“I get hit by mortars, everywhere I go I’m loitering
Chaos and disorder ruinin’ my world today”
Prince – Chaos and Disorder – Chaos and Disorder
Two things have been on my mind lately, both able to cause new staff a great deal of chaos and disorder.
Firstly, raising the bar at KS3 has featured heavily on my twitter timeline for a while now. I think many of my followers feel the same, schools often shift resources and focus to KS4 (which is understandable, they have exams to get through). But what happens when the dust settles, the future little year 7s will be quickly be our new year 11s?
Secondly, the new English language and literature specs don’t appear that straightforward; summaries that aren’t really a summary, evaluations that are more like a personal response with evidence, coupled with the fact we have several new staff starting in September ensures interesting times ahead.
I wanted to do something to help the new staff get their head around both of these issues. If you’ve moved school recently, you will know starting at a new school is a frenzied time; new policies, names, room numbers, systems, documents etc. You get so much thrown at you, it’s difficult to see straight after a couple of hours. I remember those first few days, no matter how organised you try and get yourself, by the end of training day(s) you feel as if you’re sinking under a mountain of (for want of a better word) ‘stuff’.
So, as KS3 TLR, I’ve tried to put steps in place to alleviate some of the pressures faced as a new member of staff: a teaching pack for each unit for year 7 and 8. After speaking to my HOD she suggested; comprehension, inference/deduction, analysis (language, character, mood/atmosphere etc) comparison and some type of creative writing task. She felt often students read a piece of text without actually understanding it, they then find it difficult to answer questions appropriately. I have a slightly obsessive personality and at the moment I have booklets coming out my ears; I made one for each year group, covering language and literature. Each booklet is approx 8-12 pages in length, covering my HODs requirements, exam board AOs and hopefully set the bar for year 7 and 8 right from September (although I still need to sit and go through with my HOD and a fine tooth-comb); they may well change before September!
Each set contains:
- Teacher 7-8 fully annotated extracts with extended questions
- Student extracts / question pack
- PPT of lessons to accompany the set/unit
The hope, for me, is if I’ve sourced the extracts, questions and answers, staff can follow as much or as little as they see fit. This could then possibly free up their time to focus on standards, behaviour, marking, supporting, establishing class routines etc. Any students finding the work difficult (or not being challenged enough) can be picked up quicker.
These are my draft versions, you may be able to see they are annotated and need work on them, but will give you an idea of finished product:
You can download a sample of each here – please be kind they are a working progress!
Also analysing language can be ‘dry’ so, again, to help new staff I’ve put together a table of tasks ranging from different ways of analysing text, to more creative tasks – here’s a snippet:
The Teacher Assessment Objectives (1 x literature page, 1 x language page) can be found below. The hope here is to help new staff understand AOs, what they are, what they actually mean and how to teach them and/or mark them in student work ‘accurately’. Again, below is only a sample, the actual version contains all literature/language AOs and includes exemplar student work marked, to help new staff in those first few weeks.
Finally, an ‘at a glance’ set of questions for literature and language used by exam board (style, wording etc) to help staff set appropriate extended writing tasks.
Please leave a comment if you feel I can add or improve these!