Monthly Archives: February 2016

Class 5 Assemble…

The_Avengers_Logo

At the beginning of this year I wrote a blog post about the nightmare of levelling a piece of writing without having any levels to level the writing with or without any examples of worked that had been levelled without levels to see if my children’s writing was on the level I thought they were at; without there actually being any levels to level the children with as we are now no longer using levels. (I’ve read that back ten times and it does make sense!) Here it is.

The writing we were trying to level was based around our watching of The Snowman just before Christmas and never before had I used film in this way in the classroom. The children had to write a diary entry for what young James (no I didn’t realise he had a name until I watched it with my class, but it was written on his Christmas present from Santa) had experienced that day. My class excelled themselves! Their writing was phenomenal!

So, I thought to myself, lets use film again. Sure enough, after Christmas I did two weeks of creative writing on the planet Jakku from Star Wars, inspired by @ICT_MrP and his Star Wars writing. Again, my class excelled themselves. Their setting descriptions and story openers were excellent.

Then I started thinking about Literacy in Spring 2. Being the huge Marvel Comics Film fan (MCU – Marvel Cinematic Universe to those of us in the know). I am employing my knowledge of that and the fact that my class 99% enjoy the films as well to write persuasive texts along the lines of the up and coming Captain America: Civil War film. The film sees Captain America and Iron Man fall out over whether superheroes should be registered by the government or not in order to stop them doing more damage when stopping evil villains. Cap thinks they shouldn’t, Iron Man thinks they should; cue all kinds of trouble kicking off, superheroes picking sides and lots of loyalties being split. (This is the premise in the Civil War comics that the film is based upon, how true to the comics the film will be is anyone’s guess but the trailers look promising).

What better way to introduce persuasive arguments I thought than to use this premise with my year 4 and 5s. Consequently, I wrote this WAGOLL (What a good one looks like) using common features of a persuasive piece that I will use as a basis for the unit.

Along the way with this unit I have planned in activities where the children turn themselves into superheroes, recount how they became that hero, write a diary entry of someone that they saved and the experience they had. Before eventually getting their superhero alter ego to pick a side and write their own persuasive piece. Culminating in a superhero rally where each of the children will dress up as their hero and deliver their persuasive piece on a podium surrounded by other heroes who boo or cheer accordingly.

In conclusion, here is my first attempt at sharing a resource that I myself have made. I have based it on a strategy that I know works by tapping into my class’s interest and adapting it to fit a unit of work without shoehorning it in. It’s challenging to read but my first session with the class will be inspired by @MrsPTeach and her whole class reading sessions so the class get to grips with it and understand it. Also, if it is more challenging at the start the children’s final product should be excellent. If you like it, please use it, but let me know how I did so I can feel I am making a difference.

It just doesn’t add up sometimes…

UntitledWho remembers this…?

Yes, the old National Numeracy Strategy Medium Term Plans. Now, how easy the objectives are is a discussion for another day. My issue at the moment is the fact that this is for the Autumn term and tells you how many days to spend on each.

The current maths guidance looks like this…

(This is obviously just a snapshot)

Now my question is: When do I teach this? The beginning of the year? The end?

This isn’t a moan, just a question. I am completely behind the idea that schools can design their own way of doing things. I don’t want the government to come out and tell me that I have to do bar graphs for 3 days in December. I’d just like some guidance from someone for right here, right now. I have identified a number of gaps in my children’s knowledge which keep me ticking over trying to plug them. For example we spent all last week using hundred squares to learn tenths and hundredths which worked a charm. However, when it comes to Sunday and I am thinking “What shall I do in maths next week?” I find myself getting a bit worried that I might be doing the wrong thing; am I the only teacher in the country who has done shape this year?

The White Rose Maths Hub have released materials to inform planning and I strongly advise people to get these resources as they are proving invaluable and I cannot thank the people behind them enough! However, the plan for Spring tells me to do fractions, decimals and percentages all term. Had I not done (what I thought would be enough) work on FDP before Christmas I would definitely be following them. “Why don’t you do what the plan told you to do while you were doing FDP before Christmas then?” you ask. Well, the plan says to do addition and subtraction which I did in September.

So, just recap things? Sure, no problem (not sarcastic) but the children that “got it” last time will question why I’m doing things again. It will only benefit those who didn’t comprehend last time.

“OK, move those higher children onto the next level and teach the lower ability.” How? Most have proven mastery and you aren’t supposed to move onto the year above like we did in the days of the NNS.

“Introduce the new things then that you haven’t covered” That’s fine for now but what about June when I might have covered everything?

I think I just need to relax and think that as long as my children are making progress it doesn’t matter. I also, haven’t got round to the idea that I can be as creative as I want and focus on what my class need, basically, bask in the freedom that I have been given in my classroom. I just haven’t gotten used to it yet!

Note to self: Relax, it’s all a bit new and you’re doing fine!