The similarities between teaching in the Early Years and Key Stage 3
What can secondary schools learn from early years?
by Meols Cop Research School
At Meols Cop, the Mathematics Department have been trialling out different methods to increase student engagement and success rate when completing independent tasks. Students are given the opportunity to use and refer back to perfectly modelled examples to support them with answering questions independently. Georgia Pilkington, Mathematics Teacher, has detailed a number of approaches below.
Example Problem Pair Layout
One approach we have embedded in our department is the example problem pair layout, taken from Craig Barton’s “How I wish I’d taught Maths”. This consists of students being presented with an example that is modelled and narrated by the teacher. Students then need to use the modelled example to complete a question independently. In my classroom, I ask students to attempt their solution to the “your turn” on mini-whiteboards so that I can clearly see how students are progressing with the question as I am circulating the room. After a countdown, I will ask students to show their whiteboards altogether. This then allows me to clearly see how successful the class were and decide on next steps.
The below is an example of how I approached this with my year 8 class. I modelled three separate examples and then gave the students three similar ‘your turn’ questions to do on their mini-whiteboards.
Adapting Teaching After School Closure Periods
When we returned to school in September 2020, we changed the way in which we mark and feedback on students’ work within our department. We have created resources called 10QQ which involve 10 quick recall questions to help identify the gaps in knowledge due to the time spent working from home in 2020. As a department, it was agreed that marking these gave us insightful information that could be utilised to inform the adjustments needed to our teaching, with the aim of narrowing these gaps.
Using Worked Examples during Feedback
Teacher feedback on 10QQ can vary depending on how I need to address the misconceptions or errors within the class. We utilise a range of live, individual, and whole class feedback to best meet the needs of our students.
The most common way that I deliver feedback is through providing students with model answers to the questions that have been identified, through marking, as being answered incorrectly by the majority of the class. I then allow the students to attempt similar questions using the worked examples. The desired outcome is that they will use the pre-modelled answers to enable them to produce a correct solution to a similar question.
With those needing more support I provide further narration of the model answers and sometimes I will even live model the answers in front of the class whilst checking for understanding. This creates a foundation of understanding before allowing them to independently approach the questions.
Measuring the Impact of Worked Examples: 10QQ
I have been working closely to measure the impact of worked examples in more detail with my Year 9 class.
Every fortnight, I will give them a 10QQ with minimal help and no worked examples will be provided. They will complete this in silence and have a maximum of 15 minutes. This is then collected and I record their scores in a spreadsheet. If students get an incorrect answer, it is recorded with a pink 0. If they leave the question out completely, it is recorded with a purple 0. If correct, it is a green 1.
From the spreadsheet, I can then identify topics that the class have answered incorrectly (or left out) and which questions are answered well.
The following day, students will then receive a “second attempt 10QQ”. This contains yesterday’s questions with modelled answers next to it, including hints and tips. Students then have the same amount of time to try and improve their score. During this second attempt I regularly remind students to refer to my worked solutions for support.
Once this is completed, I will mark their answers and record their scores in the same spreadsheet. This then clearly shows whether students have improved their scores and/or answered more questions. I can also see whether the class average has improved and look at the average for each individual question.
I refer back to previous spreadsheets over time and make sure to include low scoring questions in future 10QQ. This allows me to further measure the impact of feedback and the worked examples given. This data informs decision making regarding which topics need looking at in more detail, or if it something that may need to be retaught.
Sometimes whole class feedback is not sufficient, often when there is a wide range of questions that the class are answering correctly and incorrectly. I often identify this when circulating as the class are completing their 10QQ. In this scenario I will select one incorrect question for each student and model (in pink) a perfect solution to that question in the students’ books. I then write another similar question (in purple) for each student to attempt independently at the beginning of the next lesson. An example of this is shown below.
What can secondary schools learn from early years?
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