January 2014

Welcome to our new learning and teaching update.  The purpose of this is to provide parents with up to date information about developments in teaching and learning at Hollingworth.

So, what are our priorities this year?

Marking to Improve

You may have seen these stickers in all of your child's books recently.

Marking to Improve

This year we are having a whole school drive on developing Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar (SPaG) in lessons across all subjects.  A big part of this initiative has been the introduction of Target Time.

Teachers are writing more subject specific comments in books which help pupils improve their work.  Target Time asks pupils to respond to these comments.

Teachers will also be highlighting commonly misspelt words, particularly key words.  Again as these are often vital, pupils will be asked to write them out 5 times.  This was something seen as successful in your child's early years at primary school and it still works now!

Developing Thinking Time in Lessons

Often when asked a question certain pupils will give an answer before the teacher has finished the sentence!  As a result, replies can often be incorrect or underdeveloped.

This year we are asking teachers to build in Thinking Time which allows pupils to develop their answers before responding (often 30 seconds to a minute).  We are also using:

Think
time to think about their answers.
Pair
time to discuss with a partner.
Share
before sharing with the class.

Alternatives to "hands up"

Again studies show that if you just allow pupils with their hands up to answer questions this can allow some pupils to coast.  In order to ensure all children are focused in lessons we are using strategies which have been proven to be more effective.

Targeted "hands down" questioning makes sure all pupils contribute to lessons.  "Basketball" questioning which bounces answers and ideas around the classroom can also be used.  However, please be aware that pupils can raise their hands if they wish to ask questions or add to other pupils' responses.

All classrooms now have mini-whiteboards with pupils recording their ideas/thoughts before displaying them to the teachers.  Again, the aim is to get all pupils active and engaged in their learning.

We hope you have found the first edition of our learning and teaching update useful.  If you would like to further support your child at home you could:

  1. Check books to encourage your child to respond to Target Time – it is symbolised as a T.
  2. Ask your child to regularly use a spell check/dictionary to correct spelling, punctuation and grammar.
  3. Read back any work written by your child – when listening to it pupils will often hear mistakes which they otherwise would have overlooked.
  4. Ask your child to use the Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar (SPaG) checklist at the back of their planner when completing homework.