We started a new term a few weeks ago, and I led a couple of INSET sessions on Monday to kick it off. We started by exploring the second standard of our Principles of Great Teaching. The wording of this is:
All students are expected to participate in questioning sessions, with the use of a "no hands up" policy.
We watched a few clips to spark discussion around why asking for hands up is not a great strategy, and then groups shared a few strategies they use to question students. In the last 20 minutes I talked about Doug Lemov's Cold Call technique.
If you are interested you can download the powerpoint I used here.
After that we had some optional workshops on offer, and I ran one on MARGE (which I have talked about before here). We had 45 minutes, so it was a whistle-stop tour through the 5 principles with some time to reflect on what they meant for classroom practice. I tried really hard to build in the 5 principles to the presentation to model the ideas, and at the end I pointed this out to the group, making the metacognitive explicit. It seemed to go down well, and I think I am slowly getting more people to think about the science of learning. It is a slow process, but my incessant going on about it seems to be making people think.
You can find that presentation here.
Finally we all came back together to start looking at the Principles of Great Teaching in more depth. My plan has always been to create a document to support the poster front sheet, and I wanted everyone to be involved in creating that document. The purpose is to make the Principles more explicit through explanations and examples. The first stage towards this was to create a rubric for each principle. I started by creating an example one for the first Principle (Challenges All Students) which you can find here. I shared this with all staff, and split them into 15 groups to start putting together rubrics for the other Principles.
The purpose of the rubric will be for self-assessment of our teaching. I envisage teachers going through the rubric for a Principle and highlighting the descriptors they feel they are meeting, and using this to inform their target setting. It will also build into the coaching programme we are starting.
By the end of that session we had a starting rubric for most of the Principles. In a future session we shall come back to those, review them in departments, adjust and amend them, so that for the start of 2020 hopefully we have a complete (but not finalised) document.
An idea started by Ben Gordon, here are My High Five.
Last week I published the 11th issue of our T&L Newsletter. You can find the issue here, and the full back catalogue here.
I have decided to continue to open up the world of Maths to my IB Higher Level class. They all did presentations last term on a topic of their choice, and I am planning on doing that again later in the year. But for now, I have also decided to do a Just For Fun lesson at the end of each unit.
As we are finishing of a unit on Trigonometry, I am going to talk to them about the etymology of the trig words, why it is called the CO-sine, and the tangent. And why secant is the reciprocal of cosine not sine (as much as students wish the first letters would match).
The next unit is on exponentials and logarithms, and I am planning on introducing them to fractals and Hausdorff dimensions. I have some other ideas for later units, but I am eager to hear suggestions too
I read Memorable Teaching by Peps Mccrea, which was excellent, and have written a short reflection here, with a sketch note.
I have used a couple of the tasks from mathsvenns.com this week when teaching quadratic functions. I have used them before, but kind of forgot about them, and they are just such an amazingly rich task. In trying to find the functions for each of the regions, students have to think deeply about the ideas. I want to build more of these into my lessons over the next few weeks and months to try to embed the practice of using them. Since I am now doing weekly quizzes with my classes, the need for the Last Lesson, Last Unit, Further Back starters has kind of diminished as they are getting regular retrieval in the quiz. So I am thinking that Venn diagram tasks could become a feature of my starters (on a previous topic so there is some retrieval going on, and time for the maturation of ideas to help in the process).
I have started having 20 minute coaching style conversations with my colleagues about what they are aiming to achieve this year. They have been positively received so far, and it has been an interesting experience for me. I am also trying to set a time when I will catch up with them in a few weeks to see how things are going.
This comes from my delving into the world of coaching, but also thoughts about leadership. I want to have one-to-one conversations with all staff, and really listen to what they have to say. Hopefully this will be informative for the T&L Programme.