Launch of ‘Closing the Gap’

Teachers at Roding Valley High School discuss how they have adopted the ‘Closing the Gap’ initiative into their faculties.

Please view to find out more..

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Differentiation in the Classroom by Dee Sexton

Differentiation1
Differentiation is a term that is familiar to us all. However, really understanding the term, and effectively putting it into practice, can be one of the greatest challenges. There are various definitions for differentiation but to summarise: ‘differentiation’ is the process by which differences between pupils are accommodated so that all students have the best possible chance of learning.

There are three categories of differentiation:
 differentiation by task, which involves setting different tasks for pupils of different abilities
 differentiation by support, which means giving more help to certain pupils within the group
 differentiation by outcome, which involves setting open-ended tasks and allowing pupil response at different levels.
Ideally, you should be using all three types of differentiation to accommodate the different learning styles in the classroom.

If in a lesson we rely only on differentiation by outcome this may not be seen as best practice and can mean that some students may only write one sentence. Therefore having a combination of all three is desirable. You can use the data you have at hand to gauge where the pupils are in their learning and to build a profile of the learners in your class. This includes those with SEN, the more able, but also those ‘in the middle’ who are often neglected because they fall into neither category – they quietly get on with their work and participate only when asked.

Take a practical and realistic approach to differentiation. When planning group work, try to plan so that groups can access work at different times in the week, so that the less able cover the work set at the middle group level by Wednesday for example – this saves planning four different types of work for each group, each day. Think of group work using a traffic light system: green for work they can do unaided once explained; amber for work that may require support; and red for work that requires a teacher or LSA ‘scaffold’ it. Then you can plan around the support staff that you have.
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THINGS TO THINK ABOUT
 Try to use all three types of differentiation to accommodate the different learning styles.
 Try not to rely on outcome as a differentiator.
 Be creative with resources and support to ensure you are not spending excess hours planing.
 Think about liaising with colleagues to assess which pupils are in need of differentiation.

Create a listening frame for students who struggle to make notes. This could be a worksheet with a set of sections on it, each one headed by a question, statement or category. The student can then use this to make notes. The sections will help them to order the information they receive. This will eliminate a thinking process for them, thus allowing them to concentrate exclusively on listening and writing. In essence, a listening frame does a bit of the work for the student, making life easier for them.writing frame<

Encourage your students to ask questions. There are many benefits to this, including:
• Students can ask questions at the level with which they are comfortable.
• Students can hear other people’s questions.
• Students can observe how the teacher goes about answering questions.
• The teacher can find out what areas students want to know about.
• Students can find out information from the teacher’s responses.ask question

Discovery Learning is a method of inquiry-based instruction, discovery learning believes that it is best for learners to discover facts and relationships for themselves.’
You can build discovery learning into your lessons through:
• Group work.
• Providing some of the information and letting students work out the rest.
• Setting students independent tasks such as research or a design brief.
• Experiments.
• Investigations.
• Create a space on your classroom wall called the ‘Wonder Wall’. You might like to make this look like a wall by chalking bricks onto black paper.areoplane

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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Safer Internet Day 5th February 2013

Students participate in e-safety learning for safer internet use.

See below for presentation with advice and tips as shown to our students in a week of assemblies.

Prepared by Ken Joyce

Head of ICT and Business Studies


Teach to Learn: Issue 1 – Effective Feedback

Teach to Learn: Issue 1 – Effective Feedback

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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

We inspire and challenge our young readers at RVHS

The English Department at Roding Valley High School are working hard to improve literacy skills and have joined the Carnegie Children’s Book Awards to inspire and challenge young readers. Students have the opportunity to engage and encourage young readers to read more widely than they might usually, introducing them to new and more demanding literature and illustration. Young people engage in an intense period of reading and vibrant discussion in a supportive environment through which they gain confidence and communication skills. They are encouraged to share their opinions online, talk about books, to debate and decide on their favourites.

The scheme fosters a sense of community formed around reading – helping to enrich and reinforce a reading culture. Taking part in the scheme enables young people to meet new people, both in their own school or library and in other shadowing groups through organised events. Pupils can post their own reviews and comments about books and read those of their peers.

Find out more about the scheme and read Roding’s Home Page by clicking here.

RVHS Reading Scheme

Melanie Wright – RVHS Literacy Co-ordinator