This week’s wins #1

1. Y8 non-writing lesson: school tour
We start year 8 with a chronological unit that examines art over time; a key skill with this is drawing inferences. So, we tour the school site, which has buildings ranging in age from 1 to 166 years, and we use our natural inference skills to compare and contrast them.
This lesson is not the easiest. It involves taking 25ish students on a walkabout in the first weeks of term when I still don’t know their names. This week I thought about delaying it, with one group in particular; but actually it worked quite well, and even though that one group gave me some issues and I had to cut the tour short, they were the most observant and best at inferring.

It is something of a paradox about teaching, that classes that learn the best kinaesthetically are the classes we are least likely to do kinaesthetic learning with. I’ve heard the phrase many times, “They can’t even cope with writing – how are they going to cope with role play/group work/active learning?”
There’s an answer in there, people.

2. #TMBristol
The venue has been booked: the Grange, Wednesday November 10th. The topic has been picked: Starting Out with Technology in the Classroom. The TeachMeet page has been updated by the ever so helpful Clare from Vital. Now all we need are some presenters! And some people to attend might be helpful too.

3. GoogleDocs for AGT
On Tuesday I took the questionnaire I give to parents at my annual AGT event and I made it into an online form, on GoogleDocs. This was my second attempt at form making, and I had a little more time to spend on this one, so I added a theme and played around with some of the different question types. Assuming I can encourage the parents to use the form (and I see no reason why they shouldn’t) this will cut down on my workload tremendously and make it even easier to feed results back to staff.

Next task: the student Effective Lesson questionnaire. I have been using this one since I started in my role as AGT co-ordinator, aiming to poll each year group once a year. Unfortunately, during my September clear out, I came across a bundle of year 8 questionnaires which I had never managed to collate. Assuming I can book a computer room instead of conducting the sessions with them in my classroom, there’s no reason why this questionnaire can’t be done online too.

4. Class blog
This isn’t quite a win yet, because I only just set it up and my tutor group don’t know about it yet. However, I have created a Posterous blog for my new year 7 tutor group to share their experiences on. I will share the link when we’ve got some content.

And one fail….
Never, ever give your network password to a colleague so he can rifle through your SMARTboard files. He may lock you out of your account and you may have to grovel to the IT department and you may feel very shamed when your husband points out you have broken the law.
Of course I speak hypothetically. I would never do this.

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