Literacy, iPads, Middle Boys and much, much more

Brain food

This diagram explaining how to encourage boys to read was designed by Justine Short.



You can find lots free and innovative of teaching materials, like the one below, on


 Middle Boys Geography Activity by Beth Conner

Just did an activity with my Year 10 focused at middle boys – to say the middle boys enjoyed it would be an understatement! They made headland features out of playdoh, labelled them to understand the process then completed an exam question on it! I’ve taken pictures as evidence for their books. Attached are some of the Middle boys examples.

headland erosion cycle

headlands 2

Article of the week: iPads better for boys?

 DECEMBER 3, 2014

After recently seeing a report on BBC news I found an article published in the Daily Telegraph (1st December 2014) suggesting that iPads could be the “vital new weapon” in improving literacy among boys.  Currently boys consistently achieve lower grades than their female counterparts in exams.   Following examination results in August 2014 the Guardian suggests that although “boys are getting a higher share of A* grades, they continue to fall behind across the board.” (

When we look at the A*-C pass rate between boys and girls since 1989 we can clearly see the gender gap:

Boys vs girls exams

However, when broken down into subject specific results the gender disparity is minor for Maths.


But larger for English


In my experience (and this is just my own opinion) the boys that I teach are more practical and hands on.  While the girls are happy to write neatly in their books and read aloud to the class, the boys are fidgeting and wanting to move around the room.  Also, they love to use their phones or gadgets.  So, fast forward to a report from the National Literacy Trust and they actually suggest that “children read for longer and have a better vocabulary when accessing touch screen technology.”  They also found that 24% of boys read stories on screen for longer than they read printed books, compared to 12% of girls.  Although there are warnings from the British Journal of General Practice that we are causing children to be dependent on technology” and weNewspaper article could end up differentiating based on gender performance, could iPads be a part of the solution to close the long debated gender achievement gap?

Original article from the Guardian:

 Recommended Reading


1. 100 Ideas for Secondary Teachers: Outstanding Lessons

In his first book, Twitter phenomenon and outstanding teacher, Ross Morrison McGill provides a bank of inspirational ideas that can be picked up five minutes before your lesson starts and put into practice just as they are, or embedded into your day-to-day teaching to make every lesson an outstanding lesson! In his light-hearted and enthusiastic manner Ross guides you through the ideas he uses on a daily basis for managing behaviour, lesson planning, homework, assessment and all round outstanding teaching. Whether you are an experienced teacher or someone who has little practical teaching experience, there are ideas in this book that will change the way you think about your lessons.

Ideas include: Snappy starters, Open classroom, Smiley faces, Student-led homework, Monday morning mantra and the popular five minute lesson plan.

2. Perfect ICT Every Lesson: Mark Anderson
downloadTechnology is at the heart of learning for all of us and every teacher needs to be using social media, mobile technologies and transformational digital learning opportunities as an integral part of their range of strategies for helping students make the maximum progress. In this book in the Perfect series, Mark Anderson, the ICT Evangelist, takes the technology-related elements of all the recent subject reports from Ofsted and using them offers clear and practical strategies that are proven to be successful in classrooms and offers up ideas for how they can be turned into a daily reality for all teachers. The key subject is the use of ICT, however many other subjects are covered, i.e. the book is applicable to all subject areas across all key stage areas and readers will learn about how ICT can be used in every lesson across both Primary and Secondary phases. Includes: Practical advice and examples set against backdrop of real life examples,practical advice on how to cope with the Esafety aspect of an Ofsted inspection and the use of education hash tags including: EdTech, MLearning, iPaded

3. Boys’ Underachievement in Education: An exploration in selected Commonwealth (1)

Gender disparity in education has usually been experienced as disadvantaging girls. Now a new phenomenon of boys’ underachievement – both in terms of participation and performance – is appearing in a number of countries. This book reviews the research on boys’ underachievement and presents the arguments that have been put forward to understand its causes. The authors also present new studies from Australia, Jamaica, Lesotho and Samoa; and they use both the research and the evidence from the case studies to explore the causes and policy implications of this trend – the first time a truly cross-regional approach has been applied to the issue. This book will interest all education policy-makers and analysts concerned to ensure gender equality in school education.

Links to useful articles – click on the link and away you go

1.Five things teachers can learn from video games.

2. An interesting article on Growth Mindset

3. Tips for teaching

4. Starter/Plenary exit ticket-type activity which asks students to draw a picture on an instagram template about “today’s topic” as a starter and then in a plenary to show progress within the lesson. Very popular and effective with my classes. You get some great comments which link to the learning.

5. Lots of resources, tips and ideas

6. Progress with Socrative


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