Guest Blog: Assessments, World Book Day, and the Oscars

As the title suggests, this week has been extremely busy. At my second placement school, they did a series of tests including the reading and maths SATS that I have been used to seeing take place in my main placement school every few months to check for formative assessment (with writing being assessed almost weekly during Extended Writing) as well as a reading age, and spelling test using a company called NGRT. 

‘It is an ideal screening/monitoring test for groups of pupils. It enables the assessment of reading and comprehension in a single test, helping to identify, for instance, competent readers with weak comprehension skills who would benefit from a follow-up individual assessment and learning support. The assessment also measures how a pupil is performing compared to their peers at a national level.’

Using the SIMs programme to monitor attendance, progress and other pastoral activities, I can see how important assessing is and not just through the use of tests. Next academic year it will be interesting to see how schools cope without the use of Levels, unless of course a certain Political Party win leadership. I feel that regardless of what happens, I want to use many forms of assessing as I can, including: photographs, peer assessment, Dojo Points, teacher/pupil reading, Guided Reading sessions etc. 

From the looks of just the Reading test, most of the class have shot up since autumn and although I have not been there long, it would be nice to take some credit for it.

World Book Day came about quickly and I dressed up as Iron Man/Tony Stark this year. Firstly I came in wearing a suit to which I was asked 'what have you come as?' I replied that I am Tony Stark from The Avengers and Marvel comics. The twist came soon after when I changed into the full costume and I shocked a few people because they didn't realise I had swapped clothes. I even grew a beard and shaved it just like the character does.

I taught 12 students from across KS2 how to produce their own newspaper front page by interviewing people who had dressed up for the event. The Year 6’s worked alongside Year 4’s as did the Year 5’s and 3’s. I did this to ensure that everyone had a buddy and it gave the older ones some responsibility too. Planning a presentation to introduce the project was key to the day because I was able to explain not only what types of questions to ask but what the layout for the page should be.

I hadn’t taught or been introduced to over half of the group so it was a good chance to get to know more children and overcome any teaching and behaviour barriers I encountered. Once I had set the groups off to their various destinations, I also went around the school taking photos of the day. There were lots of Harry Potters, Where’s Wally, Superheroes, and Disney princess’s. Despite a few setbacks along the way with a few children not saving their work correctly at lunchtime, I was presented with some very good pieces of work and this enabled me to create a school newsletter to go home to parents.

Finally, the Oscars ceremony that I had been waiting almost two months to attend to. This was a culmination of all the hard work each year class from Years 1-6 had put together into making their own short film. Since this was taking place at my main placement I had to ask special permission to attend. My mentor especially wanted me because I had taken the lead with the Year 6 classes into the planning, filming and editing of 10 films that were whittled down to just 2 on the day.

Everyone dressed for the occasion and I wore a new suit with a bow tie. Stepping into the school for the first time in over a month was a moment I will never forget and the welcoming smiles and hugs I received was a lovely feeling. My mentor asked me to be cameraman for the entire day (ending up with over 500 photos). The hall was decorated to look just like its namesake even including a red carpet for the winners to walk up. Seeing as there were 14 films to be shown, this was split evenly across the year groups and about 50 parents came to support their children. Special guests including Governors, the ex Headteacher, office staff and some class teachers, were invited to present the certificates and ‘Oscar statues’. The look on some of the children’s faces was brilliant when they realised they had won, plus some had speeches prepared.

I am so proud of my mentor because she did most of the hard work and a lot of the support staff across the school put in a lot of long hours and man-power to ensure it was a success. This is one event I wish I had done when a child but definitely one tradition I would like to see in any school I work in.

So in all it has been a truly busy week. Some may say that World Book Day is off-timetable and therefore easier to manage but actually the day is completely different and the children are buzzing, there are things to prepare and time to stick to. As for the Oscars, it may also have been a non-teaching day for me but was emotionally exhausting, my thumb throbbed after taking so many pictures and I also stayed behind afterwards to catch up with my mentor about training progress.


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