Saturday, 14 September 2013

Rockets to A Stars

Something that one of our teachers is doing with their group - I really liked the idea so thought I'd share it...

Target centered display
One of our top set groups has this on the wall of their classroom:

Each student has a rocket, and there is also a rocket on there for the teacher. The teacher's declared target is to exceed the school record of 10 A* grades at GCSE. It's worth noting that this group has only has one student with an FFTD target of A*, the rest are A and B grade targets so this is a stretchy target to go after, but the way the group are progressing it is realistic (last year we had a target of 2 and delivered 10 so we have a precedent too).

Each student has been given a list of key A* topics loosely based on these excellent passports by Mr Slack. They have self-assessed on these lists and chosen one to focus on initially, and then written these as targets on their rocket... here are 5 examples:

Hopefully you will notice that the students are identifying how they will achieve their target as well.

Tracking progress
Shortly all of the rockets will be re-grouped at the bottom of the board, and the challenge will be that they climb up the board "towards the stars" by ticking off completed targets.

To mark a target as completed firstly they will need to do some work on the topic they have identified. Then they need to show their work to a classmate who will peer assess and decide whether they think they have mastered the topic. Only once the self and peer assessment is completed do the students then ask the teacher to tick off that topic - then they can move their rocket upwards.

Then they select a new topic, add this to their rocket and the cycle repeats.

Not for everyone
This approach requires the students to be fairly self motivated, but hopefully the visible nature of this will also encourage those that are a little more reluctant. Certainly the enthusiasm of the teacher involved and the outstanding relationship she has established with the students will also help.

Lets see if it works
If this can help us to deliver a few more A* grades for students then this approach certainly can't hurt. Even if they "only" get grade As it's still a fantastic idea. Importantly by asking the students to write down both what and how they are going to do this it requires a level of buy in that wouldn't be there otherwise.

I'm really looking forward to watching this develop - it looks like a great idea and will be the first to congratulate the teacher and students if it helps them to achieve their school record aims.

As always all thoughts welcome...

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