Monday, 29 October 2012

Autumn Term... take 2!

Half term was last week, I can't believe how quickly those 7 weeks went or how quickly those 7 days off went! A 3 day trip away to Amsterdam with the boy combined with moving house (from where I now have a 90 mile round trip commute each day!) made for a very busy and not so relaxing half term. At the same time it was still a break from school and teaching, which was nice. Though I have to admit, sitting there taking the register this morning and seeing some of the cheeky grins of some of the monkeys in my class made it nice to be back.

It's been a crazy half term, such an intense learning curve. The thing that I've realised, more than anything else, is that I can do this. It's not been an easy half term but I've not given up and I'm getting better at things, quicker and far more confident. I'm not saying I don't ever have doubts anymore but those feelings of complete inadequacy and overwhelmingness have started to ebb away.

First day back today and I spent the afternoon out of class on a Maths for NQTs training session. In all honesty, I didn't have very high expectations. I thought it would end up covering a bit of subject knowledge and things like that and as someone who is pretty good and confident with maths, I wasn't sure what I was going to get from it but I went along with an open mind. I was pleasantly surprised and actually found it quite useful. Some of the things that we talked about, like how the Primary Framework works wasn't overly useful as it's something I'm quite familiar with. I came away feeling reassured about some of the things that I do, with some ideas for some things I could do and the realisation that there are some things that I need to improve on.

So, what am I doing well?

  • Using physical aids and resources in my lessons
  • Giving children the opportunity to ask questions
  • Giving children the opportunity to and encouraging them to use mathematical language
  • Differentiation
What do I need to do better and how will I do it?
  • Take charge of my TA! I dont' share my plans with her, I don't really get feedback from her either and I don't use her effectively in my lessons. I don't feel like I really get the opportunity to though to be honest. There are times when she's been sat doing something on the computer all through my teaching input and then come and asked me what we're doing just as we split into groups. So, what am I going to do about it?
    • Give her my weekly plan at the start of the week
    • Put on that plan what I want her to do
    • Ask her to work with an individual group during the oral and mental starter who may have struggled with something the day before
    • Ask her to make a few notes on the plan or something and give these to me as well as some verbal feedback at the end of each lesson or whenever is next possible
I don't really like taking charge like that, especially when she's such an experienced TA but I think that I need to. After all it's my class and at the end of the day, I'm the one who is ultimately responsible for them, their learning and their progression. I should have done this quite a while ago really.
  • Plenaries... I've never really been overly sure on what makes a good plenary, combine that with generally running out of time and I often don't do them but I should. So what will I do?
    • Make sure that I leave time at the end of each lesson for even a short 5 minute plenary, even if it means cutting activities short before they're finished
    • I'm going to ask to buy a giant foam dice with plastic pockets. In each pocket will be a question that we'll answer for the plenary, such as 'What have I learned today?' or 'How do I need to improve?'
    • I'm going to work on having challenging plenaries too that build on the lesson. This will be a more difficult one though I think, it's difficult to pitch it right when it's the whole class
So they're my two current targets/focuses for myself at the moment. I'll update you on how I do with them. Parents evening tomorrow, better go get things sorted. Eek!

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