By the time year 9 have decided on their options it gets harder to motivate some students to work. With my current year 9 class competition seems to be the key to injecting energy and focus into the lessons. The other day they needed to obtain some basic factual evidence about evacuation which they could use to compare to source evidence. I decided to type the easier ‘describe;’ questions on red paper (worth 1 mark), explain questions on blue (2 marks) and analytical questions onto green (5 marks). The information was available in a text book or online. Each student had to gain 10 marks in order write their name on the whiteboard. They could answer a combination of cards to reach 10 but they could only take one card to their desk at a time and it needed to be marked before they collected another card.
It seems that it doesn’t matter what the competition is about, my class want to win. It was a hectic lesson as they raced to get their work marked so that they could attain 10 and write it on the board! Simples. (No one seemed to question why it was in any way rewarding to write your name on the board…)
In future I will select certain pupils to have answers to the simple questions so that I do not disappear under a throng of gigantic, impatient year 9 boys thrusting their books under my nose.
Incidentally, when I was berating members of the same class for not including titles and dates in their class work I threatened that if they continued to forget I would obtain permission from the Head to have it tattooed on their forearms to remind them.
‘We’ve done it before, and it worked!’ I asserted.
Horror crept across their faces, ‘Really?’
I think all this tells me is that they imagine I am so lacking in humour I couldn’t possibly have been making it up.