4 Top Tips to Minimise Marking Time

Marking homework and other assignments often takes up a fair amount of time, whether you’ve only just started teaching or you’ve been doing it for years. It is important to provide helpful feedback that lets your pupils know what is expected of them, but it can be time-consuming and stressful.

We’ve put together four short tips to help make sure you don’t spend too much time on marking.

  1. Don’t hand out Grades if you don’t need to

Not everything needs to be graded. People have a tendency to skip through any comments to just see the grade at the end, so if it doesn’t need grading, don’t add one in. It will also make your class more likely to read the comments you have made!

  1. Mark, but don’t correct, careless mistakes

By simply circling careless grammar and spelling mistakes instead of correcting them, you save yourself a little time and also highlight to the individual that something is amiss with their word/sentence structure etc. You can then perhaps set some time aside in the lesson to address these mistakes; if they are a reoccurring problem.

  1. Switch up the pens!

If you find you’re having difficulty with the style of pen you use, try switching to a different one. Some teachers prefer to use a fountain pen or a highlighter to make their marking stand out against the others, but if a plain ball point does the job and does it more quickly, then that is the way to go. Although do check the school policy beforehand regarding the use of different pens.

  1. Shorten your praise – but don’t hold back!

Make yourself a key of ‘feedback’; something simple like a set of smiley faces. Your students will know they have done well, without you having to spell it out for them. It saves precious seconds of marking time but still gives well-deserved praise when required.

Teacher Hacks – Top Tips and Tricks

Everyone needs a hand every now and then. To keep teachers and support staff up to date with the latest hints and tips on teaching, we’ve listed a few of our favourite ‘hacks’ that will help you in the classroom.

  1. Keep it Down

There are noise recognising apps you can install on your phone which sound an alarm when the decibel level goes over a certain amount. If your kids can get excited on occasion, this is a good way of reminding them to keep quiet during lessons.

  1. Prevent Early Finishers from Becoming Class Clowns

Having an ‘I’m Done!’ cup full of extra tasks for early finishers will prevent them from getting bored and trying to distract their classmates. Simple tasks like ‘practice your spellings’ or ‘read a poem from the poems book’ will keep their minds occupied.

  1. Hand Signals Help to Prevent Disruptions

SONY DSCSometimes your kids need a drink, or will want to use the toilet. Creating a series of hand signals designed to prevent disruption will help keep the peace during quiet time. They don’t have to be seriously complicated, but they need to be clear. If you want, you could even incorporate a bit of sign language into your hand signals to keep the learning going.

  1. Home-Made Homework Tray

If you need a quick fix homework tray, try using a simple foil baking tray decorated with some coloured paper. It works and it shows your pupils the power of recycling!

  1. Pencil Dispenser for the Disorganised

Some kids will never remember to bring a pencil. An old straw dispenser will double up as a pencil dispenser for when your pupils forget to bring their stationary. If you want to keep tabs on the number of pencils you have loaned out, attach a coloured strip to the base of each pencil.

Tips For your first PGCE Observation

tick-300x296When it comes to your first PGCE observation as a teacher in training, it is important to remember that the appraising tutor has probably seen hundreds of lessons of the same type, so the chances are that at least 10% of those lessons were complete disasters, so they’re prepared for absolutely anything to happen.

The point of these appraisals is to help you build upon existing traits and to help improve upon your weaker teaching points so that you can grow and learn as a teacher in your own right.

These tutors are not here to assess your ability; they are merely there to help you develop your own skills as a fully fledged teacher.

Know your subject well as many teachers in training might try out an entirely new subject in order to impress the tutor; however this can lead to unplanned detours as children will react in ways that you often won’t expect. Make copies of everything; the lesson plan, resources, work sheets etc. so that you can give them to your support staff as well as have a few spares where needed.

All in all it is important to relax and stay calm. These tutors are here to assess your ability to adapt, especially when things don’t quite go as planned. Enjoy it and remember that the most crucial thing is to make sure your pupils are learning!

Fun ways to end the School Year

As the end of term and the end of the school year approaches, many teachers will find their pupils getting restless with excitement. Sometimes it is better to take a step back and introduce a few fun final lessons to ‘wind down’ before the summer holidays start!

There are a number of fantastic ideas shared by other teachers who have encountered similar problems, with great ideas being thrown around such as creating their own Fashion Dolls, a number of engaging quizzes covering subjects such as Ecology and Adaptation, Music, and  History and even an exercise or two helping children to better understand Microsoft Excel.

However you decide to end the school year, make sure to go out with a bang! Your pupils will leave the school year feeling better about themselves and will have memories for life!summer

Teaching Teachers how to create Magic

Teaching a class is a lot like driving. You learn all the theory, you get the practical experience, you pass the tests and then you finally become fully qualified. Only then you start to really learn what it is all about.

magic speakingOften teachers and teaching assistants are so pressured by the theory side of teaching that they forget about the magic of teaching.

Christopher Emdin, an Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics, Science and Technology at Teachers College, Columbia University, explains excellently in his inspirational video that teachers don’t realise how to captivate their audience through the use of voice, performance and audience participation.

He encourages teachers to go out into the world and visit places of performance, where people are captivated to their speakers e.g. gospel churches and rap concerts.

These speakers are not trained to educate but they do know how to engage and captivate their audience. This is an essential part of being a teacher. Children find it so much easier to learn when their lessons are engaging and they love it when the teacher appears to be having as much fun teaching the lesson as they do learning it.

At Red Box we always try to encourage our supply teachers and teaching assistants to stay positive and to focus on engaging and exciting content. For a wide range of different teaching opportunities in and around London, why not get in touch?

Failing is Not a Bad Thing

As teachers we understand that not every child will be able to solve a problem the first time or will be able to take in all the information in the lesson. However, a lot of pressure can be put on the child to do so, therefore, we often overlook the process of learning and only focus on the results.

stepsSociety has persuaded our psyche to have a deep rooted fear of “failure.” This way of thinking impacts us from childhood through to adulthood. Children who struggle with learning often have low self confidence and feel like they are “failing” most of the time.

This can often lead to boredom and disruptive behaviour in class.

We need to emphasize that fast learners are not always the best learners. Children learn in many different ways and we as teachers have to ensure that we are using as many methods as possible to assist the whole class. This can be a difficult job but positive feedback is a great way to build children’s confidence in learning.

Teachers also need to educate children that “failing” is part of learning. Failing can aid our learning as through the process of elimination we can find the right answer. It also builds our determination and encourages us to expand our thought process that can aid us with future tasks.

If you love teaching and are looking for a supply teaching position in and around the area of London, Red Box Teachers has a huge range of different options available for substitute teachers and teaching assistants.

Be Engaging and Exciting

At Red Box Teachers we understand how important education is to our children. Children can often resent going to school and hold this resentment throughout their adult education. Therefore, we need to ensure that school is a supportive and fun environment to learn in from the beginning.

fun learningAll children learn at different rates so teachers need to ensure that each level of learning is clear, exciting and engaging. We can often remember more information if we link it to an interesting memory or if we have actively engaged in that memory of learning.

Using a variety of different activities will help you to understand how each child learns and it will also break up the day into more interesting and engaging sections. Try to include stimuli that the children can relate to e.g. a cool cartoon character or a character from a famous book. Creating a story with your lessons lead the children down an action packed journey of fun and learning.

Remember it is not just the end result that counts!

Into Film Scotland

[redbox] school news blogThe Scotland Educational system has recently launched a new programme which will integrate film into the school curriculum in the bid to use films and film making to improve the quality of learning in schools across the country. They hope to utilise films to better communicate the act of learning to children in a more effective way than simply watching a film based off of a study book, or showing an educational film in place of a lesson.

Into Film Scotland

The programme has been backed by the British Film Institute and Education Scotland amongst other organisations. A part of the scheme will allow schools to set up film clubs where they will be able to access a ‘film library’ similar to Netflix or Hulu where they will have free access to thousands of educating films.

Many children are active learners, so instead of reading about history from a history book, or learning a speech on paper, the visual media provided by modern technology today will allow children to absorb far more information than if they tried to read it.

[teachers] film blog

Showing Their Support

The chief executive of the programme; Paul Reeve has stated that as the richest of the educational resources it is only natural to use films and film-making as a way to develop essential learning skills, as well as promoting communication and creativity skills.

He hopes it will have the power to inspire a new generation of thinkers. Even actors are backing the project, such as Film star Ewan McGregor.

RedBox Teachers are always looking for enthusiastic and qualified supply teachers and teaching assistants, plus as we help find accommodation for those commuting to London who wish to live nearer to their designated school, we can find the perfect job for you.

Inspirational Quotes

If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place.” –Nora Roberts

Everyone has had dog days when they would rather just pull the covers up and the blinds back down and hide away from the world than get out of bed and embrace life’s challenges. It can be hard when you are faced with frequent negativity, and as teachers every day can be a struggle, particularly when you are trying to reiterate a difficult lesson.

“There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” –C.S. Lewis

However it is important to remember that the job you are doing is a fantastic one. You are helping to cultivate minds, and that is no mean feat. The mind is the greatest gift we have ever been given, and the imagination can take us to places we have never been before, so don’t shirk it!

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”- Gandhi

We hope that this little collection of inspirational quotes from those who have struggled through and made it to the light at the end of the tunnel will help you who are struggling to make that first step. Take the plunge, don’t give up, your pupils are counting on you!

 

“The best way to predict your future is to create it.”– Abraham Lincoln

[redbox]stars blog

Correcting Wrong Answers in a Positive Way

When teaching a class of children, particularly younger children, it is important to steer your students in the right direction while still allowing them to find things out for themselves. When it comes to giving incorrect answers, there are a few ways you can rephrase your response to their answers. This will help to guide them towards the right answer, without discouraging your students from attempting to answer questions in class.

Move onto another person

question

If you happen to pick on a student who doesn’t know the answer or who gives an incorrect answer, don’t dwell on them as it can discourage them from offering answers voluntarily. Acknowledge the wrong answer but give encouraging feedback which will minimise embarrassment such as “You’re on the right lines” or “can anyone build on what George has said”.

The aim for encouraging your students to ask and answer questions is not always to get the right answer every time, but instead to build their confidence in asking for help when they don’t understand something. Answering and asking questions is also crucial when building up communication skills, particularly in younger children.

Reward the right answer

tick

This works well in group question and answer sessions. Don’t ignore wrong answers but instead reward right answers with stickers, possibly a chart reward system or even a word of positive praise. This positive reinforcement will both reward the child who answered correctly, and may encourage other children to step up and attempt to answer another question later on in the discussion.

At Red Box we focus on relationships, whether it be a relationship between a supply teacher or a teaching assistant and the school, or the relationship between the teacher and their students. We can offer a new level of support for qualified primary supply teachers and teaching assistants looking for part time and full time jobs throughout the UK.