With term time fast approaching, I thought it might be nice to share some of the highlights of my PGCE year, and outline some of the things that worked for me. The best thing about Twitter for me is the instant inspiration of others, and I think I make the mistake of assuming that everyone already knows everything, and that I am simply recycling. Then you can create a resource for the eighth time, post it online and BOOM, people are asking how it worked, how you designed the lesson, delivery etc and you realise that we don’t have the same brain.
For folorn Y7s with very little sense of what on earth is happening, role cards are a fantastic way of getting to know the students, including everyone in the experience and providing a sense of ownership to students that are not as forthcoming, or could do with channeling the post-lunch Redbull. You don’t have to feature them in every lesson (I use the Objective Oracle religiously though, it is always nice to have someone remember our direction) but leave them displayed with Velcro so that they can be used if the lesson seems that it would welcome particular roles. I have also developed a set for literary circles that can be found on @TES, but these would be best suited for wrapping up a novel scheme and are not as generic.
Role cards are just one way of developing a group to work collaboratively; this is an aspect of the classroom environment that I am extremely passionate about but as this is now my chosen topic for @TeachMeetLeics I will blog about that at a later date.
Whistle while you work: Choosing music to accompany a given task worked wonders, and is such a tiny implementation for a teacher. Set up correctly, music can add to setting expectations for working conditions, and create the correct ambiance for the task at hand. Y9 produced inspirational speeches to the Transformers soundtrack (it basically makes you feel like you’re about to save the world), and there are oodles of suggestions out there to follow OMAM. When looking at madness within Simon Armitage’s poetry, and particularly because it was P5 Friday with Y10, this seemed fantastically apt:
You get the idea. If it fits your teaching style, it is an ideal way to introduce a topic and give your lessons another layer; as a dyslexic student (diagnosis at 31 years of age), I would have really appreciated this twist to comprehending anything.
There is more than one way to the brain: I am proud of this lesson during my PGCE over any other. Not because it was the best on the Observation sheet, but because it was the lesson that students achieved amazing things on a personal level.
This was with a low level (levels 2 to low 5) literacy group with specific physical, emotional and behavioural needs. Teacher-led learning was not an option, ever. I compiled this lesson to focus on writing with the senses as part of an Introduction to Shakespeare scheme (lesson can be found here http://www.tes.co.uk/teaching-resource/Shakespeare-Elizabethan-Virtual-Theatre-Experience-6330264/ ) so I designed a virtual theatre. The RSC ‘As You LIke It’ trailer played as students entered and were handed a theatre ticket, posters were displayed, and one student was handed a crown to parade as Queen Elizabeth. We had a small amount of hay, cheese, sweets and bread as the classroom was segregated into the gentry and the groundlings. Talk tins (http://www.talkingproducts.com/educational-resources/talking-tins-education.html?___store=edu) produced sounds of the crowd, and the announcement of the Queen’s arrival. The students’ then wrote of their experience at the theatre and I have never been so proud.
Sometimes, you have to see, feel, hear, touch, taste things to truly understand them.
This post may be a little more for me than for anyone else; I want to start this year remembering the kind of teacher that I want to be, so that when there is no time on my hands, or feet, or down the back of the sofa, I can remember to keep the important aspects of my lesson present and ensure that my teaching identity is still well and truly on display.