Saturday, 5 October 2013

Things this Ofsted Inspector liked - plus useful suggestions he made

I was observed by the Lead Inspector (also a Maths specialist) - it was good that on the morning of the first day he introduced himself to the staff, talked a little about his career and then all the other inspectors also introduced themselves and said which areas they would be specialising in.

Somehow, knowing the face of the person who will probably be arriving in your room made it all a little less scary.

He saw approximately 25 min of an 'Ordering decimals' lesson with a Year 9 class.

At the end he gave me a little card with his name on and a time and place to meet for feedback - again, a nice touch I thought.  We spent just over 5 minutes chatting about it - he also wanted to know a little bit about my professional background.

Here are the things that I can remember he said he liked (in no particular order):

#1 The 'engaging hook' was a selection of Simpsons characters on scales where we had to read off their heights eg 1.7 , 1.25 - I'd like to be able to credit the person for the pictures but unfortunately I don't know the original source.

#2   Me: "1.7  whats?   Learner: "I don't know."    Me: "mm? cm?"  One of the learners: "Metres!"  Then asking students to estimate a metre with their arms, digging out a measure and seeing which student was closest.  Weird how there are some cute bits that you could never plan for or predict!

#3 Once we'd decided how tall they were - with a nice bit of discussion going into 2dp -  6 students then came out wearing the characters on their 'Headbandz' (use them for all sorts - taboo, multiplying by 10, 100 etc).  One of the boys wore his for the rest of the lesson :)

#4 They had to put themselves in 'ascending' order - he liked the literacy discussion we then had around that and the word 'descending' - although apparently I went the same way for that!  I blame the pressure - I do know the difference, honestly!

#5 Seating plan with LOTS of colour-coded information on - FSM, G&T, KS2, SEN, Targets.  He wanted to know if I could identify Pupil Premium students.  I made it using lookup tables from SIMs marksheets and will share when I've tidied it up a bit.

#6 Self-selection of which questions they wanted to start with - I then went round and moved them on or checked understanding with them

#7 Quickly-built relationships for the beginning of the school year and students I hadn't known previously - joined the school at Easter.

#8 Self-selection of which questions they wanted to start with on the worksheet - I'd 'graded' them 'Core, Extension, Head-Hurters and Killers'

#9 Humour - we all managed to laugh quite a bit despite our visitor (he smiled a few times too!)

#10 Challenging learning for, as he put it, a 'Lively class of that ability' 

#11 I was helping them to learn through true understanding - not by rote or a technique they could use but didn't understand.

Ideas for improvement - I really like the suggestions he made:

#1 Use a graph drawing package to keep zooming in on the number line to see the number of decimal places increasing and going on for ever

#2 When the learners stood in a line putting a 1m and 2m marker up and asking them to stand where they thought they were relatively.