Thanks very much for those of you who did hand in level 6 year 8 books. We have only 22 pupils in year 8 that have a TL of 6. These are our possible higher achievers in GCSE years. Below is some feedback that concerns all of the books I looked at, as they all have very similar issues.
- Sentence structure: level 6 students are creating more complex sentences. This may be because they read independently and the structure comes more naturally to them. I say this because there is little or no attempt to consciously use any punctuation, beyond a comma and a full stop, to craft them.
- Vocabulary is quite ambitious, and there’s lots of praise for this.
- Explanations when reading a text are good, well structured, but only one option or explanation is given often.
- Putting in small goals such as ‘level 6s should place one semi colon and a hyphen in their paragraph….’ could help. Hyphens are tricky and may need a task devoted to using them. Simple booklets from many years ago are in the filing cabinets. Remind them of their planners. I’ll share online resources when I find some I like! Anyone stumbled across any?
- A higher level can be achieved by trying to spell ambitious vocabulary incorrectly than not using it at all. Our next step is to praise them for using it in the first place, but then get it spelt correctly. A page in the back of the book is a personalised way to deal with spelling errors.
- Give levelled vocabulary out such as ‘however’ ‘also’ ‘another way to read this is’ and allow time for them to offer another reading of the text. Try this verbally to begin with.
Other observations are very similar to the level 5 year 7 focus: keep targets explicit, redo writing pieces, allow time to edit, use critique of ‘be kind, be specific, be helpful’. As there is often less level 6s, I have found that they enjoy working together in a group, and peer assessing each other’s work more so than lower levels. This may be because they often end up swapping their books with the same people, being less of them. Often, they are friends socially – this is something I’ve found in my group.
I have also posted some targets that were suggested from the National Strategies website. See if they apply to your level 6s and whether you have a pattern of weaknesses and strengths in your groups.