last Saturday, and I love being part of an online community that really does
care about its students- the passion and enthusiasm for a mid-term Saturday
morning was awesome to be part of.
As the hashtag in my title suggests, I’m still dining out on the same bloody
thing, but hey, if it aint broke, I’m not fixing it! I saw @oldandrewuk ribbing
people still blogging on SOLO, to which my former colleague @saidthemac offered
a suitably sharp reply that made me smile.
As @gwenelope so fantastically commented in her recent blog, TofE gives ‘... an efficient and purposeful way of providing very focused feedback. Anything that saves time with marking and feedback has got to be good.’ So, I thought, why not capture that sense of feedback and give it to students before they undertake a piece of work. At the moment, we are studying ‘Transactional Writing’ in preparation for the WJEC Unit 2 exam. This lesson required the students to write a report covering how to improve their school. The resources they had were:
1. Some ‘realistic’ stats and quotes which were made up and handed to them (we discussed importance of realistic and reliable data here, but the focus was on the format of the writing, and more in depth discussion about writing a report and making stats up from scratch in the actual exam will come later!)
2. A small number of sentence stems for each section of the report
For me, it’s at the end of the year, the students are, largely speaking, burned out, they have had a ludicrous amount of supply prior to me even getting here, and they’re probably not going to remember the minute details they will need to closer to the time. My focus has been capturing engaging ways that can expose them to a range of texts and give them a platform to build on from next year.
TofE helped as it enabled me to give them the challenge of setting up their own Success Criteria in a self-differentiating way. By this I mean that students were able to target areas they felt most comfortable with, and then move on to push themselves for the more complex errors, and the movement up the ladder provided a safe platform for them to do this. I asked them to mark a sample report and filter the errors as below:
The lesson, while an improvement on the students’ previous attempts at writing a report, still needs tweaking.
When I do it again, I will:
1. Give the students more time to plan their specific sections- although there was some discussion, it needed to be more in depth in order for students to genuinely produce a coherent report, given that they were responsible for different sections
2. Back off with the sentence starters- this is something I am guilty of far too much- I want lessons to flow, students to feel confident, and me to feel like things are being done, but, in all honesty, I don’t see the long term benefits of these things, so I need to find a way of weaning myself and my students off them
3. Allow one group to work on the teacher computer- I think particularly for a task such as this, seeing a (preferably effective) example being constructed would be useful, with frequent live interviews from the front of the room