I recently observed DME in a Year 9 lesson as part of my coaching training. Whilst observing the lesson I noticed DME using a differentiated resource for the final task. The pupils had to write a paragraph using emotive language (as a culmination of the lesson objective) DME provided each pupils with an A4 piece of paper on which were printed two grids. On one side there were words written in red and on the other, words written in green. DME explained to the pupils what each side meant. For each word DME had provided a synonym to help the pupils extend their vocabulary and made her expectations clear to each individual. The pupils seemed to really like the grids and were thoroughly engaged with the task.
I felt the resource was really effective because each student knew what was expected of them and were not daunted by having to think of and find emotive words. They seemed to really like the idea of the synonyms on the grid so that they could use better words than they probably normally would. I even heard some of them saying their sentence out loud to see which word fit best. At the end of the lesson all pupils wanted to share their work. I loved this resource so much that I have asked for a copy to use with my classes.
One of the new apps we learnt about on our Comenius trip to the Netherlands was called Nearpod and it has had a revolutionary effect on one of my classes. 7S3 have been on the Fresh Start phonics programme since September and interest was frankly waning. I have found a quick and easy way to transfer all the teaching material onto Nearpod presentations and ‘hey presto!’ – they are back on board and engaged. They really enjoy the lessons because not only is the lure of the iPads still very strong but there is such a range of different activities.
There are answers in multiple choice quizzes, answers that are typed and open-ended, answers where you draw a diagram or circle/underline relevant words and phrases, opportunities to vote and give your opinion, videos and web links plus a live Twitter feed. Moreover, you can have a live session where you control all the students iPads and display their work on the board to enable collaboration and discussion – or – you can set the lesson to be used flipped-classroom-style with each student working at a different level or pace. It can be used for homework too. It is unbelievably flexible. I really love being able to view the students’ quiz answers all together on one screen in real time so that if they have made any mistakes I can redirect them to amend them immediately. Everyone ends seeing that they have all correct answers which is great for raising self-esteem.
Several teachers have enjoyed observing some of my Nearpod lessons and they all ask the million dollar question – how long does it take you to write the presentation? Honestly, it takes me 20 minutes – no longer than creating a PowerPoint for a lesson old-style. I am writing around 6 a week quite painlessly just using my non-contact time, knowing that next year I can use them again.
Please feel free to come along and watch me using it – just drop me an email.
In the meantime here is the presentation that the Dutch teacher, known as ‘iTed’, used to show us how to get up and running with Nearpod.
Have fun and let me know your successes and frustrations.
Dave Butler has had great success using learning grids in the music department.
Here are 4 of his best!
The sun has returned to Passmores once more and the Science department headed outside for some great group work to chalk out the periodic table on the flagstones at the front of school.
Check out these great pictures!
As part of year 11 students working on the structure of DNA they completed a task involving plasticine, straws, labels, board makers and videoing facilities on iPads. One group produced a remarkable video with sound and subtitles within a
single lesson. What is particularly fascinating is that the two boys producing this video are generally struggling with focus during lessons and due to the nature of the task felt motivated.
This is a resource that I have found really successful and already shared with the Collaboration TLC during one of our TeachMeet morning sessions.
The Pick a Number plenary is a range of open-ended questions that explore the lesson’s learning progress. Each student picks a number at random from the PowerPoint and answers the question based on the new knowledge and skills they have acquired. Sometimes I get the students to line up and answer them quick-fire one at a time with no one being able to pick the same number. It really works as it can be accessed by all age groups and abilities, ensuring engagement for every pupil. The questions and sentence starters enable pupils to reflect on the lesson and identify their learning. One of my favourite responses came from a student in a mixed ability year 7 group, where the pupil completed the sentence ‘the term . . . . . .was used in today’s lesson and it means. . . . . .’ The word they chose was ‘versatile’ and the description was spot on!
Open the attached PowerPoint and have a go!
My 7S3 class are using this starter to help embed their rapid recall of times tables fact – and they love it!
1. They all have 12 times tables questions to answer – differentiated according to prior knowledge.
2. When finished they swap books with a partner working at a similar level.
3. They peer mark in pencil where they have to use brain power to predict if they have got them right.
4. Then they use the Script Calculator app to check each answer – this flashes up the correct one in 3 seconds like magic. They can then mark the sums a second time in green pen and write down any corrections if they get any wrong.
5. Books are returned to their original owners and they choose 3 new times tables. They have a few minutes to rehearse and help each other learn them. Here I tend to get them to use the Show Me app which acts like a small whiteboard with the added bonus that they can record their voices over the top too – adding songs, raps, mnemonics etc. to aid aural learners.
6. They learn and test each other on the 3 new times tables in readiness to complete another test tomorrow, hopefully with a higher score to show progress.
7. When they have had 3 fully correct tests, they move onto their next times table that they need to learn.
This would work with any mental arithmetic task and not just lower ability groups.
The advantages are:
· High student engagement
· Independent learning
· Collaborative strategy – working in pairs
· Pupil progress is evident
· Use of iPads is modifying and enriching learning tasks
Below is a very short video by a novice to stop motion showing how I use it.
Add a reply post if it works for you too!
Learning grids are a resource that students can use when working in pairs. They were first created by an English teacher, Stephen Bowkitt, but can be used creatively to enhance independent student learning across the curriculum. Moreover, they have been deemed the number one strategy by Osiris Education who observed over 2000 lessons as part of their Outstanding Teaching Training Interventions.
· Incredible adaptability
· Students become immersed in own learning
· Students working harder than teachers
· Engaged and challenged learners
· Easy differentiation
· Clear demonstration of progress
· High levels of motivation and creativity
· Students are independent learners, teacher’s role = activator and challenger
· Encourages students to discuss their learning and peer-teach each other
· Kinaesthetic and visual
Teachers create a 6 X 6 grid with pictures and key words for a particular topic.
Students work in pairs to roll two dice to locate a particular square which they use to stimulate their writing or as a way
to practice a particular skill. Higher level students may roll their dice again to find a second square which
they then use with the first to find a common link or compare and contrast. Each grid is linked to specific success
Look at this example of an English grid:
Students write a sentence from a list of 6 given genres using that word or image (differentiation can occur when students have different success criteria).
Forexample, include capitals and full stops/add a connective/usealliteration/rhetorical questions etc. These can be adjusted to each student’s current level.
Here is an example of a maths grid:
Here students locate two cells with their dice and simplify the expression, writing the answer in their books. Towards the end of the lesson they can swap books with another pair and try who have to work out which were the original cells that created each answer.
An example in RE might be:
It is easily differentiated thus:
• LA– write a definition – one sentence.
• MA– write and explanation – short paragraph.
• HA– compare and contrast in different religions – 2 paragraphs.
In art they could be used for applying skills as below:
Students can be asked to create their own grids as homework tasks which can then be used in lessons to reduce teachers’ workload in preparing grids.
If you would like to look at this strategy further, please come and see me any time in Y202 or look at the more detailed PowerPoint in the Pedagogy Leaders folder in Staff Resources.
- Students working together in pairs and groups on focussed tasks within lessons.
- Teachers sharing good practice and new ideas from TLCs, both within and between faculties, as well as
contributing to a bank of teaching ideas, resources and video clips of great lessons.
Great teaching and ‘outstanding’ lessons need to show students working collaboratively.
It promotes independent, student-initiated learning and deeper levels of understanding as well as being a fabulous way to show differentiation and progress.
Each session will look at a different, ‘tried and tested’ strategy to easily incorporate collaborative learning into existing lesson plans and SOWs.
There will be practical activities and examples, the opportunity to create your own resources during each session and time to plan specific lessons.
Programme of sessions:
- Learning grids
- Top Trump cards
- Jigsawing and Enjoying
- Treasure Hunt
- Quick team games for starters and plenaries
The advantages of working collaboratively:
- Higher engagement and motivation
- Easy to include all three VAK strategies to suit all learners
- Builds students’ self esteem
- Less teacher input – easy to follow 20:80 teacher : student led pattern and develop the teacher’s role
as activator and challenger
- Students are in FLOW - learning to naturally take ownership of own learning processes
- No partnerships or groups are completing identical outcomes
- Immediate opportunities for AfL and less need for endless book marking
- Competition fosters a high work rate
- Creates a feeling of fun – a buzz!