I really enjoyed observing Al Morris’ Year 8 DT class last week.
This lesson allowed the students to tidy away after a busy practical session in a safe and ordered environment. During the previous lesson, the students had been made aware of expectations to clear away. Al has used music to establish routines and teach pupils to associate particular cues with specific behavioral requirement’s in the classroom taken from Pavlov’s theory. Music is a great tool to signal a transition from one activity to another, for both the teacher and the student. The students knew exactly what to do when they heard the music, Benny Hill’s theme tune and responded right away. The room was tidy within 2.40 mins, a seriously impressive time. Pupils also had an incentive to do well as groups were timed and feedback and commendations given to winning tables.
The lesson ended with a ‘catch the question’ plenary.” Al started the ball rolling by asking a question, on answer a pupil could then ask a question to the class that they were sure or unsure of the answer and so on. Pupils were really enthusiastic to take on the teacher’s question role. It was a quick and easy plenary to apply in any lesson.
On arrival I had noticed a sign which read “Luke Warm Lesson!” Al, you need to change the sign to Red Hot Lesson.
Peer Monitoring the SPAG helps fill the pot to success!
On each table is a laminated A3 coloured sheet demonstrating best practice use of SPAG. All students are consciously aware of their grammar expectations.
During the previous lesson, the students were required to write a paragraph using creative writing skills to compose the beginning of a ghost story.
The peer mentor went around the room whilst the teacher (Gemma) was delivering the next part of the work, reading over the students work and awarding them a gold star if they managed to get no grammar errors. If the peer mentor spotted an error this would be circled to allow the student to make the relevant correction.
Brilliant – 1) teacher spends time teaching instead of marking, 2) it acts as a learning opportunity for the peer mentor, 3) there is no disruption or time lost from peer marking in class 4) the students have the incentive to do well so they get a gold star……which leads to a bigger prize.
What’s not to like? Everybody remembers getting gold star in school it’s nostalgic.
Nicola produced an A5 size sheet with five questions/statements each of which contained one or more errors. As the class entered they were given a sheet and the questions/statements were also projected onto the screen. They had five minutes to study the sheet before Nicola started to ask students to identify the errors which they then had to circle. Not only did they have to identify the errors, they also had to justify why they thought they were errors. The questions/statements were progressively more difficult.
An ideal starter to assess prior learning (could also be used to introduce a new topic) and to get the students ‘warmed up’. They responded very well indeed and the use of ‘errors’ made it that more interesting. Some struggled with justifying their answer and Nicola used this as an opportunity to develop their answers with further questions. Sheets were then collected in at the end.
Kevin Mitchell (Observer)
Interestingly, I called the starter “Beat the Teacher”, but it all amounts to the same thing. The previous lesson I gave the students the opportunity to fill in a table identifying key aspects of legal structures of business. As I was unsure of whether or not they really appreciated the nuances, I created a starter to check their understanding and reinforce their knowledge by putting the A01 knowledge into context.
I’m definitely using it again; 1) it gave me chance to get organised and take the register, 2) it got them settled in to the lesson quickly, 3) I was able to challenge their understanding and application to a high level, 4) it gave me an opportunity to hand out commendations at the start of the lesson which got us off to a positive start.
I had the pleasure of observing a Year 11 Religious Studies GCSE class last week. I had previously seen Kerry Anstee use the FARM PLAN resource, in another lesson and was delighted to see it used once again. In groups of 4, the class used a graphic organiser to discuss and develop their their viewpoint on the statement ‘religion and science can never agree’. This lesson not only allowed the students to practice exam technique, sequencing thought within a framework and literacy skills but they were also able to collaborate and work together therefore developing independent learning and more importantly the shift was towards the students doing the hard work and not the teacher! An excellent example of great practice that can be adapted for use in any subject.
In an attempt to improve student’s exam technique and literacy ability I have been experimenting through a number of strategies with GCSE students. This has been an ongoing measure so the opportunity to receive some feedback from peers by demonstrating one during Red Hot Lesson fortnight seemed like too good an opportunity to miss.
The task involved setting students an exam question and allowing them time in groups to plan a response on a specially prepared sheet. Students were asked to write their responses themselves under timed conditions, then rotate answers to allow their peers to review their work and make suggestions for improvement. Another rotation of work allowed for peer marking of their initial answers against the GCSE mark scheme, The activity culminated in the final rotation of work to allow students their books back to review the comments and marks. Students were finally asked to take home their books to act on the comments to result in an answer worth full marks.
Most students coped well with this approach and were happy to participate in the activity, benefiting from the opportunity to plan their answers together and then offer suggestions for improvement. There were general nods of agreement after the lesson that they would be happy to undertake this approach again. What stood out for me most, though, was the fear in a couple of students eyes who actually failed to write more than two sentences (most wrote between half and a whole page). They were anxious that their peers would be reviewing their work so closely, preferring instead to maintain a solitary approach to their learning (despite careful planning of groups to alleviate this anticipated situation). They were reluctant to join in the group planning and could not bring themselves to write their answers. The interactive approach took them out of their comfort zone and, despite coaxing in the lesson, they did not benefit from the approach. I need to find a way to include them without them realising their are being included!
Their books and answers are due in for marking today so I hope the quality of the answers reflect the effort that appeared to be shown in the lesson.