Excuse the exciting title – this is not however, a confessional blog, in which I declare some terrible dark secret (like those days when I feel like I have completely lost the ability to teach – is it just me…?) No, today was a ‘clean copy annotation’ day for Year 10. It has been one of the successful new strategies I’ve embedded this year. It has become habit, and students seem to see value and purpose in it.
Designing the course for the new spec AQA, I decided to put as much of the content into this year as I could, leaving next year for perfecting skills, deep learning and practise. As we’re whooshing through the poems, I periodically whip out a clean copy and ask students to fully annotate it, based on what they’ve remembered. And rather than groan and wail ‘Miss! That’s long!’, they pick up pens and tackle it.
It seems to be helping on many levels: it is building confidence, it’s forcing thinking hard about something and activating memory, and it’s embedding quotes, terms and analysis, and it is repetition – which I think we seriously underestimate the importance of, for fear of boring students.
Clean copy annotation has become one of my very quick-win teaching strategies. and could be used in just about any subject. No matter what damage students have done to a previous poem, it is also the promise of a fresh, clean start!