I am a big fan of cycling and have read a lot about the success of Team Sky under Dave Brailsford. He is a great believer in Marginal Gains and how it has helped British cyclists to dominate the Olympics and The Tour De France. These ideas are being increasingly used in education.
I find that I am using images and photos more and more as lesson starters.
I used this image the other day ( No it is not Ice Cream, they are Chicken Nuggets! ) and it led to a great discussion on all sorts of issues.
This term I have started to use Socrative as an assessment tool in my lessons. It is an "all system response system" that requires students to answer questions on their smartphones. It is a great way to judge the learning of the whole class and allows the teacher to evaluate how effective the teaching has been.
The Focus Circle is a new teaching and learning resource that can be used as a bell work activity (an activity that is on the board as students enter the room), a starter or plenary for topics that have recently been covered or as a way of introducing new information that has not previously been covered. It is suitable for nearly every subject.
The idea behind the Focus Circle is simple. Students are shown the Focus Circle which has up to 4 topic areas (categories) inside. Around the focus circle are up to 18 words/ phrases which belong to the different categories. Students select 1 of the topic areas and decide which of the key words/ phrases belong inside the focus circle (words that are specifically related to that topic area).
The focus circle has multiple applications and can be used as a bell work activity, a starter, a plenary or as a method of introducing new information about a topic or concept. The focus circle is highly interactive and can also be used on an interactive whiteboard.
Applications for the Focus Circle include:
- English: Characters in Macbeth
- Geography Types of rainfall and sectors of industry
- Business Studies Motivational theorists
The Focus circle is fully editable and comes complete with suggested teaching and learning strategies.
The Focus Circle can be ordered here
Below are pictures of David Percy from Sunderland High School who is using the Focus Circle within a physics lesson
This is an excellent idea that can be easily adapted for a variety of lesson situations, helping to ensure students are engaged and that their notes are structured and focused.read more...»
Trapdoor is a brand new teaching and learning game designed exclusively by the tutor2u team and is fresh out of the teaching and learning laboratory.
Trapdoor can be used as a bellwork activity (for information on bellwork activities please refer this blog), a starter, a plenary or to deliver new content.
The idea behind the activity is simple. Students are presented with up to 16 different trapdoors. Some of the trapdoors have the correct answers whilst the others are wrong. Can the students avoid falling through the trapdoors?read more...»
The Answer Autopsy turns handing back a test that students have just completed or a piece of homework into a starter activity.
After students have received their homework or test, they complete a written reflection on:
- What they did well
- What they didnt do so well
- How they could improve
This critical 'dissection' of work enables students to take ownership for thier owne learning and how they could improve their work in the future.
It also develops students to become more reflective in their learning which is no bad thing
The first 5 minutes of any class are vital - they set the scene and often the direction of the session with regards to levels of motivation. Some teachers play music as students arrive and others have ready-made quizzes that challenge early-arrivals.
Occasionally I have used what I call the 'conveyor-belt quiz' technique to focus minds at the start of a lesson. Any visitors to recent Wow Economics events will have seen and taken part in the 'Neon Lights' version of this activity - basically, a 3 minute scrolling set of questions using a timed Powerpoint presentation.
Using the Powerpoint method is key. The students know that the timing of the questions is set and they have to concentrate - this isn't going to be me throwing questions at them in their own time for the next 5 minutes. Each question (I will usually have 10 or 12) are presented on a slide with its transition time set to 20 seconds - this gives the students enough time to read the question and write down their answers whilst knowing that the next question is about to pop-up any second soon. Students will generally concentrate very hard and remain silent during the 3 minute quiz - getting them focused and ready to participate in the rest of the lesson. It's also a superb method for checking learning from previous lessons or testing.
The next key aspect of the quiz is how you use the students' answers. You can take their written answers in and mark them if you want to. My use of the technique was mainly as a means to challenge understanding using extended verbal questions. Often, the questions on the screen are fairly basic and testing knowledge (knowing definitions, for example) - I might go through the answers asking less-able students the answer to the screened questions and then challenge more-able students with extended open-style questions.
Follow this link to find and example of a 'conveyor-belt quiz' (which you can edit to your heart's content). The Powerpoint file uses an image of an old Speak & Spell toy with questions popping up on the toy's screen. The music can be changed to whatever you want (most popular songs of our time last about 3 and a half minutes!) but I recommend that you keep music in - it surprisingly helps students to focus.
This is a great teaching and learning strategy for any subject that has many different tangents to it. Be The Examiner puts students in the shoes of an examiner and can involve students doing the following:
- At the end of the lesson, writing an exam question on the topic they have just studied, handing it in and then answering it at the start of the next lesson (making this a plenary/ starter partnrship!)
- Students creating a mark scheme for a question they have written, or, writing a mark scheme for other students questions
- Writing a mark scheme for an actual exam question
- Students writing questions based on the topic and swapping them with other students and answering their questions
Be The Examiner is also perfect for differentiation by task as the teacher can ask students to write different types of question or ask students to write mark schemes for different exam questions
Why not give this a go........
Use these online tools to make interesting keyword based resources...read more...»
Explaining command words to students is always a challenge....read more...»
As a Humanities teacher I want students to be able to look at both sides of an argument. The ability to analyse or evaluate an idea or topic is of course an invaluable thinking skill for all students and can be used in any subject.
This is my first Blog post for tutor2u ‘Give it a Go’ and I’m delighted to be joining the team!
Is it a starter or a plenary. Well, its both!
At the start of the lesson all students names are put into a 'hat'. Two students names are drawn at random from the hat.
At the end of the lesson, the two students whose name has been drawn need to present a 2 minute review of the key learning outcomes from the lesson.
Shoot the Basketball is a simple but engaging revision strategy.
Write around 25 easy 'review' questions and 25 hard 'review' questions before the lesson and then split the class up into two teams.
Put the small rubbish bin at the front of the class. This will be the 'basket'. On the floor, about 8/10ft away from the basket put a line down (I used to use masking tape). This is the 'shoot from' line. I also had a small basketball for this activity but you can easily use some scrunched up paper.
Tell the students that each one must answer the questions that are given to them and that the easy and hard questions will be interspersed. Easy questions are worth 1 point whilst the harder questions are worth 2 points.
If a student gets a question correct then that student has a chance to 'shoot' for extra points (1 extra point if they answered an easy question and 2 extra points if they answered a hard question).
The team with the most points at then end of the activity wins.
All you need is some scrap paper!
As students come in to the room ask them to write down a question on one piece of paper and an answer to the question on another piece of paper.
They should then scrunch up their papers and put them in a box/basket/middle of a table!read more...»
Regular visitors to the Tutor2u website may well have seen this idea before - using the traditional game of 'Top Trumps' as a method of getting across large data sets to your students. I've included this resource so that new visitors can see the method and for others to see the resource with a new and current data set (on the world's 'biggest' companies in 2012).read more...»
This information really isn't anything new and ground breaking... BUT...read more...»
Four corners is a powerful activity that encourages higher order thinking and evaluation. It is brilliant for collaborative learning and gives students an opportunity to review and reflect on other students thoughts, views and opinions.read more...»
When marking books/essays we all notice common mistakes that our students make...
See how you can save time and get students to reflect on their mistakes!read more...»
Im a big fan of the work by Professor John Hattie and in particular, his work and research on effect sizes.
Professor John Hattie (via endless amounts of research) has found that feedback has the biggest effect on student achievement, more than any other factor. Further work by Dylan Williams and Paul Black also concluded that formative assessment has a massive affect on the quality of learning achieved within our classrooms and by our students. If feedback is done well, it can add the equivalent of around two grades to student achievement.
Further work by Geoff Petty has led to an amazing summary of how to improve the feedback we give to our students; medals and missions. An introduction to this work can be found via this weblink.
There is also a brilliant summary video on how we can improve the feedback we give to our students and therefore increase their level of achievement. This video can be accessed via this weblink
Certainly worth watching
I was inspired by Mr A. Ali's think tax post and, as we're in full revision mode at the moment, decided to give it a twist for an effective and productive revision lesson...read more...»
Revision season is upon us!
Paired work and grouped work are really important.
But getting the pairs and the groups right are even more important!
So how do we arrange the best combinations...?
Read more and I will give you one strategy I use....read more...»
I don’t like it that revision notes can be tucked away and out of sight. So this week I have spent a revision lesson with my groups creating resources that have to be kept in sight – whether it be dangled from bedroom ceilings via blu-tack and string, to being easily accessible on shelves or desks, but, most importantly, always visible and to hand!read more...»
Welcome! This is my first blog entry for the Give It A Go section on tutor2u!
I will be regularly updating this section with strategies I have used in my classroom; being an AST in teaching and learning I have a fantastic insight into many classroom experiences and with these in mind I always try to develop and mould all the fabulous learning strategies I see!read more...»
I have to start by saying that I can’t remember if this is something I thought up or stole from someone else. If it is stolen then I have no idea where from, so no hat tip.
Google whispers is a really simple idea for checking the understanding of the definitions of key words and would work for any subject. Open three tabs each with Google translate open. Put the definition into Google translate and translate it into Korean (say). Then in tab 2 set the ‘from’ language to Korean (or whatever you translated the definition into) and the right hand box ‘to’ language to Russian. Copy and paste the Korean translation of the definition into this second tab and Google will pop it into Russian for you. The third tab translates from Russian back to English. Copy and paste these into a separate document and you have a ready to go plenary.
I found that this provides ready-made differentiation too as sometimes the final translation is quite close to the original and sometimes it can be quite hard. On occasion it can be quite surreal. For example taxation was translated to detergent. Finally it’s also a useful lesson on the dangers of relying on technology without thinking for yourself.
Socratic questioning is an extremely powerful questioning technique that teachers can use to explore complex issues and ideas with students, open up common misconceptions and analyse and evaluate topics at a far deeper level than 'normal' questioning.
In essence, Socratic questioning is used to probe student understanding and thinking allowing far greater analysis and evaluation to take place.
Socratic questioning focus purely on the importance of questioning to enhance teaching and learning and the name is derived from Socrates who believed that questioning was the only defensible form of teaching. In Socratic questioning, the teacher uses a range of questions to create active, independent learners.
So, what types of questions can be classified as Socratic questions? There are 6 key types of Socratic questionsread more...»
The sharing of this blog post will mark my one thousandth tweet. With this in mind it only seems fitting that I write a short piece to mark this momentous occasion.
First things first, I am not going to claim that Twitter is the best CPD EVER (as some people do) as, to be honest, I'm not sure that it is. I do, however, know that has made me a much better educator since I started using it in 2008. And here's why:read more...»
Print off and laminate the cards attached to help pupils learn an easy way to check their work in exams. It is also useful for KS3 when they have completed an extended piece of writing.
Access the cards here:
When I was a teenager I had somewhat of an obsession with Jack Nicholson films. I made it my goal to collect and watch all of his films and acquire a Mastermind-esque knowledge of JC's cinematic history. Why? Well, i suppose it can be partly attributed to my family's predisposition for OCD and partly to the fact that he was, and still is, an amazing actor. Anyhow, since the Nicholson phase I have gone through various obsessions, trying as I did to fulfil an insatiable appetite for learning. For the past couple of years I have become increasingly obsessed with becoming the best educator I can possibly be within the boundaries of my own capabilities. To that end I have devised my own five easy pieces...or
five six easy steps to becoming a better educator:
Looking for ways to get your pupils really enthused about the Battle of Hastings? Want your pupils to show off their creativity? Need your pupils to enhance their communication skills and their ability to work with others? Then please read on..read more...»
A great alternative to presentations and debatesread more...»
Growing up in the 80s, I was fortunate enough to experience the pioneering world of video/arcade games. Their simplicity compared to todays modern graphics was marvelous, their ease of control also worked well for me - two keys, and the arrow buttons was, and still is as complicated as I can go. I fondly remember playing David Gowers Cricket for many hours, and all it was was an oval shaped green 'blob' with black pixels moving on a screen. Then, during the early 90's I was introduced to Sim City - a game I fell in love with, and still do to this day.
Mapping from memory is a teaching strategy that has been used in our department for a number of years, and has been extended to a range of topics. It allows students to gain an understanding of locational geography in topics such as Brazil, Europe and then Tourism. It potentially can be used with any topic, but also as an excellent revision exercise. It also lends itself to any subject, as it isnt excusive to 'maps' but can be developed to get students to memorise diagrams, key terms, processes and so on.
This is a mini plenary that gets students to review the learning they have made so far and to go back and make improvements based on peer evaluation. It also has the added benefit of getting them to improve their presentation skills at the same time.
Draw what I say is a cooperative learning activity and it works well when you are trying to get students to learn or recap models and diagrams. I have used it in Busines Studies and Economics, but it should work well in Geography, Science and DT.
You just need to get pairs of students to work opposite each other with some kind of barrier between them (folders work well, but anything that prevents them from seeing each others work is the important thing). Student A is then given a model that they have to describe to student B and student B has to try and draw it based on student A's verbal instructions. While it sounds simple it does get the students engaging in and thinking about the content. There is also a variation on this activitiy called Make what I say but I have not thought of a way of using this yet!
Cooperative learning activities are about getting groups of students to work together and learn from each other.
The theory behind cooperative learning is that we retain a great deal more of what we say than what we hear. So the more we can encourage the learners to talk to us and to each other the better.read more...»
This is a very simple activity that allows a teacher to link two lessons together.
At the end of the lesson (and after the normal plenary) I often said to my students that I am going to write down 5 key things from the lesson on a piece of paper. I then put the piece of paper into an envelope, seal it and have one of the students to sign the seal.
I then placed it somewhere visible in the classroom, usually above my whiteboard.
At the start of the next lesson, I asked the students to ‘predict’ the five points in my envelope. We then go through them and I write down all the points that they have came up with on the board making this a very easy way to review last lessons learning.
I then get the student who signed the envelope to open it and read out the points that I wrote down. I can then assess what I thought were the key points with what they have came up with.
This takes no planning, it engages the students and links two lessons together.
Why not give this a go....
I am always looking at ways for students to do more work than me.
At this time of year I want to ensure that my students know the theory. Without this they will be unable to Apply, Analyse and Evaluate. With this in mind I give each student a piece of A4 paper which they tear into 4 and write a question on each piece. I then put all the questions into a box.read more...»
A cross between a wordsearch and a crossword which makes for an enjoyable & interesting starter activity.
A plenary to help GCSE students improve how they write short paragraphs
Just a simple twist on the classic playground paper fortune teller and you will have an fun and engaging activity for any subject or topic.read more...»
I am always looking at ways to encourage my students to work harder outside of lessons. One way I do this is by trying to engage them using social media. With this in mind I have started to use Scoop It to create an online magazine.
I'm a big fan of Dylan Williams and one particular area I'm interested in as an educator is effective questioning and moving away from what is known as IRE questioning.
IRE stands for, Initiation, Response, Evaluation. So, a teacher asks a question (initiation), a student answers the question (response) and the teacher evaluates. Dylan Williams likes to call this 'Ping-Pong' questioning.
The real question is how effective is this? Normally the same old hands go up and the teacher often 'evaluates' a classes understanding of the question by the response and subsequent evaluation of one student.
Dylan suggests we move to a basketball style of questioning. In practice, this means posing a question and asking a certain student for an answer. Then, asking another student what they thought about that answer and then another student for a further explanation. This means the question is 'bounced' around the classroom. Or, a question is posed and a student is asked to answer the question. The teacher than asks another student to expand on that answer further and then another student is asked to evaluate the response.
Another way to describe this technique is 'Pose, Pause, Pounce, Bounce'. The teacher 'poses' a question then pauses giving students time to formulate a response. The teacher 'pounces' on a student and then 'bounces' the answer off another student.
The reason that this method of questioning is more powerful is that more students are involved in the questioning process. Indeed, Dylan advocates that we should all aim to move towards all student response systems in lessons (ABCD cards, mini-whiteboards, exit tickets and other methods of whole class questioning assessment.
An explanation of a simple but effective method of giving students feedback on marked work
Our give it a go blog was created to allow teachers with a passion for teaching and learning to share their ideas.
The idea behind the Give it a Go blog is very simple. An 'aladdins cave' of teaching and learning strategies that can be used in any subject.
With this in mind we are looking for teachers who share our passion for education and teaching and learning.
If you are interested in joining our ever growing blogging team then please get in touch. Or, if you know someone in your school or college who you think might be interested in 'giving this a go' then again, please pass my details on.
The more passionate teachers we have blogging then the more ideas will be generated.
Why not Give it a Go!!!
Contact me on email@example.com
Equation is a great activity that can be used for bellwork, as a starter or as a plenary.
The concept is extremely simple. Students need to write an equation to demonstrate a specific subject topic that has just been taught.
For example, in business studies an equation for partnerships could be:
More Ideas + Specialisation - Disagreements = Partnerships
Share in the profits
In geography, after teaching rainfall, the teacher could split the class into groups and ask each group to write an equation to demonstrate the 3 different types of rainfall, for example, relief rain.
This activity works really well as it encourages students to pick out the key points from a topic and therefore encourages them to synthesise the key points.
Other teaching and learning strategies for equation include:
- The teacher preparing a number of equations and asking students to solve them
- Replacing part of an equation with X and asking students to ‘find X’
Very simple but very effective.
Why not give it a go?