A Couple of Things I Have Learned This Year

I started this blog to voice some of the ideas I implement to get my classes motivated.  Some have worked really well, others have hit a few stumbling blocks but will be reworked and retried next year.

1. Coloured Paper

This worked beautifully with all of the classes I tried it with.  In short, the idea was – maths is easier if presented on coloured paper.  It doesn’t matter what colour, just not white.  I say it worked beautifully, that is until it stopped working so well!  In fairness, what I should say is it works really well until it’s not novel anymore.  So, towards the end of term, k would throw in a couple of ‘coloured paper’ lessons to get the kids back on track and that seemed to re-engage them.

2. Encouraging Competition

My tutor group started an in class competition to get a given number of conduct points by the end of term.  They worked out that if they each got one point per day then 450 points would be a doddle in the last 5 school weeks.  And it should have been.  What I didn’t count on was that people get tired towards the end of term and continually recording conduct points begins to drop down the priority list.  So while my kids knew they had been given the points, nothing was showing up on the system.  Therefore, they stopped trying.  To revamp this idea, I am going to produce a month by month bar graph of their points this year and we will see if they can beat their totals each month next year. I’m sure there will be no shortage of volunteers to colour in the bars as they get the points.  We a also having a Tutor MVP board each week.  I think that should encourage those who consistently get the points to realise that I do notice how they are getting on.

Hopefully, new inspiration will hit early in the new school year and I will add more musings.

Make it a competition!

So, my latest idea in the quest to engage students and get them to participate in their own education is something that I am trialing with my tutor group.  I have a group of 18 year 7’s who are generally lovely, but like all children, can be a bit lacklustre when it comes to putting in any more than the minimum amount of effort.

Like most, if not all schools, we have a behaviour policy with reward and consequence pathways.  The majority of my group finish each week with a positive number of points (after the negatives are subtracted from the positives), but there are a couple of exceptions. I have spoken to the individuals who are not always making the right choices when it comes to classroom behaviour, but it is not having quite the effect I  would like.

So I have proposed a small competition.  It began today, with 26 more school days in the year.  The challenge is to accumulate 450 overall points as a class by the end of the school year.  This was initially met with some gasps of disbelief, but when I explained that it was less than one point each per day, they are on board.  I hope that they will all make an effort, as there is no chance that a couple of individuals can do this alone.

My hope is that some peer pressure might ‘encourage’ all students to try a little bit harder and also to support those students who find some lessons harder to stay on task in.  If I can encourage my year 7’s to engage with their learning a bit more now, maybe they will continue to engage in years 8, 9, 10 and 11.

Will it work?  Watch this space.