Week three was a planned blur. Week four has provided a number of break throughs’ for a number of individual pupils and for our mentally as a class. Twenty lessons in, I continue to reinforce The Academy’s RESPECT Ethos and our high class expectations. I am pleased to report that our class are adopting many of the elements of RESPECT in their learning, particularly Teamwork, Resilience and Perseverance. More of that later.
Class standards are being displayed more readily and I was proud to wave-in our Principal this past week to see our class at work. I am, however, having to reinforce both exercise book and personal equipment standards (pens and rulers in particular) during our weekly one-to-ones and I would appreciate your continued support on these two observations.
Unit 1 Completed
I apologised in advance to my pupils. Regrettably, I had three scheduled days away from the Academy. Given these commitments, the unit had been planned so that my first absence was covered by a self-checking
test MyReview. The next lesson we covered the topics the class found challenging, offering personalised support during our one-to-one lesson (TTRS and MyMaths session). Finally, we prepared for the end of unit test MyPractice.
On the issue of testing, it was clearly obvious that proposition of a test had caused real anxiety for the class. The feedback from testing and marking lessons had highlighted the group were unsettled. Within minutes, it was clear to me that the test had changed the relationship between us. Few things are more important to teaching than trust so I stopped the lesson and we held a team-talk. I asked the class how the were feeling about Maths lessons? [quiet]. I asked the class “Why do we test?” To summarise their response, the class fed back that tests were to “see what we don’t know.” I certainly picked up on negative framing of their response. The pupils did not say tests were to “see what they knew.”
Let me share with you what we agreed. Y8z5Maths will not be taking high stakes “tests.” Rather we will be checking and reviewing learning (MyReview) and practicing our Maths skills (MyPractice) every three weeks. MyPractice sessions will be taken in class. Following each MyPractice, pupils will get personalised feedback. Pupils will be asked to identify their successes and reflect on their learning. Pupils will be guided where to invest their efforts with three learning targets as shown below. Pupils will be supported addressing their personalised targets and can also access MyMaths learning activities. Pupils will have the opportunity to retake the MyPractice paper as times as they wish to.
Individual conversations reinforced what I had learnt from the class team-talk. The pupils had a misguided and negative opinion of testing. The pupils also openly contributed that, where they encountered a question road blocked, they simply pulled up onto the hard shoulder and turned on their hazards. So with hard-edged encouragement, a handful of pupils ventured back to the MyPractice paper.
Fantastic Friday celebrates all good things Y8z5Maths. Personal triumphs, TTRS, examples of RESPECT. Seven of the top ten earners from Year 8 in Timetable Rock Stars come from Y8z5Maths and that is worth celebrating. One pupil learnt that his MyPractice performance relied heavily on his ability to read the question. Two pupils asked to have their MyPractice papers remarked with both pupils adding 10+ marks to their MyPractice totals. This demonstration of resilience had a marked impact on the class and Friday’s lesson ended with us standing at the photocopier, printing extra copies of the MyPractice paper for pupils to take away with them! We know that we have many more mountains to climb and right now, I could not be more proud of them. Daffyd you rock!
Next up for Y8z5Maths, plugging some learning blind spots and moving onto measures, perimeter and area.