How I teach
(Photo above is my classroom, no I don’t teach German but also had no intention of rebacking that board!)
When I was writing this blog earlier about what I’d like my idea year seven curriculum to look like I mentioned that I don’t think the structure of my lessons would be all that different to how they are now. I didn’t want to go into that in the same post, so here it is, a post on how I teach. This doesn’t just describe one lesson, but two or three.
All lessons start with some sort of review of previous learning. At the moment I’m using my Do Now Memory Challenge template a lot, but I’m wondering if that’s either a great routine or just going to get boring for students, so I’m gathering a range of templates to use that do the same thing. This tends to look at language that has been used recently and try and connect it to current learning or encourage students to remember vocabulary or grammatical structures that they haven’t been studying recently. I find it a great way to start the lesson as I can see where students are at and pitch where the lesson starts accordingly.
Then, if we’re working on something totally new I will introduce students to some of the key vocabulary and structures that they are going to need. I’ve been using Textivate to help me to do this recently and I’m sure there are loads of features that I still haven’t figured out. I tend to do lots of activities that involve students repeating the new language (I’ve taken a selection of ideas from Jake Hunton’s book) and working on recognising it before we move on to producing the language. I’ve returned to my trusty mini-whiteboards and other simple but effective activities like this one by @MissMeyMFL or trapdoor games like this one. Previously I have made a lot of use of Plickers, but I’ve not tried this yet in my new school.
For homework students will either be learning vocabulary and structures using Quizlet (I pay for the teacher membership so that I can see thier scores and which activities they have tried) or testing out their knowledge using Quizizz, Kahoot challenge or google forms.
After this, but before students are asked to produce their own language freely, I will use activities such as parallel translations or untangle translations to practice specific parts of grammar or vocabulary that they are going to need. I have some examples of these here and here.
After this, students will have a go at producing the language themselves either in speaking or writing. For writing tasks I like to read what students are doing as they work and select some to show on the visualiser. I don’t always pick the best ones to show, sometimes I pick pieces with common errors that we can correct together. I try to keep this anonymous and reward students using our school system for allowing me to share their work with the class.
When I take in the books, I’ll read all of the work and make some annotations and corrections but I won’t correct everything. In the past I was using this to make notes and share them with the class. Now I use a feedback record from The Positive Teacher Company and an adapted set of slides to match my school’s Making A Difference policy. It’s very similar to what I was doing before, students need to complete an activity that shows them acting on the feedback they’ve been given. I will often make this a translation that focuses on the grammar issue they had, that way we can go over them together and all students can correct their own work.
That’s it. A whistle stop tour of how I teach. I’m always looking to the #MFLTwitterati for new activities to help me to do this, but broadly speaking, within this sort of structure. This is mainly for KS3, some elements are the same for KS4 and KS5 is quite different. I’ll blog about that another time in the future when I feel clearer about what I’m doing myself.