Challenge, high aspirations, differentiation and independent learning

During our last teaching and learning meeting staff were asked to bring along examples of resources or activities on one or more of the following:
  • give students greater challenge
  • set high aspirations
  • show effective differentiation
  • encourage independent learning

This fits into our SDP: “All staff to be appropriately trained and prepared to successfully meet the varied and demanding needs of all students – with a specific focus on greater challenge, high aspirations, effective differentiation and independent learning.”

Here are the examples from departments:


Below is an example of independent work carried out by a student on the GCSE Art exhibition. There is a link below with lots of examples of challenge, high aspirations, differentiation and independent learning.

art 2

Examples in Art

Business Studies and Computer Science

Mr Jones – Differentiation by questioning quiz (see attached PowerPoint) is a quiz were students can select which level of difficulty they want to answer.  It promotes challenge as students want to get more points.

The powerpoint is a template that is easily adaptable for use.

Differentiation by questioning

Mrs Larkin – Pass the Parcel

Sit students in a circle

Play some music to the class

Stop the music after a few seconds.

The student who has the parcel when the music stopped unwraps it and has to answer the revision question.  If they can’t answer it, open the question up to the class.

Restart the music and stop it to allow different students to have the opportunity to unwrap the parcel and answer a question

Mrs Welsh – knowledge audits to promote independent study and challenge (other resources attached)

2.1.4 abcdefg units binary conversion Datablast2.1.4 abcdefg units binary conversion Knowledge Audit

Knowledge audit

Miss Welsh – Guess the integration


Business 3Business 4

Miss McLean – Beat the Teacher – Connections

  • Give the class the question, and include certain phrases that they have to use within their answer.
  • Mix up the terms so they are not in any order
  • The highlighted words (red) would indicate difficult terms to include – the challenge is to include them
  • At the same time make it a competition by the teacher writing a version in the same time as students and compare


Stop and Think Bingo

  • Instead of giving students words – you pose a question (which you know the answers for) and students have to come up with answers to complete their grid.
  • Play bingo in the usual way (questioning as you go)
  • Extension – give each answer a score, the easier answers 1 pt etc,
  • Students can then total how many their grid would score – this will reward the students who thought about the whole question rather than just the one, who was lucky enough to have them in the order that you called them out


What went wrong?

Students discuss – what went wrong with an answer, rather than what went well.  As often an answer looks good on the surface but is in fact not worth many marks.

By finding errors shows a better understanding of the topics and make it easier to write better answers.  There is no point trying to improve good answers.

Students then go on to write a correct answer either in groups of individually depending on the question.


More resources: 2.1.4 abcdefg units binary conversion Knowledge AuditBusiness Economics and Computer science T&L resourcesChecklist-ProfStandardsDifferentiation by questioning


  • They teach poetry using the acronym PCSRILE and students are then able to deconstruct/analyse poems independently. To consolidate the process of skill development, they present their own analysis to the class (see the link below).
  • A homework designed to run across a couple of weeks and to encourage independent research.  it was designed for more able students but could be simplified for the less-able.

    Year 7- Background research for the school bell article

  • Homework: Assessment preparation for the week beginning 20.3.17

    The assessment is going to be a letter about replacing bells with music in schools.  You need to do some research for your assessment:

    • Find articles/reports/information about this topic by looking on the internet for information about other schools where this has happened.
    • Try to find an expert’s view (e.g. A headteacher, a school governor or someone whose job is connected to education.)  You could ask your tutor or other teachers to find your own expert’s view.
    • Interview parents and grandparents about it- to find out an older person’s opinion
    • Interview at least one friend or a sibling to get a younger person’s opinion.
    • Write down on your IPad or record EXACTLY what your interviewee says. Make sure that you have a note of the person’s name, age, year in school and role (e.g. teacher, parent of Sam Smith in Year 7 etc)





In Geography they use Top Trump Templates for students to work independently on river flooding defences.Slide1Slide2

Top-Trump-Templates – River Flooding Defenses


Mrs Vianello

Collaborative Learning

Pack of information on two dictators. The class was split into small groups, each focusing on either Stalin or Hitler. The groups then found a partner from the other dictator and shared information. This encouraged independent mastery of their dictator as well as collaborative skills to determine key features of a dictatorship.


Scaffolded note taking to aid students with identifying salient points when making notes at GCSE. Use of key words, pictures, etc to prompt students into identifying key points.


Mr Petty

Stretch and Challenge

Range of lesson objectives at a range of levels. Discussion with class at the start of the lesson to determine what ought to be the lesson objective. This can then be used alongside blooms taxonomy to help explicitly identifying higher order thinking skills. This is a good example of using metacognition in the classroom. This was inspired by reading from a consortium of schools in Perth, Western Australia.

e.g.      What problems were there in the trenches?

Why was illness a common feature of trench life?

What was the main cause of illness in the trenches?

What was trench foot?

Why did some trenches suffer higher rates of illness than others?

Mr Doherty

Encourage independent learning

Teacher presents a flawed argument, supported with some evidence. The role of the student is to use the resources available to challenge that argument effectively.


Miss Main

Encourage independent learning

Entry into a literacy competition ran by the literacy trust using the descriptosaurus facilities. Students have completed a short piece of descriptive writing (350 words) which enabled them to gain a better sense of the past.


Mr Mulhall

Encourage independent learning

There is a challenge in the new A Levels to allow students to have plenty of time to revise and analyse for a two year course. This has led to a need to delivering content intensively.

One technique to allow this was to create a set of questions given to all students. Students were then put into small groups given a different half of the text. The first challenge for students was to discover which questions they could answer using their text. They then selected one of the questions to give a small presentation to the whole class on. This allowed all of the class to identify the overview of the material, whilst maintaining a mastery of a specific item.

Media Studies

Give students greater challenge

Peer and self-assessment of students’ poster campaigns. Compare with professional magazine advertisements to ensure that students’ work has an authentic quality.

Set high aspirations

Sixth Form study exam answers and mark them using a simple mark scheme. Use this to inform their planning of case study answers.

Show effective differentiation

Lower 6th examination preparation for unseen moving image section – give students key answer words (different ones for differing abilities). Students given a choice of questions – they work out what which question their answer words link to then use as many key words as possible to write a response. Students can peer assess and a simple tally of the number of key words used provides feedback.

Encourage independent learning

Students have the opportunity in all years to choose their own topics for research. Year 11 students pick the Television Comedy texts for their examination and are given guidelines to help them research. Sixth form students research different film makers, institutions and theorists to present to the class. This peer to peer teaching can be very effective and allows the students to have ownership of their learning.



Lots of examples for challenge, high aspirations, differentiation and independent learning.



  • Use of board games, e.g Snakes and Ladders to encourage accuracy with translation.  Can be adapted according to ability.  More able students can make their own games in the target language to encourage independent learning
  • Use of groupings to encourage differentiation, e.g an able student leading a less able group/ more able grouped together
  • Use of VI Form Linguists and Language Assistant to come into classes and do speaking work with more able
  • Language Clubs and E15 set up as a study room with extension resources for more able
  • Use of Student Shared Area/Google Classrooms for students to work on exam material independently
  • Use of Quizlet – more able can tackle more challenging vocab and can adapt their learning to suit
  • Sam Learning/Revision booklets for Year 11 students.  Can manage their learning independently.



Sharing good practice: behaviour for learning, high aspirations and challenge, differentiation, independent and collaborative learning skills and feedback.

This was an opportunity for us to share good practice and seek help and advice from colleagues in other departments in small groups.
We wanted to explore the following areas which impact on Teaching and learning :
Behaviour for learning, high aspirations and challenge, differentiation, independent and collaborative learning skills and feedback.
Department members were represented in each group and staff brought along a successful idea/resource that they use within their practice to develop that particular focus and/or they bring along a problem that they may have for discussion. The staff shared their ideas and issues with each other. The facilitator used flip chart paper to record a list of good practice.The group shared problems they had in this area and the group offered solutions. The ideas, problems and solutions are on this blog and are just a summary of what was discussed.

Behaviour for learning







Problems and solutions:


Everyday Issues: The sideshows that get in the way of starting a lesson the way we want to: Weather, lateness, time of day, corridor- congestion, arguments about seating and any deviation from the normal routine, such as injections.

Solutions: Some of these can be planned for, such as a known deviation to routine e.g. photographs.  Some can be averted by a judicious word to an individual before they enter the room.  The importance of establishing clear routines at the start of the academic year, especially for the start of the lesson was discussed. Not challenging lateness publicly but quietly later on in the lesson averted blow-ups and the possibility sometimes of embarrassing a student was a solution suggested by staff.  Establishing good relationships with students (which takes a long time) is often the thing which stops a small issue escalating to a major disruption to learning in a lesson.

An excellent blog post post is here:

iPad Management

Some staff requested some guidance on managing the use of iPads in the classroom. Below an outline of how some department at Upton manage iPads as well as a list some useful links with helpful advice:

Religious Studies:

  • iPads are on the table under planner before they are required to be used.
  • The iPad is taken away from any student found misusing it for the rest of the lesson and a 3 is put on the register.
  • We also ask students to share what they have done so if they have done nothing they know that it will be exposed!!


  • iPads only taken out when needed
  • They are put on the desk but switched off between activities
  • Apps loaded before lesson
  • Students advised which apps to open
  • Paper copy of activity ( just in case)


  • Students have their iPads on the desk at the start of the lesson
  • They are face down with the pencil case and planner on top to avoid looking at the screen
  • If they do not have their iPad they receive a 3 on the register and if they misuse it they receive a 4 and we follow the ABC.




High aspirations and challenge



80 ways to differentiate: click here: differentiation-deviser






Also see our earlier blog post on differention click here

Independent and collaborative learning skills

For 20 Collaborative Learning Tips And Strategies For Teachers click on the link below:

Also an informative post by Geoff Petty on active learning:

Problems and solutions:



We have done a lot of work on this over the past 4 years. Take a look by clicking on the links below:

  1. DIRT:

2. Workflows:

3. Marking tips:

Problems and solutions:


Activ8 was great!

The logic behind Activ8

We wanted to provide fun and exciting learning experiences, which were different from the normal but fantastic lessons, for the last 8 days of the summer term.


During Activ8, the Art department ran workshops for year 7,8 and 9.

Year 7 took part in Photography workshop, learning how to use the camera on their iPads and creating a stop frame animation. They also created an appliqued portrait in the style of Gary Hume using textile techniques, vintage fabrics and felt.

Year 8 students who had opted for Art, Photography and Textiles took part in workshops for their chosen subject. Year 8 created Zen Tangle animals in Art, they made recycled jewelry in Textiles and in Photography learnt about Composition and portraits.

Year 9 students who had opted for Art and Photography created Alphabet Spaghetti in the Photography workshops whilst creating repeat patterns using natural objects, Dazzle Camouflage and Op Art in their Art workshops.

All students enjoyed the work.

Tracy French, Heather Wynn, Sarah Peterson and Andrew McFadden

Business Studies Activ8 Challenge

Year 9 students were tasked with designing and creating a robot, planning and recording a trailer to promote a movie about the robot and calculating costs for profit or loss.
The challenge gave students the opportunity to work in groups and utilize a range of skills to complete all tasks set out. There were some brilliant robots built and some really creative ideas when it came to using digital technology to create the trailer.
Jen Welsh and Deb Keefe

Climbing at the Boardroom

Mr Bell took groups of Year 7 and 8 students to the Boardroom in Deeside. He said:

We had a great time at The Boardroom.  Hope we can do the same again next year.  Here are some photos.  All attendees were fantastic, Rosie Bennion (year 8) perhaps deserves a special mention.  She stepped in at the last minute to take the place of another student.  At the wall she really impressed her instructor by the encouragement she gave to the others in her group and also by climbing a 6a route just wearing her training shoes, impressive stuff!

Learner Effectiveness Enhancement Programme – LEEP


The ‘Grit’ part of LEEP was about determination and perseverance. Students were given 4 exercises in a circuit and asked to see how many reps of each exercise they could do in 30 seconds. They were then asked to repeat the circuit and try and beat their score. I could not possibly pick out one or two students as they all worked exceptionally hard which was a pleasure to see.

Sam Downs, George Owen, Mark Jones and Monique Noel


As you can see from the photos year 8 were thoroughly engaged and enjoyed learning about how positive language can be used in the classroom to promote determination and effort. They produced some outstanding work and made every effort to involve themselves in the lesson.

We would like to say a very well done to Lottie Brooks and Nathaniel Ball. Both students readily answered questions, made every effort to complete the work to the best of their ability and engaged with using positive language in the classroom.

We enjoyed delivering the lesson and would love the opportunity to do it again next year.

Chloe Brown and Alice Newbury


The Mindfulness sessions were fantastic and well conducted. Students engaged really well and left with the understanding of how mindfulness interventions can improve the mental, emotional, social and physical health and well being of young people who take part. The students expressed feeling a sense of relaxation whilst participating positively, in a range of productive activities. Students created a calm atmosphere that was perfect for fantastic mindfulness moments to take place. I would definitely deliver these sessions again, the benefits and impact was instant.

One of the tasks they took part in was called My Mindful Moment. Students were taken for a walk in the outside environment. Once they were out there they were asked to choose a natural object to notice for a minute. When there mindful minute was over, students took a photo of the object. Back in the classroom students were then asked to create a mood board, using their image. Students included words that described how they felt in their mindful moment and words that came to mind when looking at the object or image. This was a successful way of incorporating digital technology into a relaxation lesson. Relaxing music was played to students whilst they completed the task, this set a calm atmosphere.

Deb Keefe and John Keegan


We led the Resilience session. We looked at what resilience is, certain characteristics of it and why it is needed for success. Students engaged well and felt that it was valuable for both their personal life and academic studies. It provided a new outlook, if you can’t find a way, make one!

Karen Smale and Emma Summers


Our brain is a muscle and just as we would exercise our bodies to make them stronger, we need to do the same with our brains.  This gives us learning strength and builds our brain power.

Jamie Lee Toland and Kate Wilson

MFL Creative writing

The MFL team ran an afternoon of creative writing for Year 9 students.

Our students completed creative writing activities in all four languages; French, German Spanish and Mandarin.  They worked in small groups to collate their ideas and look up useful vocabulary for the task ahead.  They then completed poems either individually or in pairs.  We were very impressed by the quality of work from our Year 9 students.  Please see examples below from Amy McDermott and Jack Hitchcock.


Harry Potter

Visiting Year 5 students from the following primary schools attended a magical ‘Harry Potter Experience at our school: Acresfield, Newton, Saughall All Saints, Mickle Trafford, Newton, Westlea, Guilden Sutton, Hoole and Chester Blue Coat.
The visiting students all experienced lessons that Harry Potter would have loved! They were all given the opportunity to learn about the care of magical creatures with a visit from Cheshire Falconry Centre, Blakemere. A huge highlight was learning about the ways owls fly, with students asked to participate in an activity that allowed a barn owl to fly above them. Students also had the opportunity to name an 8 week old tawny owl, who will now become known as Steve.
Students all participated in a variety of classes where staff from Upton High dressed as wizards: Potions, Quidditch, Charms, Transfiguration and they all completed an N.E.W.T (Nasty Exhausting Wizarding Test- but there were some lovely prizes!) It was an exciting day.

Maths workshops

Visit to the Imperial War Museum

At the IWM all students were fantastically engaged with the handling session about the life of a WW1 soldier and in the main exhibition space worked their way through a work booklet with huge dedication. The prize winners were Nathan Farrington and Alex Bell who completed their booklets extensively!

PSHE Performance Workshops

Empowering youth a company from London visited and worked with students looking at self esteem, confidence and managing stress. They gave the students scenarios to discuss and activities to complete. Students were able to share personal stories and showed great respect doing so. Many students came to speak to us afterwards and said it had made them reflect on how they see themselves.
During the session Matthew Dalton was particularly outstanding with his contributions.

Techniquest Visit

All the Year 7 students who attended Techniquest had a really enjoyable morning.  As well as spending some time interacting with all the Science and Technology exhibits, we completed a Computer Science based activity called ‘Don’t hit the Lego Man’.  This activity involved programming Lego Mindstorm NXT robots in Techniquest’s specialist Lego laboratory.
Justin Collis
 Andrea Ruggier and Harvey Salisbury (pictured below) were two of the students who really enjoyed the experience. Along with all the other students they will both have a ‘head start’ when completing Lego Mindstorm NXT programming in Year 8.

Year 9 Science Visit to London

A fun packed, non-stop two days in London.  Students had  the opportunity to be inspired by Science as we attended the Natural History museum with the Blue Whale and the Dinosaurs being a major attraction, then swiftly onto the Science museum where the students got to interact and participate in a variety of Science activities.  In addition the students got to see some major stars walk the red carpet for the opening premier of the new Star Trek film as well as seeing some major landmarks whilst “flying” on the London Eye and sailing on a Thames tour.
The honoree mention has to go to “sally”.  Those who went on this trip, staff and students alike, will never, ever forget that name.
Steve Lydiate

Teachmeet at Upton


We had a fantastic Teach meet at Upton on 9th June 2016. A massive thank you to all of the contributors.


Jenny Critchley gave an excellent interactive demonstration on Quizlet

Peer assessment – it’s as easy as ABC

By Elinor Suter

02) Peer assessment – it’s as easy as abc TEACHMEET JUNE2016

Paragraph review

By Andy Caine

03) paragraph review (1)

Hexagons and rotation squares

By Alison McLean

04) AML TEEP Peep

Modelling answers

By Karen Mitchell


05) Teach Meet Geography

Music on the Mind

By Karen Smale


06) Music on the mind

Sharing good practice in Art

By Tracy French


07) Sharing Good Practice

Exam Technique Grids

By Paul Medland


A level exam technique grids (Psychology) – PME 2016

GCSE exam technique grids 1.1.1-1.2.5 – PME 2016

Effective Teacher Behaviours: Up-levelling

By Helen McCarthy


09) Teep Up-levelling Literacy Across the Curriculum

TEEP Stuff: Social Science

By Simon O’Donnell



Maths TEEP Revision Lessons

By John Biard


11) Maths TEEP 09 06 16 Revision lessons


By Andy Crozier and John Keegan

Andy created a google form for students to complete a literacy assessment

Google forms

Click on the link below to see the full form.

You can use Flubaroo to mark the forms automatically. Click on the video link below to see how it is used:

Positively mad

Thank you to Shenaz for her presentation on memory techniques. See the video below.


TEEP Ambassador School Status and Upton Display Competition

TEEP Embassador School Status

THE SSAT (Specialist Schools and Academies Trust) is pleased and honoured for Upton by Chester to take on the role of a TEEP Ambassador School in recognition of our success and commitment to continuous improvement through the Teacher Enhancement Effectiveness Programme (TEEP).  This is an acknowledgement of the work we have been doing and our aspirations for the future.

TEEP Ambassador School status enables schools to evidence their impact and provides a quality mark of innovation and improvement through the TEEP framework.

Benefits of being a TEEP Ambassador School

  • Leading in the ever growing network of TEEP Schools (over 250 schools and 7500 teachers have been trained from Sept 2010 – July 2014)
  • Provide further development and CPD opportunities for own staff to continue to share ideas and learn from other TEEP practitioners
  • To have the opportunity to work with other similar schools, at a leadership level, to evaluate the impact and embed TEEP in your school and beyond.
  • Recognition for the hard work and dedication of staff and students to improve teaching and learning, including potentially to local and national media
  • Opportunities to raise the profile of the school at a regional and national level through SSAT events, publications and website.

T&LUpton Display competition

I have been lucky enough to have the privilege of visiting lots of classrooms around our school. In doing so I have seen many excellent displays which have either celebrated the hard work and progress made by students, or which have enabled students to make greater progress by providing activities which stretch and challenge their abilities. Please have a look at each display and click on the link below to choose 1st, 2nd and 3rd place.



Exhibitions by the Art department

Art 1 Art 2 art3 art4 art6


Crime writing by Sarah Green

Sarah Green

Encouraging reading by the English team

English Team effort

Connective word web display by Sarah Johns

Connectives classroom display


A variety of topics by Miss Summers

image (1) image (2) image (3) image (4) image (5) image (6) image

TEEP in PSRE by Hannah Clarkson


International Learning in PSRE

International learning in RS


Visual programming by Mrs Welsh

ICT Capture

Food Tech

Food packaging and labelling – Alison Storey

Food techFood tech 1

Tastes of Autumn – Hester Sievers


foodtech 2


Displays by the Geography team

Geograhy 2 Geography energy Geography ipads


Extension activities by Elinor Suter

Extension activities history

Washing line displays by Elinor Suter


Washing line display history


Tarsia by Sonia Christianson

maths 2

Pythagoras theorem by John Biard

maths 3

Amy Breen:  The bunting is made from positive and negative number lines I did with year 7 to help us investigate adding and subtracting. Now the teaching aid is there for them to refer back to with some pictures of them using them hanging from the ceiling. The factors and multiples was similar to this in that we used their pretty coloured in pictures to investigate factors.

IMG_0049 IMG_0050 IMG_0051 IMG_0052 IMG_0053


A Biology display by Esther Bradbury

science 1

On earth and beyond by Andy Caine


science 2

Superhero Science by Andy Caine

science 4

Magnetism by Louise Rogersscience 7

Social Sciences

Research Methodology by Helen Quinn

Social sciences


Techniques by Alison Thompson

Textiles display


By Mr Tierney


And the winners are…


1st Place: The English Team

2nd Place: Miss Green

3rd Place: Mrs Johns

Well done!

The Uptoni Newsletter July 2015 Summer Edition


Ofsted Praise our use of iPads

Staff and students were praised in our recent Ofsted inspection:

  • Students are generally keen to learn and respond well to questions in class. They are able to sustain attention and focus on tasks, and are active in investigating topics. They are responsible when using their tablet computers, and research and check information in lessons independently.
  • Teachers provide good resources for students and students have access to a personal tablet computer. Teachers use these well to enrich the curriculum and extend opportunities for independent learning and research.
  • Reading is exceptionally well supported across school and is a regular feature of each day in school. The extensive literature available to all students through their personal tablets helps to ensure equal access to resources.

Staff innovation

Mr Eunson: I would like to share this excellent trailer produced for a film version of Roald Dahl’s short story…

View original post 1,796 more words

Speed dating takes sharing good practice to a new level

 Good practice

Last week the staff at Upton shared their good practice through the medium of speed dating. Thanks to the excellent PowerPoint provided by the teacher tool kit ( which I have adapted for our purposes, see below.

Slide01 Slide02 Slide03 Slide04
 Slide07 Slide08 Slide10 Slide12 Slide13 Slide15 Slide16 Slide17 Slide18 Slide19 Slide20 Slide21


Mrs Bennett: I use an App called 123d creature to effectively engage middle to lower achieving boys.  Due to confidence issues I find some students are reluctant to engage in practical tasks such as drawing.  By allowing use of the app (it is a virtual kiln where students can add pattern and colour etc), students are dealing with an interface they are familiar with (virtuality).  The quick and effective results they achieve on the app (used as a starter). Gives the students the confidence to move from the virtual to the physical process of making and problem solving. Below is an example of a sculpture created by a student using the said app.   



Miss French: I use a minimum work list which boys in particular really like and promotes independence. Click this link to download:Minimum Work List 2014-5

Design and Technology

Mrs Sievers: The aim is to encourage pupils to become more confident, read the recipes, help each other and problem solve. I use this with yrs 7-11. Pupils are given 2 laminated hands at the start of the lesson. The hands can be cashed into the teacher for help during the lesson. However the aim is for pupils to keep both hands, and work with more confidence, read the recipe and help each other, which results in them earning a merit. The pupils seem to enjoy it and often request the hands now. See below:

give me a hand pleaseMr Collis: My Bring & Brag Idea –Use QR Codes to link to website URLs/pictures/text etc. QR Codes work really well for starters/plenary activities.  Students can scan QR codes as soon as they enter the classroom. Students do not need to type in a complicated website address; the codes are very simple to scan.

  • Download ‘QR Reader for Ipad’ from the App store.
  • Use to generate your QR code (Link from QR code).
  • Add QR codes to worksheets. Alternatively, project QR codes onto your whiteboard.  Students can scan them.qr


Mr Crozier: The idea is that it is an entry task which appears not to be linked to the lesson, but might be through themes. It takes no explaining, so I am able to remain at the door to greet stragglers and monitor behaviour while the students can settle down to work. This one worked really well as the students didn’t even realise that they were considering the themes of Romeo and Juliet and this led to a good discussion about the characters. Click on the link for a copy: Personality quiz (1)

Mrs Johns: Evaluating through a Fantasy Five Aside! For revision after reading a novel, students identify five different characters from their text. Organise your five characters into relevant positions (goalkeeper, defenders, attacking midfielder and centre forward. Explain and give reasons for each position/ role you have selected.
Choose a team captain and a player manager. Explain your choices, comparing and contrasting qualities. Reflect on your choices, how does this team relate to characters’ actions in the text? Create a team name and consider the most influential player. See below:IMG_1168

Mr Eunson: Use snakes and ladders to encourage competition between middle ability boys when answering questions. See below


Mr Waite: My idea involves the use of the app Vine. Vine is a social-networking app that allows users to upload 7 second videos that then ‘loop’ continuously. I use it with KS4 classes specifically when it comes to revision. They can create 7 second summaries of chapters, characters, quotes, etc. that they can then upload to Vine (and can be accessed on phones or the computer). As long as they use a # to enable others to search for their video (for example #heroesnovel) the rest of the class can then share and watch each other’s videos.This can also be accessed on the iPad and watched over AppleTV.


Miss Farnin:  Unscramble The Words 1. At the end of the lesson I gave my Year 9 boys a sheet with 12 ‘scrambled’ keywords on it. The words were from the chapter of the novel that we had studied that lesson. The boys were given 5 minutes to unscramble them. 2. What the boys didn’t know was that I had made up the last word & therefore it was impossible to unscramble. The boys became very competitive, desperate to win the task. 3. Once the time had run out, I revealed on the whiteboard the 11 words individually. When we got to No.12, the words, ‘YOU SUCKERS!’ appeared on the whiteboard. 4. Now when I set a task like this they never quite know whether I’m lying or not. Are there 15 words to find in the wordsearch? It really is keeping them on their toes.

Miss McKevitt: A strategy I use is to have students come to the front of the class at the end of a lesson to conduct the plenary. This also involves summarising the lesson and questioning other students. This can be effective with middle boys in developing their confidence and leadership skills.

Mrs McCarthy: I have used the idea of a human continuum in discussions and debates to gauge shades of opinion in the class, where students use a space or a line to indicate whether they agree, disagree or are neutral about an issue or a pair of choices. It is also a controlled way of allowing a little bit of movement and thus benefits learners who find it hard to sit down for an hour. Quieter students also benefit because the teacher can ‘walk the line’ and ask students their opinions without them having to speak in front of the whole class.

Mrs McGregor: My idea was related to extended individual writing tasks, which middle boys often dislike. It is to reward periods of sustained focus and production with a raffle ticket every so many minutes – this can vary according to levels of engagement – so that the more they earn, the greater their chances of winning a prize draw at the end of the lesson.

Mrs Owen: ‘Ticking Time Bomb’ I give them list of quotes/information and they have to highlight them in a piece of text. I have a ticking time bomb stop clock on the interactive whiteboard and they record their score, which they must try to improve each time.

Mrs Connor: I use a lot of visual devices, such as maps like the one below. Students read the set text (in this case ‘Wolfbrother’), are able to track the progress of the character in spatial terms (which particularly appeals to boys), predict where the character may venture next and why. This activity then lends itself to producing writing like survival guides, etc.image


Mr Caine’s Key word game:



Key Word Mind Map Game

Mr Bell’s chemistry models



Mrs Bradbury: Laminated cards with questions on e.g. I can name the 4 chambers of the heart.  Students are given cards at the start of the lesson they have to put them in three piles. Confident, I think I know, I do not have a clue! These are placed on a laminated sheet .  The task is then completed at the end of the lesson to demonstrate progress made. Students must be prepared to answer a question if they place on confident.

Mrs Scutter: It is called the post it challenge. For a revision lesson, the class gets separated  into groups. Each group gets a different colour post it pack. Pupils can use as many post its as they like but it is in their group benefit to use fewer post its and have more information. They have to work as a group to create very informative post its for recapping a topic ( they have to work together to ensure they don’t all cover the same material). They can use their books or fact sheets provided by the teacher, or even homework/ revision guides or all of the above. The more informative or obscure information on the post it the better as it is a competition. Nearing the end if the lesson each groups shares a post it and sticks it on the board under their group number.( Each group can share a set number of posts it’s not including the trump post it.) Other groups can trump each other’s post its if it covers the same fact/ information and is better ( the Teacher decides which is the most superior post it, the better post it goes up on the board under their group number and the original post it goes in the bin). It has a lot of psychology as pupils try to keep their best post its until last but before they run out of time.  If a post it is particularly fantastic the teacher can stick an extra post up on the board ( to equate to an extra point). The group who wins has the most post its on the board at the end of the lesson and the winners get chocolate. Classes love it as it is competitive and on the board you can visually see who is winning.

Mr Rutter: Genetics with a smile. Click on these links to download:


Mrs Risi: Plasticine to model the Earth. Different colours for the different layers then. In this way a 3D model is made which can be cut in half or a segment removed so that the inside detail van be viewed. This idea can be extended to making a 3D cell showing the organelles or making a DNA helix with complementary base pairs of different colours.

Ms Kam: Reinforcing key words and scientific ideas: Apparatus needed ethanol, dropping pipette, Bunsen and splints. Changing state – evaporation, flammability, volatility, viscosity. Draw smiley face or shape with ethanol, show how ethanol ignites without flame touching liquid. pupils to explain what’s happening using key words. Think, share – good answers rewarded by allowing pupils to choose a shape and light the ethanol.

Mrs Woodward: ​Mine was modelling using sweets to demonstrate processes or molecules e.g. skittle diversity – mutations, natural selection, making model DNA from marshmallows and jelly babies, adaptations using plastic cutlery to eat chocolate chips out of cookies etc
Mrs Rogers: Laminated questions related to the lesson objective and green red and amber piles to put them in. Try both at beginning and end to show progression. The second idea was for bottom set small group of boys I have, that as a treat they do some target practice by firing a Toy rocket at the correct answer of three answers on the board.
Mrs DeCosta: It’s the game of guess who to teach pupils how to classify organisms.


Dr Rees uses the Mangahigh website to differentiate at all levels from primary to secondary:


Mr M. Jones says split worksheets question by question. Then either turn it into a relay race (they must answer one question correctly before they can have the next one. Pair with the most correct answers get rewarded at the end) or dot the questions around the room to keep them moving and active.

Miss Ewing: Pupils are split in teams. Each team has a set of cards that you keep on your desk.  One person from each team gets the first question, they answer as a team and bring it back to you to mark.  If they get it right they get a point and the next question if not they try again.  They race to get the most questions answered in the lesson and there is a prize for the winning team.

Mr B. Jones: Treasure hunt idea- I hide all the questions around the room and students in pairs go around the class finding the answers. Students get very competitive and the Middle boys enjoy it.

Miss Baker: ​In small groups, Top Trumps game. Share the cards between the group. Complete the calculation on your top card then choose the highest value to compete against other students cards. Highest value wins the cards. Winner is the person with the most cards. Click on this link to download: Top Trumps Averages 3levels cartoons

Miss Spencer: Murder mystery- pupils design a revision sheet based on a murder mystery. Each module of work covered is the ‘Who’? where? when? weapon? Etc. for example , the murderer is the person who has not made an error in the calculations given. See the example below:IMG_0313

 Mr Tock: My idea was to take maths out of the classroom outside. There is a maths topic called Loci that is all about the paths and position around points and lines.
For example you place a cone or get a student to stand at a point on the playing field and ask the class to place themselves 2m away from the cone/student. This gives the opportunity for collaborative learning and is kinaesthetic in nature.

Mr Biard: I demonstrated Map Draw, free i-pad app. Students can plot their journey to school either on map or satellite image.  The app tells them the distance.  They can also measure the time it takes.  This data, relevant and real, can be used to make frequency tables of distances travelled to school and speeds.  These can be used to compare groups who walk, cycle, are driven or come by bus. See below:

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Mrs E. Thompson: My idea was to be as practical and make lessons more using hands then writing.  I did a lesson this week with year 9’s that worked well. Instead of giving them data from experiments they did the experiments themselves by throwing the dice or coins. Once they got the data they had to work out the probability of the events.

Mrs Atkinson: Maths blockbusters I use a class activity as a plenary. Click on this link to download: Brackets blockbusters

Mrs Christianson: I have used maths murder mystery games with middle/low ability boys, They like the challenge, competition and team work. It can make some good display work, again motivating. See below:

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Mr Cadman: I have created a treasure hunt to motivate middle ability boys. Click on the following to download.:Treasure Hunt 1 Treasure hunt 2

Media Studies

Mrs O’Brien: Review triangle, useful with middle boys as they often don’t like having to admit they don’t understand and still have questions. I use it as an exit task and then it helps me plan for my next lesson, ensuring I address any questions students I have and looking at what tasks they have enjoyed or that have helped them.(Double click on the image below to make it bigger)

review triangle


Mrs Hewitt: Useful idea for revision. Collaborative whole class semantic map of topic studying. The students can then take a picture of it for future use. They can also develop it further in study sessions. This enables all students to get a wide range of facts/statistics/ideas about a topic even though they only have to find one, which works well particularly for ‘middle boys’. Outcome: all students have sufficient, yet independent revision material.image-1 image

Modern Foreign Languages

Mrs Granville: 1.  Bilingual songs for starters. Students enjoy the songs and learn not only key vocabulary and also stances.  I also send the songs to them by email so they can listen to them at home. 2. Bingo – good to learn key vocabulary or used for revision.  Students all have to ask 1 student the question in full sentence in target language and the student will pick one answer and reply with full sentence.  Students take turns till someone has won.  They love the prize.

Miss Elliot: All students have flashcards with French phrase on one side and English on other side. They then take turns to quiz each other. If their partner doesn’t know the phrase they teach them the phrase. When finished they trade the flashcards and move on to quiz or test another person with their new card. An added element is to collect signatures. One signature if they have been a supportive & encouraging coach. Another signature if they knew the phrase and didn’t need to be taught. At end of task, discuss with the class who was a good coach to give peer feedback and praise.

Mrs Trott: In languages I split the class into groups of 4 and one person from each group comes out to collect a strip of paper with a phrase/ word  / tense  and take it back to the group to translate. They then bring it back to me for checking and if it is correct they keep the strip and get a new one to take back to group again. If they get it wrong then I take it off them, but they still get a new strip to take to the group. Once all strips are gone (or after a certain time limit) the group with the most correct strips are the winners. This is very active as students are coming out to the front and very competitive too!

Miss Stedmans: To motivate middle boys I use a variety of competitive style games when introducing / revising new vocabulary structures. Bingo  – with single words in the foreign language or longer phrases / short sentences. Pictionary –  use mini white boards to draw a picture to represent a word or phrase and give points to the winner, either the fastest to draw picture or the best picture to represent the word / phrase. Slam – two students come to the front of the class and compete against each other.  There are pictures on the white board and pupils have to hit the picture which represents the word or phrase I say.  Winner is the student who hits the picture first. Middle boys respond very well to any element of competition and kinaesthetic activities.

Mrs Critchley: My idea was a behaviour / motivation technique.  French football teams: Divide your class into football teams and students ‘score goals’ for positive behaviour and hard work.  Exceptional effort and participation can mean a scoring a hatrick. Equally students can be given a penalty for poor behaviour/lack of concentration.  Team transfers are possible during the transfer season for teams that have performed well.  The team that has won the most number of matches every two weeks wins a prize.  This encourages students to work together in teams and promotes positive engagement and good behaviour.  Students see their efforts recognised and rewarded quickly and regularly.  I have a red, yellow and blue (hatrick) cards laminated and use to replace or support verbal warnings as a visual aid.  Any argument with the referee incurs a further penalty.  This can support any classroom activity and I have used this system for a full academic year before with classes and helps students to make good progress.

Mrs Stanisstreet: I have a SAM Leadership board for my mixed ability Year 11 Spanish group that I display outside of my classroom aimed to create a competitive spirit amongst the middle boys.  I reward movement up the chart.  A middle boy is leading it and a  middle girl is in second place!


Miss Conner: Photos of my Middle boys ideas from the speed dating. The focus is on kinaesthetic: use of playdoh, Lego, making pop-ups and card sort competitions.


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Mrs Mitchell: I have designed a iTunes U course on rivers which can be accessed by the students on their iPads at home and in school. iTunes U provides updates and allows the students to post comments. (Double click on the image below to make it bigger)



Miss Wragg: My idea is a league table that I use with my foundation boys revision session. They receive a point per mark in the questions we go through in the session. They get very enthusiastic due to the competition and they start to revise and to go to revision sessions. It’s not a fancy table it’s just written on the board and I take a picture with the iPad.

Mrs Oliver: ROW RACE: Used when students need to learn and annotated diagram eg oxbow lake formation, waterfall or longshore drift. In rows/tables/ small groups students collectively draw and label a diagram in rough. A nominated student from each row comes to the board and from memory must recreate the diagram and annotated appropriately. The rest of the row cannot help them at this point.



Mr Casstles: I had a photocopy of one of my year 10 boys work from when we did Antarctica. A variation on mix and match and card sort format – the idea was a they had pictures, a problem and a solution. The problem was linked to the picture so was more straight forward with some thinking to work out the solution. Ideal for middle boys with no writing required (and it can look neater). Can also be differentiated so colours can be used to sort problems from solutions.

Business Studies

Miss McLean: I use key word chop to motivated the middle ability boys. Click on the link to download the Powerpoint slides: Key Word Chop WOW v2


Mrs Vianello: I use cymbals to quieten the class, control behaviour and move pupils on from one task to the next.  When I use the symbols to quieten class they have 2 dings to be quiet if I have to do a third ding then those talking will be in a break detention – I rarely have to do 3 as the rest of the class encourage each other to be quiet.



Miss Suter: I use a take away homework with year 7. Click on this link for a copy: Takeaway homework Year 7 student copy

Mr Mulhall: This can be used for any topic / subject. Good for boys because it involves movement around the class and talking to each other.Group Revision Activity

Mr Doherty: My idea was for a year 7 History lesson. Students have to recreate their own interpretation of a Medieval town or village. Instead of using “traditional” methods, they use Play Dough instead. They love using something different like that in a lesson.

Miss Main:  The idea is that you put an important activity in the middle and a range of activities around the edge. Students have to complete a straight line through the middle. Pros for middle boys. 1. Personalisation of learning – allows students to complete a challenge which best fits their skill set 2. Students often feel they have been successful at “playing” the system as they may have picked homework they feel is easier (whereas each of the liens is judged equivalent – the placing of options is quite deliberate) 3. The homework tends to have a high completion rate and this high completion helps narrow the gap for students. This homework would last 6 weeks. Click on this link to download the resource: Year 9 Tic Tac toe WW2

 Religious studies

Miss Summers:Reaping rewards: Students can offer to help someone that doesn’t know the answer by volunteering as tribute, they should say this to alert the teacher they would like to attempt to earn an extra credit to be placed in the reaping bowl. Students earn credits throughout the lesson for contributing either when targeted by the teacher or when offering an answer. When a student earns a credit they will have their name written on a card and these should be placed in a male and female reaping bowl. The Reaping Plenary:At the end of the lesson the reaping is acted out for students to win a reward, you can go as far as you like with this, even having the students ‘battle to the death’ in a quiz etc or it can be as simple as offering the students a merit for contribution to the lesson. For more information click on this link: The Hunger Games rewards

Mrs Smale: 1.Revision Catch Ball , numbered ball students pick number as it it thrown, question is asked, competitive for middle boys.  2. Review bingo, again competitive . Bingo cards, can be key words, either just read out the definition then students cover the word or read the word, then in order to cover it , students have to give you the definition.

Mr Petty: The ideas are on slides 6 to 10. Slide 6 was used to provide the key ideas. Slides 7,8,9,and 10 contained the same pictures with a different picture missing on each one. It is a Powerpoint Kim’s game. It was to help mixed ability boys focus on a list of points to allow them to build up a detailed knowledge:

How do Buddhists worship

Miss Clarkson: Name: flashy ball : Props needed: flashing ball : The idea is to promote developed answers from middle ability boys. The ball flashes for 25-30 when they catch the ball they have to give an answer that lasts the entirety of the time the ball flashes. This means no one word answers.

Mrs Benson: Competition activity for middle boys. It is called the elimination game. This can be used as a starter to recap, plenary or a mini plenary during the lesson to assess learning.
Every student is given a number between 1 and however many are in the class but they are not to share this with anyone.  All students remember their numbers and stand up.  The teacher asks the class a question and the first person to raise their hand will be chosen to answer (any student that raises their hand before the question is finished will not get to answer).  They have to answer within 5 seconds of the question being asked otherwise they are eliminated and sit down out of the game. If they get it correct they get to choose 2 numbers and the students with those numbers are eliminated and sit down (teacher will cross off the numbers on the board that have been said). The game continues with the same process until only one person is left standing -this is the winner. A prize of some sort is given to the winner.  This could be a merit or I use a lucky dip bin with a variety of prizes, like quirky stationary. Quite often the boys get very competitive and are desperate to answer the questions.  The teacher then has flexibility to ask students to extend their answers when they have been chosen.  If you ask a bonus question with more challenge and no one left in the game can answer, the question can be opened up to those who are out. If they get it right they can join the game again.


Mrs Larkin: I got the students to do the Hockey Cocky.  This was to teach a new concept.  Students broke the instructions down to write an algorithm and then, due to the repeating nature of the song, we then put it to subroutines which we repeated in a loop.

Miss Stanley: These are 2 sheets that I have developed for middle boys. The Race Car Feedback is used half way through the unit and then Game feedback is after they have created their own game. Click on the links below for the resources:

Mrs Welsh: 

After discussing it with other schools, for practical work we produced a Pseudo Task for them to complete, this was a similar but different task that enabled us to teach them exactly what they needed for the actual controlled assessment. When we started the controlled assessment I produced a work sheet that guided them through the construction of the program and then another to help with the write up. Click on the link to download: breakdown (1)
Mrs Evans:“Family Card Games” Resources – Several packs of cards, tailor made to topic.

The cards will have either:  An image, A word, A description/explanation/definition. The students can be sorted into pairs/small groups.

Game 1 – Snap : Aim – to end up with all the cards.  Images can be snapped with the same image, the word or the definition. This can be used as a starter or plenary.  It could also be used during the lesson as a fun way to test progress to date.

Game 2 – Chase the Ace: Aim – Not to end up with the ace. Or in this case Virus! –  this could start a discussion of viruses, Trojans, worms etc.

 Game 3 – Happy Families : Aim – To collect all the “Family” . This could be parts needed to build a computer.

 **The cards could also be used as flash cards or guess what we are doing today cards.  A card could also be dealt out to each student at the start of the lesson which could enable questioning/researching/prize giving at random. You could basically adapt any card game you already know, run through the rules with the students and away you go.

Mr Windsor: I completed a word search with my year 10 Computer Science class. The key words were based on database terminology. Students had to give definitions for at least 10 terms and then create a word search. Please see some attached documents that they completed. Click on the links to download: WORD search Andrew Webb Wordsearch and Key Words Jamie Russell


Mr Wearden: Key Word Knockout – Divide the class into even teams of about 4 students per team. One person comes forward to represent the team. Using a tennis ball, or other similar item, the person holding the ball has to say a key word or term from the current topic or previous lesson. When they have said their word or term they pass the ball to another player, then this person must remember another key word or term. If anyone hesitates or repeats a word or term already used then they are out, to be replaced by another member of their team. When a team has run out of players then the whole team is out. The winning team is the one who does not run out of team members.

Mr Owen: I have been doing multiple choice style exam questions as a starter to my GCSE lessons which engages middle ability boys.

Miss Downs:  First is speed dating – so in GCSE dance and a level PE I set a 10 mark question and then they pair up in a line. They have thirty seconds to discuss one point they would put in the answer and then move on to another person. With the next person they share an idea and then try to gain an idea. Works quite well. Second is something I got from the TEEP champions a few weeks ago that really works. I have renamed it ‘What would Downsy say?’ Rather than teach talk about as I felt it was then more personal to the students. So I put an exam question on the board and then ask the students to bullet point what I would say if I was answering the question. I will then say my answer and they either get a point if it is right or gain knowledge if it is wrong. Its group work as well so they can all learn from collaborative learning.

Mrs Collinson: I use a tennis ball within my theory lessons to throw at those people that don’t like to answer questions. I use the term “throw at!” because that is the case…it makes them answer!

Performing Arts

Mrs Tobias: Laminated questions related to the lesson objectives with green red and amber piles to put them in. Try both at beginning and end to show progression. The second idea was for middle/low ability boys I have, that as a treat they do some target practice by firing a toy rocket at the correct answer of three answers on the board.

Mrs Thompson: I use this to start a conversation about performance technique. This is the info I then share with the students. In the TV series Futurama, a holophonor is a musical instrument that is also a hologram projector, but the catch is that you have to play it well to produce holographs. Harrison Krix made this fictional instrument a reality. He converted an old clarinet by adding 54 LEDs and various other parts to get the look right. You see it here displayed as being held by two robot devil hands.


Mr Tierney: I uses humour and controversial images  to engage and motivate middle ability boys.

Miss Stevenson: Keyword bingo. The cards are laminated and on one side there is a keyword and on the other side there is a definition to another word. Pupils have to match the keyword to the correct definition. Click on this link to download: year 7 unit 1 keywords

Social Sciences

Mrs Quinn: Role play: Task to consolidate learning of ECT in line with the specification. Includes AO1, 2 and 3.



 And the winners are…

1st Place: Miss Clarkson from the RS department with Flashing ball

2nd Place: Mrs Spencer from the Maths department with Murder mystery

3rd Place: Mrs Johns from the English department with Fantasy Five Aside!

Well done!