Sneak Some Literacy Into Your Lessons

Teaching Standard 3 includes the following: ‘Demonstrate an understanding of and take responsibility for promoting high standards of literacy, articulacy and the correct use of Standard English, whatever their specialist subject.’ Is this really fair? With everything else you have to include in your own subject lessons, how can you be expected to include literacy standards and a focus on Standard English too? Surely that’s the job of the English department? Actually, this standard is really important. You need to be able to demonstrate your own understanding and accurate use of Standard English in a range of different ways: report … Continue reading Sneak Some Literacy Into Your Lessons

The Value of ‘Said’

In learning, certain things have value don’t they? Maths is full of them. 3.14 for example – That’s the value of pi. I know that one. But when we look at English, how do we value words? Are there some words and phrases that are intrinsically more useful than others? What for example is the value of the word ‘said’ in writing? If my son’s primary school teachers are to be believed there isn’t any. It may be one of the top 100 words used in the English language but its value in writing is negated greatly when it comes … Continue reading The Value of ‘Said’

How Do You Deal with Lesson Observation Feedback?

If you’ve happened to read my blog post titled ‘Seven Top Tips for NQTs’ you’ll have no doubt read point five which was summarised as ‘Sometimes, Feedback Isn’t Pleasant’. No one enjoys criticism and even if the observer is as nice as pie, sometimes you can come away feeling defeated and demoralised. This got me thinking. How can you handle lesson observation feedback in a positive and constructive way? Organise a Time and Place If given the option, avoid immediate feedback but organise a meeting immediately.  This is for two reasons. First of all, you’re likely to want some time … Continue reading How Do You Deal with Lesson Observation Feedback?

How Can You Tackle Lesson Observation Anxiety?

I always hated lesson observations – not because I wasn’t a confident teacher, far from it in fact. I simply couldn’t stomach the nerves that came before them, even when I felt ready, prepared and everything was in order. So, what can you do to beat observation nerves? Don’t Overthink It! In my early teaching days, I often made mistake of securing the tablet trolley, printing QR codes, planning oodles of group work and hoping to dazzle the observer with a song and dance of a lesson. It should come as no surprise that this stuff often went wrong. The … Continue reading How Can You Tackle Lesson Observation Anxiety?

Why Departmental Sharing is so Important

I trained at a school where each teacher planned and resourced their own lessons. Every teacher was teaching the same topic, yet each individually planned a scheme of work and delivered a range of lessons. And they were so territorial about their lessons. Worksheets were not shared. Lesson plans were not emailed around with a cheery ‘Hope this helps!’ Every man for themselves. When I was employed at my first school, the department shared everything. Lessons, worksheets, ideas and links were shared by email, in department meetings and over cups of tea in the staff room. It was a breath … Continue reading Why Departmental Sharing is so Important

Passion or Planning: Where Should a Teacher’s Priorities Lie?

Penny S-K explores different approaches to planning, and how to get the best out of your teaching personality. Several years ago, I worked with the most incredible teacher. Let’s call him Bob. Bob was the kind of teacher we all aspire to be: he was liked and respected by students, had excellent subject knowledge, and delivered consistently good Key Stage 3 and GCSE results. He wasn’t a saint though – he could occasionally be snappy with staff and his desk looked like it had been the victim of a highly localised whirlwind. But he was a great teacher. Like all … Continue reading Passion or Planning: Where Should a Teacher’s Priorities Lie?

Maths Christmas: Is It the Season to be Jolly… Yet?

Ok, so we all have those moments where we can’t get those Christmas lyrics out of our head, we’re on countdown to the last day of term and Christmas just takes over. Students constantly ask, ‘Can we do fun stuff?’ ‘Do you have a Christmas quiz?’ Along with the summer holidays, Christmas is one of those times in the school calendar year where students seem to be on a wind down from some time in November (if not earlier!) and keeping them focused, engaged and inspired in their maths learning can be somewhat challenging! So, how do you keep them … Continue reading Maths Christmas: Is It the Season to be Jolly… Yet?