It’s been a while and a lot has happened… this is more of an aide memoire for me and my evidence file really, but here goes…

* 2 x observations with a mid ability Y10 class that have frankly been loosing me sleep due to their controlled assessment, the subsequent mass of extra reading and prep it’s taken, and challenges of motivating a class to write for 3 hours. Oh, and marking. But the feedback was super helpful, and really highlighted the need to maximise tasks and resources, and sequencing. Has the last task developed skills that are required in the next one?

*T4 PLC2 project on Emotional Intelligence. In theory, this was meant to be streamlined into a sequence of 4 lessons alongside normal content. In practice, it took over my 9.7 lessons and required a lot of tweaking to line up with an already content heavy English curriculum.

In a CPD session we discussed potential micro-enquiries within our subject areas, but inevitably any expanded creativity, off-road research risks or extended meta-cognative learning processes are at the mercy of the TIMETABLE. Business has brainwashed TIME is MONEY into me – so can we afford to take up time doing pupil led enquiries? How can you be confident it’ll be beneficial? You’ve got to have some serious perceptivity to go off-piste. And so, 97 and I are now playing catch up with functional writing skills and unseen poetry. Go go go!

*T5 Exit strategies. This is really working with YO. Half the class seeks constant reassurance and needs to develop independence and confidence, whilst the other half tends toward the know-it-all approach. Taught explicitly as an exit strategy, the 5B’s are making a big difference (Brian, Book, Board, Buddy, Boss) I’ve taken this further, after understanding during my TTT3 research, that one of the benefits of formulating and articulating is increased awareness. So pairs are given a yellow (optimistic I though) sheet of A4 paper at the start of every lesson. ANY, any ANY any and ALL questions (including toilet/tissue/trash related ones) have to go through the 5B’s, and be written out clearly on the paper before the Boss will answer them. Often they are solved prior to this, frequently they are solved in the process of writing the question, and should the question need the Boss, it has been considered and shaped toward intelligent questioning. Moreover, a hand up to signify a written question enables me to answer individuals at an opportune moment, rather than the previous barrage of questions disrupting learning flow. Merits for the most interesting questions inspire the know-it-alls, as does answering other people’s questions AND you’ve got a pupil led homework waiting to go for all those unanswered ones. Questions tend to be spelling, homework, word meaning, character scenario orientated – and have been pretty impressive – such as ‘Could Ariel be Prospero’s spirit somehow?’


*T5 Spotlighting – I was pretty pleased that this technique which I practiced with a Y10 class was picked up on in a CS session at Uni. It’s essentially about listening to group learning dialogue and discussion, and then allowing the rest of the class to do the same by focussing attention on this model group. Its a great way of demonstrating good practice to other pupils and showing them what good learning looks like. I then used the groups discussion to bounce deeper questions around the other groups, refocussing us all on the key messages, before sending groups back again.

*CPD day – tonnes of interesting stuff – highlights…
T6 Marking for Progress – some great ideas to trial here from a CPD day, such as
Leaving the left hand side of the page blank for assessments and levelled work, so that comments can be fully responded to, paragraphs improved etc – with a post it tab on the relevant page that cannot be removed until the teacher signs off on satisfactory progress.
Actually the tabs system would work on any marking. I will try, photograph and post on this….

T2/T5 Stretch and Challenge Strategies for successful, individual, meaningful challenge, with encouragement to run a collaborative micro enquiry, with deep analysis on 2 or 3 pupils. I think I’m going to be doing this with 8.8, as a lower ability class but with a range of pupils who need widely tailored approaches. My project is to trial ‘Accelerating students thinking through talking.’ IAnother post on this, er, post event. Other things…. great acronyms to help teachers plan challenge: SKIVE and PIECE, and some very inspiring case studies. One ins particular reponded to research that pupils perceptions about lack of relevance is a huge demotivater for challenge, so spent time with his Y7’s researching famous mathmeticians who used algebra to change the world etc, working out their skill-sets and characteristics, and transferring these to class success criteria. Constructivism. I wanted to do this for a year 7 class following a conversation with a boy (previous post), and I’m going to do this with them now, but around embracing the bard instead. This week, not planned yet, but I’ll, post, naturally. Hopefully.

T3 Literacy across the Curriculum and Reading strategies – wow, so many great ones here to try, love the idea of Sketch and Stretch to transfer comprehension into a more memorable context. Big win with lower ability ans especially with my 100m lessons. Also going to use the SMART and INSERT strategies to ensure more meaningful comprehension, and the 5W’s as a good way to enforce factual absorption whilst re-enforcing a basic functional writing skill. PIcs to follow.

Ok, guess what? Lessons to plan! More regular posts to follow!

P.S All my uni assignments are completely and absolutely IN. This feels good. And I feel good after an actual break – it was so nice to leave and come back to the same place, which meant the easter break was a lot more relaxing. Lovely.


Assessment for … aching?!



After 3 solid hours of marking, I was very pleased with my pile of proof. I’m not as familiar with these classes which has pros and cons…

PROS: Genuinely unbiased marking
CONS: Not able to be as perceptive or tailored as I would have liked

This was a maintenance marking cycle, but I still endeavored to make comments and set improvement targets where possible – particularly with a year 8 class whose test results next week may be influenced by the feedback I provided. I also had a chance to practice levelling some rich assessed work with my mentor last week, and am hoping to get a chance to practice further with the APP tests that we’re doing with our classes next week.



Key lesson learned with my Y7 – be clear that they can answer the question on the board without copying the whole thing down – starting to understand where some of the time seems to slip away from us. I appreciate this may well be a confidence issue, so will continue to use sentence starter options to ensure a speedy exit from the blocks on extended writing.

Meaningful Marking
This s the big one -and I chatted to a GTP who passed on some great ideas about how to engage in the dialogue of improvement with pupils by using simple Student / Teacher / Student  comment boxes after written work or an AFL orientated KLL grid at the introduction of a topic to record what pupils already know (apparently thats about 40% of what we go on to teach them!) to inform the baseline for progression, then what would like to know how to do, and finally, at the end, what they have learned.

Low tech, effective and purposeful.

Last up – at Uni the other day we also had a go at marking KS4 speaking and listening video exams with an AQA mark scheme…. HARD! Hattie. Need I say more?!


Learning Journey

David Didau raves about them, and I enjoyed a very aspirational version delivered by my HOD in School 1 some time ago in conjunction with a SOLO lesson. (Yes. Solo. Like.) Although I only have 2 lessons left with most of my classes before this placement finishes, I’ve decided to try a Learning Journey rather than Lesson Objectives with a lower ability Y10 class that I’m still expecting a lot from.

Here’s the journey (I should make you guess for a starter no? No? OK… using our homework plans to apply to a task, developing our own class success criteria based on prior learning, then writing this up into a wonderful piece of work and finishing with a post it plenary to assess progress and determine direction.)

learning journey

I’ll add a comment on how it goes down…

a little idea

I was wondering about incorporating the production of ‘toolkits’ for extended plenaries at the end of modules, summarising learning in a sort of wiki ‘how to’ style. These could be copied onto cards and slid into pockets, stuck onto exercise book pages, and easily retrieved and referred to in future tasks, swapped, improved, used for games…

These are too cute, I wonder…Image


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A little bit about me

I'm training as a teacher on the School Direct route. It's new this year and puts me in the classroom more than a traditional PGCE. I'm also training for a marathon and really enjoy running. But not so much in winter. I've been blessed with a gorgeous hub and 2 awesome kids who are 3 and 1 and being total dudes about me going back to work full-time. And that is pretty much that.