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how to differentiate when you don't know the class

Discussion in 'Primary' started by Gila, Jan 4, 2012.

  1. I'm preparing for a maths interview lesson which has to support children's addition and subtraction skills. I've been told there is one SEN child in the class and normal classroom differentiation is appropriate. Do you think I can assume the children will be sitting in their ability groupings? Or would it be better to plan for a mixed ability activity? I have lots of ideas for the lesson, but the question of differentiation in a class you don't know.... does anybody have any tips?
     
  2. I'm preparing for a maths interview lesson which has to support children's addition and subtraction skills. I've been told there is one SEN child in the class and normal classroom differentiation is appropriate. Do you think I can assume the children will be sitting in their ability groupings? Or would it be better to plan for a mixed ability activity? I have lots of ideas for the lesson, but the question of differentiation in a class you don't know.... does anybody have any tips?
     
  3. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    So difficult, when one doesn't know the children.Think how you do it on supply.
    A TA usually sits near /beside the child with SEN and will be fairly easy to spot and you can quietly produce your differentiated work to the TA.
    I usually ask if the groupings are ability/mixed ability at an appropriate point.
    At Primary level, I've found ability groupings,if used,occur only in English or Maths and nowadays many schools use pairings/talk partners etc.
    As you've been told' about an SEN child I would assume it's a mixed ability class but the nature of the SEN would affect what type of differentiation would be appropriate.
    Sorry can't be of more help.
     
  4. thanks Lara - it's different on supply, there's usually somebody you can ask re groupings etc - I don't even know if there's a TA in this lesson or not, but will probably ask before the interview. I don't want to appear incompetent by asking too many questions though... I've already asked re SEN. I just wish schools would realise how difficult it is to plan for an interview lesson!
     
  5. I allow them to choose the level they are going to work at after I 've done the intro. They have to choose a level of challenge but if they are finding it too easy or hard they change to a more appropriate one. In my planning I explain it is because I don't know them. As they work I check how they are getting on and make suggestions if they have obviously chosen the wrong level.
     
  6. thanks, that sounds like a practical approach. I will either use that or opt for a mixed ability activity. Thankfully I have quite a bit of time to plan it!
     
  7. Remember it is only an interview lesson and not 'real'. You could demonstrate differentiation in your questioning at the beginning and highlight the importance of this on your lesson plan. Use the lesson plan to demonstrate to the observer how you would do it if this was your class even if this isnt how you would do it in the observed lesson. Assessment is king and unless to have that information you couldnt possibly know the child. I would also stay away from numbers-addition etc. Stick to measures or data handling-easier for paired work therefore you dont have one children who hasnt got a clue. But go to town on your lesson plan explaining why youre doing something-its like a personal statement to the observer.
     
  8. modgepodge

    modgepodge Established commenter

    Definitely differentiate, they'll be looking for it. If you just plan at one level it won't look good.
    DOn't be afraid to ask too many questions. Email beforehand, that way you're not bugging anyone on the phone, can make sure you're happy with the phrasing and won't stumble over your words. You could even make a request, e.g.
    "I just wanted to check whether there will be a TA for me to plan for, and if so if I will have time to brief them prior to the lesson starting? Also, would it be possible for the children to be sitting in ability groups? If not it is no problem, if I could just check who needs what support before the lesson that would help a great deal."
    Or something.
    I'd plan for a TA even if there isn't one, and do a seperate, written plan for them, and ensure a copy gets in the observer's hands!
    On my sucessful interview I wrote an A4 lesson plan for the 15 mins phonics lesson, but planned an entire week of lessons to follow on from it, and ensured both got to the head before I left....!

     
  9. NQT88

    NQT88 New commenter

    I'd suggest asking them the ability range of the class that way it'll be far easier to differentiate. Children also generally work in ability groups so don't worry about that.
    Once you know the levels then you can look at level descriptors for what they should know. (Example: I did graphs at interview and had a range from 2B - 4C so I looked at descriptors for 2B/2A 3C/3B and 3A/4C and it seemed to be at the right levels).
    Good luck!
     
  10. Hi Gila,

    From a professional point of view, if they've expressed that normal differentiation is required, like the previous comments from people have advised, ensure you differentiate. I would think not just of task set, but on how the work is being completed (paired/ group/ practical/ investigation/ sheets/ ICT the list is quite extensive.). The best thing you can do for the interview is talk to the class TA (if you are fortunate to have one). She/he will know the children and will, if you include her by sharing plans and asking her advice (without coming across too reliant). You can also glean knowledge about other skills such as how they organise themselves. Making the TA like you is a definite plus!

    Having interviewed people & observed lessons, I always look for how the class is controlled & the relationship that is evident. Is the candidate enthusiastic & has he/she understood the brief.

    Good luck,

    Jim
     
  11. thanks everybody for all your useful advice and good luck wishes! I think I will ask if a TA is available when I ring up to confirm available resources, so it's only one phone call (I like the idea of emailing, but they've said to ring one of the teachers re lesson resources). Definitely will include differentiation! I've got over a week to plan this, so no time pressure, just nerves...
     

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