Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Using APP (badly) to improve engagement in my classroom

This year I have been teaching a course called Segue to my year 9 students. I have used Wikid before, a course from the same people for year 7 & 8, but I haven't been as impressed by that as I have by Segue.

For those who don't know the course consists of two or three lessons followed by an APP assessment. The lesson plans are thorough and included objectives that give a detailed picture of the ideas the students should be using.

After the first few teaching cycles my students latched onto the APP level criteria from the assessments. They wanted to get better. On top of this one of my groups starting getting upset and put off science because they were "the bottom set". So I started sharing APP levels with the groups in every lesson by writing them on the white board during my break or lunch before the lessons.

I would pick a stand of one of the assessment foci and write up the level 3-6 or 7 sentences corresponding to that idea.

Yes, the students were still interested in numbers: "does that make me level 6?" was asked quite a lot. "Could you do that independently?" is my reply to that question, followed up with "but now you know what to do next time to get to level 6".

By using APP in this way I was able to engage my groups, increasing their motivation and confidence. It has been an incredibly useful tool encouraging students to ask "what do I need to do to get better", and this was a regular question in my lessons.

There are a lot of statements in the key stage 3 APP grid; I just keep a laminated colour copy in my teaching files. I have started to pick up patterns and find strands that I like, but still don't know it that well. I have to plan the assessment into the lessons, but the rewards have been well worth it.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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