Monday, 24 November 2014

RS Question of the Week - Music to Die For

This week's Questions of the Week come from the news that Monty Python's Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life has become the most popular song at British funerals.

The questions I've asked around this are:
  • Why do people choose music for their own funeral, when they won't be around to hear it?
  • Which song would you choose for your own funeral and why? 

You can download the posters for the QOTW to use in your own classroom here.

My choice would be Otis Redding's Sittin' On The Dock Of The Bay, with Nirvana's cover Jesus Don't Want Me For A Sunbeam on standby for any encores. What would you choose?

Saturday, 22 November 2014

RS Question of the Week - Ched Evans

Recently, I've been sticking a few questions up in and on the door to my classroom to prompt a bit of discussion and give me an extra starter task if I need it. This week, I've used the Ched Evans news story as the basis for the questions.

The questions and the story prompted some really good contributions from some of my Year 10 and 11 students, and I was pleased that they were keen to share their thoughts (and their own questions) without me having to prompt them. In fact, one of my students brought along a question from one of her friends, who I don't even teach!

The questions I used were:
  1. Do all criminals deserve a second chance?
  2. Does it matter if they haven’t apologised for their crime?
  3. Should criminals be allowed to work in jobs where they could earn £1000s every week?
  4. What is a "role model", and why do we expect sports starts to act as role models?
If you want to use the questions in your own classroom, you can download the poster here.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

New AFL Teaching Toy

I've been thinking recently about how to improve my assessment, and particularly how to make sure that students have actually done something with the scrawly bits of purple ink I leave on their work, rather than just looking at the grade and filing the rest under "sooo not bothered"!
I picked up some ideas from this excellent blog post on marking, and now have a new system:
  1. When students complete their work, I get them to peer assess each other's work (where possible), writing comments in green ink.
  2. I then take in the work and add my marks and comments in purple ink.
  3. Once I've handed it back, the students are then given a specific prep task to add improvements or corrections based on my what went well/even better if comments. They do this using red ink.
  4. Finally I check these corrections, and if I think they've done enough to go up a grade, they get a purple stamp using my new toy, fresh from Amazon.
I also record the improved grade in my mark book, and it counts towards their term grades.

I've only been using the green-purple-red-purple system for a couple of weeks, but my AS class have responded to it very positively. I'm sure the offer of an improved grade helps! It's been an excellent way of starting a dialogue with students about how they think they've improved and where there might still be gaps in their understanding: for example, today I've realised that one EAL student is confusing a "thesis statement" in an essay with an "atheist statement". Definitely something I will now spend some time clearing up next lesson.

I'd be keen to hear any thoughts on my new system, or what systems you have worked for you in your marking and AFL?