SubstititionI’ve blogged before about the use of “Must, Should and Could” (here) and the use of these specific terms still doesn’t sit right with me – I still believe that all students should be able to achieve all the lesson objectives but to varying degrees. In practice this is difficult (read that as nigh on impossible) to achieve for all topics. To get even close to achieving this would take a great deal of planning and I am “old enough, and ugly enough” to know it also wouldn’t always be achievable every lesson.

For JustMaths I’ve made quite a differentiated Must, Should & Could worksheets –  the idea being that the students can manage their own progress by either working straight down each of the 3 sections  (i.e. and doing part “a” only in every question) or if they get to a point where they think they want more practice they can do “all” parts within a question. Periodically I stop the class and ask them to tell me (they will write Sorted Q3 , Nailed Q2c and so on, on their whiteboards (or more than likely verbally)) so I know instantly where they are and either myself or one of our fab TA’s if they are assigned to a class can support those that need the help.

In September I am going to change my sheets to include different language, which I feel better reflects what’s going on as the students process the learning that they are undertaking …. Must has become “Sorted it” – these will usually be quite simple questions that reflect the examples I’ve used in whole class teaching and are the questions the students do whilst they “get their head around a topic”; Should has become “Nailed it” – this is when the students are able to take their learning on to the next step (sometimes unaided) by applying what they already knew and what they have just practised and finally “Could” has become “Mastered it” – these will be more difficult questions that involve that lessons learning but to a higher level of difficulty.

The rationale for this change has come from some other work I’ve been doing on producing functional skills/multi step questions resources, and having looked at several problem solving cycles that are published they all include language that in all reality will never (EVER!) be used in the real world – (Trust me … I’ve spent most of my working career out there, and never used some of the terminology we insist on shoving down students throats, but that’s a different story.) – so wanted to start using language that reflects what is actually going on. It is not dumbing down!

The first of these I’ve put together is attached (Substitution – Differentiated Worksheet) , which is also already on dropbox and on the free stuff page …. for algebraic substitution. If you use it I would love to hear what you think …