Some Ideas about Teaching
Designing a Scheme of Work
Base it on the Assessment
Really, your SoW should be
produced with your end-of-unit assessment in mind.
So, when you are planning out the unit, you START by devising the
end-of-unit assessment. Hopefully, you will make it an exciting but
differentiatable exercise! Tell the pupils what the assessment piece is
before you do ANY work on the unit at all. - so they know what they are
heading for, and can make mental notes along the way.
Also, make sure you link the assessment piece to clear assessment criteria,
which you will share with the pupils at the beginning of the unit ALSO (and
then again before you send them away to do the assessment).
You can find a copy of the generic markscheme I use at Greenfield
Then, when you have devised your end-of-unit assessment, you go back to plan
your lessons. Working from how many lessons you have, you set out your
lessons in a clear sequence, making sure that at some point your SoW
addresses ALL the stuff the pupils need to know to make a decent stab at the
assessment piece. This will particularly greatly affect the written work you
set in each lesson, because that will be determined by the written notes
they will need to have to do the assessment.
Finally, when you have taught through to the end of the topic, spend a
lesson explaining the assessment piece to the pupils. Show them how what
they have spent the last n weeks learning all fits in to the
assignment, but also give them a sheet with ideas of how the caring and the
able can GO FURTHER - e.g. direct their attention to relevant websites or
reference books in the school library.
Make sure that your 'Help Notes' sheet includes a clear description of
how to do the assignment, so that caring parents can read it and understand
how they can help their child do well.
I also assign time in class for the pupils to work on their assignment.
Two ways you can do this well:
1. Set it as a
homework - ends up with some HUGE essays and lots of lazy ones. However, if
you insist they are all typed, they are easier to read/mark!
2. Set the
pupils' PREPARATION for the assignment as the homework, but make them do it
as a timed essay in class. This gets more work out of the less able.
Finally, when youn have marked the assignments, post the list of results on
the classroom radiator. Pupils come to see the assignments as a major matter
of educational importance, and this gives direction and urgency to their
studies during the unit leading up to the assignment.
However, you MUST make sure that your approach to the marking of the
assignments is formative as well as summative. All you do is post the
results - let the children draw their own conclusions about whether they are
meeting their potential/ top-bottom etc. All YOU do is to give clear advice
on how they can do a better assignment piece next time.
Posted on: Nov 20 2004,
A Two-Year Key Stage 3?
(This post was in answer to a member who had been asked to
design a new SoW for a two-year KS3)
The first question you need
to ask at school, Lindsay, is what the pupils are going to do in Year 9.
What do they do in Year 9?
Teaching a contracted KS3 will be really easy in History, because there is
almost no prescribed content.
All you are REQUIRED to teach is:
A study of major features of Britain's medieval past: the development of
the monarchy, and significant events and characteristic features of the
lives of people living throughout the British Isles.
A study of crowns, parliaments and people Britain 1500-1750 : the major
political, religious and social changes affecting people throughout the
British Isles, including the local area if appropriate.
study of how expansion of trade and colonisation, industrialisation and
political changes affected the United Kingdom 1750-1900, including the
local area. Examples for 9: Britain 1500-1750
study of a significant period or event in the prehistory or history of
Europe before 1914
study of the cultures, beliefs and achievements of an African, American,
Asian or Australasian society in the past before 1900( other than those
included in the programme of study for key stage 2).
study of some of the significant individuals, events and developments from
across the twentieth century, including the two World Wars, the Holocaust,
the Cold War, and their impact on Britain, Europe and the wider world.
Now the National Curriculum does give
exemplars (ie suggestions)
of what you might teach, but they are NOT mandatory. There is nothing to
stop you dealing with any of the six topics above in one lesson, as long as
you can demonstrate that you have 'done' what it says.
So, as long as you teach the skills and make sure you refer at so,e point in
the course to the minimum content from all six - and I would get that over
in a few 'overview' lessons - it should even still be possible to have some
All you need to do is to make sure that you have set, byt the end of Year 8,
enough assessments to be able to justify/prove your end-of-KS assessment.
So your long-term preparations will go like this:
1. For the six
topics above - identify the topics that interest you most, making sure there
is no overlap with the content you will be addressing in Year 9. Allocate
the weeks between the topics: you will have about 70 weeks teaching in the
two years; about a term a topic, although weight them as you wish.
2. Identify and
create the assessments that you will be setting.
3. Devise the
lessons in which you will 'teach to' the assessments.
4. Choose all
your most fun and exciting topics to do in the remaining lessons (making
sure that you address the skills in them).
I know you may have done that, and that you are probably asking the deeper
question: 'how do I move pupils on sufficiently fast that they appropriate
the skills to the required level in the reduced time'.
Answer: you can't - just go as fast as you can, as you would have
been doing anyway.
Which is why teaching a 2-year KS3 is no different to a 3-year KS3. The
content is variable at will, and the skills can only be appropriated at the
age and stage of development they can be appropriated.
Which is why the idea of a 2-year KS3 is so utterly silly.
Which half-wit thought that, because we were giving them less time, the
pupils would suddenly magically start to learn faster?
And which brain-dead boffin thought we aren't already taking the pupils
forward as professionally, expertly and fast as we can?
Posted on: Aug 27 2005,