Terrific teamwork

6th April 2007 at 01:00

Any primary age

"Everybody, tidy up." Pupils don't seem to be able to tidy up properly at the end of the day without a system in place.

And amid the commotion of this sometimes arduous task there, no doubt, linger a few pupils sneakily eschewing any part of it.

I print cards (more than there are children for reasons which will become obvious), each with a small task on it, for example, "Pick 15 things off the floor", "Turn off the class computer", "Stack six chairs".

Once I have given out the cards, they get to work. And pupils love it - it means they don't have to make decisions at a time when they are mentally tired, they have a responsibility, there's an element of fun and there's no hiding from the fact they have a personal job to do.

Once they have completed their job, they give their card back and I check they have achieved the task. Some children even come back for another card.

It has made tidying up at the end of the day much calmer.

Ben Williams is a Year 6 teacher at St Mark's Church of England Junior School in Salisbury

EnglishEnglish Literature

Ages 14 to 16

Try this simple but effective two-lessonone-homework exercise to vary the way you prepare pupils for GCSE poetry exam tasks.

This involves two classes. Get pupils from each to learn a poem. They will become "expert" on it and will be responsible for teaching it to a partner from the other class.

For homework they should create a handout to use as a visual aid of the key learning points. Recommend they plan their points using the LIST formula (Language, ideas, structure and tone).

By next lesson, you and your colleague should have paired up pupils from both classes. Pupils now have 20 minutes each to teach their partner their respective poems.

The result is a fresh and memorable learning experience, which pupils take surprisingly seriously. If you doubt your pupils' ability to grasp the necessary points from their partner, you can always recap on the new poem next lesson.

Josephine Smith is head of English at Casterton Community College, Rutland

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