Saturday, 31 August 2013

A toolbox to help start your term

UPDATED JAN 2014. - Adding in #RAG123 info and updating download data.

I've posted at various points over the last few months about using common formats, excel sheets or tools to help make some aspects of day to day teaching easier. It's not about making everyone's teaching the same, it's about giving a basically good structure to help save time and allow outstanding teaching to flourish around it. A background to this philosophy can be found here in my very first post.

I thought it might be useful to collect the main bits together in one place with a bit of commentary, and I've also shared publicly a couple of the formats that I've not shared previously... Realise this is a bit of a clip show of a post, but hopefully it is also useful.

Transform your marking with #RAG123
Counter-intuitive it may be, but marking more often really can reduce your workload and have real value for students. I can't emphasise enough how much impact this has had on my day to day teaching and also helping to manage my workload. Powerpoint explaining the key points can be found in this post.

Seating plans
Seating plans are deceptively powerful and can be used as an assessment and monitoring tool as well as a way to manage behaviour. However the more data you put in the harder it is to change the plan at a later date - this is a tool to help with that... In this post I explained the thinking behind this sheet - basically it allows you to create and modify seating plans easily and include useful bits of student data at the same time.

The proforma is here. (over 800 downloads on TES as of Jan 2014)

Markbook and feedback proforma
The process behind creating this sheet is explained in this post - the resource is a feedback sheet that has been used in my department to transform the quality of feedback & marking, as described in this post.

I've not shared the proforma before, but it's now available for download here. (downloaded over 400 times on TES as of Jan 2014)

Formats for giving summative tests/assessment formative impact.
As discussed in this post and this post I really value testing in my department, but it's got to be about more than just grades and levels. The following resource allows analysis of any exam, assessment or test. I've even used it in the past to give feedback to book marking but that's been superseded by the feedback proforma above. I find this type of analysis really powerful and the students at our school also find them useful.

I've not shared this widely before, but again it's now available for download here. (downloaded over 150 times on TES as of Jan 2014)

Regular testing followed by good analysis and formative feedback has resulted in our department posting a second consecutive record year of results at GCSE. This year was the first time ever that the school's maths results passed 70% A*-C, with an overall figure of 76.8%. You can see how regular mocks and feedback led to improvement in the graph that tracked our progress during the year...

Prompts for questioning linked to SOLO
This has been one of my most popular posts ever, and the resource has been downloaded on TES over 360 times as of Jan 2014. You can find the sheet here.

Other SOLO resources can be seen here.

Sharing learning objectives with KS5
Sometimes I find it difficult to share learning objectives in a meaningful way with KS5 students - I've found this format useful as explained in this post. The format for the logs can be found here. (over 70 downloads as of Jan 2014).

Make yourself some promises for the start of term
As a HoD or as a classroom teacher it is good to take a few moments to reflect and make yourself some promises. I've explained the thinking behind the formats in this post, and the documents themselves are available here. (over 130 downloads as of Jan 2014).

Other tips to help this year to be better than the next
1) Get on twitter... why? see this post...
2) Do something different in your classroom - here are some ideas
3) If you want something to improve - find a good way to measure it an make it visible - as explained here.
4) Run a departmental open day - you'll get way more from it that you might expect. Details on our first ever one can be found here.

I hope that this coming academic year will be good to you and your students - if you have any other good ideas please do share them.

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