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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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

Are Virtual Learning Environments a thing of the past?

In light of the publication of the Department for Education’s digital strategy in December 2012 it seemed fitting to reflect on my own use of digital media both inside and outside the classroom. Having trialled numerous different ways to get GCSE History students to engage with Roding Valley High School’s VLE with little success, it would be easy to blame student apathy or lack of ICT skills. However, the students in my GCSE groups are intelligent, hardworking and tech savvy. The students have no difficulties handwriting a tweet of 140 characters with appropriate hash tags for keywords and concepts. The students were also happy to email work to me and ask for questions or advice via my school email. So why were they failing to make the most out of the school’s dedicated VLE.

The answer came from the automatic email signatures attached to work emailed to me. Almost every email I received from students was signed “Sent from my iphone/ipad” or “Sent from Samsung Mobile”. The students were not using large stand alone computers or even laptops to produce their work or access the documents I sent to them. They were using small handheld devices with touch screens. The text in emails, Facebook and Twitter can easily be manipulated by these devices to clearly and legibly fit the screen. The school’s VLE on the other hand, with its small buttons and wide size, was both difficult and clumsy to use.

My new year’s resolution this year is to go back to basics with virtual learning environments and try some of the forums and spaces available online like Google Drive, Edmodo and Prezi to give students access to a host of resources and revision materials that will help bring history to life. The advantage of these websites is that they come with easy to download apps making them usable even on the smallest of screens and most importantly they are free for both the students and the school. With a whole host of free online services designed to make both virtual teaching and learning easier it is not just the Department for Education that needs to consider its digital strategies. I think we could all benefit from a fresh approach to virtual learning environments.

Written by Matt Cocker (expressing his personal view)

History teacher – Member of the DAZ group Zest via Media

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