So GCSE groups are now counting down the weeks until their study leave, L6 are gearing up for mocks and L6 are two months away from first exams. The stress is at 11 and it is a great time of year to go back to basics. For this I recommend a few items in your tool kit:
A Large box of felt tips A4,
A3 card and paper selection
A variety of bags of mini eggs for prizes
A new coffee flask (this is for you)
Never forget the power of the poster, the clout of the Kahoot, the dominance of the quiz, the muscle of research tasks to keep things steady in the class room at this stressful time. If you are juggling marking, preparing, assessing and delivering your lessons it may be time to flip. This was an idea thrown about in teaching circles a couple of years ago, where the students take over the lesson. They research the topic, prepare some resources for their peer group and dazzle you with their knowledge.
Basic teaching myths busted
Myth 1: We think students are bored with making posters, or find it too childish. No, untrue, based on exit tickets from my groups they still enjoy making posters and find the process useful as the material is more memorable. The colourful posters can be used to cheer up the walls of the classroom and act as a reminder for those topics.
Myth 2: We think students are sick and tired of making PowerPoints. No, untrue, they understand the software, feel comfortable with it and find that it is a smashing container for their images and research. Based on exit tickets, students like the fact that it makes them summarise the information into bullet points, which (according to them) are easier to remember.
Myth 3: We think our students are too mature for a quiz. No, untrue, they are competitive and love a quiz. One group against another, small teams in one room and trust me on this – even a very small prize is still a prize. My kids used to show me a sticker or a chocolate that they had won, this love of a small win could be just the boost they need right now to get them through to Easter.
So go back to basics, don’t be afraid to play taboo or pictionary even hangman, or get them to write quiz questions, or whip out the felt tips stick on some tunes and spend a happy hour making superb posters. Be brave it’s still teaching and learning, just because you are not at the front lecturing does not mean that the kids are not learning.