Monday, 5 November 2012

ITP Session 4: Questioning

First of all, apologies for a lack of substance in this post - the session was a while ago and I have had a holiday since!

The post-session task from session 3 was to write an action plan around future use of assessment in class. My three objectives were to 'improve the use of feedback to allow for improved AfL in revision for Unit 2 examinations', 'improve use of self and peer assessment in class to promote personalised targets set by pupils themselves' and 'become more explicit when introducing and revisiting learning objectives within lessons and when sharing success criteria'.
I made inroads to the first objective in the week I wrote it, by marking my Year 11 exams and sending each student an e-mail with topics to revise based on their grades. Despite not finishing the exam (1h15m in a 1h lesson), one kid got a C and others were very close, so the e-mails were rather positive. Unfortunately, many of the pupils couldn't write down their e-mail address correctly and of those who did, only 2 replied to discuss their revision over half term. Today's lesson wasn't overly positive to begin with but students (all bar two) worked well and more focused than they previously had.

On with this (last) week's session...

1. Assessment recap
We had a quick recap of the assessment session last week with a discussion over AfL and AoL. The discussion was around a comparison that AfL is ongoing (all the way) whereas AoL is more terminal (on the day).

2. Story Time
We took a short time out to read a story - Goldilocks and the Three Bears. We sat around whilst a member of the group read and two more acted out the story. I found this to be more useful than might sound, as it really identified the power of story telling to hook classes in.

3. Questioning
The beginning of this portion was a brief discussion about how and why we question. The course paperwork uses an acronym referred to as 'CAGED' (Clarifying, Assessing, Gauging, Engaging and Developing).

4. Observations
We went off in our learning groups and observed some lessons. The first lesson that entered was excellent - a maths lesson where pupils were first of all given 30 seconds to discuss which of four things were the odd one out (height, temperature, colour of car or flapjacks sold). The teacher accepted any answer as long as an answer was justified.
The lesson continued to types of data and began with a story (as mentioned earlier) about a park. After the story, pupils were asked to suggest what might happen to different areas of the park on different days of the week and then if it was raining or sunny. Even better, they were then asked to argue against themselves as to why it may not work like that! I enjoyed this a great deal.

5. Bloom's Taxonomy
The next part of the session centred around a discussion of Bloom's Taxonomy - the hierarchy of questions. We classified questions by their rank in the hierarchy before we designed our own questions.

6. Post-session Task
This week's task is to plan a lesson in our learning groups to be delivered and fed back on prior to the next session. My group have planned a lesson focusing on the more wordy questions in Unit 2 for the last lesson prior to their exam on Thursday. More to come from this.

The fifth session takes place on Thursday (November 8).

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