It is important to ensure that you know, and can show that you know, your students. Will Mays’ use of name cards for each of his English groups prove this and much more. Each card show different pictures for each of the topics that are going to be studied during the year. The students and teacher can have a discussion about what these images are about as a way of getting into the topic. For certain classes, the pictures are different on each card; as an example, Will might choose a certain character for one student’s card and a completely different character for another, depending on ability (and perhaps, his opinion of the character).
The colour around the border tells Will and any other observer in the room whether the student is pupil premium (purple), SEN or any other code Will chooses to implement. The students are asked to write their target grade and their current grade on these name cards, so that they understand the direction in which they are meant to be heading.
- students know their target grades and current grades as these are kept at the front of their books, to be taken out at the start of every lesson
- students can be put into different groups, from ‘family’ groups, which allows students of similar abilities to work together to ‘rainbow’ groups, in which students all have borders of different colours
- this is adaptable to any subject as an easy and engaging way to differentiate and show knowledge of your students.
- examples of these in other subjects: French and Spanish can use the names of different French and Spanish cities e.g. Champagne is the PP group, Bordeaux is the group of students that need stretching, Create Music can use genres of music, Drama can use different playwrights etc.
- thought does have to go into this at the start of the year/term
- these take time to make, print and laminate, especially for large groups (however the pay off in terms of engagement and knowledge of students would outweigh the time taken at the beginning of the year when teachers are full of energy and still have hope).