Thursday, 19 July 2012

Lessons from my first week in 5/6

Approaching the end of my first week, I thought I would reflect on some valuable lessons:

Differentiation = low-volume on-task behaviour

The no.1 reason students play up, I believe, is that they are having difficulty with their work because it is above them or, similarly, they are bored by work that is too far below them. Running a pre-test on topics significantly helps to be able to differentiate work and group students on a needs-basis from the very start of a unit. It will also, I hope, prove to be a valuable reward when I view the progress at the conclusion of the unit.

Set high expectations on behaviour - from the start

My previous placement teacher had very high behaviour expectations of children and, when I asked how on Earth she set these up such a brilliant classroom environment, the response was simply - I kept onto them until they met my expectations. I have been vigilant on noise level and on-task behaviours throughout sessions and only four days in it is starting to really pay off.

Reward, reward, reward

The class and individual rewards system I set out here has been functioning well so far and delivering fair (80-90%) returns in the homework division. 'No homework, no pay.' I've had money earnings on the board and altered them dynamically as students impress me. Simply adding money to students' totals is far more effective than standing up the front requesting silence.

Reading groups - be flexible till you get it right

I've needed a few days to get my head around reading groups, especially in terms of finding the right books and encouraging students to actually write during reading time in order to respond to the text. It's a long road but I'm starting to see the in-roads.


Beth Cregan said...

It's an exciting journey that you are beginning Anna. Love your passion!

Anna Kapnoullas said...

Thanks Beth. Exciting and it is a real rollercoaster but the rewards are definitely worth it! The kids gave me a card today, totalling initiated by them and I thought it was a note so I approached it ready for a firm telling off and then snuck away pretending I hadn't seen anything. Cheers, Anna