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NQT with new vertical form group

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by MissSenior24, Aug 1, 2016.

  1. MissSenior24

    MissSenior24 New commenter

    I have just graduated from my PGCE in Secondary Music, and I start my new teaching job in September. I got my timetable a couple of weeks ago and I have found out I have a vertical tutor group of my own. (Until I got my timetable, my mentor and I weren't sure whether I'd be shadowing a form for my first year.) I am really looking forward to starting and getting all the responsibility of a 'proper teacher', but I'm unsure as to how to start with my tutor group (i.e. Ice breakers). I have worked with tutor groups on my placements, but I've not had a chance to experience a vertical form, other than a day's visit to a school that had one in the local area, organised by my course.
    Does anyone have any tried and tested ideas for how to get to know my new form in September that will integrate the new year 7s, but not alienate the older students?
    Any advice/assistance would be amazing. I'm very keen, but a little nervous too. I want to be the best teacher I can be, and so desperately want to get it right. (I am aware that I will make some mistakes along the way, some of which will be clangers! This doesn't stop me wanting to be my best though! I've never been so passionate about anything before!)
  2. BreathingSpace

    BreathingSpace New commenter

    A bingo game would be great - kind of like a scavenger hunt. I've got one in my store that's English specific (called back to school book bingo) but it would be easy to mock up something similar.
    E.g. find someone who has a dog, find someone who chose your favourite subject as an option, find someone who lives in a different town to you.
    It'll get them talking and you could offer prizes to those who get the lines/full house first!
    You'll love it. I'm in year 3 now and it's the best job in the world.
    Sporcle is also a really useful tool, especially if you make an account and challenge other forms to the quizzes!

    Best of luck, you'll be awesome.
    phlogiston likes this.
  3. SCAW12

    SCAW12 Occasional commenter

    I don't want to curb your enthusiasm and I have no idea what type of school you will be in but I would run any ideas by whoever line manages the tutors. Our teens especially Y9 and upwards in an inner city school would mostly not engage in 'fun' icebreaker activities with new Y7's - the activities would be met with teenage apathy sadly. Just let it happen organically would be my advice!
    Or try something like this where they can engage if they want to. http://formtimeideas.com
    Good luck..hope it goes well!
  4. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    During my NQT year this year we were told exactly what to do with our tutor groups on the first day, and from then on followed a weekly programme where the same tasks were (generally) carried out on the same days of the week (assembly etc.). So, as I had a Y7 group, on the first day it was handing out timetables, homework planners and how to use them, the behaviour system, photos, short tour of school, and so on.

    If your school doesn't instruct you what to do on that day, I would suggest telling your tutor group your expectations, e.g.always bring a reading book, no talking unless I tell you to, get your homework planner signed every week because I'll be checking it, and so on. If you are seen as being too 'nice', you will regret it!
    phlogiston, pepper5 and wanet like this.
  5. muso2

    muso2 Occasional commenter Community helper

    I once had a vertical tutor group, and it was great (I was really sceptical beforehand, and it was much better than expected). I would imagine your equivalent of HOY will give you lots of admin to do on the first day, and probably a schedule of activities to do on each day of the week.
    It's good to have some extra activities up your sleeve too - the suggestions above are all good. I used to also have a box of cards/quizzes/board games and they could choose which they played with one day a week - surprisingly popular. Circle time type icebreakers I found less successful, as there are always a few kids who feel too cool to contribute, and that makes the keener ones feel like they shouldn't be...
    Countdown online is great too - never did it written down, we'd just see who could get the longest word, and they'd choose letters for the next go.
  6. meggyd

    meggyd Lead commenter

    I think you might be pleasantly surprised at how much nicer a group like this can be. In my experience the older ones are far more civilized in this situation. Good luck
  7. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    You do tend to get very quiet forms with vertical tutoring - I'm not a massive fan but it has it's advantages.
    wanet likes this.
  8. craigsparr

    craigsparr New commenter

    I had the same in my NQT year and the year 7's ended up beating up the year 9's!! and had them for 40 mins a day.

    Citizenship bingo is a good way of students getting to know each other- find someone who has a older sister, supports man u, likes history.... etc

    You could also buddy older kids up, giving them responsibility.

    Also give ownership to students- they could present to class etc

    Have a set timetable- at least 1 day where students read in silence, assembly, homework etc
  9. hammie

    hammie Lead commenter

    definitely look for opportunities to give them responsibility, youngsters treated like babies will act as such.
    other than that follow the advice above to use your HOY for first day activities and school expectations.
    And don't go soft on uniform or make up rules
  10. hammie

    hammie Lead commenter

    and be prepared for "Mr/Mrs Smith didn't do it like that/let us do it that way" You will hear that a lot.
  11. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    My problem with vertical tutoring is that unles you have really great older kids it doesn't work that well. I inherited a form who had had a really good form tutor and her form were actually lovely.

    But..... they sat in five little groups (one for each year group) and hardly talked to each other.

    It was a bit boring.
  12. MissSenior24

    MissSenior24 New commenter

    Thank you for all your suggestions, I really appreciate them.

    Not long to go until I start now! Both excited and terrified.

    I'm going into school this week to get prepared and should hopefully get all my log ins for the school system, so I should finally be able to see if there are prepared things for form time there.

    Thanks again!
  13. yodaami2

    yodaami2 Lead commenter

    It will be a rare school that does not have an hour by hour itinerary for for the first day. Go with the flow, learn names and interact. They'll be fine. I've never been involved n vertical tutor groups and I am sure there are problems re mixed age group, but just think of them as a little family. The games like bingo, find a fib, find someone who etc are all great for little uns as well as big uns. 2 days to go until the start and I have no idea of what I am doing with my tutor group; big uns! But there are plenty of ice breakers I can think of doing and formal written activities to discuss, if it has not been planned for us.
  14. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    Y7 can be savvy / quite street wise too ?

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