Wow, what a week. First full week back and it was certainly different. The number of times I left my whiteboard controller in other classrooms is close to double figures. Running back in the remaining minutes of lesson switch over certainly got my steps up.
I’m obsessed with finding time-saving and workload reducing strategies to enable high quality teaching without an excessive impact on work-life balance. During the last week, I started to consider how I could prepare myself for the day ahead to make lesson transitions quicker and smoother.
The following are some of the things I’ve started or will be implementing to help with life as a roaming teacher, hope you find some of them useful.
Note: A lot of my tips, depend on the use of technology. My school has allowed for students to bring their own devices. I’ll be allowing students KS3/4 students to have their phone on silent and on their desk (facing down) throughout the lesson in case they need to use it.
Feel free to share your #RoamingTeacherTips
Tips for Roaming Teachers
1. Bookmark the web pages you use of a daily basis. Add them to a bookmark folder and set it up on the bookmark toolbar in your web browser. If you’re using a laptop you can open them up in the morning with one click (see video below) and leave them open all day. If you’re moving from one PC to another, you can do the same at the start of the lesson if required.
2. Although I embed the majority of videos into my lesson resources (How-to for embedding into Powerpoints & Word documents) sometimes I find something that I might use if I have time in the lesson or if the students take the lesson in that direction. I’ve therefore been opening these up in the morning and bookmarking them to the lesson folder (see below). At the start of the lesson I open all of the tabs in preparation.
Start of Lessons
As a roaming teacher, I’ve so far found that the start of lessons can be somewhat chaotic. Students are generally staying in the same classroom for all lessons, except for options at GCSE, meaning that students are in their seats and often ready before I am. To make this time productive I’ve done/will be doing the following.
3. My year 11 students have been given a pack of 6 GCSE retrieval practice sheets. I’ve assigned one per fortnight of this term and next and instructed that once settled they make a start of the assigned sheet until I am ready to start the lesson. They need to have completed it by the lesson in a fortnights time at which point we will go through the answers and self assess. If they complete prior to the deadline, they can move onto the next sheet in the pack.
4. For other classes, I’ll be setting up short quizzes to complete at the start of the lesson based upon last lessons work. So far, I’ve either not really taught any content, since we’ve had introduction and set up lessons or they’ve only had one content so these are on my to-do for this week. I’ll be using Microsoft Forms and posting the link to the quiz on Teams in the morning. Whilst I set up, students will use their own device (phone, tablet or laptop) to complete. If students don’t have access to their own device, I’m happy for them to complete the quiz with the person next to them and they can submit as a joint entry. This will mainly be used with KS3, year 10 and year 12.
Setting and Collecting Work
5. In lessons I will use the PowerPoint, Word document or similar with the instructions and resources as usual, but will be posting the resources for the lesson onto the class Team to enable students to access the digital version at their own desk or at home. This is mostly relevant for KS4 and KS5 students to enable them to work at their own pace through the lessons work. It also means that when students require assistance they can tell me which page or slide they are on and I can support as required.
6. I loved using Teams whilst remote teaching. The ability to set up assignments and feedback digitally was really useful in my opinion. This year I’m using the assignments function for all homework & assessed work. For homework or assessed work, students can submit a digital copy if using own device or upload photo/scan of the work from their book. With assessed classwork (formative and summative) students will be given a time frame to submit it within before I assess and feedback.
7. If, and this is very rare, I need to collect in books or paper based work, students will pass their books to the end of the row, a box will be placed at the back of the room and as they leave, the pile will be popped in the box. I’ll collect the box at the end of the day to save me having to carry it around.
AfL and Feedback
One of the things I’m already finding difficult it not being able to circulate the room to assess understanding and provide verbal feedback in the moment. I can already envisage that I’ll be making even greater use of self and peer assessment along with modelling this year.
8. Digital submission of homework and assessed work means I can provide feedback via Teams. Before the Summer I ensured all of the assessed work which would be completed across KS3 had a feedback sheet which could be easily converted into a rubric on Teams. For staff, its just a case of copy and pasting to the ‘new rubric’ when setting up an assignment. Once a rubric has been created, it can be used again and again.
9. If students work directly on the resource provided via an assignment, the teacher can access and comment on the work in real-time. Whilst the majority of my KS3 and KS4 students will be working on paper, this I feel is particularly useful for year 12 and 13. This will allow me to see the work that the students are doing and provide timely feedback and support.
10. I used to collect books in from KS3 students for a quick book look in between pieces of assessed work and would complete a book look sheet. Later this would be shared and discussed with the class. As my practice has developed, I’ve reduced the need for this through effective and regular AfL in the lesson, modelling and self/peer assessment.
However, a lot of that came from being able to circulate the room. My plan this year is to make use of polls via Teams and mini-whiteboards (the school wide plan is that class sets will be available). During and at the end of the lesson to check understanding, I’ll pop a question on the class Teams ‘feed’ for students to answer, review the results and discuss any misconceptions. I’m not entirely sure how effective this will be but I’ll be giving it a try this week. When or if the tech isn’t available, I’ll revert to the mini-whiteboards.
11. I can already see that modelling and discussing success criteria is going to have even greater importance than it has previously. My lessons regularly make use of modelling through one of three ways:
a) pre-created example – shared via whiteboard or print out
b) in the moment example – shared via visualiser or written in a word document and displayed on whiteboard
c) student work – shared via visualiser
Now the first two I can continue to do, however the third is going to be a little trickier. My plan therefore is that students that volunteer their work can take a photo, upload it to Teams and I will open it from there and display on the whiteboard.
Creating and managing a rubric in Teams
Sharing Rubrics (Export and Import)
Sharing Rubrics in Google Classroom or Microsoft Teams
Review, return, and turn in assignments using the feedback loop
Moving resources around the school, oh my. I already do a large number of daily steps, so for me it’s no different, but my arms are not used to carrying so much around. Initially, I was carrying folders, laptop, equipment etc. in multiple bags, boxes and folders. By the end of the week I had it organised as follows.
12. Invest in an expanding folder (or similar). I’m popping my printed resources in order of my lessons. I have this one from Paperchase and it fits plenty of resources in, including my A4 school planner.
13. I’ve been using slip-in wallets like these for sometime for storing paper based homework and assessed work (mainly from KS4 & KS5). Each one is labelled up with the year group. This year, I’ll be continuing with this method as and when required. I’ve stored all 8 in the very last section of my expanding folder. This week when I needed to collect in some retrieval sheets, I popped the relevant file on an empty table at the start of the lesson. At the end, students collated the sheets and one student popped them inside the wallet which went back into my expandable folder. Easy with limited touch and interaction.
14. I realised this week I need a clear pencil case or similar to keep my whiteboard pens, a cloth, whiteboard remote and the like. The majority of the week they were in the pocket of my laptop bag, but this made it difficult to do a quick visual check to ensure I had everything. To solve this I’ve picked up a clear zip-seal wallet, so at the end of the lesson I can do the quick ‘leaving the classroom’ routine have I got my… *insert list of items here*.
15. Thankfully, our students are very well prepared so I don’t need to carry general stationery around with me, but I know of teachers elsewhere that are. They’ve therefore invested in travel cases and the like to help them to move everything from room to room.
In my first few years of teaching I used the collapsible ones for dragging books to and from school, I highly recommend them. Incredibly useful.
To discover tips from others, check out the thread below
Got your own tips? Share your #RoamingTeacherTip on Twitter or add to the comments below.
I’m adding to the #RoamingTeacherTips Here’s mine:Tweet
Hope you’ve found something to useful to help you manage your time and potentially reduce workload. Look forward to seeing what other tips you have.