Creativity session

Evaluation of ITKOTC game

Initially, students were apprehensive to start making a game, saying they were too old for it. Being yr11s and some at nearly 16, I did understand why. But without doing in class revision, students were never going to look at this book again. 
The boys took control in the making of dice and boards while the girls created questions on separate cards. The boys enjoyed writing on the board and it enabled them to think about the events and occurrences in the book. They had to think critically about the themes and how they could be put into the game. For example, they thought about how seeing the yew trees would be ominous and so they drew a tree and on the next square wrote about it. If some one landed on that square, they would have to go back a square. 
The girls’ questions were more Q & A. I asked them to focus on quotations for example, complete the quote or who said it. 
When the students actually came to play the games, they seemed to enjoy it. It is not something I would do all lesson but it certainly was a good extended plenary. 
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Never let me go

I have been reading the famous ”Never let me go” by Kazuo Ishiguro. The Year 12 literature class at my second school are studying it so I decided to set it as a reading task for my own Year 13 creative writing class. I thought it would be relevant and apt because of the different parts and the intriguing dystopian nature of the book.

I was pleasantly surprised at the engagement I have received from my Year 13s; without formal guidance and a weekly lesson, they have managed to stay in contact through a twitter account I set up and have shown enjoyment and excellent understanding of the plot and characterisation.

I myself was completely blown by the concept in the novel. I really believe that one day, this idea will become a reality and I believe Ishiguru does too. Even in the news today they were talking about the probability of three- parent babies. This opitomises the movement and developments in science and foreshadows future movements.

Do I think it’s a good idea, creating a species to be used for donors for sick people? I think that in some twisted way, there is an ideal there. Yss, we want poeple to have cures and to be given donors readily. But there must be other ways. For a tart, the characters in the novel were created with feelings, exact prototypes for real human beings. This is inhumane as when they are giving their organs up, they feel pain. It would be different if they were simply robots with no thought processes, conscience or feelings. These characters loved.

As you can probably tell, this books is captivating as it makes you rethink ethics and morals. I would definitely recommend.

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Year 7 lovelies- and responding to targets

As I said earlier, yesterday was my visiting tutor observation. The main target was to include more student-led learning.

I responded to my targets in the Year 7 lesson I just had. We did a starter whereby students peer assessed each others’ work, according to criteria which I had made on the board. students took on the challenge and gave their partner’s homework a score out of 5. this worked really well because although I gave them the criteria, they took ownership in the marking of their work.

Next we looked at, for the second time, Benjamin Zephaniah’s poem, Dis Poetry. I out them into groups and they worked together to deliver parts of the poem. They managed to to this with tenacity and the end result was excellent. they had rhythm, used accents, were lyrical and confident. Most importantly, they worked together as a group to attain the best possible result.

I think that when the end result is a performance, it is easy to do student-led learning. when you are focusing on close analysis of language, it is less so. I need to find ways of making the lesson more active, yet students still learn aspects they need to. I have spoken to the HOD who has given me numerous ideas to try and accompany this.

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Making productive and accurate use of assessment

I have attended two professional development sessions involving accurate and productive use of assessment whilst at my second school. This first allowed me to gain an insight into how the school assesses students here, the second was how schools in general are assessed.

At this school, students are given levels for most pieces of work they do. This is because the students are highly motivated by grades and have been told of their potential from a very early age. They seem to be heavily influenced by the element of grading and competition within their class. This is good as this is a school whereby students are high attainers and the grading system is seen as a token reward system. You work hard and put in maximum effort and you get an A. The school does not use NC levels for KS3, it is much more to do with the effort and general outcome of the work produced. I think my home school students would benefit from this sort of grading. It is difficult for the student who always puts in maximum effort but never fulfils the requirements of a 6a and therefore doesn’t achieve an A. I believe that when we complete summative assessment, we could give them a number (level) and an effort grade.

Students at the second school complete entrance exams to be here. They are then assessed using CAT testing and assessed again through internal examination. this is excellent as it gives teachers an extensive overview of the students’ abilities and therefore makes the necessary provisions for the students to obtain their targeted grade at GCSE. This, by the way, is far more accurate because of the numerous testing done. I am extremely impressed by this.

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Visiting tutor visit

Yesterday was my second visiting tutor meeting. It is always wonderful to see my tutor; she is kind and positive and always sees the bets in situations. Unlike a lot of people in others areas of work, she is a mentor who honestly wants to the best for her students.

My tutor observed a mixed ability Year 10 lesson at my second school placement, the levels ranging from A*- B with a minority of students working at a C level. I was keen to make a good impression, insomuch as this was my first KS4 observation and it was an excellent opportunity to show of my subject knowledge. In hindsight, I think I let this take over slightly and, whilst my subject knowledge really shined thorough in the lesson and my tutor showed confident in my abilities, the lesson was predominantly teacher-led. I need to recognise this and adapt my teaching for my next observation with these students.

Next lesson I plan to either split the class and get each half to teach each other, or really use the fact that we are studying a play to my advantage. Students could dramatise the rest of the Act in which we are focusing.

I have another observation to look forward to next Thursday, this time by the deputy Head teacher of the second school; she is the face of the teaching alliance and her background is English based.I have heard that she is quite regimented in her observations and she sees every flaw in a lesson. EEK!

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School based task- Diversity Issues

Studying Private Peaceful with top set Yr 9 was an excellent experience. Prior to starting, I was quite nervous; in hindsight I know that students want to learn and are open to more when they have the cpacity to think outside the box, I did not need to feel how I did.

Students were very negaged throughout the reading. I taught them a range of reading strategies that thy can take through to their GCSE years and hopefully their exams in Yr 11. I found it surprising that up until now, they had been reading and finding answers but had not yet been told the specific range of strategies and which to use when. I hope that from now, they will be able to link the question asked with the relevant startegy.

When arriving at the part where Charlie goes against orders and is sent to the firing squad, I tookt he opportunity to explore the issue in detail. We explored the context and how a soldier must obey order whether or not they agree with the decision made. Students were angered by this and I think they are right to be. It is something which out society is not used to; we had freedom of speech and free will. We would not think of doing somethign we knew was wrong or futile. I explained that countries still have young men that have been obliged to join the army as part of their service to their country. I told them specifically of Cyprus. In reflection, we could have explored other countries and their justification for keeping the national service.

The lessons where this discussion took place were encouraging for me. It is easy to be bogged down by the tick boxes and admin filling we are told to do as trainees. Even as teachers, it must become a very narrow job at times. You teach students to pass the test, they pass and you get your ay increment. But exploring social, diverse issues open students’ minds to things we are not taught at school. It teaches them empathy, wider knowledge of the world and how lucky they are to be living in a generation and society of such comfort.

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Second placement so far…

First week

My first week went well. I observed all of the lessons I would be taking over and also managed to observe some extra and complete those all important lesson observations! We were given timetabled CPD sessions which I am really grateful for; another box ticked but also helped to settle me into the school. Staff in my department worked hard to make me feel welcome and give me guidance on what I should be aiming to teach whilst I am there. I got the impression that people were very bus at the school because there was not much conversation in the staff room and people out of our department were not forthcoming with guidance or conversation.

The second week proved much more difficult for me. I had the stress of being observed twice, one of the times by both of my mentors. I was also finding it hard pastorally, I definitely do not fit in to the school. In the observation, I felt out of control. Students were showing off to the extra adults in the room and were asking silly questions and behaving inappropriately. It really upset me. I dealt with the issues and managed to think on my feet, changing the lesson completely to meet th needs of the students. Fortunately, I got outstanding from both mentors. They were impressed by my ability to adapt teaching and the subject knowledgeI managed to show.

If this were ever to happen to me, I think I would be able to complete the lesson and deal with the silly behaviour. I need to realise that I do have a lot of experience in behaviour management and I can always tap into the techniques I have learnt in the PRU. My own mentor is forever saying to me that I need to see where my strengths lie and not be so hard on myself. I believe that the reason Ifelt it had gone so bad was a buikd up of the whole week. I really hope the next two weeks go quickly so that I can get back to my wonderful students and supportive colleagues.

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