Why I love: Marking

Harvest TimeI’m trying to work on a “do more marking than planning” basis this week. Partially as an experiment to see if I can, but also because I wonder if I spend too long thinking of cool things to do, and not enough time finding out whether those cool things have actually had an impact.

Yesterday I posted about the ‘Target Notes‘ idea that I half-inched from Paul Ginnis. Today I thought I’d share what I did with the marking of them. I flicked through, and looked for really good examples of the kind of generalisation that we were looking for in the middle ring of our notes. I then compared these with sentences which were much weaker generalisations. I did leave feedback, and I was able to note which students had really got what I meant, which were still unsure, and to know those students who found the whole thing mystifying. The marking also gave me a really good pointer about who to ask questions of in class, to check whether things had been going in.

So, armed with my understanding about the progress made during the last lesson, I made a powerpoint called Making Explanations and Generalisations which I hope enabled the students to compare these stronger and weaker generalisations, and which we then used to come up with some criteria for assessing generalisations. This only took 10 minutes at the start of the lesson, but it gave the rest of the lesson good momentum. This was mainly because I told the students to be ready to write a really strong generalisation at the end of the lesson – based on the (have to admit it) rather dull note taking exercise that they would be completing in the meantime.

In short, the marking planned my lesson, and gave me an excuse to set them up with a plenary that would allow me to see if they’ve moved on.

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