Teach to Learn: Issue 2 – Literacy at Roding Valley High School

Teach to Learn: Issue 2 – Literacy at Roding Valley High School

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Feedback on Edmodo to DAZ Group

Student feedback through Virtual Learning Environments

Having taken the challenge to revise my use of virtual learning environments over the last half term I thought it was about time for an update. Having used Edmodo as a space where students can be set homework or interactive classwork, it was surprising how quickly the students were able to adapt to using the new technology.
One of the main issues with the old VLE was that information really only went in one direction, from the teacher to the student, and was limited to chunks of text or links to websites. Edmodo allows the students far more opportunity to comment on the work they are set and for teachers to give feedback on completed assignments. Below is an example of students explaining what they thought the assessment was like and my comments and feedback to them: All helpfully shown on a single page.

MCO Edmodo Feedback DAZ

Edmodo has one other trick up its sleeve when it comes to student
feedback. The website allows teachers to simply annotate students work without
the need for printing the work off and handing it back. As can be seen the
students work can be annotated with tools which are at the top of the screen.

Although, some students are still finding their feet with this way of working it has provoked discussion and allowed students access to a range of resources that they would not otherwise have found. I am still a long way from using Edmodo with all my classes or even every week with classes. However, if we expect students to feel confident in a world where many jobs require social media skills it is necessary to challenge both ourselves and students to engage with their school work online, at home and at school.

Update on Edmodo to DAZ group

Matt Cocker

Teach to Learn: Issue 1 – Effective Feedback

Teach to Learn: Issue 1 – Effective Feedback

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Stuck for plenary ideas… read on …

Plenaries from the Technology Faculty

In Technology we have been looking at a few ways of incorporating exciting and new plenaries into lessons. Some ideas we are trialling at the moment:

Pictionary: Pupils to draw the keyword without speaking or writing for others to guess what it is.

Hot seat: One pupil to the front of the room for questioning in the hot seat. Questions must relate to the current topic and come from the whole class.

Order me: Teacher puts 5 stages of a process on the board in the incorrect order. The class then puts them in the correct order.

Mystic mind: The class predict the future by stating what they will be learning in the next lesson or what will be completed by the end of the next lesson.

Brainstorm: The properties of any material or ingredient that have been used in the lesson. Ideas for a project using Access FM.

• 60 secs: Give the class 60 seconds to come up with a brief summary of a process, technique or a keyword from the lesson.

• Help: Ask the class to design a help sheet to give advice to other students about what has been learnt in the lesson.

Blurb: Ask the class to write a blurb about their product that will help it sell.

True or False: Write down some true and false statements about key aspects of the lesson. Pupils to hold thumbs up if they think it is true or thumbs down if it is false.

Application of information: In groups mind map where else pupils can use information learned in lesson-link in with other subjects, homework and real life situations.

Making a statement: Ask the class to come up with two statements in one minute about what they have learned.

• Missing words: Write a summary of key aspects of the lesson, taking out the key items, asking the class to fill in the blanks.

• Label: Find or draw an image of a tool, piece of equipment, a machine or a process. Ask the class to label each part.
• 551: Ask the class to summarise the lesson in 5 sentences, then reduce to 5 words, then reduce to 1 word.

• Role change: Tell the class to imagine they were the teacher. Ask the class what questions they would ask and why.

• Partners: Arrange class in pairs. Ask them to discuss each others work and look at their targets. Ask pupils to write a target for the next lesson in their partners book.

Open ended: Run a question and answer session about the lesson. Do not allow the class to answer with a yes or no.
Timeline: Ask the class to produce a timeline showing the different stages of the current project so far.

Move from good to outstanding -practical tips

I was asked by my group of NQT’s….Can you give us some simple but practical ways to improve our teaching and in turn enhance the learning ?

So prior to the meeting I took a list of practical but simple ideas and modified them to fulfil the Roding Valley objectives:

  • Create thought provoking starter activities (the hook ) – have it ready as soon as they arrive on the desk/whiteboard – get them to start as latecomers arrive.
  • Instil good habits, planners and equipment out on the desk at the start of every lesson
  • Use a single lesson objective but plan a different journey for students within the class to reach that objective or,
  • Use tiered / progressive learning objectives: maybe colour coded to help students realise progression from green to orange to red means difficulty increases. Use learning objectives not task based objectives.
    • define/recall/describe/summarise (green L/O)
    • explain/compare/discuss/compose (orange L/O)
    • analyse/evaluate/investigate (red L/O)
  • Refer to learning objectives consistently throughout the lesson – not just the beginning and the end and check progress towards these objectives at regular intervals, ensure you know where the learners are with their progress (AFL)
    • Planners ,traffic lights
    • Questioning
    • Teacher circulation
    • Web cam /visualiser– show student work, suggest improvements
    • Model answers – self marking – green pens
    • Peer marking – provide student speak criteria
    • Whiteboards
    • Post it notes
    • Thumbs up
    • ipads (video ) PE
  • If students simply aren’t getting the content of your don’t soldier on in fear of deviating from your plan lesson plan. Instead re-model and re-shape your lesson, think on your feet PACE
  • Use hinge point questions (questions to test understanding before allowing students to move on to the next learning objective)
  • Have mini-whiteboards on the desk most lessons-even if you hadn’t planned to use them, you might find them invaluable when you have to re-model a task and think on your feet.
  • Take all opportunities for self and/or peer assessment / marking – use a web cam/visualiser show student work during the lesson and ask for feedback, positive and next steps learning. Model exemplar pieces but also show common misconceptions.
  • Make sure any resources are creative but don’t get lost in them, focus on the learning.
  • Avoid getting students to copy out definitions/key information- get them to work for this information themselves.
  • Consider and make use of any literacy opportunities including speaking and listening. Encourage students to answer in full sentences.(verbally and written)
  • Step back from being the expert in the class from time to time and let students show their ability to learn independently (here’s the answer- what was the question?)
  • Use different types of activities from lesson to lesson – aim to keep students on their toes each lesson so they do not know what to expect.
  • Re-model tasks verbally to help differentiate – you can verbally scaffold tasks for individual students without having to have 5 zillion different worksheets.
  • Ensure that you speak to every student in the room at least once during a lesson (say hello, ask them a question, praise them, comment on their work).
  • Ask probing, open-ended questions – ask them to the students without their hands up- even better- apply a no hands up policy from time to time.
  • Be consistent with behaviour rules/discipline with every student in the class.
  • Always have an extension task or two ready – students should never sit idle.
  • Ensure that you complete a plenary, make sure you know which students have achieved the learning objectives.
  • Use this information to inform your planning for the next lesson Big Picture

I was quite pleased with these. practical tips and presented them to the assembled NQT’s.

“ What else do I need to consider when planning my outstanding lesson?”

The responses came thick and fast, with discussion and examples given:

  1. Know all your students, progress data, SEN, other groups
  2. Consider appropriateness of home learning to ensure progress over time (in line with the new school timetable )
  3. Planning for behaviour – seating plans, knowing in advance the internal on-call arrangements
  4. Planning for the other adults in the room – talk to your LSA , discuss what you want her/him to do, don’t just leave it to them

Next steps…….. to write some practical tips for each of these

We then discussed the importance of the phrase ‘progress over time’ and its implications for us in the classroom. This led us into the importance of marking and effective feedback to the students. We discussed how it was no longer possible to achieve good /outstanding if your feedback and marking did not equip your students with the means to improve and make progress over time. We are currently writing up some examples of best practice marking and methods at Roding Valley High School and these will be published soon.

To conclude I wrote the word progress on the board and we brain stormed what this actually meant to us…progress

Its been a long day but great to work with such inspired and keen NQT’s…

Sharon Jenner

Assistant Head teacher Teaching and Learning

The RVHS Learning Puzzle – Be part of it…..ZEST via media

We have just started to work on our vision for the spring term. Our T&L groups will be working on the following:

Group A – Teaching and Learning e-newsletter

The aim is to publish at least 3 newsletters this academic year. These e-newsletters will be available on our website and twitter and will publicise the excellent work here at RVHS.

  1. Effective Feedback
    Collate examples of best practise – student questionnaires
    Track journey of new marking policy and current evaluations
    Impact on progress
  2. Differentiation
    Review of best practise at RVHS
    Research current practice – focus SEN/ students arriving on 4c
    Trial innovative ideas, paired observations
  3. Literacy Focus
    Writing frames , showcase literacy across the curriculum, literacy intervention, accelerated reader, promote use of key words, use of reading ages to aid progression in the classroom

Group B – Digital Leaders

Consider… Do the students know more about the technology than most of us?
What can we learn from the students?
What will happen if we give the students a voice in their learning?
How can we use technology in the classroom?
What ideas can groups trial in the classroom:

  1. Create a group of digital leaders – Work with students to identify areas of the curriculum that could be enhanced – ‘Zest’ by the use of technology
  2. Students help to plan lessons in these identified areas, train the teachers in the use of technology
  3. Case study – students i.e. Gaming in media
  4. Trial the use of tumblr.com , Edmodo or google.docs as a platform to run a group project
  5. More Able students – working independently on extended project using platforms such as Tumblr, WordPress, Wikispaces or Google docs

We will keep you updated…

S Jenner
AHT T&L

Differentiation by M Wilson

“Tell me the answer, Sir!”

Imagine this. One evening you are eating your Supper, after a long day at work and school, and Sonny Jim suddenly complains that his teacher refused to help him  in such-and-such a lesson.

“I’m sure that can’t be right, Sonny. Your teacher wouldn’t deliberately not help you. You must have got it wrong”, you reply.

But, no. Sonny Jim is adamant that his teacher did not help him. When Sonny asked his teacher something, they refused to give him the answer. Shock! Horror! What a terrible teacher. You promise to phone school the following day to find out exactly what happened.

Well, in the coming weeks and months I hope that this might be a familiar conversation around the dinner table. As part of our latest INSET teachers and Learning Support Assistants have been looking at questioning skills, and how we support students to become more independent thinkers. Part of this is not providing answers, but to encourage students to think for themselves and work it out independently. We have looked at the oddly named “Blooms Taxonomy”. In 1956 Benjamin Bloom developed a way of ordering questions of increasing difficulty. At the start you have questions relating to Knowledge (“ Tell me three things you know about…”) and at the end you have questions that ask for viewpoints ( “Can you give me reasons for saying that…”). As teachers we sometimes miss the opportunity to develop these vital thinking skills in our efforts to complete a task, or get something finished. Questioning is also a way of checking understanding, of course, and of challenging students of different abilities.

So, the next time you are sitting around the dinner table, and Sonny Jim pipes up that his teacher has refused to help him, just reply, “ Well Sonny, can you give me three reasons why that might be the case?”!

A copy of the recent INSET presentation on differentiation:

Differentiation INSET Dec 2012