The same homework for 3 years – how and why

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We have a 3 year key stage 4. Students that opt for GCSE Religious Studies have 3 different homeworks that carry through every year. I have blogged previously about some of these (see links in headers) but not as our key stage 4 homework programme as a whole.

  1. Learning keywords

Students are given mini booklets of keywords that they need to know to understand the key beliefs and teachings of the religions studied. They are given these before they have studied their context. The idea is that they learn these ‘off by heart’ and then when we cover them in lesson their meaning and application to the religion becomes clear.

All keyword sheets are available in our classrooms and are always attached on ShowMyHomework when set.

We also have made Quizlet quizzes on all the words here. We also give students index cards to create their own testing set.

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The…

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ACE Questioning

A simple questioning strategy to encourage pupils to extend or justify their thinking.

Mrs Humanities

Looking for a way to differentiate and challenge without any significant need for resources?

Try out ACE questioning. A simple idea which can have big results.

I use it several ways dependent on the class and learners ability range.

Basic concept

A = accept
C = challenge
E = extend

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Approach 1

The teacher asks a student if they would like to accept, challenge or extend the answer of another student. The student decides and does one of the above, ensuring that if they accept they explain why.

Approach 2

The teacher asks selected students certain questions related to A, C or E.

e.g. do you accept what child A said, why/why not?

Approach 3

During peer assessment students state whether they accept the work as it is and explain why, challenge the answers given by asking them a question such as why do you think… or I actually think…

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Beyond Growth Mindset: Two videos.

Two films to help us all reflect on how we develop ourselves as teachers and our pupils as learners.

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In the last couple of weeks I’ve come across two excellent videos that present ideas that I think are incredibly powerful for helping students and teachers think about learning.  Some times, when people talk about growth mindset, it’s so incredibly nebulous that I can’t quite imagine what’s going to change.  Simply urging students to adopt a new mindset or tinkering with your language or merely embracing a  generalised GM spirit – are unlikely to cut through to the technical issues of effective learning.

Video 1:  Six Strategies for Effective Learning. The Learning Scientists.

This video from the Learning Scientists – working with the Memorize Academy – give students (and teachers) some very clear, practical advice based on the findings of cognitive psychology.  It makes the abstract ideas of interleaving and dual coding come alive.  In my view, if students are taught to adopt these strategies, they will see that effort…

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Buzzing about Hexagons

The versatile hexagon! In how many different ways can hexagons add to pupils’ learning?

Pete Sanderson's @LessonToolbox Blog

Cd2kKijXIAQYrFD Avasara Academy girls using the hexagon key word link activity, March 2016

Hexagons. Who knew that bees had the secret to understanding the connections between ideas, concepts and facts? I have been using hexagons with groups of children and teachers over the past year but it took me a while to get it. I had seen them on social media posted by teacher heroes like Russel Tarr (@Russeltarr) and John Mitchel (@Jivespin) and thought they looked interesting, but assumed they were being used for some kind of blockbusters game. I was wrong. It took Ewan McIntosh (@ewanmcintosh)  to show me what was going on when I attended one of his workshops at the Practical Pedagogies conference in October. Because of the way hexagons tessellate (love that word) you can group together key words or ideas and ask students to justify the connections between them. They are…

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Ten teaching techniques to practise – deliberately.

Making good practice second nature helps build excellence. 10 good ideas to focus on here.

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egypt

It’s a well-established idea that, to develop expertise in a particular skill or technique, you need to practise. The more you practise, the better you get. As outlined by the excellent people at Deans for Impactin their Practice with Purpose document, it helps to identify a specific element of your teaching to practise on and then focus very deliberately on improving in that area.

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Instead of flitting from one thing to another, dipping in and out, the suggestion isthat teachers would do better to select one thing from all the options and try hard to keep at it until the practice feels more like a habit. This approach absolutely applies to numerous elements of behaviour management and most of the Silver Arrows I highlighted in this popular post. However, for this post I wanted to focus on pedagogical elements of teaching.

Here are ten things you might want to try…

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The benefits and challenges inherent in ‘low stakes quizzes’

Tonight’s 15 Minute Forum was led by English teacher, Tod Brennan and focussed on the concept of low stakes quizzes. There were two aspects of Tod’s presentation; the value of low stakes quizzes for memory recall but also the importance of managing the stress levels of our students. Memory can be defined as ‘learning that […]

via Is it really a low stakes quiz? — Class Teaching

Effective Marking/Feedback

Some excellent ideas to help make assessment more effective and manageable.

Class Teaching

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Tonight’s 15 Minute Forum was led by Kelly Heane (English RQT). Kelly discussed some of the strategies that she has used in her lessons to provide effective marking/feedback. Kelly began by being honest about how marking had initially been a frustrating experience as an NQT. Although at Durrington, we have a flexible feedback policy which allows departments the autonomy to create their own policies, there are still expectations regarding feedback. However, Kelly had found that marking was still time consuming; so she adopted some techniques which allowed her to reduce her workload but provide effective and sustainable feedback.

Kelly wanted to emphasise the importance of feedback for both students and teachers and approached the 15 minute forum in two halves, based upon the feedback loop diagram below.

Picture2The first part of the session focussed on the teacher-student side of the feedback loop. Kelly stressed that this needs to be regular and…

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