I spent today at a professional learning event being trained on the use of ALARM, aka A Learning And Response Matrix. The basic idea is that even if students are capable of learning the content, they may struggle to express that learning when it comes to extended response questions. ALARM provides a matrix that helps the student structure their answer in a way that is logical and covers everything the question asks. On the flip side, it gives teachers a matrix to structure their teaching so that it builds from the very basic content through the higher order thinking skills without skipping any steps.
I could definitely see myself using ALARM in the classroom, both explicitly and implicitly. The training itself was quite well run, apart from going over time, which is a bit annoying when you’ve got an hour’s bus ride to get back! Still, it was a chance to have a bit of fun with the other teachers.
As for tomorrow, I’ve got my lessons roughly planned out. I’m going to have a big focus on behaviour with the junior years. Our first activity is going to be a class discussion, centred around respect and responsibility, where I intend to get the students to agree on what is an acceptable standard of behaviour in the classroom. One of my favourite parts of that activity is asking the students to give examples of how I, the teacher, display respectful behaviour in the classroom. I guess I’ll report back soon with how it all goes!