I’ve been on holiday for two weeks, hence the absence of blog posts (if anyone was wondering!). As is always the case, my mind isn’t diverted from work for too long and at some point I begin reflecting on the last half term and then start convincing myself that I’ll be better in the coming half term!
One thing that has been on mind, and in the mind of a lot of others, is workload. The spring term is always very busy with moderation, mock exams and exam preparation taking place between parent evenings, options evenings and the actual day-to-day job of teaching! Anything that saves me time is always a winner and something that has saved me a lot of time this year has been this peer assessment sheet. It saves time when it comes to planning lessons, and although the gain is marginal, it’s a gain and at the moment I’d take that!
It is really easy to use and gives students the opportunity to really build their skills based on the reflection and suggestions of others. In that respect it is also a great way of evidencing student progress over time. I use the same sheet for every year group, and with each increasing year group the responses the students give become more useful and viable.
It is a simple sheet to use. Firstly breaks the performance down very easily into vocal and movement skills. Students can complete this in note form as they watch the performance or immediately afterwards. The next question covers what worked well in the performance and the final question covers what needs to be improved in the performance. Students are encouraged to be helpful and critical as they possibly can be. It is suggested to them that they give the kind of critical feedback that they would like to help them improve, develop and finalise their performance.
Of course that students need some tools to do this, and those tools are the correct vocabulary and writing style. This does need setting up for it to work properly. The students need to know how to use it and how to use the appropriate language. I spend time with the students looking at how to construct and write sentences that will allow them to express both description of action and context of action. I spend time with the students looking at the key terminology, developing that not just in writing but in verbal communication in the lesson, so it becomes a vocabulary for Drama not just a list of terms to be talked about retrospectively. I also spend time with the students exploring the use of adjectives and adverbs which best describe the action taking place and the emotions being expressed. These I don’t do in one lesson but drip feed and return to constantly through the 5 to 7 years they are with me.
Again, I use the same key word prompt sheet for every year group to keep continuity. Some of the words are far too complex for many Year 7’s to use, but there might always be one who knows or another who wants to know.