Good Practice at Upton :
Developing literacy skills:
Year 9 students are currently reading Stone Cold by Robert Swindells. Students have been inspired by the gritty reality of this novel about a homeless teenager called Link. One sentence in the novel seemed to really be the turning point for the two groups – ‘I found a doorway’. Students based their descriptive writing and poetry around the idea of what it would be like to be 16, homeless and sleeping in a doorway for the first time. Their completed work has been phenomenal.
Display produced by Miss Farnin’s class and inspired by Stone Cold.
Michael, Kirsty, Joe and Tayiba are so proud of the work they have produced and have used the feedback they received to improve and make progress.
The work produced by Tayiba and the feedback she received.
Hardworking students and proud Headteacher Mrs Dixon, 2nd Deputy Mr Keegan and School Governor Mr Ivison.
Edmodo used by Mrs Critchley
Edmodo is a great way to communicate with your students. You can set homework, write a class blog, share resources and much more. Students create their own accounts using their school email address and they will receive notifications when you write a post. For students who have their school email connected to their phone or iPad, the notification is instant. As a form tutor, this is a great way to communicate with your form and keep them up-to-date with all school messages. See below
Digital workflows and feedback to enhance and monitor feedback
This work was used as part of a workshop at the SSAT National Conference December 5th 2014
Art – Acting on feedback before the next lesson by Miss French
Drama – Feedback and how to improve by Mr Tierney
English – Feedback and discussing literature by Mrs Johns
Geography – WWW & EBI by Mrs Mitchell
How to measure progress over time:
This supports how we monitor progress at Upton by Chester
Safe & Simple Blogs for Your Students
Improve student literacy using iPads
Article of the week:
An article by the ictevangelist which mirrors what we are doing are Upton by Chester
DiRTy Technology – how to use technology to affect impact on feedback
‘Dedicated Improvement and Reflection Time’. Championed by @jackiebeere in many of her brilliant booksand by top bloggers such as Didau (he even has DIRT archives) and Quigley. Rewriting the wheel is not what i’m about here – what I do want to do though is talk about how I’m embedding DIRT in to my classroom making use of technology.
Yes, it is as Quigley recommends:
So how are we doing it?
The simple answer is ‘Showbie’. With a Showbie Pro account we are able to set all the assignments we want for all of our classes and make great use of the tool to facilitate all of the different aspects of the feedback model.
Students have time in lesson to reflect upon their feedback which appears in their submitted assignment folder. As Showbie is on a simple level a repository for files, you can put any number of different types of feedback in there, from an annotated Word file (which is what I do mostly with a section on WWW and EBI among other sections, such as student reflection) to a full on Explain Everything feedback video.
Modelled and scaffolded
I’m modelling and scaffolding their responses in a number of ways. Firstly I’ve got a feedback template. Nothing sexy, it’s just a simple template (not even made by me) in Word format which has space for the date of the feedback, their target minimum grade / level, something which states what their piece of work is, a WWW (what went well) section, an EBI (even better if) section and a student response section. It looks like this when you screenshot it from your iPad:
For those staff who like things a bit more analogue, I did however design a label which can go in to books which is being used as a sticker by some colleagues in their lessons:
Here, as Quigley rightly points out, DIRT and feedback are essential bedfellows. I am basically aiming to ensure that the feedback that students get is thorough, and taking on board the writings of John Hattie, I am to ensure that the feedback is timely. John Hattie writes that feedback should be:
- Just in time
- Just for them
- Just for where they are in their learning
- Just what they need to move forward
…and the technology helps me to do that. Showbie lets me know when work has been submitted, when students have responded to feedback, developed their work, so forth and so on. It’s great!
I love giving oral feedback. So do lots of my students, particularly those who are dyslexic. I like it because I can use technology, particularly with apps such as Explain Everything (read more here), to give much more detailed feedback than I would be able to do just through handwriting or typing along. Showbie enables me to take the feedback to the next level. In Showbie I can record voice notes (as seen in the feedback pane below). What I ask students to do then (just like with the verbal feedback sticker mentioned by Chocotzar in her great post about marking) is write up their next steps and their understanding of the feedback given, just within a note, actually within that assignment within Showbie itself. Magic!
This is where I think the power of mobile technology really helps with the feedback. I have been asking for students with their iPads to not only ask their peers to give them feedback to feed forward towards developing their work and critiquing (whilst been kind, specific and helpful – thanks!) but I’ve also been asking the students to ask their parents to give some verbal feedback on the school work of their children. Not many have done it yet – but some are.
What I like about it all is that not only is it giving the students the opportunity to reflect upon their work; to think about the feedback they’ve been given in a timely fashion, but it’s also giving students the opportunity to do so anywhere.
I realise that Showbie isn’t the only way this can be done, but for me – it’s a great win. If you’d like to find out more about Showbie and its many more features than I’ve talked about here, download the app and have a play around – it’s free (although note that not all features are free and would involve the purchase of a Pro account).
1. The Glass Wall: Why Mathematics Can Seem Difficult
What makes mathematics understandable? What makes mathematics confusing? Could something be wrong with the way mathematics is taught? Following his years of studying human intellectual accomplishments such as language, reading, writing, thinking, and learning, Frank Smith now turns his critical lens on the teaching and learning of mathematics. In The Glass Wall, Smith helps us to understand why some people find the world of mathematics so compelling while others find it so difficult. This original volume examines two different worlds: the physical world (our familiar world of objects and events) and the world of mathematics(a completely different domain of experience), and the glass wall that can exist between them. Smith argues that, because the language used to talk about these two worlds is not the same, many people find themselves behind the glass wall, on the outside looking in.
2. Outstanding Teaching: Engaging Learners
At the end of every week many teachers leave school exhausted. In an era when responsibility for exam results lies with them and not their students it’s time to redress the balance so that students take more of the responsibility for their learning and progress. A class can be skilled and motivated to learn without a teacher always having to lead. Engaging learners in this way unpicks intrinsic motivation, the foundation that underpins a productive learning environment and helps to develop independent learning, creativity and improved behaviour management. Based on five years of intensive research through Osiris Education’s award-winning Outstanding Teaching Intervention programme, during which the authors have trained more than 500 teachers to teach over 1,300 lessons in schools nationwide, this book is packed with proven advice and innovative tools developed in these successful outstanding lessons. Written in the same humorous, thought-provoking style with which they both teach and train, Andy and Mark aim to challenge all who teach, from NQTs to seasoned professionals, to reflect on their day-to-day practise and set an agenda for sustainable teacher and leadership improvement. Outstanding Teaching: Engaging Learners was short listed for Educational Resources best Educational Book Award 2013.
What’s the Point of School? takes the reader beyond the sterile debates about City Academies and dumbed-down exams in order to reveal the key responsibility of education today: to create students who enjoy learning. With their emphasis on stressful exams and regurgitation of information, Guy Claxton claims that schools are currently doing more harm than good, primarily making students fear failure. Instead, schools must encourage students to develop their curiosity, ask stupid questions, and think for themselves. He explains scientists’ latest theories about how the human brain learns, and reveals some of the core habits needed to create a strong, supple mind. He then goes on to explain how these are already being successfully implemented in some schools – all without chucking out Shakespeare or the Periodic Table. Professor Guy Claxton is one of the UK’s foremost thinkers on creativity, learning and the brain in both business and education. He is Professor of the Learning Sciences at the University of Bristol, and the author and editor of over 20 books on learning and creativity.
1. Resourceful YouTube Channels for Teachers and Educators
2. Free PDF to PowerPoint converter
3. 8 apps to improve workflow between student and teacher
4. Developing student independence through the use of iPads