying my use of them.
Review of Starters
The odd-one-out worked well, as did list starters. I need to use more teacher’s pet style lark, I think.
My use of writing starters has faltered somewhat. I think that this is because the exam demands meant that I often wanted to cover specific content, and also to concentrate on those classes. I think writing starters really require prior planning and completion to be truly effective.
Therefore, I think that I would like to upload Google Drive onto my work computer and begin again the process of applying the starters as I once did.