Paul's Place of Musings and Insights

the reflections of a techno-meddling teacher


Real time formative assessment

One of the things that I am always tinkering away at is how to monitor student progress in class. I am but one in a sea of young learners and regrettably, I am not always able to pick up misconceptions or uncertainty from students during class. They are of course detected during checking and marking of work, but I am eager to refine this process.

Courtesy of Alice Keeler I tried using Google Slides during lessons. My students have access to laptop trolleys, and during this lesson, we were lucky enough to be in a 1:1 environment. My class were researching biomes, and I wanted to be sure that all were finding sources that were accessible to them. So many resources online are geared towards older students, and it is vital for me that I know my Year 5s are able to understand what they are finding.

I created a Google Slide doc with a single slide stating a question. I then altered the Master Slides and custom built a slide for the students to fill out. There was space for their name, as well as for an answer to the question on the cover slide – ‘What is one interesting thing you have learned during this session’.

I shared the document through Edmodo, and within two minutes all students had submitted a response and I had been able to review them. I immediately turned my attention to the students that either took a while to respond, or whose responses were a little ‘vague’.

The students then carried on with their task, seemingly renewed in their purpose by what was in their eyes a very minor distraction, and if truth be told, probably a useful little brain break for them.

This will now become a regular feature of my teaching practice.


Parodies everywhere

This term in Maths, I identified a weakness across the year level in times tables facts. We had just emerged from the joy of algebra and were in the midst of geometry, but some gaping holes were emerging, and I decided that a turbo unit on times tables facts was needed.

Being a lover of creative outlets to enhance motivation for dry subject matter, and of parodies in general, I designed a task that would address the techniques needed for some of the trickier times tables facts, complimented by the power of a good tune.

Keeping it real in class

Keeping it real in class

The task required the students to form groups and to choose a popular song that they would change the lyrics to. These altered lyrics would be related to the learning of times tables as opposed to the recital of the facts themselves. Engagement is high, and despite my concerns that the Maths would get left behind in favour of putting on a good show, the students all engaged with the specifics of the task.

Certainly one to pack away for next year!

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