Ok, so I haven’t posted for a long time. My excuse? we moved house, I became a director of subject and increased my workload and, yes, I got sucked into the working 50 plus hours a week once again. However, something that happened this week re-ignighted my passion for doing a good job and doing it smart.
On Monday we returned after half term to find new photocopiers has been installed in school. I rushed in to explore the shiny new machines with loads of questions. could I copy in colour, make booklets, staple and print in A3? In my overzealouness, I didn’t notice that we had been given a personal budget of £10 for the term and I had used this up in 10 minutes!
I panicked for a minute and then I thought, perhaps all is not lost, perhaps I could do things differently. I quickly reviewed my week’s lessons and asked myself, ‘Do I really need to print that worksheet, table, bit of information to hand out or is there another way I could do this?’ of course, I had the option of putting all my handouts through our reprographics department but they require 48 hours’ notice and I needed them in 10 minutes, so that was out of the question.
I looked through my lessons for the day and asked myself what was the main purpose of the handouts I had gathered to accompany them and were they really necessary? was there another way of using them that didn’t involve the kids spending ten minutes fighting over the glue sticks and hole punch?
hear are some things I came up with:
- Organiser for Working Memory snipped from a textbook. instead of giving them the full handout, they sketched the table and then completed it using the text book.
2. Write your own scenario: The second handout I was going to give the kids (in the same lesson!) was a scenario about shopping in the sales. I made up my own quick scenario about buying my new house and got the kids to jot it down. I talked about looking around the house, thinking about the furniture I had and where it would fit, wondering if my bedding would go with the curtains or whether I would have to buy more and could I afford it? etc etc. I then got them to annotate the scenario to show where I had used various parts of my working memory. even better, I could have got them to write a scenario of a personal experience and then annotated their own.
3. Essay plan template: I normally print copies of these and give them out so that students can plan upcoming essays. however this time I got them to retrieve the plan template from memory and jot it down before adding the information. This also helped them to retrieve their knowledge of essay structure so they and I gained from the activity
4. Feeding back on a test. Instead of printing out the markscheme (which are useless as they need interpretation anyway) I did a couple of powerpoint slides on whole class feedback e,g, general misconceptions and questions that were generally not answered well. then I used a visualiser to write in some model answers live so that students could correct their papers with me and then write a hint that would help them next time.
NB. I am old so my hands do not look greatt under a visualiser, bear this in mind if you try it yourself and invest in some luxury hand cream or maybe a pair of gloves!
I am liberated! I am no longer going to spend hours at the photcopier unblocking someone else’s paper jam that they gave up on and walked away from or hunting for paper in the first place as it always seem to have run out by the time I get there. I will have to wear an extra cardigan as I no longer carry the residual warmth of the daily 20 minute stint at the copier, but the time and freedom I have gained is well worth it.