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#1 Emma

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Posted 25 August 2006 - 08:05 PM

Have read a lot of the comments on the forum following the GCSE results a couple of days ago, and there are some really excellent results on there.

So I thought, having just finished my first year of GCSEs with a group I took on after their Yr10 teacher left, what strategies are people using to get the best out of their groups? For example, how are people making sure Yr11s understand and can do exactly what the questions ask, esp when so many of the questions are so vague!

The other thing I'd like people to share is how they prep Yr11 for the exam whilst still keeping lessons interactive and fun for pupils. Is there a way of doing this?

So I will start by sharing a few things that I have tried, and then also the ideas Chris Garrett shared with me in a PM (hope you don't mind, Chris).

So the strategies I have tried to use this year:

1) Past paper questions with kidspeak markschemes adapted from the official markscheme. Getting the kids to answer them for homework, and then peer assess the following lesson.

2) Past paper questions with kidspeak markschemes as above but with a model 2nd from top level answer. Kids highlight and annotate what makes it that level, and then add improvements to make it a top level answer.

3) Timed past paper questions with kidspeak markscheme.

4) "Blocking off" the main words in the question and discussing what the question asks them to do.

5) Individual target setting for pupils after they have done past paper questions for homework.

One aspect I really struggle with is preparing Yrs 10-11 for the source based questions because what is asked from them is often so obscure and I have found in the past things in the markscheme which the question gives no indication of actually asking them to do (OCR Crime and Punishment). How do we prepare kids for these types of question? One thing I am thinking of providing them with next year is examples of previous successful mock papers and getting them to annotate and mark them.

But again, this all seems so tedious, and I am worried it will take away the pupils' enjoyment of the course. Year 10 have said to me they understand why it's a must and appreciate what I'm trying to do for them, but they find it so boring. How do others overcome this?



With all this in mind, PMed Chris Garrett to ask advice as his results were very good. Am going to paste his suggestions here. Hope you don't mind, Chris.

1) Belief. I am constantly telling the group they can do well, set targets for them as individuals and as a group. I constantly tell them that History is the hardest subject they do but that they can still do well. THeir history grade because it is so hard is worth more than ay other subject.

2) Complete a revision test every week on topic they have done. MOST weeks they will do an exam question as well. Marking for this must be done using markschemes from the papers, either by me of by them/peers.

3) Offer revision sessions starting before Easter in Yr11 for those struggling (expecially the D/C borderlines). Contact parent about the need for this and tell them days, times etc.

4) Teach and tell them thay are learning 'exam technique' right from the start of Year 10. Also teach them (offer ideas) how to revise

5) VITAL - get good courseworks out of them in Year 10 - you have plenty of time to chase them up and improve as necessary.

Hope they help. You could also start a topic on the forum.

Chris


So what other suggestions do people have, how do we make sure that the pupils hovering at the C/D borderline get their C, and how do we make sure that all our Yr11s, regardless of ability get the very best they can?
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#2 neil mcdonald

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Posted 26 August 2006 - 09:50 AM

This year my Department really worked hard on revision. We used the following strategies:

1) All Past Papers made into a booklet with questions examined and then set as an exercise or homework.

2) MP3 Files for kids to download - next year podacasting them. One iss ue is why are all doing the same - what about people telling us what they are doing so we can link and not keep on doing the same topics?

3) Revision CD-ROMs with clips from revision videos and PPts/word files and mindmaps

4) Warm up sessions before the exams

5) Revision sessions in Hlaf Term, Easter and Bank Holiday

We did all that and still found ourselves with issues of boys underachivement at lower grades.

From this september all coursework is being done at the beginning of Year 10 and hopefully this will mean more time to focus on exams
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#3 Chris Garratt

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Posted 26 August 2006 - 10:19 AM

This year my Department really worked hard on revision. We used the following strategies:

1) All Past Papers made into a booklet with questions examined and then set as an exercise or homework.

2) MP3 Files for kids to download - next year podacasting them. One iss ue is why are all doing the same - what about people telling us what they are doing so we can link and not keep on doing the same topics?

3) Revision CD-ROMs with clips from revision videos and PPts/word files and mindmaps

4) Warm up sessions before the exams

5) Revision sessions in Hlaf Term, Easter and Bank Holiday

We did all that and still found ourselves with issues of boys underachivement at lower grades.

From this september all coursework is being done at the beginning of Year 10 and hopefully this will mean more time to focus on exams



I agree with all of this, particularly the focus on past exam questions and warm up sessions. We noticed quite a big leap (especially from the borderline d/c) when we started warm up sessions last year, they seem to have had an impact this year as well. I think it is hard to overstate the importance of the warm up session.
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#4 MickCutler

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Posted 26 August 2006 - 08:17 PM

I think the pre-exam warm up was the most effective thing we have done this year. Pupils came in in the morning before their afternoon exam, had an hour with the department, 40 minutes for lunch and then into their exam.

We split them into three and gave a 20 minute workshop to each group. (i.e. each teacher did the same workshop three times and the pupils rotated)

My workshop was 'how to get top marks' (I like to aim high!)

The following is aimed at OCR SHP - the documents I produced were done after breaking down all the questions and markschemes from the last three years into their simplest / common forms.

PAPER 1

For any source question you must ensure you:
Identify what the source is saying / showing.
Explain what the source is saying / showing.
Use information from the source to support your answer to the question.
Use your own knowledge to support your answer to the question.

If you only do some of these points above, you will not gain maximum marks. Remember IESK Identify, Explain, Source, Knowledge. You will build up marks towards the maximum as you move through each of these four stages.


As I read through this we did actions. Point to eyes for 'Identify'; then to mouth for 'Explain'; then hold hands out as if holding something in them (the 'source') for 'Source'; then point to brain for 'Knowledge'.

Pupils call out "identify explain source knowledge identify explain source knowledge" over and over as they do the actions.

I then moved through the rest of the sheet detailing what was needed for questions a, b and c. I got them to hold up fingers to show how many points they should include, point to eyes to show they had to identify a point and then to mouth to show they had to explain it. If they needed to link points they crossed their fingers. If they needed to look at both sides / two people (question c) they held out (on) one hand and then (on) the other hand.....

Having gone through all the actions a couple of times, I did an action and they called out whether it was question a, b, c or a source question. I then called out (e.g.) "question b" and they all did the action!

It was good fun and on results day two of the lads who got an A (who were not in my teaching group) came up and said "it was all down to that heads shoulders knees and toes sir!"

In my view it gave pupils the confidence to move on from an answer, even though they could have written more, safe in the knowledge that they had done enough for top marks in that question.

I will post the two word documents for papers 1 and 2 once I work out how to link an attachment (or someone tells me!) I would add that these documents were handed out early in the course and the warm up session was not the first time they had seen them. It was just the first time we had done the actions!
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#5 Carole Faithorn

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Posted 26 August 2006 - 10:22 PM

......

I will post the two word documents for papers 1 and 2 once I work out how to link an attachment (or someone tells me!) I would add that these documents were handed out early in the course and the warm up session was not the first time they had seen them. It was just the first time we had done the actions!


Mick, I love the sound of your 'warm up routine' ! (What about the 'too cool for skool' brigade? Were they OK with this?)

If Andrew has done as he said he would then in order for you to upload the Word documents you mention, when you are posting a message you should see a section 'File Attachments' below the window in which you are typing. Press the 'Browse' button and navigate your hard drive to each of the documents in question and then press the 'Add this attachment' button.

If you don't see the File Attachments' section then tell Andrew.

#6 MickCutler

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Posted 27 August 2006 - 08:58 AM

Attached File  How_to_get_top_marks_in_paper_1.doc   33.5K   275 downloadsAttached File  How_to_get_top_marks_on_paper_2.doc   26K   198 downloads

Mick, I love the sound of your 'warm up routine' ! (What about the 'too cool for skool' brigade? Were they OK with this?)


Simply, they were vastly outnumbered! Plus, as it was a voluntary session, although we had high turnout (85%?) the hard-core stayed away. A couple of people were too embarrassed to do the actions, but when the rest of the class (and me doing exaggerated versions) were doing them, those that weren't stood out and so they tended to just join in to not look conspicuous

files should be attached to this now....... (remember they apply to OCR SHP and are my summaries of questions from the last three years)


Attached File  WARM_UP.doc   22.5K   236 downloads

Didn't realise I had this, but just found another document to be used with 'paper 1' above that goes through the actions needed!
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#7 Emma

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Posted 27 August 2006 - 04:25 PM

Really like these ideas, Mick. Am hoping I get the chance to take my class' final' warm-up next year so that I can try them out.

Warm-ups are a real help. Like Mick's done, it would be really helpful if others can post tried and tested ideas for these. When I took my class this year for the mock, we had just done an A-Z of the course, which didn't really brush up the skills at all so not sure that was effective, so ideas which reinforce skills will be great.

Neil - great idea for the past paper booklet. Going to adapt this for our dept, so each pupil can record marks and targets for improvement next to each question.

Mick also has included help on Source papers - which is really helpful. Am I the only one who finds source skills really difficult to teach? How do we get across that the top level answers often ask for analysing and criticising sources (OCR SHP)? Would be great to hear how others teach source skills.

Does anyone use examples of students' mock exams from previous years with their kids? And if so, how do you do this?

:juggle:
If you wanted it done yesterday, why did you wait until tomorrow to ask?

#8 Emma

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Posted 27 August 2006 - 09:29 PM

Have just dug out an old e-mail from an AST about source work which recommended showing the pupils how to break up picture sources into blocks, either with a basic grid or squares starting from the inside, working towards the outside. This is pretty helpful for pupils finding detail to link into points they make, but how else do people think this could be used with exam questions?

How do other people present paper 2 questions to their kids?
If you wanted it done yesterday, why did you wait until tomorrow to ask?

#9 Dan Moorhouse

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Posted 31 August 2006 - 06:58 AM

There's an old seminar on Raising attainment at KS4 which would compliment these ideas well.

#10 Emma

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Posted 01 September 2006 - 08:49 PM

There are some really good ideas on that link for raising KS4 achievement from Yr7 onwards. Definitely worth a look.
If you wanted it done yesterday, why did you wait until tomorrow to ask?

#11 Jenjane

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Posted 02 September 2006 - 04:05 PM

Really useful for trying to focus students on actually answering the question: give them thier exam answers back without the questions (to begin with)and get them to try to figure out what the question said. Really brings it home to them why they got those marks.
This year I experimented with having Wednesdays p5 as their 'games' lesson. from about January onwards. Hard work having to think of an active lesson every week but it did motivate students and they were doing sneaky revision every week whether they liked it or not, and were more accepting of writing for longer periods of time on Mondays and Thursdays. It also meant I kept hold of those who would have been likely truants that lesson. I think the long term revision kept the basics jammed into the students minds, when they have very weak revision skills of their own, as few of their other subjects require them to remember large amounts of information., and hold the big picture in their heads.
Jane

#12 Emma

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Posted 02 September 2006 - 09:08 PM

Games lessons: great idea. Esp as I have my Yr11s (who are great) for a 2hr double lesson on a Friday pm (and have done for the whole course!) :crazy:

Any ideas for revision games?
Here's one to start - Slappers!!

What Slappers is is key ideas on pieces of paper spread around the walls, preferably where there's nothing to fall over for getting sued!
You choose two volunteers to start and they stand face to face in the middle. You then read out something associated with one of the key ideas. The players have to race each other to slap the right one. Whoever slaps it first is "champion slapper" and challenges another person in the group.

Again, it doesn't really help with skills but it does help revise main points for them, and is esp good for lower ability groups.
Am yet to dare to use the terms I've used here with the kids though...

Any more?
:hehe:

Just remembered another - Mallet's Mallet.

Just like Timmy's version:
Two teams, you say one topic and the teams compete, taking it in turns to say one thing associated with that topic. First team to hesitate or repeat loses. Works better with smaller groups. But again, more "what can you remember?" than "how can you use it?"...
If you wanted it done yesterday, why did you wait until tomorrow to ask?

#13 Craig

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 04:47 PM

My kids will love any game with the title of 'slappers', I'm using that without a doubt.

Thanks, all this info is really useful as my HoD is still reeling from the borderline c/d boys fairly poor results. Hopefully i will be able to get a positive reaction from him for some of these ideas.

Edited by Craig, 13 September 2006 - 04:48 PM.

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#14 HollyS

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Posted 23 September 2006 - 07:48 PM

I have begun using exam questions as homework each week from the start of Y10 - this means I choose a certain type of question e.g. 6 mark explain questions (OCR Modern World) and then give them a brief pupil speak mark scheme and about three questions based on the topic they have been covering in lessons. These are then marked to the mark scheme and can also be peer assessed. Another method I have used is a crib sheet - it involves a sheet of A3 paper - double sided - one side for Paper 1 and the other for paper 2. We then add the method to it for each type of question and highlight and colour key words. I include things like number of marks and how long they should spend on it. They can then use this in tests and coursework and take it away to revise at the end. All designed to raise their familiarity with the source methods. I also put in the centre the topics on each paper and how many questions which means I don't have to keep answering questions about what is on which paper in April of Y11.

#15 Emma

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Posted 24 September 2006 - 09:01 PM

Like the crib sheet idea. Is there anyway you could upload an example, Sarah?

Have been trying to get my Yr11s to understand what paper 2 asks them, but there seems to be a complete lack of urgency in them at the moment - tried to get them to do a paired answer for paper 2 the other day, and they just sat there!!

Any advice?

:huh:
If you wanted it done yesterday, why did you wait until tomorrow to ask?




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