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.
1. OECD = Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development . Representatives of the 34 OECD member countries meet in specialised committees to advance ideas and review progress in specific policy areas, such as economics, trade, science, employment, education or financial markets.
2. Professor Emeritus Graham Nuthall 1935-2004
Graham Nuthall is credited with the longest series of studies of teaching and learning in the classroom that has ever been carried out and it has been recognised by the educational research community as one of the most significant. A pioneer in his field, his research focused on the intimate relationship amongst students and the teachers within the classroom, resulting in a deeper understanding of the significant and often very subtle classroom interactions which influence learning.
I had a quick look at this Sutton Trust page and couldn’t help but explore the quiz. I did well until the end where I was caught out by the rules of the game changing… I’ll leave you to find out for yourselves! However it did make me think and one thing I know what (from first hand experience of my son’s throw away comments that I lock into memory of course!) motivates our students to try hard, work hard, deliver and please their teacher if not themselves: is effective, good and fairly prompt feedback!
The answer to q 5 resonates with me the most. Which is it for you?
I profess to be no expert when it comes to marking, although I work with colleagues who excel at it and seemingly enjoy the process. After reading a number of blog posts and tweets this weekend, alongside an increasing number of late nights due to marking I am left wondering where the balance lies and who we are marking for.
A few weeks into term and I have already marked hundreds of pieces of work, remarked work and set time aside for marking scrutiny’s and there appears to be no sign of the treadmill stopping. I read a blog post this week, in which each teacher was being told to keep a record of their marking, including when worked had been marked again, presumably to allow for the students making changes or becoming involved in a dialogue. I wonder who this record is for, how will this benefit the student, will the marking not be evidenced through discussions with the students or even observations of lessons?
I have also experienced fervent parental engagement this week; parents rightly, have their own children uppermost in their thoughts and actions, but this doesn’t mean they are qualified or have enough understanding to make effective judgements. In fact, when parents start posting their children’s books on social media – perhaps we have to question if we are even marking for our students at all.
I see the value of marking and enjoy the creativity and effort students put in, however I feel there is a fine line between marking to assess or moving learning forward and ticking boxes in an admin driven evidence trail. I feel in some situations the second has taken the lead and I wonder how it can be reversed? This pressure is not coming from my school leadership, I am fortunate to work in a place where staff have complete autonomy and are given the professional space to make their own judgements. So perhaps it is coming from the students – well I am confident that whilst they like making progress and want to learn, they would be happy with less formal work to complete.
So I suppose the final thought is how do we ensure marking is sustainable and how do we ensure it’s for the benefit of our students and their learning journeys? Answers on a postcard please*.