Now that coursework season is basically over I thought I would reflect on a few things. I have used the terms we use for marking at school – What Went Well & Even Better If.
What Went Well…
- I feel that the compositions for GCSE this year were really strong because the briefs and the contexts that the students used were really strong. I feel that Cinematic & Programmatic pieces were particularly successful.
- Performances this year seemed stronger than ever because I made an effort to really push for pieces that were Grade 4/5 and I ensured ensembles were recorded early on. I also made sure that students pushed themselves with their ensemble and looked at how they could make the performance more advanced. I also tried to pair up students to work on duets together, even if they were singing them with someone else – two lads did the same duet with the same girl and so rehearsed together.
- The students were encouraged to really explore different textures in their compositions and I feel this made them a lot better. Imitation was a big focus as I feel it is often glossed over. Also the position of the melody in the texture – ensuring it isn’t always at the top but also within the inner parts.
- Recordings took place across the year and students had a chance to listen to them and read the feedback. Frequent performances sessions throughout the year allowed me to really monitor progress.
- I worked a lot more closely with instrumental teachers who were able to support ensemble performances. This year I saw a larger number of instrumental duets that were idiomatic and worked really well for GCSE. It is lovely to hear students working with their teachers and record their performances.
- I laminated the marking criteria so that I didn’t keep losing the sheets. It is always a pain when you go to mark something and can’t find the mark scheme that you know you printed at some point. The laminated one has survived coursework season, although is now in-fact redundant as I have moved to the new spec!
Even Better If…
- I always wonder why I don’t fill in the forms earlier! I must do that next year as it is always a pain to get forms in and make sure all the bits are filled in. The hard work is all done, but then the dreaded paper work gets stressful!
- I actually had blank CDs to use. Last minute rushing around to find them was a pain! I hardly ever use blank discs anymore and I am sure they will be phased out at some point. But I need to get a stock in ready for next year.
- I typed up all the forms and not just bits of them. The pre-made word documents provided by the exam board are really useful. But you have to be organised and make sure you don’t save over previous ones – if that makes sense. I find typing up feedback so much quicker and easier, but did have to get the glue stick out to sort out a couple of candidate record forms! But big issue, but next year I want to type everything and get them ready earlier.
- I organised my recorder with folders so I didn’t have to listen through 4 takes of a performance to remind myself of the best one. I need to learn to delete as I go and not just have loads and loads of performances that go wrong!
- I had a stapler to hand and didn’t have to borrow one. Practical issue, but an essential tool for the job. Only a short walk to the school office, but it would have been better if i had one!
So there we are. A few thoughts from me, practical and obvious in some cases. Surviving coursework season is tough and I am so grateful to the Facebook community for sharing thoughts and ideas. WE are all out the other side now – well nearly, A Level stuff still to go – and we can reflect on WWW & EBI. Getting the little things right and getting everything you need ready, can make the world of difference.
Now I can really give Year 10 some attention!