One of the things I mention to people when I talk about how I’ve cut down my workload is how I have a template bank of ‘go-to’ resources.
My template bank includes resources for scaffolding, teaching activities, retrieval practice and feedback. Along with a PowerPoint template in which I’ve been using since 2014. So I thought I’d tell you a little about them and share a few with you.
My powerpoint template is as follows:
I first created a template to suit students with SLCN and Autism during my NQT year, after doing some work with my SENCo at the time. I had a large number of students with SEN and wanted to ensure I was doing the best for them. My template has come some way since my first creation as I learnt more about dyslexia and other specific learning needs.
It’s quite simple. The learning objective and list of keywords for the lesson are repeated on each slide. Then each colour textbook represents different information as follows:
I’ve chosen pastel colours for textbooks and a light grey for the background. Reason being they are beneficial for dyslexic students and reduces eye strain associated with white backgrounds.
My powerpoints are pretty small these days in comparison to what they used to be, usually a maximum 10 slides per lesson. Videos are embedded and instructions are made clear. Students are allowed to access the resources digitally in lessons via their phones or devices if required for SEN. Download a copy of the template here.
Next I have a bank of go-to teaching resources and keep them in a template bank folder. I have about 30 in total for different skills I want students to develop and simply adapt to suit the content, class and students. I’ve put some of them into a document for you here.
In my resource template bank, I have resources for a wide variety of activities from activities to describe patterns or to encourage interpretation, analysis and linking to templates for revision and retrieval, peer assessment and teacher feedback.
They can all be easily adapted and either projected on the board or printed off.
More recently I’ve created a set template for our MYP (Key Stage 3) assessed work – formative and summative – along with the feedback to go with them which my whole department use. We simply project the instructions on the board and print out for those that need a hard copy whilst feedback is printed and highlighted during live marking and after completion. More information on these can be found here.
Self-assessment and monitoring
I also have templates for student self assessment and monitoring. At GCSE and IB students are required to regularly assess their own learning through the use of AfL grids/booklets.
The IB template provides space for the topic content, the case studies and the examples studied. I’ve simply copied all of this information from the specification.
The GCSE ones outline the course content with key terminology/skills and case studies or examples.
Less is More
When it comes to planning and workload, the one thing that has helped me though has been to simplify what I’m doing in the classroom with my students. Rather than focusing on engagement, I now think more about the actual learning and what I want students to achieve and go with the motto that “less is more”. This then feeds into how I assess learning and provide feedback – it becomes part of a feedup-feedback-feedforward cycle – whereby I am modelling and clarifying, allowing students to work, assessing and then feeding back, all of which then feeds forward into my short, medium and long term planning.
How do you manage your workload? What are your top tips for reducing it?