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, The Landlady. Currently they are studying short stories in English. The Year 8 students who produced this work are Josh , Ben , Will , Georgia  and . The class completed a peer assessment for each trailer. We used Apple TV to view the end products. Click on the link below to view:

Miss Main: Kahoot is fantastic:

https://twitter.com/MissMainUHS/status/523072468588965888

Miss Main on Twitter: “Well done Nathan F – excellent understanding shown with @GetKahoot of the Battle of Hastings “@year7UPT http://t.co/mpqHTdRFwv”

“Well done Nathan F – excellent understanding shown with @GetKahoot of the Battle of Hastings “@year7UPT”

The students loved it and it was a great chance to tweet their achievements.

Mrs Mitchell from the Geography Department was observed by Sue Williamson, CEO of the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust (SSAT) using this fantastic app with her

Year 7 class: WunderStation brings you rapid-fire current conditions, forecasts, and historical weather data from any weather station in Weather Underground’s network of over 100,000 personal weather stations. View, analyze, share and compare data from local personal weather stations with elegant, customizable graphs, infographics, animated wind direction, rainfall totals.

 

wunderstation

I have also designed an 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)

itunes U

Mrs Bennett: I use an App called 123d creature to effectively engage boys.    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.   

Bennett

Mr Collis 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 http://www.qrstuff.com/ 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

 

Dr Rees uses the Mangahigh website to differentiate at all levels: https://www.mangahigh.com/en-gb/

mangahigh

Mr Biard: Map Draw,a 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:

fullsizerender1jbi2jbi3 jbi4

iPod competition entries

Again we have a fantastic portfolio of work from years 7 and 8 with hundreds of entries, here is just a selection. iPad videos Click on the links below to watch some amazing videos produced by the students using their iPads.

By Amelia Lindop

 

For the love of chocolate produced by Tom , Josh s, Ben , Joe , and Will : 

Sasha: The piece of work that I produced a blurb and a front cover for Al Capone Does My Shirts, our class hook at the time.

Alcapone does my shirts Sasha Ravetz Amelia Lindop analyses a poem in English.image2 Jemma Holton: I produced this for my Geography homework on weather phenomena. IMG_1813 Katie Spall: I made this piece of work in art, on an app called Pic Collage. It is about Lesley Halliwell and her artwork.k spallBenLiam Johnson: This work is about ways to measure different weather conditions.  I really enjoyed doing this piece of work because it was creative, which I like doing on the iPad.  This piece of work was complete in a geography lesson. PicCollage Laura Dixon: This was from my English lesson when we were researching the Greek gods. We had to create a booklet of information. This is one part of the booklet from pic collage. This is a fact file on Hera she is the Queen of heaven; God of birth and marriage. hera Emily Wilson: I created this in Geography for the Nepal Earthquake and it explains what we are doing to help rise money for this. nepal 2

Cally Worthington: My best piece of work. We made a poster on the Nepalese earthquake in geography.

Nepal Ben Jones used his iPad to create some detailed research on Shakespeare’s plays. Ben Daisy Saxby: My work is about the general election week and about who I would vote for if I had a chance. I enjoyed making this and following the election. Daisy Saxby Jemma Holton produced this excellent work on life in the middle ages.Jem holton 1Jem holton 2 Monden Masaki completed a news report on Conway Castle.Monden Masaki Tasmina Islam produced this research on Medieval England.Tas 1Tas2

 

Millie Cowley produced this wonderful poster in RS.

 

Millie

 

And the winner is…Liam Johnson, Well done!

Upton Student ELF Group update

Upton ELF group have been extremely busy creating presentations, blogs, videos and much more over the past few months. The ELF group now have their own website that has been designed by the students. The website has all the latest news, events and information about the ELF group. You can view the site at uptonelf.weebly.com The year 7 ELF students have been working on a presentation that is currently being delivered to their year 7 form groups. The idea behind the presentation is to make year 7 students aware of the Elf group and the good work that they do as well as re-capping the rules with regards to using their iPad in school.image1 (2)                 Year 7 ELF students delivering their iPad presentationIMG_0500 The current year 8 Elf students are working on an iBook for the new year 7 intake, September 2015. The book is being compiled with the feedback from students previously starting out with an iPad in year 7. The book will have basic ‘how to’ tips and instructions to help students use the iPad to its full potential. The book includes basic instruction video clips, check some of videos out here youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QE83HYxQo7c

ELF App Reviews

The ELF students have been busy trying out new apps and then posting reviews on the ELF Blog. You can view the app reviews at uptonelf.weebly.com Here are some of the latest posts; App Review image1 (4)

App: Maths bash secondary free Rating: 7/10 Type of App: educational Subject area: Maths Recommend/ not recommend: Recommend

How to use: There are 4 sections to this game. Once you have chosen the section you would like to play, a timer starts and you have to answer as many questions as you can. I like this App because it tests your knowledge and it helps you to learn your times tables.

Emily Year 7 student             

App Review image2 App: Four letters  Rating: 9/10 Type of App: Educational How to use: This app is an literacy educational app. Four Letters is extremely fun, because you have to try and get a four letter word in a race against time. If you get the word then you carry on until you cannot get any more words. I love trying to beat my personal best on this great game!   Liam Year 7 student              

iPad Review- Benefits of being able to use my iPad

What I can do now, that I couldn’t do thenimage1 (5)

 When I first started I couldn’t… – Contact teachers – Send/do homework on my iPad – Research during lessons – Use good apps to help revise and collect information – Share work with friends to help each other   I have access to do all these things now I have my iPad. It is making me more confident    about learning, and is building up my ICT skills. It is so much easier to contact teachers about either homework, class work, or any other things. I could either send an email to them or a comment by using an app called Showbie. Likewise, they can put comments on my work. Doing homework or any other work on this device is a lot more fun and interesting than on paper. You can be really creative with presentation on apps such as Sketchpad, Pic collage and iMovie. The thing that I find most useful is the researching tool on our iPads. During class, the iPads can enable us to research information to help us with our work. Before we had iPads, we had to use computers which was inconvenient as not every classroom has computers. Helpfully, having iPads in school means that we don’t have to carry as many books around with us. By Hannah, Year 7

We won the ‘Classroom of the Future’ Competition

The year 7 students recently entered a competition to design a ‘classroom of the future.’ The competition is being run by WestCoast Apple Team and the winner will be announced on Friday 12th June. Here are some of the fantastic entries.

Mubarak Adedigba, Year 7

Mubarak Adedigba, Year 7

“My classroom allows the need for class changes to no longer be required and helps each student individually. It has the classroom has a  change programme which allows the room to change depending on the subject being taught at the time, such as Science, DT, and food tech, this means that the students don’t have to move classrooms and be late”.

Not only that the teacher will also be holographic and be   changing depending on the subjects. This way teachers don’t have to move classrooms and can be interactive with the environment. If a teacher is demonstrating a practical, the items needed would be in the actual classroom. Supervising teachers will be required to do their part by keeping everyone on task. The screens are also holographic meaning that teachers can just type up a task and it’ll immediately show. Student also get the technological experience and have their desk equipped with the following:

  • A wide array of buttons
  • Touchscreen border
  • Mini flat screen monitor
  • Holographic
  • An anti-cheating boarder (controlled by teacher

The students will also have a holographic avatar that will help them if they’re stuck. They are summoned by the push of a button. The classroom also has a leisure corner and the teacher’s desk has a mischief camera to alert the teacher to any rules violated.” Mubarak Adedigba, Year 7

FullSizeRender (1)

Hannah Kelsey, Year 7

” I think a ‘Class Room of the Future’ would have lots of highly advanced technology. These features include and interactive wall, Smart screen desks and robot helpers. These advanced pieces of technology would help improve the learning of the children of the future.” Hannah Kelsey Year 7

For all the latest news and information follow: @Upton_ELF or Uptonelf.weebly.com

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Upton WOW lessons and behaviour management

Good Practice:

As usual, staff at Upton have been producing  fantastic lessons – or WOW lessons which have motivated and engaged our students:

Englishpoetry

Mr Crozier has developed resources on exploring unseen poetry and has clearly linked progress to the GCSE mark scheme. Click on links the to view:Lesson planPoetry Comparison lesson He also produced an interactive Poetic Technique quiz:Poetic Techniques Grid

Mrs Johns produced an excellent lesson on short story writing in preparation for an assessment. Click on the links to view:Year 8 short story assessment lesson 2 slow writingYear 8 lesson planYear 8 short story assessment lesson 2 slow writing

 

 

 

Mr Euson developed this lesson  in order to help Year 10 to write a comparative essay about two poems that they had studied.​​​ Click on the link to view:Stealing by Carol Ann DuffyStealing by Carol Ann Duffy

RS

Miss Summers has produced an outstanding iPad lesson and excellent resources on an introduction to understanding racism click on the links to view:Introduction to RacismIntroduction to RacismLesson plan

 

Maths

Mrs Christianson: The first part of the lesson was corrections on simultaneous equations and then a DIRT extension task on a PowerPoint of harder simultaneous equations. All in purplimage1e pen. The second part was an A3 revision sheet with questions all over it, levels given, and written. Students chose where to start, could answer on the sheet or in books. If they got stuck they had to use their books, ask a friend and finally ask me. The plenary was a tricky level 8 question. This was a second set so it was challenging for them.

MFL 

Mrs Stanisstreet: Here are the first few slides that I used with my Year 10 who I was observed with.  The first one involves them matching up the headlines to the pictures for new innovations in technology.

Slide1The extension was that they could try to work out the whole headline.  Then then had to say how often they did certain activities relating to technology such as downloading music.  The third slide was cut up into strips.  Each student had their own name and they had to move around the classrooSlide2m to find which student in the class had each of the other questions by asking the questions and receiving a ‘sí’ or ‘no’ response.  The inspector really praised the quality of the spoken Spanish that the students were producing in the lesson, their written work and their progress over time by use of the PPP and departmental coding system in their books. Click on the link to view: Gadgets and comparisons

   Slide3

History 

Miss Suter: Produced an excellent and stimulating lesson on  how the holocaust is presented in school text books. Click on the links to view the resources: 9X1 Holocaust text booksRepresentations of the Holocaust 9X1How is the Holocaust represented in school text booksSlide1

 Science

Mrs Bradbury produced an interactive and highly motivating revision lesson for Year 11. Click on the links to view:Slide03 Science lessonlesson 1 11Y1AS revision unit 2 1

 

She also produced an excellent lesson using DIRT, TAP and used collaborative learning techniques. Click on the links to view:Science lesson Y8Lesson 7 – Essential plants Year 8 lesson 1,

Slide3

History

Miss Wragg produced an lesson where students investigated the reasons why Boscastle was flooded. Click on the link to view:Lesson 4 JWA Boscastle 1

Slide02

 

 PSHE

Mr Keegan delivered lessons on Human Rights and a Self-concept lesson which incorporated the use of ipads. Both lessons measured progress throughout using self assessment (see below). Independent and collaborative learning skills were developed through the activities. Click on the links to view:Human Rights L1 (1)Human rights lesson planSelf ConceptSelf-concept lesson plan

human-rights-l1-1

 

CCqGI6CXIAAqD0L

Brainfood

Interesting facts about the teenage brain. Click to enlarge:

Understanding-the-Teen-Brain-Infographic-1000x4672

 

Article of the week

Planning to Get Behaviour Right: Research Plus Experience

 

“The area of discipline surfaces so often in all work in schools that we gave it its own category in the analysis of the questionnaire.  Staffs are obsessed with it.”                                                                                                       

(Canavan, 2003, p. 180)

Staff’s “obsession” with discipline, identified by Canavan (2003) above, is possibly borne out of a reality in which the level of discipline, in the school or class room, has arguably the biggest impact on the quality of our daily lives, working environment and well-being.  It is often cited as a reason why teachers, young and old, decide to quit the profession.  Students may well feel the same about the impact of behaviour on their working day.

Do you have a “Keep ‘Em In” or a “Kick ‘Em Out” type of approach to School Discipline?

Behaviour - Keep Them In or Kick Them Out

What’s important is that we clearly think through our belief system about school discipline and looked at some research about what actually works.  Over time this research can be contextualised alongside what works in the classroom for “me and my students”.  As Jason Bangbala once said, “You need to avoid a guts to gob reaction” and this blog is an attempt to move us more towards a “brains to action”response.

What the Research Says

Behaviour - Geoff Petty Evidence-Based Teaching

 

A number of the graphics and the information below have been used with the kind permission of Geoff Petty and are taken from his book, Evidence Based Teaching (2009), which I read when it was first published.  Itis well worth reading.  His book uses the research of Robert Marzano et al (2003) “Classroom Management that Works”.

Marzano identified four key groups of factors that had a positive impact on behaviour in the classroom and reduced the number of disruptions.  The table below summarises these:

Behaviour - Table of Effect Sizes

Rules & Procedures

Without rules communities can descend into chaos and anarchy with the poorest and weakest in a community (society) becoming the most damaged and disadvantaged.

Coming up with school or class room rules that try to take account of every eventuality can become self-defeating, as no-one can remember all the rules.  A parent recently reminded me we use to have a couple of pages of rules in students’ planners which no-one read.  For daily operating we need a few agreed and understood rules, possibly between five to seven, that can be used to give direction to a way of living and working together.  Our challenge is not simply to impose rules but rather to bring each person to a level of self-control and self-discipline that allows them to be a full, supportive and enriching member of the class and wider community.

It’s interesting to note the basis of laws across Europe and other parts of the World find their origin in the Ten Commandments (these were changed to just two in the New Testament expressed in positive language).  The Ten Commandments are a call to a relationship and signpost a direction of travel.  They cannot hope to nor did they intend to cover every instance of human behaviour but are a set of guiding principles.  For example, there isn’t a commandment banning pulling your brother’s or sister’s hair or giving them a quick dig in the ribs if they annoy you.  However, the spirit that goes beyond the letter of the law requires us to treat our brothers and sisters with respect and love and this is the key to their understanding.  This thinking is useful for us in the classroom as we set rules and as we shall see later the development of “right” relationships is key to managing behaviour.

Classroom Procedures are usually developed by a teacher over time, however, explicitly thinking about procedures, for the start and end of lessons or during transitions from one activity to another, can help keep a classroom calm and ordered.  Whether it is handing out books, equipment or putting things away, developing standard routines that students quickly become familiar with increases the efficient use of time and reduces the mini-moments of disorder that may occur in lessons.

Teacher-Student Relationships

“Don’t smile until Christmas”, is the advice often given to newly qualified teachers.  However, the flip side of this advice, “Start smiling before Christmas”, is not so often given to more experienced colleagues.  Both have a seed of truth and usefulness in building student-teacher relationships.  For newly qualified teachers the generalisation and stereotype is that there tends to be too much co-operation and a lack of assertiveness within the classroom, sometimes confusing a friendly approach with wanting to be a friend.  This is the essence of the advice to “Not smile until Christmas” in an attempt to increase dominance in the classroom.  However, it is important to note that, as a generalisation, somewhere between six to ten years into teaching a number of teachers lose their sense of care and co-operation in class tending towards a “blitzkrieg” approach that is too dominant and damages relationships.

The graphic below gives some depth to the “fair but firm” discipline often written about in letters of application and talked about in interviews.  The two dimensions of dominance and co-operation are held in tension so that a caring but assertive approach is used within the classroom.  There must be a balance between a teacher’s control of a class and the co-operation needed to form positive relationships between teachers and students.

Behaviour - Relationships

Dominance (assertiveness) comes from a strong sense of purpose in pursuing clear goals for learning and for class management; clear leadership with a tendency to guide and control and a willingness to discipline unapologetically.  For example, there is a big difference between:

“Stephen, please will you listen when I am talking” and

“Stephen, listen when I am talking … <eye contact, small pause> … Thank you”.

The first may too often sound like a bit of a plea, however, the second is a clear instruction with the inbuilt assumption that it will be followed, hence the “thank you”.  It doesn’t need to be said in an angry manner just a clear and assertive voice.  This assertiveness must be held in tension with co-operation otherwise it can become aggressive or even in extreme cases draconian.  Increasing dominance in the classroom can be achieved by:

  • Agreeing and then sticking to a simple set of rules and expectations,
  • Being clear about learning & behavioural goals and
  • Consistently and assertively using a simple range of proportionate and escalating responses to poor behaviour.

Whilst it can be very hard work, take care not to pass issues or students on too early in any disciplinary process – when you “pass on” you are essentially saying to the student, “I can’t cope but this person can!”  Follow up and follow through as much as possible as the benefits in the medium to long term are massive.

Co-operation has a great concern for the needs and opinions of students; teachers are helpful & friendly and teachers use a series of strategies to avoid strife and seek consensus.  This also needs to be held in tension with an assertive approach otherwise it can lead to an acceptance of poor standards, too much appeasement and a lack of direction in managing behaviour.  If you are in danger of becoming “oppositional” towards students in the class you can increase co-operation by:

  • Catching students doing things right and praising,
  • Going the extra mile to support a student with their work,
  • Taking part in extra-curricular activities and
  • Taking a general and genuine, but not intrusive, interest in students’ lives and interests.  What is the talent of each of the students in your class/form – what do they excel at?

As an aside, it is interesting to note that Hattie’s work shows strong teacher-student relationships as the 11th most important factor in raising achievement.  Students do better academically when the relationships in class are right.

Disciplinary Interventions

This is essentially about using “carrots and sticks”.  What Marzano (2003) found in his meta-analysis was that appropriate use of sanctions and rewards had a greater impact than using neither or one but not the other.  Just using rewards had a bigger impact than just using sanction but this was not as powerful as using both.

The use of sanctions is important to understand – it is the consistency with which they are applied and the inevitability that it will happen much more than the severity that has impact.  In fact in Marzano’s work he writes about “mild punishments”.  It is important to be proportionate in your response and then follow up and follow through.

There are numerous intervention strategies that can be used in the classroom to get students back on track.

Behaviour - Graph of Interventions

The use of rewards is more important than sanctions, in improving behaviour, with verbal praise, points, stickers, merits, positive notes in books/planners, phone calls home etc. being all fairly standard responses in many classrooms.  The addition of certificates, badges, golden time, gifts, vouchers and reward trips often occur at a departmental, phase, faculty or whole school level.

Mental Set

Marzano (2003) identifies the biggest impact on reducing disruptive incidents as the right “Mental Set” which he defines as a conscious control over your thoughts and feelings when you respond to a disruption alongside strategies to develop your awareness of what is going on in your classroom and why – what Marzano refers to as “withitness”.

Experienced teachers and gained wisdom would perhaps give teachers the advice to “Nip it in the bud” and “Don’t take it personally”

“Withitness” is about being present and being a presence.  Developing the peripheral vision needed to successfully manage a group of thirty students is an important part of behaviour management.  Scanning the classroom whilst teaching and intervening immediately, using the minimal possible intervention to resolve the issue, limits the opportunity for things to spiral out of control.

Behaviour - Withitness

Moving about the classroom, around the perimeter whenever possible, allows you to have a physical presence in a room whilst ensuring all students remain in view.  Take care when working with an individual student that you don’t end up with your back to half the class.

Emotional Objectivity is a real challenge particularly when you are in the “eye of the storm” and a student is behaving badly or being outright offensive.  Keeping calm, remaining assertive and managing the situation is crucial.

Behaviour - Emotional Objectivity

You’d be surprised how many students in the class think you are doing a great job and handling a difficult situation well – remember to thank the class for their co-operation during the difficult incident if their behaviour warrants it.  The misbehaviour isn’t personal.

Behaviour - Outline #5MinuteBehaviorPlan

Putting this all together in a picture is a challenge (see above) but doing it in the classroom is even more challenging.  Some people will find some aspects of behaviour management come very naturally and easily to them and other parts are more challenging.  It is worth taking an aspect that you wish to improve: focus on it for half a term or a term, practice it and hone it until it becomes second nature.

If you are interested in how, with the support of @TeacherToolkit, this was converted into a planner for use by teachers have a look at the

Behaviour - #5MinuteBehaviourPlan

 

 Articles, links and resources

1) Why a ban on mobile phones is not the answer:

http://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/2015/may/20/why-a-ban-on-mobile-phones-in-school-is-not-the-answer

 2) Lots of brilliant resources:

http://teachertoolkit.me/resources/

 3) More brilliant ICT resources

http://www.gr8ict.com/

Upton TEEP Peeps and marking tips

This week the Upton TEEP Champs and E learning facilitators (ELFs) delivered TEEP peeps to their colleagues. Below are the resources they used.

You are the examiner by Mr Caine and Mrs DeCosta

Slide1 Slide2 Slide3 Slide4 Slide5 Slide6 Slide7 Slide8 Slide9

Click on the links below to download the resources for this TEEP Peep:

You are the Examiner (1) You are the examiner worksheet – lower (1) You are the examiner worksheet – higher (2)

snakes and ladders template (2) Playing Cards Template (3)  blank_wordsearch_grid – Higher (1) blank_wordsearch_grid – Lower (1)

Growth Mindset by Mrs Critchley and Mr Keegan, with a lot of help from Mrs Connor – All Hallows  in Macclesfield

Slide01Slide02Slide04Slide05Slide07Slide06Slide08 Slide09Slide10Slide11Slide15Slide16

 

Click on the links below to download the resources for this TEEP Peep:

TEEP PEEP 24.2.15 (2)

Revision Party presented by Miss McLean, Mrs Smale, Miss Summers and Mrs Melville

We can’t give you the option to download the presentation due to copyright issues, but I think you will get the idea.

Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 17.24.36 Slide13 Slide14 Slide15 Slide16 Slide17 Slide18 Slide19 Slide05 Slide06 Slide07 Slide08 Slide09 Slide10 Slide11

http://www.tutor2u.net/

Brain food

How technology in schools has changed over time: This is too difficult to read. Click on it to zoom in.

How-Technology-in-Schools-Has-Changed-Over-Time-Infographic (1)

 

How to reduce your workload – working smart: http://teachertoolkit.me/2015/02/28/the-5minworkloadplan-by-teachertoolkit-and-leadinglearner/

exemplar-5minworkloadplan

 Article of the week 

How to make marking more efficient: three new techniques for teachers

English teacher Andrew Tharby shares his advice on how to significantly reduce the time spent marking while improving the quality of feedback for students
Marking techniques
Andrew Tharby uses the gallery critique technique to help students receive detailed feedback from their peers. Photograph: Alamy

In Ted Hughes’ visceral first world war poem, Bayonet Charge, a young soldier experiences a moment of psychological clarity amid the chaos of the battlefield. He realises that he is running “Like a man who has jumped up in the dark and runs/Listening between his footfalls for the reason/Of his still running…” Sometimes, as I crouch over another seemingly endless pile of marking, Hughes’ words pop into my head. Why am I doing this? Is there any point to this madness?

Thankfully I am a secondary English teacher not a first world war soldier. Research confirms that feedback has a vital role in learning – take the evidence from the Education Endowment Foundation, for instance, or John Hattie’s table of influences on learning. But is it possible to significantly reduce the time spent marking while improving the quality of feedback students receive?

Three reasons lie behind my quest for a more efficient alternative. Firstly, marking saps a huge amount of time and energy that could be redirected into the research and reflection required to plan lessons that genuinely challenge and develop students’ learning. Secondly, the process feels depersonalised because it happens away from the classroom, making it difficult to maintain meaningful dialogue with students. Thirdly, by marking too regularly we create a culture of dependency, denying students the opportunity to develop important self-regulation strategies such as editing and proofreading.

The answer is not to ignore feedback, but to bring it to the forefront of everything we do in the classroom. Here are three ways you can do that in your classroom:

The five-minute flick

This is one of my favourite strategies. I check through a cross-section of books – five or six – to assess how students across a range of abilities performed in the previous lesson. If they have produced a piece of writing, I will begin the next class by showing an example from one student – typed up or photographed – and we critique it together. I guide the class through the editing process, staying focused on common misconceptions and weaknesses, so that we model an improvement together. Individuals then return to their own work and edit independently with this example in mind.

Gallery critique

In my experience, peer-assessment is fraught with problems; however well I train a class to do it proficiently, each student is at the mercy of the accuracy and commitment of the pupil next to them. Gallery critique draws on ideas from Ron Berger’s book, An Ethic of Excellence, and involves students moving around the classroom critiquing one another’s work using Berger’s “kind, specific, helpful” mantra, along with a plentiful supply of post-it notes. Not only do students receive detailed feedback from a number of peers, they also learn from reading each other’s work. I have written in depth about the strategy here.

Live marking

This also has huge potential. As the students are working, I call them up one-by-one to my desk. We discuss their work and l feedback both verbally and with symbols. If you are required by your school to demonstrate evidence of marking, a verbal feedback stamp can be very useful. I find this technique works best if the class is undertaking an extended written piece. I can see a whole class over two lessons and can differentiate the timing of my feedback, as some students need to be left to work independently for longer and others need to be steered on track much earlier. The strategy can be manipulated in a variety of ways depending on the subject and task.

Over time, I think it is possible to replace traditional marking with more efficient and effective alternatives. Marking books will never completely go away, but combined with approaches like the above it can become far less onerous.

Andrew Tharby is an English teacher at Durrington High school and has been teaching for eight years. He writes a blog about his classroom experiences, Reflecting English, and can be found on Twitter as @atharby.

The 5 minute marking plan by Teacher Toolkit

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Click on the link below for the presentation:

5 minute marking plan

Resources/articles/apps/videos

1) Mrs Humanities shows how she has developed DIRT even further within her department. Click on the link below:

https://mrshumanities.wordpress.com/2015/02/17/d-i-r-t-display/

2) IPAD TEACHERS – Video: 20 iPad Lesson Activities in 2 minutes.

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=698896713562094 

3) An interview with @TeacherToolkit: How To Become A Great Teacher by @WonderFrancis

http://wp.me/p2HFBD-3jr

4) Andy Griffith – Outstanding Teaching: A toolkit to succeed

5) Teaching Ideas and Resources

http://www.teachingideas.co.uk/

6) Teaching websites

http://www.teachingwebsites.co.uk/

DIRT for boys, active learning and differentiation

Good Practice

Dedicated Improvement Reflection Time (DIRT) Resources by Mrs Johns

English Dirt

My Year 11 did a ‘Lego Movie’ ‘Good Cop/Bad Cop’ DIRT response today. Students then ‘Build upon their work’ with the Lego builder Emmit! (See the PDF below- It is still a work in progress!)
Above is a students work as an example, as he is a classic borderline C/D student.
Mrs Johns

Formal Letter DIRT (1) (1)

Click on the links below to see other DIRT resources created by Mrs Johns:

DIRT self assessment

DIRT Peer assessment

DIRT self assessment KS3

Brain Food
Poster by Nana Adwoa Sey. Contest winner.

learningpyramid4

Differentiation – Making it Happen:

Five steps to improve teaching   Explore -> Experiment -> Improve -> Celebrate -> Embed

Explore:Explore the context: Given our course and our students etc, what are the key issues and problems in ensuring success for all? Explore present practice: How do we differentiate at present? Explore the pedagogy :What other learning and teaching strategies could we use to differentiate better?

Experiment:Plan Experimentation and implementation: Decide as a team and as individuals how you will differentiate better.

Improve:Improve and ‘coach-in’ strategies: teachers develop strategies for themselves and the team, while receiving support and coaching from the team and others.

Celebrate:Celebrate Success: Teachers report on their experiments and share their strategies.

Embed:Embed practice: Schemes of work, assignments, worksheets, lesson plans etc are changed to embed the changes

Remember!

  • Only teachers can change teaching
  • Changing teaching is itself a learning process
  • Learning requires support, practice, and feedback

Article of the week: 

Active Learning Works: the evidence by Geoff Petty

“Active Learning? You must be joking, there’s no time for entertainment – I’ve too much content to cover.”

We have all heard such views in staff rooms, yet in official circles active learning remains the orthodoxy. Professors queue up to insist upon it, inspectors require it, and conference speakers chant its praises. Many of us also remember long lectures about its effectiveness during our teacher training! Yes, we all know the theory — but does it actually work in practice? 

Many researchers have asked this question, and have tried a ‘let’s suck it and see’ approach to answer it. These are rigorous control group studies with real teachers in real schools and colleges.

Hundreds, or even thousands of students are divided between:

  • an ‘experimental group’ which is taught with active methods and
  • a ‘control group’: which is taught the same material without active methods.

The control and experimental groups are carefully composed to be identical in their mix of ability, social background, and so on. The control and experimental groups are taught for the same length of time, by the same teachers, or by teachers of the same ability, and the students are tested to see which group has learned best. In study after study of this type, active learning produced much better learning.

Never mind the theory – does it work in practice?

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Active Learning adds a grade and a half to achievement.

Professors John Hattie and Robert Marzano have independently used careful statistical methods to average the findings of many thousands of the most rigorous studies on active learning. Their findings show that, for the best active methods, if you put a student in the experimental group, then on average, they will do more than a grade and a half better than if they had been placed in the control group.

The time the teacher has to teach the topic is not a factor here. Remember that the groups taught with active learning methods were taught for the same amount of time as the control group. While the experimental group was engaged in the active learning methods, the control group was receiving more content and fuller explanations from their teacher. But the control group learned less.

Many teachers say active learning would be great ‘if they had the time’. But the research shows that if you make the time for effective active learning by doing less didactic teaching, then your students will do better. It may seem strange not to be able to say everything you know about the topic you are teaching, but it won’t help if you do. You know too much!

Active learning works best at every academic level. Peter Westwood, summarizing research on how best to teach students with learning difficulties argued for highly structured, intensive, well directed, active learning methods.

What active methods work best?

Any activity will not do. We need to set activities that require students to make their own meanings of the concepts you are teaching, and that get them to practice important skills. Ideally the activity is highly relevant to your goals, is an open task, and is challenging. Lets look at some examples of methods that have done particularly well in these rigorous trials.

‘Same and different’: Tasks that require the learner to identify similarities and differences between two or more topics or concepts, often one they are familiar with, and one they are presently studying: ‘Compare and contrast viral and bacterial infections’

 Graphic organisers: The student creates their own diagrammatic representation of what they are learning, for example in a mind-map, flow diagram or comparison table. They get out of their place to look at other students work, to help them improve their own. Then they self-assess their own diagram using a model diagram provided by you.

 Decisions-Decisions: Students are given a set of cards to match, group, rank, or sequence. For example: ‘rank these advantages of stock taking in order of importance, then sort them by who benefits, customer, business, supplier, or investor. Students are asked to reject your ‘spurious’ cards that do not describe an advantage of stock taking.

Feedback: There are many feedback methods including self assessment and peer assessment. Ask students to decide on what was done well, and what they could improve.

 Hypothesis testing: You give students a statement that is partly true, but partly false: “The more advertising the better”. “Cromwell was religiously motivated”. Then you ask them to work in groups to evaluate the statement. When the groups are finished you get one reason in favour of the hypothesis from each group in turn, continuing until all their reasons have been given. You nominate the member of the group to give the reason and to justify it: ‘why did your group think that?’. When a reason has been given say ‘thank you’ but don’t agree or disagree with it. Repeat for reasons against. When all the reasons are in, ask the class as a whole to try and agree reasons for and against. Then give your thoughts on their ideas.

I expect you can guess why these methods work: they force students to think, and into making sense of what you are teaching them.

Let’s not confuse good explaining with good learning. The delivery of content does not guarantee its arrival. In the end it is perhaps no surprise that students only get good at doing it — by doing it!

References

Hattie, J.A. (2009) ‘Visible Learning a synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement’. London: Routledge

Marzano R. Pickering, D. Pollock, J. (2001) “Classroom Instruction that works” Alexandria: ASCD

Petty, G. (2009) ‘Evidence Based Teaching’ 2nd Edition. Cheltenham: Nelson Thornes See also www.geoffpetty.com

Westwood, P. (2003) Commonsense Methods for children with Special Educational Needs. 4th Ed. London: RoutledgeFalmer.

Recommended Reads

secrets of teenage brain

1. Secrets of the Teenage Brain: Research-Based Strategies for Reaching & Teaching Today’s Adolescents  by Sheryl G. Feinstein

“Teachers will relate well to the many observations and vignettes about teenagers and will see many of their own students in these descriptions. The science and research-based evidence is explained simply and in easy-to-understand terms with connections to teen behavior clearly established. Readers can easily appreciate how the strategies described in the book link to the neuroscientific findings and research. The newer research, ideas, and supplementary material greatly enhance the book—particularly the new stories, vignettes, and other teaching strategies.” (Barry Corbin, Professor of Education, Acadia University 2009-01-23)

9781408504154 2. Teaching Today by Geoff Petty

This is the best selling teacher training text in the UK because it is so practical. Lots of detail on all the common teaching methods, classroom management etc. Lots of ideas for established teachers not just NQTs.

3. Make it stick: The Science of Successful Learning by Peter C. Brown

make it stick

Drawing on recent discoveries in cognitive psychology and other disciplines, the author offers concrete techniques for becoming more productive learners. Memory plays a central role in our ability to carry out complex cognitive tasks, such as applying knowledge to problems never before encountered and drawing inferences from facts already known. New insights into how memory is encoded, consolidated, and later retrieved have led to a better understanding of how we learn. Grappling with the impediments that make learning challenging leads both to more complex mastery and better retention of what was learned. Many common study habits and practice routines turn out to be counterproductive. Underlining and highlighting, rereading, cramming, and single-minded repetition of new skills create the illusion of mastery, but gains fade quickly. More complex and durable learning come from self-testing, introducing certain difficulties in practice, waiting to re-study new material until a little forgetting has set in, and interleaving the practice of one skill or topic with another.

Useful links

1. 5 minute lesson plan

https://www.5minutelessonplan.co.uk/try

2. Blogging for teachers

http://teachertoolkit.me/2014/08/09/10-tips-for-blogging-teachers-by-teachertoolkit/

3. 101 great teachers to follow on twitter

http://teachertoolkit.me/2014/11/30/101-great-teachers-to-follow-on-twitter-by-teachertoolkit/

Teaching and Learning: Great ideas and practical tips from colleagues on social media and beyond

Brain food

This table was put together by Stephen Teirney (Twitter) and is a thought provoking way of looking at how to achieve great teaching.

higher quality teaching

Something to aspire to? Check out @urban_teacher

connectededucator

Article of the week: Dealing with Day-to-day Differentiation

Extract taken from an article on headguruteacher website.

Myths

  1. Differentiation does not mean that you must have tiered resources and tasks in every lesson.
  2. It does not mean you should have must-should-could learning objectives. It does not mean that a lesson where every student is doing the same task is fundamentally worse than one where students do have different tasks.
  3. Any given lesson snap-shot may not have explicit evidence of differentiation at all – and it could still be outstanding, or at least be leading to outstanding outcomes.

Differentiation needs to be seen as the aggregation of the hundreds of subtly different interactions that you have with each of your students, according to their level of attainment and progress.  Even OFSTED now officially do not expect that the needs of all students are being precisely and directly addressed in every lesson observation.  Differentiation is a long-term process that mirrors the long-term nature of learning and progress.

The bottom-lines

We all have ups and downs; we can all mess things up.  We all have lessons that seem too complicated to factor in yet another level of support or challenge; we have all had lessons where behaviour issues dominate or you do more didactic input and the differentiation is less evident. However, there are always two things that I’d say are non-negotiable:

  1. Neglecting the basic access entitlement of students with particular learning needs. If you have a student that can’t read the text-book or follow the standard instructions because of learning difficulties or physical impairment, you have to sort them out every time.  You need to plan for their needs every lesson and go to them immediately to make sure they know what to do.
  2. Setting work that is too easy for the top end. There is nothing worse than having students waiting for others to finish with nothing to do or simply having time for a good chat because they’ve completed a basic task.  Here the solution is to set in-built extension tasks as a matter of routine. “If you finish Task A, then go straight on to Tasks B, C and D”.   Of course, there is the issue that ‘more work’ doesn’t necessarily equate to ‘more challenge’. It’s better if each task is increasingly difficult and you can always consider allowing students to skip Task A and B if they feel confident to tackle other tasks straight away.   At the very least, there should always always be a ‘what next’ if the initial task is quite easy.

Data

The main use of student data is to prompt you to ask questions about your perception of a student’s ability and progress.  Am I getting this person right? It pays to look back at prior attainment information a week or so after meeting a class for the first time and again after the first term. If you triangulate between the prior attainment info, your gut feeling and your own assessment data, you get a better idea.  Sometimes it’s quite revealing.  Oh gosh, I’ve been underestimating John all this time…. or perhaps I’m neglecting Michael’s underlying lack of confidence; his reading age is lower than I thought.

Most importantly, data helps to ensure that you never settle for mediocrity from someone who doesn’t perform in the way the data says they could.  Ben’s Official Target grade is A but his recent test score was C? Ok…something is going on there. That should catalyse a different response than if the prior attainment data suggested C would be a sign of good progress.

In my last comprehensive school job, I used to devise a differentiation guide for every class to help me plan lessons without forgetting about people. Other teachers made their own. An example is shown here. The grade here is artificial; in reality there would be lots of data points feeding into the crude categorisation: reading ages, MidYIS scores and KS2 entry data would play a part alongside other internal assessments.  The idea is to make it easy to think about the students in rough groupings rather than allow the complexity of the individual data sheet, usually presented in alphabetical order, to be overwhelming and ultimately unhelpful.

table

I know a lot of people will go into ‘Growth Mindset’ shock.  It’s important to have that in mind.  You are not using this to pigeon-hole students indefinitely.. but sometimes you need to cut through the noise to get some shape to your class and make differentiation meaningful and practical. If you allow yourself to let a guide like this write students off, then it’s a mistake.  If you use it to prompt you to prepare more effectively to help them learn better, then it’s a good thing.

The dynamics of each class will be different but personally I try to teach Group 1 and 2 in the same way, teaching to the top and thinking separately about the students who might struggle.  However, even then, there are one or two students in most of my classes who stick out at the top, running far ahead of the rest, who need special attention.

An important source of information worth revisiting once you know a class, is the SEND register and associated documentation.  It’s painful to realise that you have overlooked the info suggesting Jameel should sit at the front or that Jay is dyslexic and has gets help outside the school.  It’s hard to take it all in at the start of the year so, from time to time, go back for a look at see if you need to adjust things.  You may even have positive information to feedback to the learning support team in your school.

Keeping it Simple

In practice, there is one main form of easy differentiation: Same resources; Different questions

In a mixed ability setting, when you are up against it in terms of fine-tuned planning, you can always create open-endedness through the questions you ask in discussion and the tasks you set based on the same key resources.  That’s an important skill to develop. Whether it is a piece of writing, some practical work or a set of responses to a debate or some theory in science, you can usually set students off in different directions from a common starting point.  It is easier if the standard resources (text books and departmental ready-to-use worksheets) have a level of tiering built-in, but even with identical resources you can often direct students to produce responses at different levels of sophistication.

Nurturing the students at the extremes

Finally, teaching is a bit like gardening.  You have a group of individual specimens with their own precise needs and qualities and your job is to get them to flourish to the greatest possible extent. But, as with gardening, you often need to focus on one specimen at a particular moment. You can’t do it all at once.

You may feel that John is coasting a bit; he needs a push this lesson.  It may be that Albert has looked a bit bored of late. He might be finding things a bit easy; let’s really crank it up this lesson.  The last time Rory handed his book in it was a bit of a shocker; I need to sit with him this lesson and get a few things sorted out.  Daniel is always just below the top level. Why is that?  Is this an Austin’s Butterfly effect? Maybe he needs to do some re-drafting and I need to absolutely insist that he does it again and again until it’s hitting the top level.

That’s real differentiation: pushing, prodding, nudging, stretching…slow, subtle, nuanced, a step at a time, working around the class from lesson to lesson, to the greatest extent you can manage. It’s not a performance; it’s something you grind out over the long long run.

Within this, I think it helps teachers to forge special relationships with the students at the extremes – and their parents too if possible.  In all probability the strongest and weakest learners are likely to be the ones who you struggle with the most in terms of your planning and teaching. If you let them know very clearly that you are working for them, keeping an eye on them and giving them a bit of special attention, they will have confidence that, when things aren’t quite tailored to them, you haven’t forgotten. Their parents will know this too and that helps a lot.

My advice is always to try to be a teacher who champions the students with the greatest needs; it always pays off.  But, more generally, the main thing is to keep differentiation at the forefront of your thinking, doing your best to keep everyone in each class moving forward without limiting them.  It’s never going to feel that you’ve got it absolutely nailed – and that is teaching!

Recommended Reading

  1. Trivium 21st C by Martin Robinson: Could this be the answer?

The book uses an exploration of the Trivium as it once was – a set of principles for learning that evolved from Plato to the middle ages – as a template for considering a range of contemporary educational problems and debates.  Martin uses the story of his daughter as she embarks on her school-based education as a focus point. Through his hopes and dreams for her education, he is able to express the hopes and dreams we all have for our children – and the contrast with what is currently on offer in the mainstream of modern schooling.

trivium

  1. Teaching boys who struggle in school by Kathleen Palmer Cleveland

Let’s take a closer look at some “symptoms” of underachievement:

  • Acting out
  • Refusal to take academic risks
  • Desire to “save face” with peers
  • Unable to stay on task
  • Unwilling to ask for help
  • Disinterested, apathetic
  • Head down, eyes averted

Time and again we see that many boys who struggle in school share these common behaviors. It may surprise you to know that fear of failure is a central emotional underpinning of these familiar “symptoms” of underachievement. How can we, as educators, respond to this latent vulnerability – so often disguised as either reactive bravado or feigned disinterest – in a way that breaks the cycle of failure and helps each boy to reach his potential as a learner?

boys

  1. Mindset by Dr Carol S. Dweck

World-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck, in decades of research on achievement and success, has discovered a truly groundbreaking idea-the power of our mindset. Dweck explains why it’s not just our abilities and talent that bring us success-but whether we approach them with a fixed or growth mindset. She makes clear why praising intelligence and ability doesn’t foster self-esteem and lead to accomplishment, but may actually jeopardize success. With the right mindset, we can motivate our kids and help them to raise their grades, as well as reach our own goals-personal and professional. Dweck reveals what all great parents, teachers, CEOs, and athletes already know: how a simple idea about the brain can create a love of learning and a resilience that is the basis of great accomplishment in every area.

mindset

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

 

  1. Great Lessons: http://headguruteacher.com/category/teaching-and-learning/great-lessons/
  2. Questioning and feedback – Top 10 strategies: http://www.huntingenglish.com/2014/11/19/questioning-feedback-top-ten-strategies/
  3. iPad related articles: http://www.huntingenglish.com/tag/ipad/
  4. TEEP in practice: Lots of ideas and articles – if you haven’t got a log in then let me know http://www.teep.org.uk/asp