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How do you fit everything in?

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by hollierm, Sep 2, 2011.

  1. Hi,
    I'm an NQT starting on Monday. I have 2 year 10 classes (1 Foundation/1 Higher), both of which are sitting their Unit 1 exam in November. I don't currently have any information about the classes so it is really hard to judge their ability or what they have done before. I have been told that they should have started Unit 1 work last term, but I don't know what they did cover because it was left up to the individual teachers to decide which bits to do.
    I have been given a copy of the scheme of work but I am really worried about how I'm going to fit it all in. The suggested teaching hours for each topic (put into the scheme of work by a very very experienced teacher) mean that there is approximately 55 hours of foundation material and 70 hours of higher material for this Unit. There are only 24 teaching hours available with each of my classes before the exam.
    I have spent the past few days trying to work out my own medium term planning which will let me cover everything they need for the exam in the limited time available, but I am really struggling. When I look at how much I will need to cover in each lesson to finish in time for the exam I really worry that this will not give the students time to actually learn the material (information overload with very little time to practice anything). I want to help my students do their best, but even if I get through everything they need for the exam in time I feel that I will have let them down.
    I'm really not sure what to do.

     
  2. Hi,
    I'm an NQT starting on Monday. I have 2 year 10 classes (1 Foundation/1 Higher), both of which are sitting their Unit 1 exam in November. I don't currently have any information about the classes so it is really hard to judge their ability or what they have done before. I have been told that they should have started Unit 1 work last term, but I don't know what they did cover because it was left up to the individual teachers to decide which bits to do.
    I have been given a copy of the scheme of work but I am really worried about how I'm going to fit it all in. The suggested teaching hours for each topic (put into the scheme of work by a very very experienced teacher) mean that there is approximately 55 hours of foundation material and 70 hours of higher material for this Unit. There are only 24 teaching hours available with each of my classes before the exam.
    I have spent the past few days trying to work out my own medium term planning which will let me cover everything they need for the exam in the limited time available, but I am really struggling. When I look at how much I will need to cover in each lesson to finish in time for the exam I really worry that this will not give the students time to actually learn the material (information overload with very little time to practice anything). I want to help my students do their best, but even if I get through everything they need for the exam in time I feel that I will have let them down.
    I'm really not sure what to do.

     
  3. bombaysapphire

    bombaysapphire Star commenter

    You need to talk to their previous teachers before planning how to use this time most wisely.
    Plan one topic for each class. It is difficult to pick which ones when you don't know anything about the ability of these classes. Don't go for the hardest topics on the unit. Pick ones that you feel confident to teach and preferably that you have taught before. If they have already covered this topic then the revision will be useful, it will wake up their brains after 6 weeks off and give you a chance to develop relationships with them.
    Do you have INSET on Monday and/or Tuesday? Use that time to find out which topics have already covered. Hopefully you will be pleasantly surprised.
    This situation was not of your making so you will not be letting the students down. All you can do is your best. With an exam so soon make sure both classes are getting lots of opportunities to see past exam questions. Ask if your school has the Examwizard software.
    Good luck!
     
  4. Hi,
    Firstly you are doing the right thing by seeking advice, however the only people wo can really help are the department - HOD and past teacher as they know what was covered.
    We started teching for November exams at Easter, as there is no way you will fit everything in.
    My reccomendation woud be to plan to do some of the number work of the module in the first week (a reminder of this is always beneficial, and remind them how to use calculators for things like percentages!). During th first week, asses what thy have done in starters and ask their previous teachers.
    On top of this, get them doing past questions asap - a couple for homework to start with would be good.
    I suspect the foundation class will have covered just about everything at some time before anyway, it's the higher you'll need to teach things for the first time to.

    Good luck!
     
  5. You've been put in a bind, and unfairly so.
    First of all I'd speak to your HOD - what do they suggest?
    Second - what level are your foundation students at? Could you really concentrate on the C/D grade stuff instead of trying to attempt the whole syllabus (which for foundation includes place value, which for some of your students I'd guess they'd find insulting).
    Third - the same applies to your higher students. Are they A*/A or lower? Can you consolidate key ideas quickly.
    Fourth - Support classes after school - get them organised ASAP and get parents on board. You'll be able to revise/cover material in more detail.
    Fifth - Remember that the key for the new specification is more on process and problem solving - lessons should focus on marrying concepts together - so use plenty of exam question examples to boost understanding of exam technique, don't pay too much attention to just drawing a cumulative frequency curve (as an example), more what it could be used for and what kinds of questions could be asked about it.
    Sixth - RESEARCH - there are plenty of revision plans/materials/worksheets that could be used in an accelerated unit study like the one you'll have to do - and they're all out there on the web. Start on http://www.tsm-resources.com/ and get looking.
    Seventh - Homework - take the pressure off the lesson time by getting students to do independent study.
    Good luck!
     
  6. DM

    DM New commenter

    Here's an avatar to make you feel better holli.
    [​IMG]
     
  7. googolplex

    googolplex Occasional commenter

    Panic not! Amongst many things potentially in your favour, you have awareness of the problem, and some time to sort it out. Here's what I would do:
    <ol>[*]Establish yourself with the class. Show them that you mean business, but show them also that you are willing to work with them and for them to help them pass their exams. Classroom/behaviour management comes above anything else IMO. [*]Ask some of the kids for their old exercise books to see what they've been up to since starting the course. (absolute must)[*]Fairly soon, give them an 'open book' past/practice paper - or look out for some test/exam work they have already done to give you the same information.[*]Find out what their targets are, and let them know fairly soon about what they need to do to reach these goals.</ol>Use these points to form a working idea of the gaps in their knowledge, and take it from there. You only have a certain amount of time before the exam, so use it efficiently to cover the key areas of weakness.
    Which syllabus are you doing? If it is edexcel, I think there are some absolutely key topics which they must know - and then a whole load of other bits and bobs which are of less importance. You can judge all of this by looking through the past papers to date. Even if not edexcel, get to know the syllabus, and, particularly, have a good look through the past papers that there have been to date, to get a firm idea on the sorts of things the board put up as questions.
    Don't forget that, although they probably haven't covered everything since starting KS4 work, they probably have covered much of it already in KS3. It would be a good idea to get to know which concepts are covering prior learning, and what is new to them. Part of your job at KS4 is to realise that the KS4 syllabus is unteachable in its entirety. Your scheme of work should, if the school used one, help you to steer a course through the syllabus which suits the prior learning of this particular group and helps them to achieve their goals. Looks like you'll just have to do all this yourself, though.
    I can't emphasise enough, though, the importance of getting to know the board/syllabus/exam style, and also the prior learning of the students.
     
  8. As others have said the key is finding out, using whatever and all methods, what they already know.

    Whilst there may be 55 hours of teaching time allocated to Foundation topics some of these will be things that they studied back in KS3 and will not need teaching 'from scratch' - it's sometimes tempting to 'cover the whole syllabus from start to finish'' but there just isn't time - it must be about filling the gaps.
     

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