As the end of the summer holidays draws near, it’s time to review my goals from last year!
1. Go through threshold
I’m due to go onto the upper pay scale this year, so I want to make sure I have checked out all the paperwork thoroughly and fulfil all the criteria. A straightforward goal but important!
This target was achieved!
2. Improve organisation
I want to work really hard on improving my personal organisation this year. This means having a level of filing and paperwork that I would describe as “Ofsted Ready”! We are expecting them this year so I want to make sure I am totally on top of things. Even if it wasn’t for Ofsted, I would want to get this sorted anyway! I have developed a great system at home – when post comes in, it comes to the kitchen table to be opened. All the junk goes straight in the recycling bin, things to be actioned go on the pin board, and I have a hole punch and lever arch file with section dividers in the kitchen right by the table so that important paperwork gets filed immediately. This has been a revolution – saving me lots of time hunting for paperwork and also getting rid of the old towering intray I used to have. I want to set up similar systems in school – so that planning, assessment, absence notes, APP, anything I might need to file has a definite place to be and goes there straight away.
This goal was almost completed, but I think there is still a little work to do. We were expecting Ofsted this year, but found out that due to our standards remaining high we will not be visited until at least summer 2013 – which means that I must ensure I fully achieve this goal as of September!
What did work well was:
I began an assessment record right from the start of the year – mainly focusing on oral work and group projects – in which I kept records of the contributions each child had made, any special efforts and achievements, etc. This was invaluable when it came to writing the annual reports, because so much of our work is group based, such as our Aztec exhibition, and without the notes it would have been very hard for me to recall exactly what each child had achieved.
I also kept absence notes filed right from the start of the year which was very helpful!
Planning started off being filed well, but I have found it is very difficult when so much of it is stored online and is subject to change and editing as we go through a week or a unit. It’s hard to know whether it’s always worthwhile printing the plans off, but I will be trying to keep on top of this better, especially as it’s handy to have a hard copy to jot down assessment notes on.
I have Year 3 next year so I have a feeling there will be even more filing needing to be done – records of reading books and interventions, phonics etc. I’ve got a fulltime TA so I’m hoping we can work together to keep track of everything through notes, photos, etc.
3. Be a good _____ co-ordinator
Still waiting to hear which co-ordinator post/s I have been allocated, but I intend to work really hard on doing a great job with these!
I’m the RE and Drama co-ordinator – RE went very well this year, with everyone knowing their topics well. I provided some new plans to everyone which I think they found useful. Of course, just as we were getting fully to grips with it there is a new syllabus launching this year so I will have to rethink our approach! In terms of Drama, I applied for Artsmark this year but we fell short on a few areas – I am working on addressing these so that we can reapply in January.
4. Continue to integrate ICT and drama across curriculum
I want to continue with the work I started last year, making sure I don’t get complacent and am always looking to make good use of drama and ICT. We have already written a new topic called “PROGRAMMING” into our ICT curriculum map for the year, which will be great! I also want to introduce other staff to ideas that they can use so that they can see the effect it can have on learning too. I am hoping to possibly persuade one or two to have their own blog and maybe even Quadblog by the end of the year! This autumn I am in a quad that includes schools across the UK and also in Australia, I’m really looking forward to connecting with them!
The whole school now has a VLE and our feeder infant school are used to that, as well as blogging. We will be introducing blogging across Year 3 from September to build on this experience the children are coming to us with. My class blog this year became very much about the children’s writing and I block-booked a 40 minute weekly slot as part of our literacy lessons. This worked very well – we did blogging followed by 30 minutes of focused grammar work and got into a great routine with it. I’m still unsure about how to balance what I see as the dual roles of a blog – one to allow children to write for an audience, the other to engage parents in the life of the school and to share learning stories and examples of work to help parents and children communicate about what goes on in school. My thoughts are guiding me towards having two blogs, but then would anyone check both and do I have the time to moderate both? Lots to think about!
Generally the integration of drama and ICT continues to work very well and at the end of the year I was involved in an excellent project with the UEA involving both – a digital literacy project in which we used Powerpoint to create Greek myths featuring lots of digital assets such as photos, scanned drawings, sound effects, music and narration. It really engaged the children and they created some fantastic work!
5. Maths teaching
I am having a complete change in focus with my maths teaching this year. I will be teaching the small group (about 15) of lower ability children for 3 days a week, then teaching the same children combined with the 3rd set on the 4th day of the week, with the final day being class maths. This will be a new challenge for me, as for the past 5 years I have always taught either the 1st or 2nd set, which is a completely different way of working. I will have to do lots of research and find great resources. I am looking forward to hopefully building their confidence in maths and helping them to succeed!
I enjoyed teaching my set this year and they definitely ended up feeling more confident and with a greater enjoyment of maths. It was more difficult for me to teach this set and required a complete rethink of how I usually teach, but it was a good challenge.
6. ‘Big writing’
We have decided to try to take on some of the Big Writing principles in school. We are going to teach literacy units as normal, then plan in opportunities during our Creative Curriculum time to use these skills in a piece of cross-curricular writing. For example, we are beginning the year with “Significant Children’s Authors – Michael Morpurgo”, so next half term when we study migration I might ask the children to write a story about someone who was forced to leave their home, writing in the style of Michael Morpurgo. Of course I’ve used literacy skills across the curriculum in previous years, but not in such a structured and deliberate way. I’m hoping this will be great for enabling the children to revisit topics and embed their understanding of the different genres, in a way that is hopefully interesting and relevant.
Hmm…this didn’t really happen as much as I had hoped. There was some revisiting of material, but not in such a structured manner. It was effective, though, and our APP was praised as it could be seen that we were applying literacy skills across the curriculum.
7. Self-directed learning
This was working brilliantly towards the end of last year, so I want to make sure I introduce this right from the start of this year. This is where children set themselves a target of something they would like to improve, and work towards this in specific scheduled time or whenever theyhave completed their class work early. I look forward to seeing what impact this has!
This was very popular with the children! They loved having their folders and working on a variety of topics. It may even be being picked up across the school. It is sometimes hard for me to let go of that control and let the children have free rein to select the topic of their choice – for every ten children who choose a challenging but achievable target and work hard to improve, there is always one who chooses something very simple as the “easy option” and is resistant to pushing themselves, so that is something I would like to work on. I also noticed a great tendency towards art-based topics – but I think that is because so many children love to draw and in truth there isn’t always that much time for it across the curriculum. They definitely improved their artistic skills, anyway! I think it’s really important to keep this going, because a positive attitude towards learning for its own sake is one of the values I hope to inspire in children.
All in all, I had a really good year. There were lots of challenges, and at times the education news made me feel very anxious about all the changes that are taking place. However, I believe you have to stay positive and make sure that you are providing the children with the very best learning environment that you can, no matter what.