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Next snow day, you don’t have to lose continuity with your students. Here are 4 ways you can keep them focused on their learning objectives, using Yacapaca.
I have put this first because it’s one many teachers never experiment with. It is simply a way to set any assignment for your students and get it back without all the palaver of emails getting lost, blocked or mistakenly thrown in the spam. Video (requires Flash) | More information.
Select a topic from your syllabus, and Yacapaca will automatically choose questions at the right level for each individual student. Teacher review on the misschambersICT blog | How the monitoring works.
One step on from Homework, Revision mixes and matches from all the topics the student has so far covered and enables them to really take charge of their own learning. Video | How to manage Yacapaca Revision.
When you assign a quiz or group of quizzes, Mastery is one of the modes you can choose. Set a success threshold and students will be presented with each quiz once per day (no more!) until they have reached that threshold. It works especially well with short quizzes that draw randomly from large question banks. Even works for Snow Weeks or (Siberia only) Snow Months! Introduction | 5 tips for success.
This guest post is by Adam Williams, Teacher of IT and Computer Science, City of Norwich School an Ormiston Academy.
I have trialled Structured Peer Assessment exercises over the last few weeks with my classes. When I first saw it pop up as a new way of getting structured written work out of students I jumped at the chance. They are focused both during their own responses and even more so when they are giving feedback on others.
Following the lesson, the structure of their writing for long mark questions has dramatically improved and the amount of waffle has reduced.
I had planned to block out one of my whole one hour sessions to trial this initially but due to time constraints of the lesson I ended up with about 40 minutes left . To start with I showed them the video provided on the website and set the question “People often want to buy the latest smartphone or other computing device, even though the devices they own still work. Discuss the impact of people wanting to upgrade to the latest smartphone. In your answer you might consider the impact on: * stakeholders * technology * ethical issues * environmental issues!”
and set them off with 30 minutes, leaving a little bit of time for feedback at the end of the session.
They took it very seriously (They are an optional GCSE class taking my subject as an extra option) They could see the benefits themselves. Responses to other students was purposeful and exceptionally useful for them to draw out misconceptions and I love that I can pick up their answers afterwards, display them on the board and dissect where and why they would be picking up/losing marks and how they compare with other answers. They also quite liked being high up on the leaderboards as ranked by their peers.
From their feedback they would have preferred a little bit less time on the feedback as they felt it was just too long to be reading through the same content worded slightly differently a number of times.
Following the lesson, the structure of their writing for long mark questions has dramatically improved and the amount of waffle has reduced. They are now more succinct and have learned over a few of these that sometimes quality over quantity in an exam question is good.
This guest post is by Ruth Greener, Teaching, Learning and Assessment Coordinator and Teacher of English at St. Andrews School, Green Valley Campus, Bangkok.
When I got the email from Yacapaca, with details and links for the Christmas Story competition, I was keen to try it out. Students at my very sporty school LOVE games and competitions, and I knew that with Primary students rehearsing for carol concerts and busy with Learning Journeys near the end of term, the chances of being able to book a lesson in the ICT lab were high. And a lesson that runs itself at the end of a long term? Well, yes, please.
And a lesson that runs itself at the end of a long term? Well, yes, please.
I tried out the Christmas SPA with my high-flying Year 9s first, and despite my mistake with the timing, they performed very well – fantastic concentration on the task itself, and also on the feedback. The quality of their writing for both was high. However, one thing that really got me invested in the concept was a comment from a student. He is always conscientious and prompt with homework, but he doesn’t really feel the love for English. He said he “really got into” writing his story – just in the 10 minutes he was given. Sure enough, peers voted his second best in the class – a position he would never normally ever achieve.
I became more convinced of the benefits when I shared the Answer Rank and Judgement Rank with the students – they were very interested, and like me, really valued the information about who showed good judgement, even if their own writing wasn’t great.
Having completed the same task with my Year 8 middle set, I am keen to develop and extend my use of these SPA writing tasks, especially in conjunction with drafting and improving. The tasks give so much opportunity to see how individuals think and learn, and the feedback the students are able to provide for each other is useful, accessible and insightful.
Imagine asking one of your classes a deep, but deceptively-simple, question. Have them judge each others’ answers anonymously, give their reasons for the judgements, then assess the reasons as well. At the end of the process you get a mark. Automatically.
No exercise books, no late-night marking sessions. Just high-quality formative assessment. Empowered, gamified, peer-supported learning that just works.
Now imagine running this lesson with an Ofsted inspector in your classroom. Think they’d be impressed? So do I.
So you can try SPA for yourself, I have created this set of demonstration exercises you can assign to your students. It costs nothing so give it a go.
Here are a few examples of SPA questions. Add your own!
- You are a serf in a Norman village. Describe your day.
- Where would you rather live – Singapore or Dubai? Why?
- How could you use a barometer to determine the height of a tower?
- Why can a cheetah run faster than a gazelle?
- Explain why metals are sometimes defined as plasmas.
- How would you measure the volume of a dog?
SPA is a technology we patented several years ago and have been quietly working on ever since. This is the first time we’ve had it available in the main Yacapaca interface.
Here is what you need to do to have Yacapaca fully ready for the new school year. Continue reading