I’ve created this blog as a place to share and discuss what’s going on in my classroom, or in my head, with a focus mainly (but not solely) on able, gifted and talented (AGT) pupils. This is an area which I am really passionate about and find the provision in my local authority (LA) pretty dire, and with the recession this year there is no money available for anything extra-curricular.
Up until this year my LA has run a programme called e-Pal for AG&T pupils where schools nominated pupils and teachers to be part of the it. Each child was allocated a teacher ‘mentor’ and the children had a choice of over 100 ‘activities’ through a learning platform. They were supposed to complete 10 projects over the year and submit them to their mentor for marking and feedback. This had pros and cons, but struggled because it was dependent on a) pupil motivation, b) pupils having buckets of time spare to do 10 extra projects throughout the year (which these days many children do not) and c) teachers having the time to feedback to the children.
However, this year there is not going to be such a thing and the LA are now advocating ‘in class’ provision and schools arranging anything and everything themselves. Therefore, I am looking at ways to make my AGT teaching better. Of course, I always differentiate work to suit all the abilities in my class but that doesn’t mean I’m always successful. And I want to make things more creative, making sure activities really get all the children thinking. I know from my own experiences at school what a turn off it can be if work is not at the right level or varied enough. Yes, I was the child whose year 4 teacher said to my parents at parents’ evening that he couldn’t keep up with me and the level of work that I required. I got level 6s in my year 6 SATS (when you could still get level 6). However, other than working through the textbooks from years above mine there was really very little provision when I was at school and I did get very bored and have to say I was naughty because of it, particularly at middle school! This is the reason I want to spend time thinking about this subject – I don’t want any of the children in my class to feel turned off by what’s going on in class.
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