Feel Good, Feel Better, Feel Wonderful

Keep ur mind in the vertical motion
Always looking up

Prince – Feel Good, Feel Better, Feel Wonderful – LotusFlow3r

 

Earlier in the year Jude Huton @judehunton  asked me to present at   which took place on 9th June. The following blog is par of my presentation and slides – without my waffle in between.  My talk was suitable for any subject or phase. If are a different subject teacher just replace the English resources for your own subject/key stage. I have split KS4 and KS3 strategies/interventions otherwise this blog will go on and on; you can read about KS4 here.

KS3 Interventions

I do need to state in advance I work in a small, private independent school and I fully understand that makes managing classes/students easier than in a large secondary.  As a department again we’ve seen significant progress with student standardised scores increasing dramatically through the specific starters and homework put in place.

Starters

The first issue I tackled was SPaG through starters. I created one starter per lesson with answers. The ppts are basic but all follow the same format – here’s an example of some of the starters I’ve put together:

ks3 startersks3 starters

ks3 starters

I create one per lesson, with answers. These have worked because:

  1. they form a routine for students
  2. they get students writing quickly, but accurately in a short time frame
  3. they get 5 SPaG questions (blue slide), then mark immediately (green slide)
  4. there’s consistency across classes, all use them.

How we will improve for 18/19 – students all purchase a small dictionary (and a grammar rulebook) at the start of year 7, but I’ve rarely seen them use them. By making some of the slides dictionary based students are forced to use them. The hope here is using a dictionary will become part of every English lesson. Something I rarely see at the moment.

Another issue I saw was some students finished the work quickly, then twiddled thumbs until others catch up. From Sept they will be encouraged to work from a grammar book until all students have completed the five tasks.  For some students teachers did print out the starters.

We want our students to learn more vocabulary – we all know this is key – to do this I’ve built some starters (see slide 3), which looks at 5 words for students to learn/answer questions on, in context. This is continued the next day, using the same 5 words (see slide 5) but different questions.

Homework

I’ve mimicked the weekly homework we set at KS4, for KS3. Students are given a piece of text to read, then have to answer anywhere between 6-14 multiple choice questions. These are saved on PDF and uploaded to our homework platform. Here’s an example of a piece of prose and a poem used:

KS3 homework

How we will improve for 18/19 – these homeworks have worked well. To improve for this year I will issue parents with a list of the homework titles so they can check homework/scores etc.

I’ve also created some Quizlet simple 5-word weekly spelling tests for years 7-9. If you haven’t used Quizlet get on it – it’s really easy to use:

quizlet

You can have a little go on this ‘sample test’ I’ve put together: Test – 5 spellings 

Students can download the app and do these quickly on their phones! All the options from learn, test and match are just so easy to use. Note to use ‘spell’ you need to use a browser, not Quizlet app. I think these will prove very useful.

Once you create them, you can do any of the above – I’ve keyed in the words and meanings. I’ve limited to 5 words as we already have the comprehension homework.

reigleuth

We know students learn from a simple to complex order so our SOW need to reflect this. As a department we are revamping all our SOW to refelct the skills needed for KS4.

KS3 sow

 

All our SOW will have a Knowledge Organiser (fancy term for a glossary) with key terms we want our students to learn for that unit. These will be kept by students in simple folders and build up through the units/years.

KS3 KO.png

I’ve built these terms into Quizlet tests for homework and they’ve been built into the SOW individual lessons (gaps above are because I am still working on it!).  This means every student will learn the same regardless of teacher or ability (thanks Dawn @missdcox  ).  Terms are used in class (more dictionary work) and in homework and will build on each other into KS4.

A few other strategies I’m putting in place from September ’18:

  1. I’d like students to number lessons, that way ‘if’ a student is absent they can catch work up – easier for me to keep track of missed lessons.
  2. Students will be given a table to list their scores from both starters and homework (spelling and comprehension test). This means I can check any issues quickly and intervene early:

Capture2

 

Finally – I asked my old SENCO from my previous school to give me details of their KS3 interventions, which were considered a strength of the school. This is what they did well:

– We arranged for all students with comprehension scores lower than 85 to be tested for their reading accuracy ability.

– If their reading accuracy standardised score is also lower than 85 they receive personalised phonics support to assist them. We have three groups in Year 7 and two in Year 8 and two in Year 9.

– They are tested each full term for reading accuracy. If they improve they go up a group or back to the literacy form, (I ran the literacy form).

– The weakest also have daily intervention for 50 minutes in small groups, no larger than 4, using a range of approaches including precision teaching.

– We also have vocabulary building interventions. Students work on a set number of words using games, rhymes to develop their knowledge, spelling and use of the word. These are measured using tests before and after new word groups.

(In an ideal world we would also offer support for those who have low reading comprehension abilities but this would probably create another three literacy groups.)

We also have study skills for those who still have weak literacy intervention.

After school reading club also takes place, simply reading. They are excused from homework for completing this.

This has been acknowledged by Ofsted as strong practice, they referenced it to catch up, we use SEN budget for this. Catch up funding covers all of those who haven’t met expected by the end of KS2, our reading assessments do not discriminate between those who scored above or below, it isn’t therefore specific to KS2 catch up fund, if that makes sense!

 

This blog links to our intervention and strategies in KS4 . You can read about our KS4 strategies and interventions here.

Thank you for reading!

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Get Yo Groove On

I’m usually workin’ both night and day
No time 4 fun

Prince – Get Yo Groove On – Emancipation

 

Earlier in the year, I was thrilled to be asked by Jude Huton @judehunton  to present at   which took place on 9th June. The following blog is part of my presentation and slides – without my waffle in between.  My talk was suitable for any subject or phase. If you are a different subject/phase teacher just replace the English resources for your own subject/key stage. I have also split KS4 and KS3 strategies/interventions otherwise this blog will go on and on; you can read about KS3 here.

I took a big risk this year and decided to put all my eggs in one basket, rather than offer several interventions, then not know which did or didn’t work I only used one central intervention which was run by myself.

I do need to state in advance I work in a small, private independent school and I fully understand that makes managing classes/students easier than in a large secondary.  The interventions have been successful with our students showing the highest % of progress I’ve ever seen and when I questioned students they said the interventions were helping them improve.

Targeting underachieving students

As teachers we want all students to reach their potential.

But how do you do that?  How do you get each student to be as successful as they can be?  Here are some ideas and ways you can use, or pick and mix from – after all, context is key. What works in one school, or for one student, may not work for others.

DWilliams

First, why don’t interventions work?  I’ve worked in schools where we’ve done all of the following – sometimes with the same student!

planA.png

If one strategy doesn’t work, not to worry we have plan b, c, d…quite honestly, no wonder students were confused! But why is that?

  • Tests often mislead more than inform.
  • Some skills are harder to monitor.
  • Students need intervention in the area they are weakest in.
  • You need to use strategies that have worked elsewhere.  But that doesn’t mean the program will work for you. Research-based doesn’t mean that it will work automatically; you have to make such programs work. Visit other schools similar to yours.
  • Don’t put an intervention in and assume the problem is solved.
  • Intervention has to involve everyone; SLT, MLT, class teacher, student, parent/carer!
  • Don’t just leave up to the intervention, find moments for these students in class!
  • Involve parents in their programs as well.
  • Put strategies in place that help struggling students become successful!

I’ve worked in some schools where class teachers would teach students one way, intervention teachers another. No wonder we didn’t see students improve as much as we hoped.  Departments need consistency – not in the way they teach, but the success criteria delivered to students to get the best marks.

swellerThe first thing I did was to take the above advice; I broke the exam paper down.  After mocks, I wanted to know exactly what our students could/couldn’t do.  I went through:

  • An exam paper
  • mark scheme
  • SAM provided by exam board
  • Examiner’s comments

Using all those, I mocked up a student response analysis sheet for each exam they sat in English. These were for teachers but kept in the student’s file. All I wanted to know was ‘can they do something well, or not’.

AO

Teachers completed these for their groups as they marked. No comments needed, just a tick or cross. This helped me decide the intervention needed for each student, they were also grouped together by need (AO). Here’s a completed one – So this student:

skils

chose a quote from the right area, but not the correct quote to get the mark! However, this is only worth 1 mark.

only scored 2/6 because they didn’t analyse the quotes in relation to question.

student scored 6/15 because they didn’t ‘evaluate’ even though they used quotes etc – This was the priority AO as student lost 9 marks.

 

These worked well, but if I am honest were time-consuming to analyse. I had to go through each one and enter data into a spreadsheet.

How will I improve for 18/19 – I will use an online version eg google/microsoft forms instead of paper. This way staff enter data and I can analyse immediately.

bruner

Using the analysis sheets and data, I created a set of AO specific questions in the same style as the exam questions with a short text, question or prompt (mini exam questions, scaffolded and differentiated with sentence starters, hints). I made loads of these for each AO! Then each week I would visit students in form and ran the intervention sessions. These worked because the sheets (see below) broke the AO skill down into small chunks and students were able to slowly, over time, discover facts and relationships for themselves.

ao2-e1533072184365.pngAO2

This was because:

  • the AOs were in taught in isolation (go back to Sweller image at the start)
  • Students read a variety of short unseen texts, so became more adept at selecting correct information (see Bruner)
  • they only had 20 mins to read/answer – it got them used to writing quickly!
  • the short space also ensured succinct answers
  • The targetted AOs meant students worked in groups of same need.
  • They didn’t take me long to read/mark so could give instant feedback

Here are some completed ones:

completed.png

Grouping students together and breaking down the exam paper meant students were also able to discuss ideas with other students on the same AO.

cognitive.png

How will I improve for 18/19 – I will begin intervention from September not January, the routine is key with students.  I would also follow any issues up much sooner with class teacher/student/parent etc.

Other strategies used in the classroom

The above is how I, as HOD, and my department tackled intervention. Our data showed significant progress using those strategies convincing me to continue with them, developing them further.  The following are other strategies we used in class and homework:

  1. Starters – I put together some simple 5-minute starters using language and literature skills – I have tweeted these out.

starter

2. For September I want myself and team to get better at live modelling using our visualiers so that students can see how to structure responses.

bandura

To aid this I’ve created extract based Knowledge Organisers for the teachers focusing on key extracts/lines from texts. I made this one using Amy Forrester’s (@amymayforrester )A Christmas Carol Sliced resources she tweeted out:

ACC

 

Eventually I hope everyone in my department creates them as they go along for key texts/scenes/lines, they can be added to year on year as you teach, so eventually, I hope we end up with a bank of high-quality extract based teaching resources.

3. I used Chris Curtis (@Xris32 ) 200-word challenge for homework. You can read more about them here: 200 Word Challenge (see image below for example).

As a department, we set a two-part homework for KS4:

  1. students need to read a text, could be fiction or non-fiction – this gave them more opportunities to read new and challenging texts.
  2. students need to answer a question based on the text – often topics they have zero interest in.

200 w

The text to read and the task to complete are saved separately to PDF and uploaded to our homework platform.

My last strategy in the classroom is thanks to the lovely Becky (notoriously known as @shadylady222  ). This is a teacher that achieves amazing value added to students at her school. It can be easy to get good grades when you have well behaved/high achievers to begin, not so easy when they’re not. Anyway, a few years back Becky tweeted two documents I’ve used again and again but with different texts.

The first is connected to the vocabulary choices made by KS4 students when analysing literature. By giving them a set of words to memorise, their analysis improves immediately. Becky has tweeted these out, the one on the left is the original Of Mice and Men and my ripped off version for A Christmas Carol.

becky1

acc fr

 

The second inspired by a few on twitter; firstly Claire Hill (@Claire_Hill_ ) tweeted back in 2015 on the banishment of PEE and much more effective What Why How:

Capture

Capture2

 

and Louisa (@englishluluis ) inspired Becky’s attempting to dump any form of PEEing and instead focusing on 3 qs- What? How? Why? Again these have been tweeted out:

becky13

All of the above are not set in stone, no strategy should be. They evolve as we work out the strengths and weaknesses.

For September 18/19 I will also be creating interleaved starters for all the texts we use (I haven’t started making these yet) and I’ve already begun to create mini Quizlet quote tests for the texts we use. As you can see below I limit to 5-15 terms/quotes to learn so I can set a couple of these a week.  I have made these for all the texts and poetry cluster to help students learn quotes and subject terminology. They take minutes to create.

ACC quotes

You can have a little go on this ‘sample test’ I’ve put together for KS3 spellings: Test – 5 spellings 

Students can download the app and do these quickly on their phones! All the options from learn, test and match are just so easy to use. (Note to use ‘spell’ you need to use a browser, not Quizlet app. I think these will prove very useful).

Once you create them, you can do any of the above – I’ve keyed in the words and meanings. I’ve limited to 5-15 terms/quotes as we already have the comprehension homework. I’ve also used Quizlet for literary terms/definitions (subject terminology).

 

These are some strategies I’m putting in place from September ’18 (KS3 in particular) but I will also try to do these for KS4 where possible:

  1. I’d like students to number lessons, that way ‘if’ a student is absent they can catch work up – easier for me to keep track of missed lessons.
  2. Students will be given a table to list their scores from both starters and homework (spelling and comprehension test). This means I can check any issues quickly and intervene early:

Capture2

If you aren’t keen on the above, here are 6 further strategies, according to research, that do work:

  • Metacognition and self-regulation
  • Collaborative learning
  • Effective feedback
  • Homework
  • 1:1 tuition
  • Peer tutoring

 

Finally, we want to be in a position where we don’t need an intervention – getting it right in the classroom from year 7.  To do that we need to get our KS3 right. You can read about our KS3 strategies and interventions here.

Thank you for reading!