Differentiation: ideas and resources on it and for it!

Brain food

Do we have fixed intelligence and ability?

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Click on the link below to find out more about Michael Jordan:

Differentiation tool kit diagram

Article of the week:

DIFFERENTIATION – WHAT and HOW? by Geoff Petty

A few decades ago the world of education was very exercised by the forerunner of differentiation which was called ‘mixed ability teaching’.  Then people began to realise it was not just ability that could be “mixed’’ and that teachers had to cope with a plethora of differences: learning style, age, motivation, prior learning and experience, gender, specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia, and so on.  Consequently the term ‘mixed ability’ began to be replaced by the less vivid term: ‘differentiation’.   But what does differentiation mean exactly?

Differentiation is an approach to teaching that attempts to ensure that all students learn well, despite their many differences. Catch phrases which go some way to capturing this concept include:

‘Coping with differences’.

‘Learning for all’ or

‘Success for all’.

There are a number of common misconceptions about differentiation.  Some believe that it is something ‘added on’ to normal teaching and that it just requires a few discrete extra activities in the lesson. In fact, differentiation permeates everything a good teacher does and it is often impossible to ‘point’ to a discrete event that achieves it.  It is not what is done often, but the way it is done that acheives differentiation. For this reason differentiation may not show up on a lesson plan or in the Scheme of Work.  However some teachers try to show their intentions to differentiate by setting objectives in the following format:

All must….

Some may…

A few might…

This may help novice teachers to think about the diversity of their learners, but having such objectives does not guarantee differentiation.  It is the strategies, not the objectives that achieve differentiation, and this should be the focus of our interests.

Differentiation is not new, good teachers have always done it.  However, it does chime with a new conception of the teacher’s role.  Once we teachers taught courses, subjects and classes.  But no more.  Now we are teaching individuals.

Once education was a sieve.  The weaker students were ‘seived out’ and they left the classroom for the world of work, while the able students were retained for the next level.  ‘Drop outs’ were planned for, and seen not just as inevitable but as desirable.  Put bluntly, the aim was to discover those who could not cope, and get rid of them.

But now education is a ladder, and we expect every learner to climb as fast and as high as they are able. ‘Drop outs’ are seen as a wasted opportunity, for the learners, and for society as a whole.

Underpinning these conceptions of education as being a sieve or a ladder, are assumptions about the capability of learners and the nature of learning.  Once learners were thought to have a genetic disposition for learning, or not, which was measured by their ‘IQ’.  This placed an upper limit on their possible achievement.  Some students were thought to reach their ‘ceiling’ after which further teaching would be in vain.

This is no longer thought to be the case.  Experts on the brain and on learning now stress that everyone can learn more, if they are taught appropriately, whatever they have previously achieved.  A vivid illustration of this is provided by the work of Professor Reuven Feuerstien.  He teaches learners with what we call ‘moderate learning difficulties’, using a very special and unusual programme involving intensive work for one hour a day every day.  Four years later these learners have ‘caught up’ and are found to have an average ‘IQ’.  They can live independent lives, learn normally, and are indistinguishable from average members of their societies.*

Needless to say, remnants of the ‘ceiling’ model of learning can still be found in many teachers’ conceptions of teaching and learning.  These ideas need to be tackled.  Luckily in most colleges examples can be found of students who entered the college on a level 1 programme, and progressed well, eventually leaving for university.  These are persuasive role models for other learners and for teachers.  Teachers can make much greater differences than they themselves realise, and we are only just beginning to scratch the surface of what is possible.

Click on the links below for more information

how to do differentiation

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Recommended Reads

1) The Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the Needs of All Learners Paperback by Carol Ann Tomlinson (Author)9781416618607

Drawing on nearly three decades of experience, author Carol Ann Tomlinson describes a way of thinking about teaching and learning that will change all aspects of how you approach students and your classroom. She looks to the latest research on learning, education, and change for the theoretical basis of differentiated instruction and why it’s so important to today’s children. Yet she offers much more than theory, filling the pages with real-life examples of teachers and students using-and benefitting from-differentiated instruction.

2) Differentiation for Real Classrooms: Making It Simple, Making It Work, Edited by Kathleen Kryza, Edited by Alicia M. Duncan, Edited by S. Joy Stephens

With their characteristically joyful and conversational tone that celebrates learning and diverse students, Kathleen Kryza, Alicia Duncan, and S. Joy Stephens offer teachers dozens of pract9781412972475ical strategies for designing and delivering differentiated lessons to reach all learners. “Differentiation for Real Classrooms: Making It Simple, Making It Work” is a ready-to-go resource for creating lessons that allow all students to take in and process new information and teachers to assess their learning. It includes abundant illustrations, vignettes, sample lessons and units, and adaptations for ELLs and students with special needs.

Resources/articles/apps/videos

1) 5 minute essay plan

5 minute lesson plan

2) Differentiated algebra

Algebra 1.6 factorising linear differentiated

3) Differentiated Food tech

worksheetcook off answers

cook off work sheet

cook off

4) Differentiated learning mats – from TES resourcesDifferentiated learning mats 2 Differentiated learning mats

5) Evaluation and reflection

Effective plenaries

6) Differentiated literacy mats

Literacy mat whole school

7) Mock exam reflection from the TES website

mockexam reflection

8) Strategies for EAL students from TES resource area

strategies for EAL students

 

9) A link to methods of differentiation in the classroom

http://www.bbcactive.com/BBCActiveIdeasandResources/MethodsofDifferentiationintheClassroom.aspx

10) 80 strategies and techniques for differentiation

https://www.tes.co.uk/teaching-resource/The-Differentiation-Deviser-6233159

 

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Progress grows through DIRT

Good Practice at Upton: DIRT continues to develop

Geography:Dirt being used with Year 7 in a decision making exercise

 Geog1 Geog2

Click on the link below for an example of an Outstanding lesson plan in Geography using the TEEP planning cycle:

Lesson plan – Dept Review L6 2015

English:DIRT being used with Year 7 for extended writing, and Jet pack Joyride!

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Click on the link below for an example of an Outstanding lesson plan in English using the TEEP planning cycle:

English Lesson Plan by SJO

History: DIRT used withYear 7 and Year 10 GCSE on sources

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history3 history4

Food Technology: DIRT used to improve recipes and skills

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Click on the link below for an example of an Outstanding lesson plan in Food Technology using the TEEP planning cycle:

Lesson year 10 Lasagne

 Art: DIRT used in learning conversations

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Maths: DIRT used for homework

Maths dirt 1 maths dirt 2

Click on the link below for an example of an Outstanding lesson plan and PowerPoint in Maths using the TEEP planning cycle:

sequences lesson plan KSP

Click on the link below for an example of an Outstanding lesson plan and PowerPoint in Business Studies using the TEEP planning cycle:

Lesson plan: bussiness ethics Lesson Plan   PowerPoint: the only way is ethics

Science: DIRT being used at KS4

Science Dirt 1

 

Science Dirt 2

MFL:Good practice with DIRT

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Brain food:

How to help students on in their learning:

moving on map

Too small to read? click on the link to download:

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Using Lego to show population size and growth:

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Article of the week: We are not the only school doing it!!

Marking – Effective, Developmental & Time-Saving

A teacher marking a exam paper

Raise the profile – Power to the Students!

Put the students in the driving seat, after all, we love to recognise their hard work so why shouldn’t this become a reciprocal arrangement? Hence the ‘Purple Pen of Power’ A simple, yet effective way to engage and empower students to secure progress. I’m not saying this is unique in our school, because it’s not, however, offering frequent opportunities for all pupils to ‘have their say’ in making progress is proving highly successful.

Purple pen of progress

Pen-holders-e1415964255340The strategy of dedicated improvement and reflection time (DiRT) is a much talked about and covered topic which is proven to be highly effective in encouraging students to play a more active role in your marking of their work and the work of their peers. In essence, it creates an element of accountability for all parties involved in the process. In fact, the purple pen is so loved it’s created quite a stir, as enterprising students have taken it upon themselves to create ‘purple pen holders’ and sell them to teachers, with great success I might add – who would’ve thought DiRT could generate such a buzz!?

I’ve been inspired by the insightful work of David Didau ‘The Learning Spy’ and this is where I came across this very useful feedback flowchart, I recommend reading his blog on this topic. if you haven’t done so already:

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Developmental and effective = Progress

What does marking look like when it’s effective and secures progress for all learners and of course, how do we achieve the marking nirvana that is; Demonstrating progress over time? or to rephrase the question: how often do you set aside time in your lesson for DiRT and what is the ratio between the time you have taken to mark a students work in comparison to the time they have taken to formulate a response?

DIRT - CPD (1)

Time, workload and having a life!

Talking to staff informally, nationally (usually on twitter), locally (usually at various teachmeets) and of course in my own school context, I’m sure it will come as no surprise that time and work life balance always features highly in the topic of conversation. Marking can be a beast, soaking up hour upon hour and if you’re not careful, one that will catch up with you if you take your finger off the pulse. My opinion is that working smart, and not necessarily hard with your marking will go some way to managing your workload.

So with this in mind, what can we do to ensure that marking remains a high-profile element of the teaching and learning backbone? Firstly, we don’t make excuses for not doing it, instead we work together in an open, supportive forum to develop time-saving and effective strategies which will hopefully reinvigorate that love of marking. Here are a couple of quick snaps I’ve taken to try to capture effective teacher feedback where I feel it strikes the balanced ratio of teacher:student workload. What becomes obvious is that the myth that every piece of work needs to be marked, has been dispelled; yes work has been acknowledged but not necessarily in receipt of feedback which is a token gesture. The reason? because it wasn’t relevant for this particular piece of work, and I think this is the fundamental error that some teachers make – remember it’s okay to simply tick certain pieces of work where feedback isn’t appropriate, don’t make up feedback for the sake of it!

Marking blog

Here is evidence of our staff recommendations in action; teacher marking is in green and student response in purple. Consider when detailed feedback is needed, and ask yourself; does it always have to be you that does it?

In summary:

In an educational landscape where teachers workloads are ever-expanding, we mustn’t lose sight of what’s really important in our role, ensuring all students make progress and marking is a crucial aspect in this process. I think that opening up a creative whole school dialogue, in a non-judgemental and supportive culture is essential in ensuring that marking doesn’t become the elephant in the room. And don’t forget, peer and self-assessment are every bit as important as ‘traditional’ marking.

I’d also like to thank Ross McGill (aka @teachertoolkit) for his relentless and quite profound blogging on this topic, offering such practical resources such as this, the ‘5 Minute Marking Plan’ – helping claw back valuable time with our ever-increasing workloads.

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Recommended Reads

1. Visible Learning for Teachers: Maximizing Impact on Learning by John Hattie

In November 2008, John Hattie’s ground-breaking book Visible Learning synthesised the results of more than fifteen years research involving millions of students and represented the biggest ever collection of eviddownload (1)ence-based research into what actually works in schools to improve learning.

Visible Learning for Teachers takes the next step and brings those ground breaking concepts to a completely new audience. Written for students, pre-service and in-service teachers, it explains how to apply the principles of Visible Learning to any classroom anywhere in the world. The author offers concise and user-friendly summaries of the most successful interventions and offers practical step-by-step guidance to the successful implementation of visible learning and visible teaching in the classroom.This book:

  • links the biggest ever research project on teaching strategies to practical classroom implementation
  • champions both teacher and student perspectives and contains step by step guidance including lesson preparation, interpreting learning and feedback during the lesson and post lesson follow up
  • offers checklists, exercises, case studies and best practice scenarios to assist in raising achievement
  • includes whole school checklists and advice for school leaders on facilitating visible learning in their institution
  • now includes additional meta-analyses bringing the total cited within the research to over 900
  • comprehensively covers numerous areas of learning activity including pupil motivation, curriculum, meta-cognitive strategies, behaviour, teaching strategies, and classroom management.

Visible Learning for Teachers is a must read for any student or teacher who wants an evidence based answer to the question; ‘how do we maximise achievement in our schools?’

Useful links/videos/resources/apps

1) Examples of how to populate the TEEP cycle in History

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2) Becoming a TEEP ambassador school

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teep-ambassador-roles-and-responsibilities-2014-final

3) Success is: feeling that tingle of excitement about what you do, sticking with what matters through hard times, living a life you can feel proud of in retrospect. These talks say it all.

http://www.ted.com/playlists/redefining_success 

4) Need a burst of inspiration? Wildly creative thinkers share ideas, strategies and warmhearted encouragement to let your genius out.

http://www.ted.com/playlists/the_creative_spark

5) Top 10 apps from Gary King

See. Touch. Learn.  You can build custom picture card lessons and automatically track students responses. Includes a starter set of stunning, high-quality images and 60 exercises.

EarthViewer. What did Earth look like 250 million years ago? Or 1 billion years ago? Or 4.5 billion years ago? EarthViewer is an interactive tool for tablet computers that allows you to explore the science of Earth’s deep history.

The Phrase Verbs machine.  Here you can find animated illustrations of 100 phrasal verbs set in the circus world of ‘Phraso’ and his friends. Frequently, phrasal verbs can have more than one meaning.  You can find an example sentences in English and the translation into five different languages. Also  included are other meanings when they are useful or necessary to fully understand the phrasal verb.

Flipboard. Flipboard is your personal magazine, filled with the things you care about. You can curate the content to and catch up on the news, discover amazing things from around the world and connect to the people globally.

Orbit Architect. Orbit Architect allows you to interactively design and explore satellite orbital geometry through the multi-touch interface of the iPad. You can manipulate a satellite orbit using pinch and rotate multi-touch gestures, see the effects on the orbit and its ground track in real-time, and animate the results. As you change the orbit, dynamic diagrams will illuminate the meaning of each orbital parameter. Finally, the results can then be emailed to yourself or to a friend. Great for Science lessons!

Solve the Outbreak. Fantastic for global awareness learning. Students get clues, analyse data, solve the case, and save lives! In this fun app they are the Disease Detective. Do they quarantine the village? Talk to people who are sick? Ask for more lab results? The better their answers, the higher your score – and the more quickly they’ll save lives. Students start out as a trainee and can earn badges by solving cases, with the goal of earning the top rank: Disease Detective.

Hubble Space Telescope Discoveries. Students can soar through the universe with the Hubble Space Telescope, exploring discoveries from dark energy to colliding galaxies. This highly interactive eBook features video, image galleries and more to reveal the record of scientific breakthroughs behind Hubble’s stunning images of the cosmos.

Comics in the classroom. This is an interesting approach to teaching history to children through digital comics, with topics including Pearl Harbour, Florence Nightingale and Jack the Ripper. Children fill in the speech bubbles to prove their understanding of the subjects. Three comics are included, with additional ones available as 69p in-app purchases.

Hakitzu: Code of the Warrior. This entirely-free app wants to teach students to code using the JavaScript language. It’s presented as a game where they build robot warriors and use their coding skills to control them in battles against friends, or in the single-player mode while honing their abilities.

Bump. Lets students and teachers exchange  information, files and videos by touching two devices together. Great for collaborative learning both within and outside the classroom.

6) A presentation on Growth Mindset:

http://prezi.com/mwew0mm3yusy/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy

 

Becoming an Apple RTC, our first training event and an interactive plenary board

 Good Practice at Upton:

We have been designated with Apple Regional Training Centre status and we are now CHESTER RTC

What is an Apple Regional Training Centre (RTC)?

The RRTC5egional Training Centre programme is to provide teachers with training, expertise and access to best practice to support their use of Apple technology in the classroom. The programme brings together a wide community of experienced educators and experts who provide free and easy access to Apple’s creative learning technologies.

Every RTC has unique skills, a different curriculum or subject focus but all share the same objectives:

  • To provide a focus on pedagogy, for sharing best practice and gaining skills
  • To introduce planned, effective, digital solutions to schools using Mac and iPad
  • To train teachers to use Apple’s tools and help enable active and transformative teaching within the classroom.
  • To support, enhance and transform teaching and learning outcomes

The RTC Programme is a community programme and as such the ethos is about sharing learning experiences and knowledge between peers. The RTCs in the UK are learning-hubs within local regions, promoting collaboration and the sharing of resources and practices.
Having achieved RTC status in 2015 we are honored and privileged to share our success story and knowledge with our educational colleagues.
All the Apple technology courses we offer at Upton-by-Chester are free to attend for any of our educational colleagues.  The RTC program allows us to share with others the successful iPad implementations we have undertaken.  We are excited and proud with what we have so far achieved with Apple Technologies in the classroom and welcome all those, at whatever stage along their own journey to come and see how we do things.

Our first training event: Literacy and the iPad – 27th January 2015

Below, teachers from our local primaries exploring apps which improve literacy.

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Opposite, Primary staff exploring the use of QR codes to enhance literacy skills.

This session explored how the iPad can aide and work alongside traditional teaching methods to deliver literacy to all Key Stages. It was well attended with over 30 delegates.

Course Schedule

All courses begin at 4pm, with coffee and registration from 3:30pm.  We have WiFi access for those bringing their own iPad or for those who don’t we are happy to provide one for session.

Numeracy and the iPad – 26th February 2015

Science and the iPad – 24th March 2015

Programming and the iPad – 29th April 2015

The iPad in SEN – 12th May 2015

The iPad in MFL and EAL – 23rd June 2015

Creativity and the iPad – 14th July 2015

RTC Official Launch – TBC

We are in the final stages of organizing our RTC launch event which will be run in conjunction with Apple and JTRS.   The event will give attendees a chance to understand the RTC programme and what it offers, hear what Apple have planned for the future.  The event will also feature breakout sessions for our educational colleagues to understand more the benefits of Apple Technology in the classroom.

Skype in the classroom: Upton students have world at their fingertips

Learning geography simply from maps and atlases could be outdated for school students. Upton-by-Chester High school students closed their books and took to Skype to learn about and identify a specific place in Sri Lanka.

Students on both sides of the world were able to ask questions of each other to identify their country, city and school.

Mrs Mitchell, Geography Teacher, said the Skype session was one in a series of lessons which aimed to help students learn about the world by expanding their learning opportunities beyond the traditional confines. “Technology has allowed students to practice skills such as mapping, using sources i.e. atlases and Google maps and identify what information they need to guide their search for a school,” she said.

The ‘Skype in the Classroom’ project is giving students the opportunity to connect with students in classrooms around the world. It is a fantastic cultural exchange from the convenience of the classroom and an amazing enriching development for Geography.

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Brain food 

Geography QR code display: very interactive

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WWW and EBI Bookmarks

As title states, adapt some lines for other subjects this is intended for use in Maths: click on the link for them in PowerPoint.Peer-Assessment-Bookmark (1)

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‘I helped’ stickers in use in maths:

maths stickers

Article of the week

The Interactive Plenary Board January 24, 2015

After 3 weeks of working on it here and there since the beginning of term, the Interactive Plenary Board is finally complete.

I’m really pleased with the results plus the kids are enjoying it so far.

It built up slowly, going from this…

plenary1

 

to this…

plenary-board

 

I now have peer assessment guidance and have identified what WWW and EBI stands for as no matter how many times we do it somebody ALWAYS has to ask what it means. I’ve also printed off smaller versions of the tickets with WWW and EBI guidance on the back to support learners in writing appropriate feedback.

So far I’ve only really been able to use it with year 8 since year 7 are currently working on their Dangerous World project; they’ve been completing Exit Tickets each lesson to demonstrate their understanding so far.

Year 8 however are engaging with the activities and particularly like the social media based ‘Assess’ activities. Not sure if that is a good or bad thing however!

Since I only see my classes twice a week so far reminding them of the new procedures when they finish the main part of the lesson has been important. Encouraging them to choose a suitable task for the time left e.g if they’ve 10 minutes to go they should choose an ‘Extend’ task; whereas if they have 5 minutes they should pick an ‘Assess’ task or roll a plenary to decide on the plenary task. The ‘Reflect’ tasks I feel need more direction, so I’ll be the one to decide when they do these, once they have practised them a number of times they should hopefully be able to recognise how long they need and choose accordingly.

Under the roll a plenary board, there is a folder with additional activities such as key word and definition match up games and top trumps. These are for pupils to practice what they are learning, most of which have been created by the kids as part of their homework and sometimes classwork.

You can find out more about where some of the resources came from here and here.

Thanks for reading.

Recommended reads

1) Don’t change the light bulbs: A compendium of expertise from the UK s most switched-on educators by Various Contributors (Author), Rachel Jones (Editor)

Change the Light Bulbs’ offers tips and hints on how to be the best teacher you can be, dont change the lightand is written by some of the most respected leaders in education today. It covers primary, secondary and post 16 phases, in addition to cross curricular sections on leadership, ICT, inclusion, creativity, SEN and tutoring. It also presents the practical advice of those who have been there and done it and who now want to share their collective wisdom with you. The aim of which is to make education better, not just in your classroom but for everyone.

Useful links/resources/articles/apps

1) Geoguessr – a website where you can be transported to anywhere in the world that Google has mapped. Students can then explore and guess where they are.

2) Pictureteller – a great way to create photo slideshows. You can add effects and audio to create videos that you can embed, link to or download.

3) Mixlr.com – Use Mixlr to create your own school radio station!

4) Hopscotch – The ipad version of scratch. A great app for doing basic programming on your iPad (Martin claimed it was even better than scratch!)

5) Streatview Stereographic – Create maps of anywhere that Google has mapped using street view and display as a mini world. Great for geography activities whether that’s the local area or furtherafield.

See more at: http://www.mediacore.com/blog/teachmeet-london-inspiration-ideas-and-lots-of-resources#sthash.Y47wZQfm.dpuf

6) Rachel Walker from Chilton Trinity School explains how she encourages the use of props for more effective revision.

http://www.cpdforteachers.com/resources/Effective-Revision-Using-Props

7) Assessment Marking Grid for my year 9 DME – this could be edited to meet the needs of your class.

DME-Sticker-for-books

Challenge them and change their mindset

 Good Practice at Upton :

Below is a photo of Hannah and Lauren, Year 8, receiving their certificated from Mrs Dixon Headteacher. They took part in delivering a work shop on Feedback using iPads for learning at the SSAT national conference. Well done!

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In Science Year 7 have been learning about specialised cells and have produced some fantastic models and cakes for a homework task. The photographs are from Mrs Bradbury, Head of Science.

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 Level 1 TEEP training. Presentations on the TEEP journey below by Upton staff, 12/1/15

the journey

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Brain food:

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mindset responses

 

 

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Learning that tastes good, and gives us that sense of satisfaction after a good meal.  What might the ingredients be?

  • Staples: learning from the teacher – direct instruction; formative feedback in some form;  learning from books; reading aloud; think-pair-share; asking questions; solving problems;
  • Variety: making videos or websites; teaching part of a lesson; making a model or a composition; acting out a role-play; experts and envoys; peer assessment; debates and discussions; designing your own experiment; pre-learning material from online video tutorials; using ‘ExplainEverything’ to produce a short presentation for the class.
  • Tastes: Having the option to respond in a variety of forms; or to choose the topic; or to work at a pace that suits; to create learning independently; to work collaboratively with a group of my choice; to learn through extended open-ended projects with opportunities for doing some things in depth over time.

Pitch It Up. Aim High. Expect Excellence. Demand It.

It’s not one strategy…it’s more a frame of mind; the cumulative effect of the many micro-strategies that result in higher levels of engagement, longer periods of concentration, wider use of vocabulary, better explanations, deeper learning and stronger performances. Click on the link below and watch the video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjbL7zW-Wig

The TEEP planning cycle: Common misconceptions

It has been a while since your 3 days of training and since you revisited the planning cycle. Click on the link below to dispel those common misconceptions.

1-Common_misconceptions_about_TEEP

Article of the week:

Using Tests Formatively by

The goal of summative assessment is most often to measure student learning at the end of a topic or unit by comparing it against some ‘standard’ – i.e. a grade or level. Summative assessments – tests, exams, final projects etc. – are often high stakes and ‘one-off’, and in many students this can lead to a ‘fixed mindset‘ approach to them.

On the other hand, the goal of formative assessment is to monitor student learning by providing ongoing feedback that can be used by students to improve their learning. This process should help students identify their strengths and weaknesses and target areas that need work, and in the process help teachers identify where extra support/teaching is needed.

What if we could do both at once? Do we have to choose? Isn’t that what the growth mindset is all about?

Possibilities for using a mock exam formatively:

  • Revisit questions answered incorrectly – students go back and improve, then remark!
  • Break questions down and attempt as a rally
  • Get students to mark / coach each other
  • Agree as a class what is required for the marks in advance
  • Use previous papers to help recognise the type of question and the style of answer
  • Identify common misconceptions to address with students – build this in to D.I.R.T
  • Reflect on one’s own teaching of problem areas to identify gaps in teaching /learning
  • Co-construct a WAGOLL by taking the best student answers from each question – groups have ownership of a ‘perfect’ model paper
  • Incorporate quick strategies like a ‘5 minute steal’ or use question tokens during the exam – students can ask you questions but it will cost them a token!

If you’re going to set a mock exam, you might as well make it work for you. I strongly recommend getting into a habit wherever possible of marking mocks quickly enough so that students can act on your feedback in the next lesson, therefore planning your next lesson for you. If this isn’t practical, why not get them to mark their own/each others in class? Some teachers would recoil in horror at the idea (“what if they cheat?”) So what! Let them ‘cheat’ if it helps them learn! After all, we can never go back in time, all we want our students to do is to do better next time.

How do we ensure that students do better next time? Give them the time and opportunity to improve – D.I.R.T or ‘MAD time’ next lesson. Here’s an example of the guidance given to Engineering students the lesson after their recent mock exam:

Summative Assessment used formatively

They then had a good chunk of the next lesson to ensure they went back and improved their score by at least ten marks. Simple, no bother formative assessment leading to progress for the students.

Recommended Reads

1) The Secret of Literacy: Making the implicit, explicit by David Didau

literacy

Literacy? That’s someone else’s job, isn’t it? This is a book for all teachers on how to make explicit to students those things we can do implicitly. In the Teachers’ Standards it states that all teachers must demonstrate an understanding of, and take responsibility for, promoting high standards of literacy, articulacy, and the correct use of standard English, whatever the teacher’s specialist subject. In The Secret of Literacy, David Didau inspires teachers to embrace the challenge of improving students’ life chances through improving their literacy. Topics include: Why is literacy important?, Oracy improving classroom talk, How should we teach reading? How to get students to value writing, How written feedback and marking can support literacy.

mindsets2) Mindsets in the Classroom: Building a Culture of Success and Student Achievement in Schools by Mary Cay Ricci

When students believe that dedication and hard work can change their performance in school, they grow to become resilient, successful students. Inspired by the popular mindset idea that hard work and effort can lead to success, Mindsets in the Classroom provides educators with ideas for ways to build a growth mindset school culture, wherein students are challenged to change their thinking about their abilities and potential. The book includes a planning template, step-by-step description of a growth mindset culture, and “look-fors” for adopting a differentiated, responsive instruction model teachers can use immediately in their classrooms.

 

Useful links/videos/resources

 1) Carol Dweck researches “growth mindset” — the idea that we can grow our brain’s capacity to learn and to solve problems. In this talk, she describes two ways to think about a problem that’s slightly too hard for you to solve. Are you not smart enough to solve it … or have you just not solved it yet? A great introduction to this influential field.

2) Execellent examples of starters and plenaries.

https://rgslearning.wordpress.com/2015/01/06/mini-teachmeet-5-starters-and-plenaries/

3) Leaving a high-flying job in consulting, Angela Lee Duckworth took a job teaching math to seventh graders in a New York public school. She quickly realized that IQ wasn’t the only thing separating the successful students from those who struggled. Here, she explains her theory of “grit” as a predictor of success.

4) What Twitter offers teachers: The evidence

http://www.aare.edu.au/blog/?p=564#comment-3920

5) Blooms Taxonomy revised and high order thinking

teep_a_Blooms_Revised_taxonomypres

Digital workflows, feedback and progress

 Good Practice at Upton :

Developing literacy skills:

stone coldYear 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.

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Display produced by Miss Farnin’s class and inspired by Stone Cold.

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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.

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The work produced by Tayiba and the feedback she received.

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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

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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

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Drama – Feedback and how to improve by Mr Tierney

Drama 1Drama 2

English – Feedback and discussing literature by Mrs Johns

English 1

Geography – WWW & EBI by Mrs Mitchell

Geography

 Brain Food

Keep Calm and purposeful

How to measure progress over time:

This supports how we monitor progress at Upton by Chester

Progress Over TIme @TeacherToolkit

 Safe & Simple Blogs for Your Students

Over 5 million K-12 students have a voice at Kidblog. We’re trusted by teachers around the world. Set up your class for free in 20 seconds – no student email addresses, no ads.
http://kidblog.org/home/

Improve student literacy using iPads

Improve your vocab! Mess with your friends’ faces! It’s a unique, silly and – believe it or not – educational two-player game! The most fun way ever to improve or revise your language skills – a rapid-fire battle of comic-style, face-mangling quizziness.
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/vocab-battle-sat-languages/id396143063?mt=8

 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:

Dirt sections

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.

Focused

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:

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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:

Feedback sheet yellow

Targeted

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!

Oral

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!

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Involves peers

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.

Transparent

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).

Recommended Reads

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? glass wallFollowing 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 wengaging learnersay 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.

 

3claxton. What’s the Point of School?: Rediscovering the Heart of Education

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.

Useful links

1. Resourceful YouTube Channels for Teachers and Educators

http://edtechreview.in/trends-insights/insights/1686-resourceful-youtube-channels-for-teachers-and-educators

2. Free PDF to PowerPoint converter

http://educationaltechnologyguy.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/free-pdf-to-powerpoint-converter.html?m=1

3. 8 apps to improve workflow between student and teacher

http://www.educate1to1.org/8-apps-give-seriously-rigorous-workflow/?utm_content=bufferd4b26&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

4. Developing student independence through the use of iPads

http://www.pedagoo.org/developing-student-independence-through-the-use-of-ipads/
5.Universal skills
http://usergeneratededucation.wordpress.com/2014/12/06/universal-skills-all-learners-should-know-how-to-do/