I’ve been a little quiet on the “teaching” blog front recently because we’re all so pre-occupied with the new GCSE. I am sooooo looking forward to when it is no longer “new” and we, as teachers get more of a grip on what a grade 5 etc looks and feels like. It is so very unsettling but the end is in sight! The secondment that myself and Seager are doing (working with the Edexcel maths team) means that we are primarily getting out and about hosting their collaborative network meetings and the biggest thing I am getting out of it is the fact that we are all definitely in the same boat. Myself and Seager have got a little competitive – there’s an informal challenge each week about who is travelling the furthest and so it makes a change that next week Seager wins!! There is still time to get yourself booked in by emailing mathsevents@pearson.com for either

  • Wednesday 23rd November – Derby/Derbyshire meeting at the Pingle School with me (3:15 pm until 5 pm) 
  • Friday 25th November – Durham meeting at Durham Sixth Form with Seager (1 pm until 3 pm)

The following week I’m actually doing a bit of in-school bespoke GCSE support in Chelmsford and Seager is looking to host people at our school given the large number of requests we get for visits and Edexcel are happy to allow us to support others in this manner on this date.

In my usual manner I’ve digressed! I came on to write about an idea  that came to me last week whilst I was marking books. You may remember that presentation was a focus a while ago (blogpost -> HERE ) and in the main it has embedded a minimum level but there are still a number of students that I find myself writing the same things, again and again (and again!) about presentation. I am bored of it, they are bored of it and it hasn’t made a difference. So I’ve put them on “presentation watch” … it’s nothing fancy. I’ve basically got a whiteboard next to my IWB at the front and put a sign at the top with classes listed below. Under this, as I mark books (this could be as part of my regular cycle or as I go around the room helping students during a lesson) I’m putting students that are below my expectations onto what I am calling “presentation watch”. This involves bringing me their book at the end of a lesson and if it isn’t good enough they may be expected to redo it – if it’s where it should be they get a smiley face and after a time to be agreed they may come off my “watch list”. This is aimed at those students that I KNOW can do better and are just rushing or not paying attention to their presentation … I am not talking about neat handwriting as I know that varies I am talking about seeing their maths books as just a workbook for scruffy working out.

When the students came into the lesson and saw their names (just forenames and one letter for the surname if needed) on the list it sparked some interest and I explained the idea. The initial reaction was brilliant – it doesn’t take a lot of time to check these few books and in just a couple of lessons I have seen a massive difference in the presentation in these focus students (I’ll post some before and after photos at some point!) which is why I thought I’d share this very simple idea. It isn’t pretty but here is my board:

presentation-watchFor those of you that think this is draconian or that I may be focussing my efforts in the wrong place – that is your opinion – but you should know that this is aimed at those students that I KNOW can do better but have a general lackadaisical way or working. I make no apologies for expecting students to give their best efforts every lesson. None whatsoever!