14 more get ups, play dough and poetry

I’m not sure my day could get any weirder. We know that being a destination obsessive is not the most healthy of pursuits but when you see a countdown on an office white board, you know it’s not just you. You also know that everyone is feeling the same way.

I have always enjoyed teaching, but this has always been the hardest time of the year. I have developed a strategy for surviving:

Plan tasks that enable students to peer assess each other…we have currently done an in house poetry recitation competition with year 7, we can’t take them further in the regional because of age restrictions but they enjoyed the ability to learn and recite a poem to their peers. The audience judged and gave stars for the performances. They had strict criteria…give up to three positives and one point to develop.

The poetry unit has afforded us the opportunity to explore modern music and lyrics. We have been able to discuss the differences between traditional poetry forms and techniques and modern song lyrics. I’m all set for the Christmas poetry that we will embark on in a week or so.

My KS4 groups have either been reading Mice and Men or been doing exam prep. I have a bank of reading and writing tasks in hand to keep them in check. So basically I can cruise through to the end of term, knowing that I have everything under control.

But then…

I attend a departmental meeting where my HOD hands out two tubs of play dough. We are told that we can use them for class activities. The caveat is that we have to pick our pilot group carefully. My mind has started racing. I don’t know if I can manage a bunch of students with two tubs of play dough, in fact with some of my year 10s I might have to issue a certificate warning when we evaluate what they manage to create as part of their creative process. But it has certainly woken me from my premature slumber. Bother, I now have to experiment with tasks to elicit the correct outcome. I have to be all active and constructive and encouraging. And to top it all off I have to keep an eye on the carpet!

Teaching and Learning comes into it’s own when we are tired. Training students when we are on top form prepares us for when we are counting down the days. My students know how to do green pen catch up, WWW and EBI as well as gap tasks. I can give them instructions and they can get on with it, allowing me to focus on the students who need that special assistance to engage or extend. For me Teaching and Learning has gone from a chore to a chance to shine. Sometimes it is a little bit like a roller coaster.

We won’t be watching DVDs and playing at seasonal word searches this year; we will be too busy with thinking hats, group tasks, dice activities, and play dough activities based on what animal you associate with Curley…




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I have been teaching English for 20 years. HOD. T and L. Runner.

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