So, 2 key things happened this week. In marking all my books I realised that I was going to miss these kids, these classes, these relationships at the end of my training. And why teachers put up with all the hard work and often heartache – because these kids are growing, and you get to be part of that.
Mid Term Re-Plan
Secondly, I decided with a heavy heart to scrap my more motivational mid term plan for my tired Y9’s. The EYO Assessments have been moved to an earlier slot, starting this side of half term while I’m still teaching them. I lost 100m with them due to the bank holiday, and scoring a hit seems, sadly, more significant that inspiring them to write poetry. So it’s go go go with practicing unseen poetry and reinforcing the persuasive formula…
I’m actually having to do this for all my KS3 classes. It’s less problematic with my 2 x Y7 classes, since we’re doing ‘Accent, Dialogue and Autobiography’ at the moment, so there isn’t a thematic context that needs to be condensed.
T5: Adapting Teaching to repsond to the Strengths and Needs of ALL pupils: A Y8 Case Study.
With my lower ability Y8’s the challenge is to prepare for the Assessments alongside motivating engagement, and finishing the novel by Half Term without losing the class comprehension of events in the process! I’ve found this really challenging but beneficial, as I’ve had to constantly interrogate the purpose and benefit of each task, for both curriculum skills and cohesive contextual content. I’ve also maximised my plenaries to facilitate the consolidation of learning during this faster pace of lessons. As a result my last 3 lessons have felt very sharp and focussed, with much more aggressive differentiation designed to progress each individual pupil toward what I have ascertained their potential achievement level. Plus, the set moves have meant that I’ve inherited 3 new pupils into the class, plus a new starter, whose profiles I have had to quickly and rigorously assess. With the set-movers, it was a case of downloading their data from ASPEN and using this to create a TARGET card as the rest of the class have, allowing pupils to stay focussed and aware of their targets, and allowing me to move them in Kagan allocated gorupings for relevant tasks. In spite of being placed centrally in the whole class profile, the 2 set movers from the lower set are really struggling with the format of the lessons, which the LSA informs me are much pacier and more complex in terms of activities and processing expectations, so I’m incorporating them into my strategies for Lower Ability learners in the class (see below).
Isn’t it crazy? Even in an ability ‘set’ class with identical results, kids are SO different.
The 4th new pupil is a school mover, whose EOY target fits the class profile (5c), but he’s come in on a 3a! I can only hypothesise that he’s been set for hisEOY rather than his actual progress, and it’s quite an ambitious target considering that he’s joined us with a term to go. Still with a reading age of 11, I figured that our boy-friendly novel could be a a good stimulus for development. Following a class reading strategy, it became apparent that the reading age was not a match for the class and asked the LSA to do our own tests, which ascertained a reading and writing ages of 8 and 9. As a result I’ve moved him onto my ‘intervention’ table (which is obviously, not obvious. I hope! Merits, tough questions and lots of vocab challenges and praise go this way, as well as writing homework into their diaries and frequent mini-table AFL checks), and my LSA is incorporating him into her focused activities with our other literacy weak pupil. By the time the EOY’s come along, he will have been part of the same preparation process, so I’ll take his transition into consideration alongside the results and if necessary have a chat with the LSA and class teacher about additional support.
A tangible example of how I’m adapting teaching with this class then – teaching Writing to Describe in the last lesson…
I would normally expect to spend a fair amount of time ensuring 1/3 the class had managed to draw a KPT, during which the attention of the middle 1/3 would wane, whilst the top 1/3 would be finished and ready to move on. This time, I pre-printed a KPT template. I distributed this to the lower 1/3 to eliminate unproductive time struggling to structure their responses. I targeted the middle 1/3 for on the spot feedback for examples to ensure they engaged out of anticipation for a response, and I included a second line of harder challenges on each slide for the top 1/3 to ensure they were being stretched. It worked! The class variabley and appropriately progressed AT THE SAME PACE! HOORAY!
To make sure I reaaaallllllly got them focussed, I also designed this homework sheet to ensure that the kids were actually incorporating the success criteria into their writing, by simultaneously self-assessing. I’ll post once I get it back and can make a call on if it worked…
Whilst we’re on hoorays, it was a wonderful birthday bank holiday, and since I’m feeling all smushy, I can’t let this post pass without wishing my beautiful little girl a special second year X