Over the past few weeks I've been privileged to read so many great blog posts by fellow teachers on the numerous benefits of both tweeting and blogging. Having an online presence in order to collaborate and learn from others is now fast becoming one of the most popular and interesting ways to improve your day to day teaching. More and more teachers are getting involved in this online community, which ...
When it comes to learning, feedback is critical. So when it comes to one's writing, the principle is no different. I have been teaching English for only six years but have struggled with this feedback process time and time again. I realise it is the most important part, and yet to do it effectively, I must commit literally hours to making sure I do it right. It's the proverbial thorn ...
It is great to know that peer assessment can be a time saving, effective form of feed forward. However, we cannot expect our pupils to complete all of our marking… can we? Teachers hate marking books! I have never met a teacher that said: “I have a lovely big pile of books waiting to be marked on my desk; I can’t wait to get started!” Marking takes time that ...

My first Geocache

Today I went on my first geocaching experience. For those that don’t know, a geocache is a container that is hidden somewhere in the world. It has coordinates assigned to it and then using these coordinates (or an app) people go and look for the boxes. Inside the box could be a number of things, but usually there is a notepad to sign to show you found it. Why ...
People who have read my #marginalgains blog posts will know I am going over old ground here – intentionally so – as I am looking to dig deeper towards the key marginal gains that have the biggest impact on learning. For me, formative oral feedback and questioning are the two key ‘hinge point marginal gains’ that make for great teaching and learning. My previous #marginalgains blog identified new teaching strategies for these ...
If OFSTED were to walk into a lesson tomorrow they would see the following: Prior to the lesson students would have viewed an 8-10 min screencast introducing the topic. This resource would have been produced and sent via Twitter to the students when appropriate. Students would have uploaded work required to Edmodo that is then assessed, annotated and sent back to students again prior to the lesson. The nature of ...
This post was inspired by the #ipadagogy hashtag I came across recently on Twitter. This basically involves learning about the iPad. But I would like to suggest an alternative to this: ipedagogy. It seems rather a small change of just one letter, but it does change the focus rather fundamentally. I would like to suggest that we should try to foster the kind of environment in our classes, where students ...
When we understand how something works, we can manage it better and are more likely to use it to good effect. The same is true of values, which impact every aspect of our lives but so often we are not consciously aware of their significance. Shared values Take, for example, identifying what makes you “click” with someone. Start by considering what it is that you have in common and what ...

Design (Re)Thinking PSHE

PSHE is an interesting subject area in the UK. Much government policy and school rhetoric depict its importance, yet the status of PSHE as a subject is complex (PSHE Association, 2010). To over simplify a little, it is statutory to teach PSHE, but there is not a statutory curriculum which sets out what should be taught... to my mind this was the perfect opportunity to try something new. My students did ...

Blooming with chess

The ancient game is an incredibly useful tool for teaching children about their own thinking. For a teacher, chess is one of the most remarkable tools for teaching students about Bloom’s taxonomy of cognitive skills. 1. Remembering: How the pieces move, how to set up a board, how many squares there are, what en passant means, how to castle, remembering the rules and etiquette of chess, remembering how to notate. 2. ...
We all know that keeping pupils safe is one of the most important things schools do. In terms of e-safety, Ofsted recently recognised the efforts schools and parents have gone to to improve e-safety practice, and gave credit to their hard work in protecting young people online. Therefore, when the new Ofsted Framework came into being in September 2012, some schools may not have noticed the changes to e-safety. In fact, ...
Understanding how to use the internet has become a cornerstone issue for students. No longer do they complete their research on projects solely in the library. Now, there is a vast landscape of resources available on the internet. But with wealth comes responsibility. As soon as children begin to visit the online world, they need the knowledge to do that safely, securely, and responsibly. Here's a list of 55 links for ...
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