Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Nothing is ever all good news....

Nothing is ever all good news....  and anyone who says otherwise is not being totally realistic.

This was the plan for my NCEA Level 1 group at the start of the year :-

The first standard was supposed to be complete before the end of term 1 so they students could have those 4 credits. 
At the end of last year, the Year 10 students moved onto their NCEA level 1 courses for 4 weeks. This was the Jump Start initiative that the school had started. My group of students did really well and settled to the work and tried hard. At the time, it was just me and them as the rest of the senior students had left school to do their NCEA exams.
When they got back this year, the class had changed a lot and we are now a mixed group of Year 11. 12 and 13, doing NCEA Level 1, 2 and 3. This went part way to inspire my inquiry this year, which is to support mixed level NCEA classes.
My Level 1 students have not coped very well in this this environment and none of them have completed that first standard yet, and we are in week 2 of term 2.
As it is the whole group of Level 1 students who have not achieved yet, then the blame is firmly at my feet and there is no point in making any excuses about it ( mixed class, too many students...bla bla bla)

So...what am I going to do about it?
  • We ( the Year 11 students and I) have had a chat about the situation, where they are, where they should be and we have been open and honest about it. My managing of the situation in the class and their reaction to this situation.
  • We are trying a plan - one lesson working on this standard, one lesson working on the next standard alternately. It is a worry to get behind like this as it has a knock on effect on the plan for the standards for the rest of the year.
  • Targeted support and help from me, one to one where needed, skills, access to what they need in the classroom as a priority over the other groups.
  • After school sessions ( Wednesdays and Thursdays) till they get caught up.
  • We had a talk in our PLG meetings last week about students we were worried about and I compared what my students were doing against how they were doing in other classes. I talked with another teacher of one of my students to come up with strategies. They agreed to talk with that student, who was doing really well in their class, to see if there was anything wrong that they weren't telling me.
The students seem to have responded well to this and are working steadily. We have made a start on the next project too, which is making me sleep a little better.
We shall see how this goes and then maybe have a chat about the orthographic work that I had originally planned for this term. This is a second external which is worth 3 credits. There is an external in the plan which we are always working on, the freehand sketches, so if we decide to drop the orthographic to get more time this term, we will still have access to 25 credits.

No, it is not ideal, but a plan is just that and is has to be able to be flexible and be able to adapt to the reality of the classroom as it happens, in the best interests of the students. 
It is not about teacher ego at this point. It is about accepting what is happening and adapting the plan to cope.

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