Well, it’s that time of year again… report writing time. So there’s been a fair bit of testing going on and the students and I have been having good discussions based on this. We’ve talked about what all their assessments mean the whole way through the year so this is nothing new to them. What is new though is the comparisons they are making between the beginning of the year and now.
So what are we doing with this information?
In the classroom:
For maths, we have decided to throw maths groups out the window for the remainder of the year. It’s taken a while, but the students have a much clearer idea of exactly what they need to work on in maths. I have found it hard to ensure the kids have a clear understanding of the strategies they need to learn, because they don’t know what they don’t know. But we’ve got there! So we will have a series of “opt-in” meetings on strategy and knowledge based concepts that children have signed up for. There are such differences, even within groups of children at the same stage, that this is absolutely necessary to teach every child exactly what they need to know.
As for reading, the children have been very aware of the reading skills they need to work on for quite some time now, so I am happy to throw reading groups out for the end for the term too. Instead I am going to try a mixture between reciprocal reading, literature circles and book clubs. Basically, the children will be able to pick their book, pick their group and discuss the book they are reading with particular focus on the skills they need to work on. We’ll see how it goes!
It’s interesting to me that the students in the class could write their own reports. Everything I know about their learning, they know too. I talked to a group of children about this today and they didn’t really believe me. So I asked what comments they would write about their reading – no different to what I had written. Their attitude grades? – No difference. In the end, I convinced them: I had no secret knowledge about their learning. They knew it all.
I wonder if I can pass the (rather dull!) job of report writing on to the kids?!