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
#rEDRugby 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.
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.
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:
I create one per lesson, with answers. These have worked because:
- they form a routine for students
- they get students writing quickly, but accurately in a short time frame
- they get 5 SPaG questions (blue slide), then mark immediately (green slide)
- 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.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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:
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!