Category Archives: Shared teaching ideas

Summer Feedback Trilogy Part 2 Fast Feedback Trials and Observation Risks

The science faculty have been trialling their ‘fast feedback’ ideas all year and their original shared ideas and reasons for their trial are here.

Their PPA is planned on the timetable so that they are able to meet and plan together once a week and obviously one of the topics might be to share feedback ideas and adapt their ‘fast feedback’ trial from the lessons continually learned. The ideas shared in this blog follow on from part 1 where I explained that this week the whole school shared their Magic Moments celebrating good practice gathered  from our summer observations and book monitoring. This is our second and final ‘big share’ of the year and follows our winter one explained in this post.

It’s really important to me that staff get the chance to talk honestly and openly to each other about their practice in small groups and then their conversations are shared whole school. This gives the opportunity for colleagues from different faculties the chance to 1] nab ideas, 2] go and talk to someone about an idea they like, 3] offer support to a colleague who asks for it with a certain teaching issue, 4] choose to plan and work with a colleagues from another faculty on a similar idea, 5] informally observe and for middle leaders and senior leaders the evidence to help them prioritise PD needs and support.


Observation Risks:

CM – I chose to cover independent learning as the main topic for my lesson observation. I introduced pupils to a new topic and gave them minimal support. They were provided with a straightforward introduction, some simple instructions to find their feed using the equipment and chemicals. Then more detailed instruction to perform a neutralisation reaction. There were then questions to complete to allow pupils to consolidate their learning. The risk was that pupils could have just floundered and not actually done anything. They could have wasted a lot of time and not completed the tasks claiming they didn’t really understand what they were supposed to do. However they were fine and all but two pupils made very good progress. To increase the risk further I introduced the idea of recording evidence on voice recorders and cameras with a view to overcoming the issues of lost time from reluctant writers and weaker literacy lowering quality of evidence of scientific learning. This aspect of the observation was very encouraging and will be taken forward next year with a paired trial.

HS- with 8.5 the risk I took in the observation was the independence of the lesson, students learned by discovery.  They “played a game” that enabled them to find out how a carbon atoms moves through a cycle, and to appreciate it is a cycle, it doesn’t have a start or end point.  This was a risk as they are accustomed to me stopping and explaining when something gets difficult, they haven’t read instructions or get stuck.  Students moved around the room for 15minutes with no input from me, I was surprised to see how all the students got on with the task, followed the instructions and gathered all the information they would later need for the closing questions. I will develop this further next year by focusing on independent learning within the classroom with 10.4 a different class who I have discovered recently respond really will to learning through discovery.

HW – Pupils were given the task (to see how concentration affected rate of reaction) and the equipment in a tray, and had to safely work out the method and record their results. This was a risk as they’re used to either me demonstrating the practical at the front, or giving them a detailed method sheet.

This worked really well, I think due to the way I had arranged the ‘Science buddy’ pairs so they could help each other. If anyone ever asked me a question I said ‘could your buddy answer that?’ and it turns out most of the time they could!

As well as this risk, I purposely didn’t tell them what concentration was, and tried to get them to use their prior knowledge, results, and a diagram to create their own definition of concentration, and then use this to explain why they got their results. This had mixed success, but I’m glad I tried it as some pupils surprised me with their ability to think conceptually and apply quite difficult scientific knowledge.

FD – I chose to promote independence and student ownership of own learning for my lesson observation focus.  I introduced students to a ‘big’ scientific question which they were to devise their OWN answer and definition of during the course of the lesson.   Learning activities/episodes were planned and set up that would contribute to their own internal understanding of the ‘big question.’  The practical elements of the learning were deliberately planned to challenge student thinking from their previous understanding in order to really cement the concept in their minds.  Firstly, the students completed a basic investigation to note that mass did not change when a chemical reaction took place.  To challenge this, students were asked to test this theory with a reaction that would release gas (thereby losing mass as gas atoms) and explain this phenomenon compared to their initial thoughts.  All pupils could explain that mass was lost due to atoms escaping as a gas.  To further challenge this in their minds, I asked them to consider if the mass would change in a reaction if you could increase the volume of the product considerably from start to end of a chemical reaction.  When this demonstration confirmed that mass does indeed remain constant in chemical reactions, a real penny dropping moment was struck.  Some high level (penny dropping) explanations in terms of atoms and atomic/molecular arrangements in chemical reactions (in reactants & products) were provided by some students which was very rewarding.

Students were required to convert their own thinking and verbal responses into written dialogue in an organised, coherent way that used scientific terminology appropriately.

The biggest risk was asking students to work through various practical based scenarios about a scientific concept (conservation of mass) and devise their own theory in a coherent written format, using appropriate scientific terminology.

The risk was that students could have wasted time during the practical elements and would not really understand how to convert this learning into written dialogue.  But they all did!  A peer assessment of the written dialogue was undertaken to ensure all students could provide this written work to the gold standard required for progress, with dedicated time provided for improvements to their written work where required.  The standard of the written responses was very encouraging.

I will take this aspect of providing learning episodes to answer a ‘bigger question’ independently through to my maths teaching from September, promoting the ability to problem solve in our learners which is a strong focus of the new mathematics curriculum.

WS- The main risk was in letting students undertake a practical task without any verbal instructions. They had a practical sheet and were told they could ask for me or Mr K to read it not explain it. The premise was to use” 3 before me” to support each other and develop resilience. It went well because at first students did do the practical wrong and weren’t quick enough assembling the equipment to collect the gas produced. However, this was not a barrier and they adopted a great growth mind set ( which we have been working on for 2 years, although not calling it that) by keeping going, not getting stressed and trying the procedure in a different way and they were all ultimately successful, by helping and watching each other and they obtained the results required.

The wonderful thing is that they are very comfortable to learn by trial and error and the principle of learning being a journey and not quite being there “yet” but still striving for gold and even platinum, showing commitment to learning rather than being taught.

PJ – The risk that I took in the recent observed lesson was to let the students work with as much independence as possible to answer a question that I posed at the beginning by carrying out an experiment. I then got the students to teach others what they found out and they had to answer questions on that as well. It went really well but could have gone wrong right from the start.

Whole Department Highlights and Developments:

Highlights of Book Monitoring

  • The use of colours to show peer, self and teacher feedback, as well as clear evidence of response to feedback and redrafting.
  • The clear progress in the books.
  • The use of peer and self-assessment. Highlights of observations
  • The independent nature of the observations
  • Trialling new ideas e.g. PJ and IRIS, and CM with visual and oral evidence for progress from hand held devices.

Next year’s T&L focus

  • Interleaving Trials:
  • CM IPad, meaningful homework’s
  • PJ IPad, IRIS
  • RM HW HS independence high middle and low
  • HW questioning
  • Whole department, meaningful learning through practical’s

Feedback evidence:


Feedback that the student acted upon and you then have the evidence that it closed a specific learning gap


The student at first has described how the paint and car attract but they missed out a key concept of the particles repelling, this was addressed in blue pen.

Feedback that you can evidence was a real penny dropping moment that might have taken ages to for it to drop!


Here there has been discussion to clear up the confusion of the pulmonary artery and vein, and understanding how they aid delivery of oxygenated blood to the body.

Feedback that you feel showed a tremendous piece of mind-set from the student involved in achieving itBS3

Students were given various targets 1-6 and 7 they decided on their own.  The targets where based on what makes a “gold” student and marks that are lost for silly little reasons, e.g. not using the correct key word, not reading the question properly, (dash-it marks).  The students totted up where they lost marks that could have been achieved with little extra effort, set a target, said how they will address it and said what the evidence of this will be.

Feedback that hit any of our current obsessions-re-drafting, innovative, fast, SPaG etc.



Students self assessed, then peer verified work to show progress.


Feedback that the student acted upon and you then have the evidence that it closed a specific learning gap



Pupils first attempted an open-ended question ‘why don’t people need to mow their lawns in winter’. This was to assess knowledge remembered from the previous lesson and any other prior knowledge. Then the answers were discussed in pairs, then as a class, then a model answer shown. Although the peer assessment in this example isn’t very detailed, he has shown the keyword ‘glucose’ is missing. Then her redraft has massively improved as she has included more keywords and successfully linked it back to glucose. Her improvement is SPaG based, which she struggles with due to her dyslexia (links to CMs study about the use of iPads removing any literacy barriers but allowing pupils to still show their scientific knowledge).

Feedback that you can evidence was a real penny dropping moment that might have taken ages to for it to drop!


Conservation of mass can be hard for some pupils to understand as they assume if you’re reacting two things together, the product must have gained mass because they’re adding together. Or reversely if you add two chemicals to make one product, it must be lighter.

So I showed them the particle models of a reaction and got them to count how many of each element were on each ‘side’ of the arrow (top 4 lines). I then got them to answer some maths questions to prove conservation of mass (e.g. 7g + ??? à 10g, what is missing?)  They could then write their own scientific definition, which I was very impressed with!

Feedback that you feel showed a tremendous piece of mind-set from the student involved in achieving it

bs54This pupil really struggles with his literacy and doesn’t enjoy writing. However here he has attempted a question, self-assessed it, improved it to nearly perfect (5/6) and then redrafted the whole thing again to get full marks. Even better – I’d said to him ‘just add in the bit you missed out’ as I know he’s a slow writer, but he persisted and did the whole thing again as he ‘wants it perfect’!

Feedback from self/peer that was a superb example of honest critique with examples/follow up checking/success


Self-reflection on their learning before an assessment. Very honest, and after reading my comment she came to see me at break to ask about the page numbers she needed to look at in her textbook ‘for the carbon cycle’. She then came back at lunch and said she didn’t like the textbook page, and could she take her exercise book home as she prefers her notes from class. This shows great GMS as she’s identified her weakness and is working on improving it rather than giving up. She then successfully answered the carbon cycle question in her assessment, and said ‘oh my god Miss, revision works!’ I think without this reflection beforehand, she would have attempted to revise everything, felt overwhelmed and given up.

Feedback that hit any of our current obsessions-re-drafting, innovative, fast, SPaG etc.



Pupils were given a hypothesis they had to write a method to test. First attempt was without any help on what makes a good method. Then after a class discussion, they had a second attempt that was peer assessed. Then the third attempt has also improved. Although the 3 methods are all similar, the subtle improvements are necessary for scientific methods. This redrafting (although still not perfect) has shown this class in particular (that doesn’t like writing!) that if you do it properly and thoroughly once, it won’t need correcting. This redrafting has told me as a teacher that the class needs a further ‘method skills’ lesson to a) see if they revert back to the style of the first attempt, and b) to improve further with how they measure 1m, the distances, etc.

WS:  My belief is that Growth Mind Set is everything and if we get that right everything else will automatically follow as we have laid such a good framework to enable learners.

Feedback that the student acted upon and you then have the evidence that it closed a specific learning gap


Student was then able to calculate mass number and atomic number and relate to the number of sub-atomic particles

Feedback that you can evidence was a real penny dropping moment that might have taken ages to for it to drop!

Adaptation of NTEN techniques in classroom to improve retention


Feedback that you feel showed a tremendous piece of mind-set from the student involved in achieving it.





Optional GYM homework set on cystic fibrosis and after discussion – the optional homework was re-drafted


Feedback from self/peer that was a superb example of honest critique with examples/follow up checking/success


Feedback that hit any of our current obsessions-re-drafting, innovative, fast, SPaG etc.

GYM review sheets



Feedback that the student acted upon and you then have the evidence that it closed a specific learning gap


Katie Badley – structure of the leaf (Y7) CM

Katie completed her original work in black pen, I provided initial feedback in green pen. Katie then made some minor amendments in blue that I had requested then improved it by adding an additional paragraph for the missing details.

Feedback that you can evidence was a real penny dropping moment that might have taken ages to for it to drop!

Aimee Blundell – Ray diagrams and law of reflection (she had set up her equipment incorrectly).



Aimee Blundell did had not really appreciated all the details required for the ray diagram, particularly the reflection points from the mirror and had set the equipment up with the mirror in slightly the wrong position so the back of the mirror was not lined up with the line. This meant her incident and reflected ray did not line up. After some feedback she made some labelling additions in blue then went on to repeat the investigation and get the ray diagrams and angles perfect!

Feedback that you feel showed a tremendous piece of mind-set from the student involved in achieving it



Laura Pendlebury – Law of reflection and ray diagrams CM

Laura took four attempts to get the diagram correct and use the protractor carefully. She kept going though which is a great mind set. Laura often jokes that she puts more graphs in the bin than she gets right in her book, but she always keeps going, which is fantastic.

Feedback from self/peer that was a superb example of honest critique with examples/follow up checking/success



Ally Lyon – determination of population of species CM

Ally self-marked her population piece (original work completed in black and self-marked in red pen) then redrafted it in blue. This was then peer assessed by Eleanor and peer verified by Nour.



Ally Lyon – nuclear radiation, the gamma knife CM

Original work in black pen, peer assessed with improvements by Nour, then redrafted in blue the following lesson.

  Feedback that hit any of our current obsessions-re-drafting, innovative, fast, SPaG etc.


Fast Feedback, Zoe King CM

– shows use of coloured pens to speed up marking, self-assessment in red pen, peer question in blue that is then pupil response in black


Feedback that the student acted upon and you then have the evidence that it closed a specific learning gap

BS29 The students work was peer assessed in red pen.  The peer assessment was ineffective at identifying exactly what the learner was missing to improve their answer to achieve the Gold criteria.  After checking the peer assessment and marking myself in green pen I highlighted the learning gap to the student in question.  The learner has responded in blue pen to my feedback, evidencing that they now understand this concept, closing this specific learning gap for this learners understanding of the causes of day and night.

Feedback that you can evidence was a real penny dropping moment that might have taken ages to for it to drop!


This student did not appreciate that when explaining the concept of diffusion, that specific scientific key words must be used for it to be assessed as Gold standard.  The student’s first attempt at the explanation is written in blue pen.  I have assessed the students work in green pen, asking for a definition using key words that have been taught during the course of the topic.  Without reminding the student of the actual key words to use, the penny has dropped for this student as the improved definition is perfect!

Feedback that you feel showed a tremendous piece of mind-set from the student involved in achieving it



Dan Hinchcliffe Set 7.2 – Dan followed all feedback and kept repeating his attempts at Sankey diagrams until he had perfected it and reached the Gold standard


Feedback from self/peer that was a superb example of honest critique with examples/follow up checking/success


Charlie Shields 7 set 2 – here is an example of Charlie’s self-assessment of homework.  He addresses any knowledge gaps by including correct answers in purple pen – to aid revision of the topic


This shows another example of Charlie responding to peer feedback to improve upon his original work

Feedback that hit any of our current obsessions-re-drafting, innovative, fast, SPaG etc.


Fast feedback – peer assessed in red pen – the peer assessor has added a fast note in red pen and arrows to indicate where answers are the wrong way around to provide fast feedback to the learner.


Feedback that the student acted upon and you then have the evidence that it closed a specific learning gap



The students above were really struggling to grasp the concepts in fractional distillation. They attempted a six marker and RAG’d it and it was peer assessed. They then used their feedback to have another ago, and RAG’d their work again. This was then followed by a final peer assessment and feedback given by me. The process took two lessons but I really felt that the students ended with a much better understanding of fractional distillation.

Feedback that you can evidence was a real penny dropping moment that might have taken ages to for it to drop!




7.7 students really struggle to complete any work independently. I completed a two week growth mind set project with them which led to them becoming much more independent and confident in their own ability. There is one student in particular who suffers from low confidence. She is actually one of the more able student in the class but she will not attempt any piece of work without reassurance from the TA. Over the two weeks, she really proved to herself how capable she was of doing tasks independently. She showed such good growth mind set over the two weeks that I chose her as one of my growth mind set stars for my observation lesson with this class. She did not complete the same tasks as anyone else as her role was to peer assess and give feedback to the other students on their work. It was lovely to see her having the confidence to guide other students – something that she had always been capable of doing but had never been confident enough to. I think it was a penny dropping moment for both her and me to see how she could come in just two weeks.

Feedback that you feel showed a tremendous piece of mind-set from the student involved in achieving it



I completed a two week growth mind set project with 7.7 in which the students really concentrated on becoming more independent learners. The students started by writing growth mind set pledges, choosing things such as ‘I will not say I can’t’ and ‘I will not give up’. The students were given a series of tasks to compete independently each lesson and those who did particularly well were awarded growth mind set stars as seen before. They were also given peer and teacher feedback throughout the project. The end result of this project was that the majority of the students were able to work independently for 45 minutes. This was a big achievement for these students who previously would not attempt anything without help or support from myself or the TA.

Feedback from self/peer that was a superb example of honest critique with examples/follow up checking/success

BS45The student above has been given specific feedback and advice of how to improve. They have then redrafted their work, and have then had it verified by another student who had given them further feedback. This dialogue has led to them producing a work of high standard (but not particularly good presentation!) that included most of the necessary key words for the topic.

Feedback that hit any of our current obsessions-re-drafting, innovative, fast, SPaG etc.

All of the above examples show evidence of DIRT. We have tried very hard to incorporate DIRT into all of our lessons over the last year, and the students are now well practiced at completing peer assessment and improving, redrafting and reflecting on their work. There are also above examples of students redrafting their work – students now know not to hand any work in that hasn’t been marked (by either themselves or a peer) and improved on within the lesson.


Feedback that the student acted upon and you then have the evidence that it closed a specific learning gap


Student replied to feedback by identifying the answer then they used that further knowledge to help them define a keyword within the lesson.

Feedback that you can evidence was a real penny dropping moment that might have taken ages to for it to drop!

In my observed lesson one group predicted an incorrect outcome to a practical before carrying it out. Then when they did the practical they were able to identify they were wrong and why. This is evidenced in my lesson plan.

Feedback that you feel showed a tremendous piece of mind-set from the student involved in achieving it


For whatever reason the image was beyond my GM and rotating skill! Sorry Phil!

Yr7 student answering a DIRT question. Could label the parts of an animal or plant cell but I wanted to see if they really understood and could take it further by telling me what each part does. As you can see they were able to do this so I threw in an extra one that they had missed out and they got that as well.

Feedback from self/peer that was a superb example of honest critique with examples/follow up checking/success


Above is an example of a DIRT lesson at KS4. These lessons are also done with ks3. In these lessons students answer an open ended question with as much information as they can remember from the week. These questions are then peer assessed in red pen and any improvements given. Students then redraft their work taking into account these improvements in blue pen. They are then rechecked by myself.

Feedback that hit any of our current obsessions-re-drafting, innovative, fast, SPaG etc.

The above picture also shows an example of re drafting and how it is carried out. The below picture is an example of how I use SPAG. In this example I have shown a literacy question which centres around a common spelling mistake in science – Fluorine. This is an area I feel I need to improve on.


Carmel has also been thinking about how to keep an on-going faculty reflection, rather than waiting until a distant time and SLT requests for a current state of play. I’m keen for all to contribute any ideas that will save time/ease work-load. Creative ideas shouldn’t just come from the top-all need to be able to put ideas forward and try them out. I’m interested to see how this one works out and if other faculties try something similar.

David, Leon,

I was thinking of ways to collect department level evidence of sharing and reflection after our discussion yesterday. I need a way that is helpful to us as a department, uses minimal time and could be done as we go along (same criteria as we used when we developed fast marking).

I have mocked one up for you below.  I know it may appear like a list of trivial details, but these are the real items that are done day to day to build a bigger picture and that is the important point. This will then form the raw data for mine and Hannah’s reflection at the end of the year.  

I am hoping it will show our ideas and practices evolving over time and how everyone is contributing. It will be held in a spread sheet which people can add to at any point, the topic is there so we can sort by topic.

I’d like to think of it as one long set of meeting minutes, a meeting that we are all attending all the time! I anticipate most people will contribute on an adhoc but weekly basis and we have agreed that it could take the place of our after school weekly science meeting, to free up peoples time to add their contributions. Perhaps the next evolutionary step in department meetings as it is not limited by start and end times.

I have mocked up some data entries to give you an idea of the type of thing that could be included but who knows what people will add!

What do you think?

date Comment Feedback topic
HS Trialled learning by discovery with 8.5, 15 mins without any guidance and actually GOT THE CARBON CYCLE at the end. Going to try it with 8.4 next lesson. HW – can you send a link, 8.3 don’t quite get it yetHS W:\Science\Book Monitoring and observation 14-15\Summer observations\Observation resources\HS\Carbon Cycle Game.docxWS – I’ll try it too

CM  – can someone add it to the SOW pls, ta

T & L
WS Trying optional GYM homework with 8.6 CM – hmmm, let me know if they do it – could it be a step too far??HS – interestingWS – 25% have done it!

CM – that’s more than I would have expected – great idea Wendy will you do it again

WS – done another this week

WS – 45% this time, and Ella Thistlethwaite has redrafted it after id marked it! Really proud

CM – Wow amazing

HW My books are looking really good with these coloured pens. I’m doing my DIRT couple of times a week, makes marking quick. CM – can you add the dirt tasks into the SOW slidesHW – doneRM – I used them, really great thx Holly Marking
RM Coloured pens going well, books look really good but its taking too long to manage giving them out and taking in HS – try making pen packs, Val has some small plastic bagsWS – I use pen packs tooCM – pen packs didn’t work for me as pupils didn’t always put pens back in them. I’ve got wooden blocks with holes drilled in them. equipment
CM My y 11s are getting behind as they are so much slower in the afternoon – had to use my consolidation week just to finish C4 PJ – me tooRM – me too, set 2 are a real problem Tuesday afternoon. I’ve had to speak to KRHW – me too

CM – not a lot we can do except really push the pace in the Thursday lesson.

CM – my 11.6 are ahead of 11.1! that the effect of 75% afternoon lessons.

CM – Maths finding similar issue but there’s is a 50% split.

CM – shouldn’t happen next year as going to 2 week timetable.

CM Have found kerboodle – an online homework for OCR GCSE, think may be good for KS4 intervention. Got a free month trial, gives you reports of results so you can see who is struggling. HS – does it do triple too?CM yes I’ve emailed everyone logonsWS – love it, they can practice as many times as they like before doing it

RM – great ill set some

CM – I have found that setting the same one three times and getting them to do it immediately after each other works really well for recall .

HW – I’m setting them – can we order them

CM it’s in budget for next year, can use as hw too.

PJ Thought about doing a lesson using IRIS CM – Brave – let me know how it goesPJ – student teacher wants to do one too.HW – fab, let me know how she gets on.

CM – anyone else want to do IRIS?


T & L
CM Going to set up some multi choice recall quizzes on ……for lunchtime intervention if anyone wants them I can share HS – they can run them in my lab if you want.WS – can I send someCM – yes just send me list of names

WS – I will help chase people up and deliver them if you like.

CM – Ta

CM – People keep forgetting to chase up – I’ve emailed learning tutors to prompt but still not running smoothly.

WS – I think it’s because we are alternating the weeks between 11 and 10.

HS – yes I think you are right, they mean to come but just forget.

CM – let’s try and find another way, this is not being effective for anyone. Quizzes are good though so we can use them in lessons.

CM Year 10 triple girls are becoming really amazing at peer assessment and redraft – able to correct the science effectively PJ – yes I was impressed with them too.RM – 10 4 definitely not there yetCM – 10 5 ok, I’ll send you some of the scaffolds I’ve got. Marking
WS Controlled assessments running behind schedule as we don’t have enough balances HW – agreedRM – me too agreedHS – yep

PJ – defo

CM – message received (problem the 0.01g ones are £400!)

CM Going to trial ‘print your own stickers’ that Greg uses RM – I’ve seen his books I love themCM – let me know if you want a box of blanks to print on.HW – can I see some when they’re done Marking


The PE faculty worked incredibly hard during Sport’s Week [as did others!] and had to be flexible and re-arrange plans quickly when the weather turned. It really is the highlight of our school year and the team spirit both students and staff engender and display really shows the power of the alternative curriculum. The PE folks still managed to meet to share some of their ideas like the old pros that they are! This old pro, after foolishly playing in the year 8 girls 5 a side and the 2 staff v year 11 helpers’ games, has had to forsake his Sunday bike ride and write a blog because he is still stiff!

Feedback that the student acted upon and you then have the evidence that it closed a specific learning gap

Aaron- Creating dialogue with students in books, use of dot marking in psd lessons enabled me to show this within my book monitoring and I feel this has closed the gap.

Sam- Video footage of year 7 girls doing the tennis serve. Girls acted upon the advice after watching a pro tennis player and their improvements are clearly evidenced in the video footage.

Tom- Use of ipads of analysis of high jump technique, students were able to analyse their performance which lead to a massive improvement.

Rosie- Video footage for year 10 GCSE group, which helped the lower attainers watch their own and other performances to help identify targets for improvement. Video footage is evidence of before and after.

Feedback that you can evidence was a real penny dropping moment that might have taken ages to for it to drop!

Aaron- Year 9 mixed GCSE group fully understand that GCSE PE consists of 40% theory as well as 60% practical which is more challenging but has been drip fed to improve their knowledge and understanding which will bridge the gap for year 10.

Tom- Use of growth mind set in lessons to allow students to understand how to develop their skills.

Sam- Lower year 7 girls have fully understood that it is far easier to remain confident and up beat instead of letting things get to them.

Rosie- Lower year 7 girls have fully understood that is far easier to communicate and remain positive and start to use team work to achieve success rather than trying to do everything solo.

Feedback that you feel showed a tremendous piece of mind-set from the student involved in achieving it

Rosie- See book monitoring (Katie MacDonald book)- massive improvement for 10 mark questioning.

Aaron- During KS3 PE observation student gave feedback and was then asked to re-do it which was in more detail and of a much higher standard.

Tom- During observation students taking a lead learning role and developing other student’s skills through analysis of performance in cricket (Dylan Burrows).

Sam- Students used home learning to research the skeletal system producing high quality resources for their next lesson (Rachel Cresswell).

Feedback from self/peer that was a superb example of honest critique with examples/follow up checking/success

Aaron- Creating dialogue with students in books, use of dot marking in psd lessons enabled me to show this within my book monitoring and I feel this has closed the gap.

Rosie- Peer sheets for verbal/ written verification to use KS3 which had a positive effect on the assessor and the performer, which gave them confidence to critically reflect.

Tom- Year 11 exam question analysis and peer assessment (Purple pen), improving student learning.

Sam- Batting in year 8 rounders. Video footage was observed by partners and honest critique was fed back. Students then videoed them again checking that feedback was completed and success had been had.

Feedback that hit any of our current obsessions-re-drafting, innovative, fast, SPaG etc.

and, of course, any of your own choice [just tell your colleagues why you chose it and think it is your best]

GCSE PE and Dance- See books and book monitoring- PR and PEPs for GCSE PE- SPS/ TE

Thank you as always to all who have shared ideas-part 3 next!































Summer Magic Literacy and Numeracy Moments part 3

Our penultimate big sharing of ideas for the year focuses on literacy and numeracy ideas from our English, art and design and PSD faculties and I’ve included a couple of ideas that colleagues have been developing in their learning hubs.


01 02

From Hannah

I have attached examples from members of the department. I hope that this is appropriate as we are all working on the same goals at the moment.

One of the biggest things for us this year was fully embedding basic Literacy into all lessons in English. A couple of the biggest things we have adapted this year are weekly SPaG homework and consistent use of SPaG lesson starters. In September, we will be assessing all students half termly on SPaG to monitor progress and to emphasise the importance of this area. Our improved routines are having a profound effect in terms of the reduction in basic errors across the board. We use a wide range of tools to support the development of Literacy including word banks, writing frames, scaffolds, dictionaries, thesauruses, word cards, key words, challenging literature and so on.  Reading bingo has been used to develop the independence of our learners; we are aspiring to make students take ownership for their writing.

We have developed a routine of ‘best work’ only to be marked by teachers. Most teachers will use drafting books next year which, again, will push our learners to look critically at their errors before submitting their final piece. DIRT time has also successfully been built in across the department and errors are highlighted (usually six) and the students go back and correct these in red pen. We find that they are far more cautious as a result of our marking methods this year. We anticipate that our current KS3 will be extremely competent in terms of grammatical accuracy and etc. by the time they sit their GCSE.

The big difference this year is that we are taking a collaborative approach to how we deliver Literacy (lesson starters follow the half termly focus/ SPaG homework follows the half termly focus). The entire aspect of accuracy is high on the agenda on a daily basis. I am starting to see the impact of a whole school approach as students are now checking their work without being prompted.

In terms of Literacy, we do not face challenges in terms of embedding it as it one of our main goals. Students enjoy SPaG starters and often become quite competitive which is something we are pleased to see.

Numeracy in English.

We have a number of opportunities to develop numeracy in English. We teach students how to sequence ideas/ events, we encourage students to work out percentages when a numerical scoring is required and as our subject is so demanding in terms of time management, time is a common discussion in lessons. LC/ RH have been using scrabble starters which require students to add the value of key words. Also, (and most impressively) we have introduced the use of Venn diagrams as much as possible to support the KS4 learning of this topic in Maths. We use Venn diagrams mainly for drawing comparisons from poetry.


<from LC. Students have to the value of particular words (numeracy links)

Hannah attached quite a few ideas so I’ll include the full examples for colleagues/other schools to borrow and adapt if they wish to.

Observation and inference


Capital Letters

Vocabulary building – Year 8 – Week 1

Year 7 Vocab Half Term 1 Week 2

NTEN SPaG Powerpoint Second

SPaG Homework New

Half Term 1 SPaG Test

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Art and Design

Josie sent me examples from both her textiles and art lessons.

Literacy Starters in Textiles.

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Literacy in Art

In Year 7, as part of understanding drawing skills, I have used YouTube videos to re-inforce the techniques they are using. The students watch the video and note everything the artist does well and relate it to their previous/current work.

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In Year 8 students have been encouraged to write and analyse artists artwork based on the teaching strategies that I use with GCSE Art.

They were given an image in their sketchbook, as a class we discussed the keywords of Artist, Colour, Line, Composition, Scale and Opinion, then individually the students worked through each section of analysis based on prompts and suggestions from their peers.

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The resulting work from Year 8 is detailed and well written and forms an improved understanding of analysing artwork and related art keywords.

Aimee shared her food technology numeracy.  It’s quite a big PPT so I’ve included it all below. A couple of examples look very tasty!


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Literacy (PSD)

From Aarron

Georgia Healy 8.5


The only marking I had done can be seen here [1 word!]

When peer assessing letters; students were given set questions to raise so they can get a response and create dialogue.

Within PSD we use dot marking- students are given a template which is then glued into the back of their books- see below

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Again the same can be seen with Ellie’s- the only marking I had to do was here.

Numeracy (form time)

23Every Monday I will ask my students write a paragraph about what they have done over the weekend. I encourage them to write in full English using connectives, capital letters and full stops. I believe this mini task gets them back into the working mind sent they need to be in for school.

Main Learning barrier

I have some students within my class who struggle to read their own handwriting therefore at times it is quite difficult to give quick feedback as I will have to sit down and proof read their work.

I have also noticed that some students have a significantly higher level of literacy than others who are in the same set. At times this has proved difficult and when I first took over the class during pair work, some were way ahead of others in terms of task completion. This had a knock on effect to the rest of the lesson as this led to less time to give peer feedback.

From Marion PSD

There has always been a literacy focus in PSD but this year I have tried to include activities and assessments which have a significant link to the types of writing or presentations the students are expected to produce for their English GCSE.  For example, year 8 have written a formal letter about child labour (The Rights of the Child), an information leaflet/sheet about politics and the General Election,

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they have presented in front of the class (Charities) using presentation and persuasive techniques and they have debated the pros and cons of legalising cannabis. Year 7 have written an informal letter giving advice, a poem about bullying and a narrative story linked to safety.

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They have also prepared speeches for school council elections and practiced speaking through discussions. Before these activities we go through the techniques they need to use such as PAF, SPaG and PEE and I emphasise their importance not only for PSD and English but for other subjects. An example of good practise is often shared beforehand for support/guidance. I use the dot method – dot over the spelling, they have to find the correct spelling, then write it out 3 times.

The inclusion of numeracy tends to be more difficult in PSD, however this year we have used percentages when looking at the number of seats a party needs to form a Government and statistics when discussing the smoking, drugs and alcohol. Year 8 have also use numeracy to calculate the amounts of calories in different diets.

My magic moment has been seeing the students in my form become independent and likeable young adults who are now ready to pursue new horizons. Of course it is also a slightly sad moment too, as they will disappear from my daily life after being very much present for the past five years and I will disappear from theirs. Still, one of the benefits of being a teacher is that when students leave they are swiftly replaced by new ones who need us just as much as we need them.

Dawn one of our Teaching Assistants shared how she supports literacy and numeracy with her year 7 class.

Ensuring all students have the necessary equipment at the start of the lesson (pens, pencils etc.  Anyone who works with 7/5 will know this can take a while!)

Some of the students in the group have a diagnosis of dyslexia so in lessons that require a lot of writing, I will assist them with scribing, including writing out lesson objectives/questions.

I encourage students to us highlighters to emphasise key words in a passage.

Assisting with note taking, to use later if writing a longer piece of work.

I ensure students who need overlays/laptops/Alphasmarts have access to them.

Verbal prompts reminding them to use SPAG.

Offering lots of praise and encouragement to the students, not allowing them to give up.

In maths in particular we have a student who is very gifted but spends the majority of the lesson distracting others (he is currently waiting to be assessed for ADHD), I spend a lot of my time with this student encouraging positive behaviours.

Mandy, another of our TAs shared her strategies.

Learning Barriers – This student needs support to structure their work, especially in extended writing tasks. Help to organise thought processes and encourage them to plan their work and use a laptop to record their work. Student will edit his own work on the laptop but can be reluctant to revise their answers or show workings.

Strategies that I am trying

-Use of laptop to record his work. Needs support managing the laptop.

-Using a task organiser to help structure and plan the task and use of a visual prompt to extend and provide evidence to his work (P.E.E.R)

-Support when editing work Capital letters, Punctuation.

-Encouraging student to revise finished answer  – need to build time in for this to make sure that the answer is addressing the question asked and is appropriate to the audience ( especially in English extended pieces of writing) but, this also needs checking in other subjects too, for example Science and History.

Spellings –At the front of their English folder I am noting down common spelling mistakes in a word bank.

Homophones. We have tried a homophones worksheet during 1:1 handwriting sessions to check understanding and use visual reminders.


SPAG Challenge – regularly check with student and remind them of their specific targets. We identified recently that he ‘had forgotten’ that the personal pronoun ‘I’ should always be a capital letter.

Specific Literacy Targets – the student is aware of his specific targets and will now identify errors in his own work occasionally independently but still needs prompting when editing.

When peer marking he is able to offer positive feedback and this helps identify his own needs.

He is on target to meet end of year grade C. He now writes using full paragraphs and uses quotations appropriately and is becoming more independent in his work.

Growth Mind –Set Wendy leads our learning hub on GM and they are working on helping the students to think about their effort and very practical ways of self-evaluating their own GM in lessons. I shared Alex and Andy’s trialling of ideas in our GM blog-this is Wendy’s.

GYM review for Genetics unit Year 8-6

 What are you doing to improve your learning and achieve Gold? using “Grow Your Mind”

What grade did you get on the Genetics Test? ________________


To do this you need to be really honest with yourself!

  1. Did you ask for the extension sheet to try and improve your grade? _______________
  2. Did you complete the optional GYM homework on Cystic Fibrosis?______.

If yes, do you feel it helped your learning and why? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  1. Do you ever look over the revision guide at home? ________________
  2. Do you answer questions in class? __________________________
  3. Do you talk about your science lessons at home with family?


  1. Do you ever try to extend your learning by looking things up on the internet or YouTube to try and find out extra information? ____________________________
  2. Do you give well thought out feedback during peer assessment? ____________________________________
  3. Do you ask for help or more explanation if you are stuck? ____________________________________________________
  4. When you revise, do you try to write things out or use the memory techniques we use in class? _______________________
  5. Do you usually complete your homework?_________________
  6. Do you try and come to science lessons with a positive attitude, ready to enjoy and get involved in lessons? ____________________________________________________
  7. Do you try to work things out for yourself or with a friend before asking a teacher? ________________________
  8. Do you use your DIRT time well to re-draft your answers ? _____________________
  9. Do you think you have a Bronze Silver or Gold Growth Mind Set? ________________

Now the important bit – what can you do in the future to commit more to your own learning? – Make a promise for next year.

My GYM targets for next year to help me become a committed and independent learner


These will be stuck into your new books for next year, and I will refer to them, so think carefully and use ideas from the questions!

In Year 9 I will try to improve my Growth Mind Set by trying these things:


Signed : _____________________________________________________

These will be stuck into your new books for next year, and I will refer to them, so think carefully and use ideas from the questions!

Business Studies

Colin has been leading our questioning hub and has used research provided by Dan Brinton at Belmont and has been avidly reading Shaun Allison and Andy Tharby’s latest book to add more ideas [before I lend him David Didau’s book which will probably tell him that they are all wrong!] I observed Colin in action so know that his stuff works! His questioning mixes pose, pause, bounce with GM [hints and tips from maths] and literacy.

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His ‘hint and tips’ scaffolds are to help his students’ access the growth mind set ‘YET’ and develop their answering skills when they begin their G.C.S.E. course. By year 11, the scaffolds will gradually disappear with the memory of how to answer embedded in student brains. There are a list of connectives to help link the answers and encourage longer responses of greater quality.

The learning hub are looking beyond teacher questioning to try to develop student self and peer questioning skills and you can see that Colin uses his Business Buddies to set each other questions [scaffolds to help at first] and a whole range of interactive methods from chucking the Frisbee round to lots of posing and bouncing. Colin makes tremendous use of his technology to aid learning and assessment and of late has mixed this with the tricks of the trade from other less technically gifted colleagues i.e. me-of using mini whiteboards, pair-share and so on. An eclectic mix of teaching styles!

His observation plan from last week shows the thinking and risks taken behind his planning and use of his learning hub ideas.

Teacher  Mr Lee  Subject Business Set year 10 mixed
Action points from the last observation Relevant appraisal learning and teaching objectives Which MCHS ‘great teaching’ criteria have you planned to model?
To further develop the students ability and confidence to independently set challenging deep questions, use hints ‘n’ tips and answer challenging questions linked to GCSE 3, 6, 8 and 10 mark criteria A-A* Achieve +1 progress target by pushing student on to the 6, 8 and 10 mark criteria through student led Q&A session.This is linked to my CPD research on the impact of questioning, Help students build explanations and answering questions impact = strong level of evidence. Students lead the questioning and answer session independently and moreover, challenge and support each other to achieve their +1 targets! 
Context of lesson Student have completed unit 1 and have begun their controlled assessment research (unit 2). While they are conducting their questionnaires and interviews for homework, we have begun unit 3 Marketing.Is there an area of their learning/your teaching that you have found to be challenging and have decided to focus on?

§   Yes – students have found the step from 3 markers to 6 markers challenging. They often do not apply their knowledge to a business context (sometimes it is too general). A recent Edexcel exam report (June 2015 unit 3 feedback) highlighted that if students want to achieve the A-A* criteria they must develop higher order application, analysis and evaluation skills. This is a big strength of the department and is developed through PIC skills (product, industry and competitors) (literacy 1)

§   They also don’t focus on the downsides of their argument. In response to this the lesson will challenge students to think more deeply about the downsides (BSOC skill 1)

§   They also struggle to link sentences. Again this is another strength of the department, but today it will be more explicitly developed through ‘suggested snowball connectives’ (literacy 2)

In response they will set their own challenging 6 and 8 marker questions and model the answer themselves through an interactive student led Q&A by tackling a 6 marker and then an 8 marker! They will have a Business Buddy and new hints ‘n’ tips AFL sheets to support them. I really want them to push to their +1 targets and this interactive Q&A session will help them to model the criteria so they push on to do this themselves (Growth mind set!)

Getting your skates on! Which is the biggest anticipated risk/chance of failure you have planned to take in the lesson? How can we help?

§   I am going to try and get students to lead the Q&A themselves and this is a big risk. The use of the three hints ‘n’ tips will help students to stay on track and I will only act as facilitator. I will only intervene once three Business Buddies hint ‘n’ tips have been used. This is challenging for a teacher to do as we often feel the urge to lead and question the students ourselves as it feels ‘natural’ or an expected ‘conditioned/learned teacher response’. I’m learning to take a step back in the Q&A sessions (not easy for me, I still often intervene!!), but getting them to think for themselves through a student led deep Q&A session will enable them to model and further develop their higher order skills to achieve the +1 targets.  I will be exploring these points further in my questioning research)

§   I will be starting with a 6 marker (very challenging) but breaking it down using the hint n tips sheet and white boards to give students some wait time.

§   I will trial the white boards and pens to improve interaction. The Frisbee holder will ask all students the questions (linked to grading criteria) and all students will respond on white board. They will then be targeted by the Frisbee holder.

§   Students might find using the connectives difficult, but I really want them to develop the use of these to strengthen their answers today!


Learning and risk taking is for both students and staff-none of us will develop without un-fixing our mind-sets! Rachael H has produced this poster for her classroom-it’s a good ‘un to leave you with!


Extra bit! 

Colleagues from MCHS and another school asked me to share more examples of Colin’s questioning after reading the initial blog-probably to test my expertise at inserting pictures into the blog!! I have excluded a couple of excel documents with student grades on but will describe them. This was Colin’s submission for his summer book monitoring. Hope this makes sense!

AFL Business Studies Book monitoring evidence  

  1. 1. Students set themselves a challenging 3, 6, 8 or 10 mark GCSE question using the appropriate command words using the Business Buddy setting questions guidance sheets and bank of command words (evidence routine sheet 1 & google docs command words]

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2. One of the student’s questions is chosen to be used as the question for the class example = 6 marker see above. They then begin to lead the questioning and ask the class the question initially

colin 53. Students have 2mins wait time to work in pairs to plan an answer to the first 2 marks (judgements) using the: New Hints ‘n’ tip sheets for 6, 8 and 10 markers, white boards, literacy Business skills laminates (routine sheet 2 & 3 ).

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The timer is also used to help improve time management skills

Students go through a 6 marker in mini episodes to keep them all engaged

They start by making a judgement to the 6 marker using the hint ‘n’ tip sheets and white boards in pairs!

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4. The student questioner manages the praises and allocates a student for questioning. They target a student who is low on praises and asks them their google docs question. They throw the Frisbee to the student. And they answer the question

They are allowed

  • Some additional wait time
  • If students are still unsure after the wait time, they can use ‘3B4 me’ this is 3 Business Buddy Hint ‘n’ Tips from any student of their choice. If they are still unsure I then give them my own Hint ‘n’ tip. Students get a praise for each mark they get correct on the mark scheme and a praise for contribution.
  • Students use hints ‘n’ t tips sheet to help students with the correct answer and get a praise for contribution
  • There has been a reduction in hint ‘n’ tips (see excel sheet below) as students have got used to the criteria and their questioning and answering skills have improved-sheet not included but has info on each student with the number of praises/hints n tips.

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colin 125. The student who has answered the question then has to set the next part of the question to all the class. In the same pairs, students then complete the other elements of the 6 marker. They start by discussing the upsides and downsides of their arguments and develop their answers and literacy business skills using the PIC and snowball laminate skills sheets, connectives sheets and 6 marker Hint and Tips sheets.

A new student is targeted with the Frisbee and then must answer this section and step 4 above is repeated.

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colin 166. The student then asks the class to make a final judgement and conclusion using their whiteboards and Hint and Tip sheets. Again is step 4 is again repeated student is targeted to make a final judgement.

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colin 19  colin 187. Student then answer 6 markers in google docs and Business Buddy mark each other’s work using the comment thread tool.

colin 20colin 218. Student are encouraged to push to the A* by completing the add factor 8- 10 marker challenge hint ‘n’ tip sheets by adding a new factor and extending their conclusions.

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colin 249. I then give teacher feedback linked to the knowledge and skills of the 2, 3 and 6 markers and how to move on.

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colin 2610. Students are given teacher feedback and use DIRT  to input their scores into the Google docs tracking sheet and then what skills and knowledge they need to improve on for each topic-the sheet not included has information on the topics to be improved after the FAIL and then has the SAIL score.

A mixture of new technology and old school to make an interesting initiative and already proven impact on memory retention and improved pieces of learning.













































A more valuable use of home-work? Quizzing and stickability.

As a teacher who has discussed more key historical ‘turning points’ with classes over the years than I can bear to remember, I have been excited by the ‘turning point’ in my own school and I’m sure many other schools this school year, with the growth in interest in using academic research/sharing ideas from other schools to inform our own practice. When we have been able to create time and opportunities for our staff to read teacher friendly research and trial their adapted versions, I believe that our learning and teaching has had the chance to develop further. If you throw in the leadership and collaborative sharing that this time allows in to the grand mix of personal development for all colleagues-we are on to a winner!

Of course we have to be very careful of jumping on any initiative bandwagon and I’m wary of the increasingly loud voice of some educationalists who perhaps see their way as the only way-that isn’t supposed to be what this is all about! Nor am I pretending that 2014-15 has been in any way a halcyon year for teaching. As a school leader, it has been one of the most bitterly disappointing and divisive years in my memory, and whilst I only have a huge sense of optimism for the learning and teaching future developments here based on the growing confidence and skills of our staff and students-some other national issues, I find bullying and morally bankrupt. This isn’t the forum for that, although I know that it will take a large part of my time and strength next year to fight our cause and beliefs, my focus will always be on helping all in our community to improve their learning. Recent blogs have explained how external visits have really helped us to focus and reflect on our own practice and I liked Steve Munby’s piece in Schools Weekly, where he talked about ‘invitational leadership’ and the chances to work together to create an ‘ambitious self-improving system’ I hope that by sharing our ideas and opening our classrooms to visitors, we are playing our small part in building a brighter future. Let’s hope the ‘point’ can ‘turn’ in the direction that the majority in our profession know that it should do.

Rant over and back to what matters most! We discussed the Sutton/Durham Univ report ion November with subject leaders, with some lively debate on some of the chosen great learning and teaching factors.

  • spacing-out study or practice on a given topic, with gaps in between for forgetting
  • making students take tests or generate answers, even before they have been taught the material  

Previous blogs have explained our early attempts at interleaving and the science faculty lesson study, focused on initial testing, offering a variety of revision methods, and then re-testing. This was small scale classroom research with no control groups-the emphasis was on collaborative planning and trialling some different approaches to see the impact on individual learning and whole class.

The slides from the initial meeting are below to show the content of part of the discussion. I borrowed slide ideas from Rachael Edgar and the Swindon Academy and when we came to our Whit inset day, some colleagues suggested that ‘stickability’ –remembering knowledge/demonstrating previously learned skills at different intervals was certainly a desirable facet of great learning. A bigger argument came with the report’s views on independent learning-the scientists in particular were stung by the negative comments re independent learning but once we had reasoned that independent learning without early scaffolding/teaching the skills how to study on your own, was a waste of learning time, colleagues asked for one of our learning hubs to look at independent learning in terms of improving student revision and memory retention and home-learning.


h2h2great teaching

I shared some interesting blogs with the group e.g. Velcro Learners from Ruth Powley;

and have used Tom Sherrington’s blogs on the value of homework with my NPQSL group and now with the hub.

Tom is perhaps keener on home-learning than I am but the hub isn’t about my views and colleagues were keen to try some different approaches to home-learning in the summer term which focused on developing student memory skills by quizzing and testing and a little more besides. It’s very early days and I will feedback later to see what has happened at the end of the trial. Geography haven’t got going yet but the others in the hub produced a booklet which they issued to upper sets in year 7. There are mixed reviews but all are keen to keep going and all realise that if it is to work in September on a bigger scale, we will have to have a launch with students and parents so that everyone is clear on what is needed. From my perspective, I’m absolutely delighted that the hub has launched a small scale trial based on their own professional instinct, research ideas they have found time to read and the learning needs of their students. Home-learning done well can be a tremendous learning tool with plenty of nice effect size scores. You can see my questions and the responses from the different subjects and then a copy of the home-learning tasks. A quick progress check!


What was the purpose for you of trying this out? What aspects of learning were you trying to improve and why did you think of this method?

We wanted students to be more independent in their approach to learning and hopefully this would be embedded up the school and help students to organise their time for revision and develop skills that they could apply to revision. We chose YouTube clips as many students see this as fun and not as homework as we are not expecting them to write. We have asked them to watch clips and listen to each one three times so they are hopefully absorbing the information. Some groups have tagged on a quiz to the end of clips.

What was the biggest risk you anticipated?

Students will just pretend to have watched the clips and in effect will not have completed homework.

Impact so far for staff and students-has it worked, have they done more HWK, lost booklets, misunderstood-any basic positives/negatives after a short time?

I can’t comment on other subjects but the year 7 have enjoyed watching the clips and don’t see it as homework as we are not asking them to write. I’ve heard some of them singing the homophone songs in class so the rules seem to be sinking in.

Is it worth launching on a bigger scale, is it worth having comparison groups, what would you do differently?

I haven’t yet had chance to discuss with colleagues the impact in their subject areas. However as a department, English homework next year will consist of a weekly independent learning clip / PP to watch and listen to and one other task. We are currently adding them to the VLE. We are also introducing a half termly SPaG assessment at the end of each half term that will test the skills covered over the homework’s that half term.


MFL have been trying to push grammar this year and I have been asking the Year 7 students to learn the personal pronouns and two important verbs (to be and to have) in French. I have given them sheets to learn from and tested them regularly, however as it is not a formal homework many of the class haven’t taken it earnestly and haven’t scored well. I thought by making a mini booklet with learning and follow up activities, a formal homework, the students may take it more seriously. Also I felt, having a short “task” to complete every week and then a consolidation activity would provide some consistency.

The risk I anticipated was that having a French homework every week is not something the students are used to therefore some of the students would still not take it seriously and either lose the booklet or not complete it regularly.

Impact has been difficult to monitor so far because last week when I should have been checking their first homework and stressing the importance of completing each weekly activity  I had an observation so was unable to do it. When I tried to check this week a significant number of students hadn’t brought the booklet with them so there was no point going through the activity with them. Instead, I reiterated the importance of completing and bringing in the booklet and emphasised the importance of taking responsibility of their own learning. Hopefully next lesson will be more fruitful.

I do think it is worth launching because if done properly it will help students get into the habit of completing regular, short but meaningful tasks which can only improve their understanding of the subject and lead to greater achievement. Learning to be self-reliant and work independently are such important skills in life and acquiring them at a young age, I believe, can only be a positive thing.

To do this properly I think the ethos of taking responsibility for yourself via home learning should be embedded across the school by informing Year 7 parents and students of our expectations right from the start, then fostering and promoting this idea as they work their way through to year 11, so it becomes the norm. If it is too premature to initiate this on a whole school basis perhaps certain subjects/teaching groups could trial it properly for 6 months/a year then evaluate.


What was the purpose for you of trying this out?

I wanted to give short home works that were achievable and would make a big difference to the progress of the pupils in the assessments now in y7 as well as in the GCSE they will do in y11. I want them to get into the habit of working this way.

What aspects of learning were you trying to improve and why did you think of this method? 

We are trying to develop recall of scientific facts. The techniques we are asking pupils to try are ones investigated or developed from our y10 lesson study 2014/2015.

What was the biggest risk you anticipated?

That pupils would not bother doing it.

Impact so far for staff and students-has it worked, have they done more HWK, lost booklets, misunderstood-any basic positives/negatives after a short time?

We won’t know until we test them in the final week. I suspect quite a few won’t have done much as we are using it as part of a bigger independent learning trial and we only gave the concept a ‘soft launch’ to test the pitfalls before perhaps a bigger commitment in September.

Is it worth launching on a bigger scale, is it worth having comparison groups, what would you do differently?

I believe we have to help our pupils take over responsibility for their own learning and this will only develop over a period of time through expectations and good habits. I am sure that we will not have got the format right straight away! If it was that simple it would have been achieved years ago. It will need months or even a few years of relentless high expectations coupled with tracking, support and frequent follow ups. Culture change is never easy!


With my 7 set 4 in maths I identified four areas that they had struggled with this year.  I then created a short homework which focussed on each of these areas separately for four weeks; (perimeter and area of compound shapes, Addition and Subtraction of fractions and Transformations).

All upper year 7 were blind tested on these four areas before they started.

Then after four weeks we will test them again to see if they have improved.

I photocopied these homework’s for 7 set 4 which I had not done before and I did get a better response because of this.

The risk would be that we focus on these topics and they don’t improve with them after the four weeks or later on cannot recall them.


Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Maths French Maths English
Science Geography Science

Please read the instructions carefully and spend 20 minutes on each task per week

Over the next 4 weeks you will be given homework to complete in the subjects above.

On the fifth week you will be given a short assessment in class based on your homework.





Maths Homework  – All worksheets are on the VLE

You will be tested on these topics in week 1 of summer term 2 and then again in week 5.

Week 1 – complete worksheet – Perimeter of compound shapes

Week 2 – complete worksheet – Area of compound shapes

Week 3 – complete worksheet – Addition & Subtraction of fractions

Week 4 – complete worksheet – Transformations

You will hand your homework in to your class teacher on your last maths lesson of each week, (Thursday or Friday).

Science Homework  –

Instructions:  Use your preferred revision style to master the 12 statements (there are two sets of 12 statements). You should alternate these over the four week trial. Some suggested techniques are below – have a go at all three if you like.

  • Copying out the statement repeatedly (up to 5 times)
  • Chanting the statements into your phone/voice recorder then playing it back and chant along (up to 5 times)
  • Watching the YouTube support video called ‘Y7 science homework support week 1’ and ‘Y7 science homework support week 2’ and verbally completing the quiz at the end.
  • Create some flash cards to play with.

The YouTube channel is found if you search ‘Carmel Manwaring’ on, then search the channel for the appropriate homework. You could get someone to test you on the statements to make sure you are making the correct progress.

Year 7 Science Homework Revision 1

Use your preferred revision style to master the following statements

  1. Chlorophyll is a green chemical found in chloroplasts.
  2. Photosynthesis produces food in the form of glucose.
  3. Leaves are adapted for photosynthesis because they have a large surface are and contain chlorophyll.
  4. The tiny holes on the underside of the leaves are called stomata.
  5. Stomata let gases flow in and out of leaves.
  6. Guard cells open and close stomata.
  7. Plants get minerals from the soil.
  8. Plants absorb minerals through their roots.
  9. Plants absorb water through their roots.
  10. Factors that affect the rate of photosynthesis are temperature, amount of CO2 and the intensity of sunlight.
  11. The photosynthesis word equation is : Water + Carbon dioxide → Glucose + Oxygen
  12. The photosynthesis symbol equation is : 6H20 + 6CO2 → C6H12O6 + 6O2

Year 7 Science Homework Revision 2

Use your preferred revision style to master the following statements.

  1. Stamens are the male part of the flower.
  2. Stamens are made up of the anther and the filament.
  3. The anther contains pollen grains.
  4. Pollen grains are plant male sex cells.
  5. Carpels are the female part of the flower.
  6. Carpels are made up of stigma, style and ovary.
  7. The Ovary contain ovules.
  8. The ovules are plant female sex cells.
  9. Pollination is where the pollen grains get from stamen (on the male part) to stigma (on the female part).
  10. There are two types of pollination: wind pollination and insect pollination.
  11. After pollination, fertilisation happens and seeds are formed.
  12. There are four methods of seed dispersal: ‘Wind dispersal’, ‘Animal dispersal’, ‘Explosions’ and ‘Drop & Roll’

English Homework

Watch the following YouTube clips 3 times.  All clips are also on the VLE under English, Year 7 homework week 1 – 4.

Instructions:  Use your preferred revision style to master the skills. Try to:

  • Chanting the rules into your phone/voice recorder then playing it back and chant along (up to 5 times)
  • Create some flash cards containing the rules. – apostrophes– semicolons  -There, there, their -To too two – plural spelling s or es?

Geography Homework

Your homework for the next 4 weeks is revise a little bit of geography every week. Revision is a very important skill and it will come in very useful as you move up the school. Use the instructions below to complete your homework:

Week 1

  • Go on to BBC Bitesize – KS3 – geography – coastal landscapes
  • Go to the revise section and read through the information
  • Go to the test section and test yourself.
  • Record your score here ______________
  • Test yourself again.
  • Record your new score here _____________

Week 2

  • Go on to BBC Bitesize – KS3 – geography – coastal landscapes
  • Go onto the activity section and work through the activity video
  • Go to the test section and test yourself.
  • Record your score here ______________
  • Test yourself again.
  • Record your new score here _____________

Week 3

  • Go on to BBC Bitesize – KS3 – geography – coastal landscapes
  • Go to the revise section and read through the information
  • Go to the test section and test yourself.
  • Record your score here ______________
  • Test yourself again.
  • Record your new score here _____________

Week 4

  • Go on to BBC Bitesize – KS3 – geography – coastal landscapes
  • Go onto the activity section and work through the activity video
  • Go to the test section and test yourself.
  • Record your score here ______________
  • Test yourself again.
  • Record your new score here _____________

What do others think? Is this a better use of home-learning? Would this approach work in your subject? Is this a learning priority in your area? The feedback of the impact and results may convince you! Be patient and I’ll have them for you.

It might seem silly to share the trial at this stage, rather than waiting until the conclusion of the first attempt at teaching [FATE]  of it, but, as with lesson study, I’m keen for colleagues to reflect at every stage of the learning process so that others can see how others have adapted and why they have changed tactics. Then you can get your SKATES on for the second attempt at teaching! A huge thank you to our volunteers for sharing their ideas. Ideas from the other hubs will be shared in the autumn term.

Magic NQT Moments 2

Our final NQT Magic Moment of the first half-term comes from Helen, our Spanish NQT who has shared her first attempts at dot marking with colleagues. This came after our big marking blog and opening inset day of the year talked about a host of ‘fast feedback’ tactics and a conversation Helen and I had after her first lesson observation with me when she raised her anxiety over providing feedback and beginning self and peer critique at a very basic level. This is the email she sent, which was then shared with all staff.

Hi Dave,

Just a quick email to let you know how I am getting on with the dots marking and a few other marking bits and bobs.

When we start a new topic in languages it often leaves us with nothing meaty to mark and it is mostly just new vocabulary. So it was important to think of a way of getting the students involved in marking their own work.

When marking their books, if I see an error I put a coloured dot on the page depending on what the error is. I have also made a display in my room so that the pupils know what the coloured dot refers to.


I then hand out the purple pens and let the kids do the rest. The lower ability sets need the support of a textbook, myself or the TA but they all get there eventually.


The best thing is that it really speeds up my marking too. I find I don’t get bogged down correcting hundreds of spellings or missing accents. The pupils seemed to really enjoy it. One of the pupils in 7.6 excitedly asked “Miss, what are all the dots for?” It becomes a bit of a game of Spot the Dot. They also get quite competitive about how many dots they’ve got in their books.


Here are some examples:

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I have also started to get the pupils to decide whether one of their classmates has achieved bronze, silver or gold. Again they use the purple pens and then ask me for the correct coloured star sticker to stick in. Granted, 7.6 need more support in how to structure it than 7.2 but they all produced some good peer feedback.

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Think that’s about it – starting on my Challenge Wall display next!


My reply

Great stuff Helen-good to see you trying out different ideas with your classes as we discussed and great to see you developing marking which gets the students thinking for themselves and involved in the process!  Where can you go next with this to develop and refine your marking? A few ideas and questions for us to chat about;

  • Can you get the students to think in terms of platinum-how could they add to their gold skill/knowledge to make it even stronger-always interesting to ask them where they think their learning should go next
  • How are you or the self/peer checkers going to make sure that advice/feedback is met successfully?
  • How are you or the self/peer checkers going to make sure that the knowledge has stuck in a couple of lessons time and then in a month’s time? Could DIRT help?
  • Could you adapt this for KS4 and higher ability students? I wonder if you could invite the students to devise their own dot marking scheme or any other marking scheme based on their perceptions of which types of marking/feedback really help them. Different groups within the same class could try to devise different methods within an agreed structure decided with them beforehand-e.g. what is the purpose of marking/feedback, what should their role be, how should it help their learning, how will they know it has had a successful impact-be prepared for them to say they would prefer you to do it all! [usually for accuracy]


It’s an exciting, if very tiring, first half-term of a new career for our NQTs. When I went to the SSAT conference in Manchester last December, I came back and mentioned watching the deputy head of Cramlington School speak and raised this question;

What are they doing that is so special and how can we learn from them? They began with a quote, “Imagine a school in which you taught better simply by being virtue of being in that school. What would such a school be like” [Judith Warren Little] Cramlington, I guess! But wouldn’t it be an achievement for our learning community if that was Meols Cop-why shouldn’t it be!

Why shouldn’t this be the case for our NQTs or for any of our teachers-have we built the systems of collaboration and professional development to make this so? If we haven’t yet, and they should be constantly evolving anyway, we need to crack on! Have each and every one of us accepted the accountability of always being the best that we can and helping others to access professional excellence? It’s an eventful, challenging but ultimately rewarding journey for us all whether it be the start of a career or a dazzling denouement-welcome to Meols Cop and have as restful a half-term as you can. Thank you.

No Pens Day


Wednesday the 15th October was National No Pens Day and Hannah Jordan our literacy coordinator cajoled staff and students into downing pens for the day in lessons to focus on speaking, listening, reading and a host of other non-writing skills. The students, of course, don’t need much persuasion but the teachers do need to be innovative and imaginative-it’s hard to teach without using pens/stressing the importance of written skills [although it would be even harder if I whizzed their IWBs away!] I managed to tour school in 2 different periods and there was a wonderful atmosphere and great learning bursting out in every classroom. Interestingly a post by David Didau suggested that perhaps the day would be better described as ‘Debate or Speech Wednesday’. I quite like OCD-Oral Communication Day and that would probably be a more accurate description of what I observed.

The maths classrooms were a blur of speed throughout the day with their maths competition for years 7, 8, 9 based on speedy loop X table games, speed dating [explaining straight line graphs] and maths tarsias. In music Adele shared that; “Year 7 learnt a new song called ‘Amen’ and then verbally peer assessed their performances using 2 stars and a wish” TA Debbie got in the act too!

Design technology put aside theory and written assessment for the day and Tony’s RM students enjoyed West Point Virtual Bridge Builder and using the sanding spindle and making a storage unit.

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Aimee, with her food technology classes, had 3 different main activities;

Year 8 completed a ‘MCHS Bake Off’- making scones

Year 7 flipped their learning to become the Teacher

Year 9 made a chow for their cultural foods project

The naughty students tempted me to break my ‘no sugar’ rule and eat one of the winning scones-very nice it was too! I’m always fascinated by the pronunciation of scones-I think ‘skon’, [phonetically] is posh whilst here and in Liverpool they think scone rhyming with bone is posh! I know that the students like me to say-“is it heck as like’ and one student who left 30 years ago still says “lurry” [lorry] to me when I bump into him. Nowt as strange as folk [and accent/dialect!] and I admit to liking the ‘antwacky’ [antique] that I’ve picked up over in Merseyside.

05 06 07 08

RE, as usual, had some very different ideas! I missed Jennie with year 11 and she explained that; “after listening and reading model responses, students got active in R.E to remind themselves of the formula to A* SUCCESS! Some girls became our question readers and highlighter pens!” This was to help reinforce their ability to answer the 8 mark questions well and grasping the structure of the question.

Step 2- Katie, Romana and Charlotte became our A WHICH SYMBOLISES agree


STEP3- The answer then has to backed up with quotes- Kayleigh making a quote sign.  Katie representing our Muslim responses and Lucy our token Christian. 


STEP 4- Will, Owen and Connor aim to form our D, WHICH STANDS FOR DISAGREE.


The girls again as evidence for disagree


Then ideas are brought together in our personal conclusion. 


Anne was slightly less dramatic and made some tarsias [as did Helen in French] for the students to match up the definitions. They represent a great thinking activity for all abilities.

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As Anne points out, they can be used for reinforcing new work as well as for revision purposes and the students shared their thoughts to help Anne record initial impact-although we will have to see if their learning sticks in their memories!


Andrew used tarsias in geography too; “The photos are of a couple of groups using a tarsia to find the facts of the Haiti earthquake (note Oli showing off his prize from an earlier activity), good resource where you can match up sentences, pictures or simple question and answers to match up the triangle to make one large triangle.

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Something else I did with low ability year 7 was a sing off amongst groups to see who could remember the ‘continents song’, this got really competitive as groups battled it out for a refresher, got them all involved and they all knew the continents by the end of it!

Greg shared some great ideas last week, as did Andrew, in our ‘Magic NQT Moments’ and he has some more for us here! I’ve included all of Greg’s ppt so others can see the ideas he gathered and tried out. They are all from different sources originally-I recognise Paull Ginnis and Lucy Duffy but can’t accurately credit them all!

You say we pay!


Job presentation-rat catcher. I shamefully admit that when I teach in Greg’s room I use the rat as the board wiper!

Roman legacy pitches below.

21 22

Boxing to argue that I picked up from Lucy Duffy from Calderstones at a teachmeet.

Below is the voting board for the industrial revolution job and Roman legacy pitches and another bout of boxing.

23 24 25

Sophie in music videoed year 8 doing their peer assessment rather than writing it down and Bronagh shared her videos with us too. In Spanish, Bronagh emailed me to explain; “Here are 2 of the videos we made yesterday during No Pens Day. The students have been learning how to describe their daily routine in Spanish and so they were put in to groups to practice this vocabulary by making a rap or a song. The sound isn’t the best so you can’t really hear their raps but they were great and the students loved it!

In my other lesson with year 10 we decided to look at the bigger picture of language learning and had a debate based on “Would the world be a better place if we all spoke English?” and “Spanish is a waste of time we should spend more time learning Maths, English and Science.” This turned into a very heated debate which went on the whole lesson with some interesting responses!”

Marie used the same year 8 class and her year 7 class and told me; “I had a great day with my students and I have taken lots of photos. My year 7 class loved creating silly alliteration sentences and acting them out. With my 8.7 class we did hot seating based on Sherlock Holmes and a murder investigation, the students loved it and were brilliant at it, every child took part in the role play.”

For visitors to our blog, Marie is our SENCO and mum of Hannah, who organised the day!

26 27 28

Holly explained that her “Y9.6 scientists modelled the uses of different fuels you can get from crude oil. I then used it as a starter for my 10.6 who are doing the same topic – ‘what fuel does this model represent and why?’”


Both Andrew and Greg have used ‘Talk Tokens’ to encourage and reward great classroom talk. I shared Andrew’s idea around and Emma used the tokens with 2 of her classes.

“Year 9 GCSE – They were doing a news report based on the effects of climate change on Bangladesh. They had 1 minute to include as much data as they could and provide as much information to the class.

Year 8.5 – gave verbal feedback to GCSE questions, discussing the mark scheme provided and whether the work was worth bronze, silver or gold. They had to come to an overall grade for their assessment piece.”


Marion emailed Hannah;

“Hi Hannah. Had a great lesson with 7 set 2 in French. I probably packed too much in but I enjoyed the lesson and I hope the students did too. They learnt the French alphabet and had a go singing it without my help (after practising). Then I gave them all a letter and they had to listen for the letters to form a sentence. I couldn’t get everyone in the photo so took 3 pictures- it reads in French “Pens forbidden- Super”.  They also listened to an authentic tape script (all in French) about Mali and in pair’s transcribed missing vocabulary. All the students responded really well and most of them got it all right which is a huge achievement, given they only started French in September. Thank you for the opportunity to focus on Listening and Speaking skills and for the sweets (although they were all fantastic so will have to buy more! J”

The students said…

  • “I thought no pens day was fun and it was good because we didn’t have to write”.
  • “I thought no pens day in French was very enjoyable because I liked the idea and I liked the activities that we did.”
  • “I think no pens day is a good idea because it means that children can communicate and learn to work together”.
  • “I liked no pens day in French because I learnt how to spell lots of words and the alphabet plus it was fun”.
  • I liked it because it was fun to work without a pen”.

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I visited Sophie T in PSD and the students were having a great time exploring a serious issue;

“Within Year 7 PSD over the past few weeks we have been looking at friendship and conflict. Pupils participated in a number of games during no pens day to demonstrate their own personal characteristics of what makes a good friend. By playing games such as word association pupils were able to interact with everyone in the class by rotating around the room. The lesson was also an individual competition-the pupils with the highest scores got awarded extra praises and sweets. This lesson was a good way for pupils to develop their social, speaking and listening skills within PSD.”

Our English faculty tried out a range of different strategies including crime fiction freeze frames with Hannah and word charades with Lisa. Sarah exploded poems with her year 9, year 7 performed an urban myth and year 11 defined poetic devices and planned to perform ‘An Inspector Calls’ I found Katie’s class preparing for a radio advert.


Karen created a lovely wall display [we will come back to] of Shakespeare and poetry plates. With an over-arching theme of the positon of women, the students designed their plates to represent the emotions associated with certain lines in the play/poem and then considered the links between them.

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Thank you to all colleagues for sharing their ideas and resources.

Summer Magic Moments


Not quite time for the long break –still a few more weeks of busy activity including Sport’s Week, work experience and the best classroom display winner for each tutor group’s World Cup team. The teachers are taking the competition really seriously, spying on each other’s rooms and they look great. Year 11 have officially left to return for their leaver’s assembly, prom at the Vincent and last but certainly not least-their exam results! Very recent visitors to school have [or will] included St Michael’s to look at our data, Wellacre to discuss music, Astley Park to chat learning and teaching and Grange and Culcheth to talk about lesson study-hope they all had/have an enjoyable and worthwhile visit. Alison Heaton will speak at Twickenham next week at the SSAT Achievement Show about our use of pupil premium money and we have joined a network of schools-Excellence and Growth Schools Network-who are interested in developing a ‘growth mind-set’ amongst all of their school community. I was delighted to listen to Hannah this morning who had visited a school in Clapham and was really excited by what she had seen [literacy] and wanted to book a time with me to discuss how she could put into action some of her thoughts-a Magic Moment for her and for me to see a teachers so enthused and open to new ideas which she can share with our subject literacy co-ordinators-a great start to my day-thank you!

Celebrating the success of others and supporting each other is a vital aspect of developing a positive mind-set and in this edition of Magic Moments, I’m going to share a mixture of thoughts from a range of adults working in our school-some are funny, some are touching-all represent the caring values and collaborative ethos that we are trying so hard to develop at Meols Cop. Thank you to the contributors-hope our readers enjoy my choices.

It’s always interesting to begin with some lively visual images-here is Claire’s Magic Moment.

“At the end of last term 9(1) made their own revision page in their exercise books. They had to choose the facts that were the most important to them”.

02 03

Equally colourful and a powerful learning experience was Rachel’s Magic Moment.

“My favourite moment of teaching this year was working with a group of Year 7’s (7 set 2) creating a response to our collaboarative ‘Mail Art’ project. We have been working with The Blandford School in Dorset on the theme of World War One, creating collaborative art on envelopes, a project initiated by the National Society of Education in Art & Design. Year 7 created their first envelopes last week, and I was overwhelmed by the quality of their verbal responses, their empathy and understanding, and above all, their incredible creativity.

Students responded to Wilfred’ Owen’s poem, Dulce Et Decorum Est, selecting a line from the poem which inspired them, and an image to accompany it. They then used a range of media to create empathetic  responses, which portrayed the emotion, colours and images evoked. The conversations in the room were electrifying, and all of the of the envelopes were stunning.  I have included two particularly outstanding examples below.

I can’t wait to see how the project continues, and what these brilliantly imaginative students will come up with next.”

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I went up to Emma’s geography room and was met by the light blue and white of Uruguay flags and paper chains-how could you Emma! The luck of the draw I guess but no luck in her magic moments-just creative learning and teaching.

“Year 7 and 8 pupils made models of islands and volcanoes at home after being given this as a project. The dedication and hard work the pupils put into their work made me very proud to be teaching them. Also, recently year 8 have been making products from recycled materials-a group from 8.1 spent over three hours at home making their product and where so pleased with themselves bringing it into school. It’s nice to see students being so enthusiastic about the tasks we set them.”

Jack Pounder made this lovely island cake and took photos of it for his home-learning project.


Jack Kershaw and Caleb Howie made this ‘hoover’ out of recycled goods as part of their ‘WASTE’ topic-‘Dragon’s Den’ activity.


A couple of TA Magic Moment below-anonymised-illustrates the impact their support and guidance can have on individual learners who are often our most vulnerable.


“One of my magic moments was with a year 10 student in Spanish.  He really struggled to accept that he needed to revise at home to prepare for his assessment and not only in school time.  This is partly due to his Asperger’s Syndrome as he feels his ‘free time’ should be ‘free time’ and not ‘school time’.  I created flash cards for him with his work which helped break it down into small chunks.  I set him a challenge to remember 1 flash card every couple of days at home.  He came into school telling me that he just doesn’t have a good memory and his head was like a sieve.  Fortunately the teacher allowed me to take him out of class leading up to the assessment to support him with his revision.  I sat with him and gave him 1 flash card at a time, I let him read it for a few minutes over and over, then told him to read it aloud a couple of times and then I took the flash card off him and he recited what was on the flashcard to me.  I wouldn’t let him move onto the next flashcard until he recited it perfectly.  As we were limited to the Spanish lessons he had on his timetable, it clearly wasn’t going to be enough time to learn it all so I set him a challenge to learn 4 flashcards over the weekend and ask his parents to test him just like I had done.  When he returned the following week, he had managed to learn 3 out of the 4 which I feel was a great achievement as homework is a real issue for him.  Bit by bit it built up to the point where he could recite it from beginning to end and it was clear to see the sense of achievement and his hard work had paid off.  It was such a relief for him when his assessment was completed but, at the same time, it was a real confidence boost for him showing that he CAN do Spanish, it just takes a bit more effort than other subjects where his interest is greater.”


“The student I work with struggles to get his ideas down on paper.  I have created a flip book of sentence starters to help him. Some are subject specific, others can be use across the curriculum. This has worked really well. It has given him more time to get ideas down as he is not taking as long for him to decide how to begin. I have also found that often he only needs to look through for the initial sentence starter and once he has that his work begins to flow. This has helped to get more work down on paper so teachers have a larger quantity of work to mark to ascertain a more accurate level.”

Tim’s moment shared his love of technology that transmits to all of his students! A true geek!

“My most magical moment recently in teaching has to be when the students were using the 3D printer in my lessons. Students were design their own model to print up and attempting to use the cura software to convert it into an appropriate file for the 3D printer to make. We were also printing up designs that students had downloaded from the internet including robots and puzzles. This really captured the imagination of the students. Not only were they learning new skills in ICT but they were inspired by what the technology can do. The conversations around the room amongst the students were all about what will the future be like with ICT and what will we be doing in 20 years. The students will take this inspiration with them. This indeed was a magical moment.”

Not surprisingly Claudio’s Magic Moments also involved his love of technology and soccer.

 1] What has been your favourite moment of the year involving your role-the moment when you feel you made a great contribution to school [don’t be shy!]

 Two magic moments come to mind both of them include things that I feel passionate about. Programming and football, in programming club we all shout out Eureka when we get something to work for the first time. Football is my sporting religion and if I can preach this to both students and staff alike via the Schools Fantasy League then I’m happy. The Staff want to beat the students and visa-versa, a bit of competition is good for us.

2] What has been your Magic Moment involving the students this year-what made it so special?

My magic moment  by far has to be teaching Binary Code to 9 set 6 last lesson on a Wednesday. This lesson can be challenging at the best of times but to make it worse on this day the software I wanted to use was not working properly and I had to think of something fast. I had wanted to try this Binary lesson out for a wee while. The students were getting restless until I showed them this picture.

I then showed them an online Binary Clock.



Then they were hooked, it just goes to show how visual stimulation can aid in the delivery of what could be classed as a boring topic. The rest of the lesson was really good and each student took their turn to come up and answer the binary question at the end of the lesson.

It isn’t always easy to understand how difficult some of our students find socialising and taking part in activities that many other students participate in and take for granted. Our TAs are often involved in breaking down barriers, not just to do with learning but to do with ‘fitting in’.

What has been your magic moment of the year with the student(s) you support? What made it so special for you?

At his child’s review a parent expressed his concern about his son not socialising and not being in any clubs. I thought about what I could do to encourage him to not sit in the LRC every lunch time so I sat down with A and showed him the list of all the activities he could take part in within school. I read them out to him and he said he was interested in playing table tennis, but when I suggested him going he blushed and said no. I asked if he’d go with me as I fancied a game of ping pong and he was really pleased and said he’d go.

We went and we both laughed so much he recommended it to one of his peers who goes as well now. It seems an excellent opportunity to develop his co-ordination, speed and social skills. I put a note to dad in his planner and A said he was very pleased.

What is the biggest impact you have had on student learning this year? How did you make it happen and please explain your evidence for the impact?

One of my students is nervous, has low confidence and poor self-esteem and can display anxiety when presented with literacy based tasks. During our small group sessions he struggles to be as quick answering questions or to complete his work as the others. It is noticeable to his peers and I could tell he is embarrassed about it. A is motivated by success and needs to experience regular success to help build his confidence.

I thought of using his interests to support his learning and give him the opportunity to succeed, especially in front of his peers. This was achieved by ending some sessions playing true or false where each student has one card with true on and another saying false.  I then included many questions about his interests; natural history, animals, and the Solar System.

When I saw how his hand was shooting up to answer and how happy he was I was delighted. What made it even better for him were the boys asking where the old A had gone, (in a nice way), as he got the answers correct before them.

MFL Helen chose Magic Moments with both staff and students-these are 2 of the student ones

“My first  Magic Moment with a student came on Thursday 8th May with my Year 7 set 1 French class.

I was introducing a new topic ‘pets’.  We had looked at the new vocab for 11 pets and I wanted them to be able to say if they have or don’t have a pet at home.

Hannah Brookfield told me ‘j’ai un hamster’ and when I asked her if this was true, she said ‘no’ and we laughed.

Then, another female student told me ‘ je n’ai pas un chien’.

I asked the class if this sentence was grammatically correct.

Declan straight away blurted out ‘ no miss, it should be je n’ai pas de chien.’  I know because you made me  do the intervention on the VLE because I got it wrong on my first test.  (When we were trying to say we haven’t got classroom equipment.)

Yay, my hours of prep putting intervention material on the VLE (and tracking if they do it) has finally paid off!  Delighted.”

2nd Magic Moment – “absolutely perfect piece of writing produced by 7 set 1 student Georgia Mullin during an assessment test.  That made me smile, too!”


And 1 staff moment

“My first magic moment from my role as subject leader came when a lovely box of chocolates and a card arrived on my desk one morning.  ‘Thank you for being a supportive and kind team leader.  We all appreciate it greatly!’

Frequently I ask myself the question ‘Am I doing a good enough job?’  I see a lot of talent around me and want to be able to lead and direct that talent effectively.  Life has its ups and downs and it is really nice to get some re-assurance that you are appreciated from time to time.”


Anne has led our year 11 students and teachers for 5 years and suddenly finds herself in school alone! This is her story;

“My magic moment is not so much a moment, but a reflection on the five years which have led to the year 11 students who are taking their leave of us.

 As year 11 faces their final exams, we see the culmination of five years hard work, monitoring and intervention. We see the fusion of outstanding pastoral care and outstanding learning and teaching unveiled in the Meols Cop High School final product. Not the conveyor belt production of a set of results, but the emergence of individual and various butterflies with confidence and skills from a school where many recognised the importance of ‘growth mind-set’ before that phrase became known.(‘Success comes in cans.’)

Our year 11 have been the first cohort not to have study leave or an official leaving point before the end of the exam season. They have embraced that, attended lessons, many have stayed after school for revision sessions, attended during holidays and on Saturdays. They have not kicked against the traces, there have not been huge behaviour problems; the majority have kept on coming and working and trying and pushing for each possible marginal gain. There has been a striving for success ethos.

I am not going to name individual students, but I am proud that as a school we have motivated so many and some we might least expect have attended voluntary revision sessions. If I were to describe them student by student, I think we would all be amazed at the impact we have all had –learning tutors, support staff, subject teachers, caretakers, teaching assistants, cleaners, kitchen\dining room staff, mentors and the leadership team . Even if that impact has only been really apparent in this final stage for some students, we should recognise that it is better late than never and we should be aware of the knock on effect our intervention can have on society.

As I face the exciting challenge of my new year group, I remind myself that the naughtiest boy in my last year 7, whilst never being perfect; went on to be a prefect and to play a leading role in many drama productions.

I am proud of our school. I am proud to work with so many colleagues who continually and voluntarily give above and beyond for our students – they work with students before school, at break, at lunch time, after school, in holidays and on Saturday mornings.

But for me, the real magic of teaching has been watching, encouraging and supporting my year group, well served by team Meols Cop, as they developed into the lovely young adults who are about to fly free.”

Marion-a great moment-when 2 legends met! “My magic moments have been bumping into and chatting to members of my previous form and former students.   Working in school I think we often feel we have a minimal impact on the students we come into contact with, but our influence is often further reaching than we realise. The former students I have spoken with recently all talked about the kindness and support they received during their time at Meols Cop. They were all grateful for it, remembering very specific things about specific members of staff (teachers, support staff, mentor etc.)They all said how the help and advice they received had helped them during their time at Meols Cop or after leaving.

Another magic moment has been seeing the enthusiasm of the French language Leaders who have given up their time after school on Fridays. They have been so keen to learn extra French and to share their knowledge with other students in the class – it has been a pleasure to work with them.

The last magic moment I had recently was when I attended my husband’s work conference. On the last day the partners and wives were allowed to go along to listen to the special guest speaker, who this year was Sir Chris Hoy. Imagine my interest when he devoted part of his talk to the benefits of “Marginal Gains” and “Growth Mind set”. For me personally it is sometimes  challenging to take on board all the new theories and be a “progressive” teacher but hearing how it had had such a positive effect on Chris Hoy and the British cycling team made it feel  “real” and made me realise that it can be worthwhile.  I’m not a big fan of the celebrity scene so I never wait to have my photo taken after the talk but this time I swallowed my pride and joined the huge queue. As I was the last of the “fans” I was able to have a quick chat to Sir Hoy and told him about Meols Cop and how we have been trying to use “Marginal Gains and “Growth Mind set” with our students. He seemed genuinely interested and even wrote a short message to my form (the grammar isn’t perfect but hey he’s Sir Chris Hoy.). Anyway the experience was great and I have to admit I was a tiny bit star struck!”


Top that Magic Moment if you can!

Hulk Hogan and Chuck Norris are pretty big stars too-Joanne used them in an analogy she made and chose this as her Magic Moment.

“My magic moment was with a year 9 GCSE class which are mixed ability. Some of them were struggling to understand the difference between the Richter and Mercalli scale, so we improvised. Decided to come up with a more visual representation of how they vary thus the idea of bringing in Chuck Norris and Hulk Hogan was created.

The Richter scale is based on actual strength (Magnitude) of an earthquake, whereas Mercalli is based on visual interpretations and varies according to what people’s perceptions are.  

We showed them 2 images and asked which did they think would be stronger based on what they could see- obviously Hulk has more muscles so much stronger, or so it would be assumed. Then discussed who Chuck Norris was (American Martial Arts expert who served in the US Air force and actor), who Hulk Hogan was (WWE fighter and actor) and their legacy. Asked if Hulk and Chuck were to be in a fight that in fact would win- even the girls knew this- Chuck obviously.

This then brought us onto a discussion that just because you look big does it mean your strong and then eventually onto the links with an earthquake- if visually it looks to have been very damaging to infrastructure does it in fact have to be strong.

Penny dropped for the rest.”


Hulk Hogan would be far too big Jo!

Two more TA moments shared with each other to re-tell

1] What has been you Magic Moment of the year with the student[s] you support? What made it so special for you?

A had a special moment with one of the young ladies in year 11, when she noticed her upset in one of the classes she supports. A asked if she could take her out of class and she broke down in tears. A found out that she was worried about something at home, as well as revising for her exams. She told A that she hadn’t been able to talk to any of her friends or family about what was going on but she could tell A. She had been able to trust in A to tell her. A took her for a walk and a chat and explained to her that she would make her progress manager aware of what was going on, and she was happy with that and wanted A to sit in with her in the chat. The outcome was that all was well at home, and her mum wrote a letter in to thank school for helping her as they thought that she was just being a moody teenager and didn’t know there was anything wrong. The progress manager brought the letter to show A as she said it was all down to her that things had been sorted. A feels that having a good rapport with the students is really important so that they feel comfortable with you.

2] What is the biggest impact you have had on student learning this year? How did you make it happen and please explain your evidence for the impact.

Looking at the students’ in year 11s grades, the students A support appear to be on target, however A said that the proof will be in the pudding when they get their results in August!

She also said that having X come into the exams in a positive frame of mind will hopefully help him to attain, if not go above, his target expected. When they first started doing exams in the dance studio, he would often get upset, which disturbed the other students. So they went into the small changing room and this settled him a bit. Once again she said having a good rapport with him helps too!

B’s magic moments

What has been you Magic Moment of the year with the student[s] you support? What made it so special for you?

When B first took over from C with year 7 going into year 8, the group were obviously very familiar with C, and were a bit wary of a new face. But over the course of the year B has built up a good relationship with the group. 2 of the Girls will now talk to B about anything! A young person with anger management issues and epilepsy used to be very difficult and now B can calm them down and take them out of a room without them getting angry and upset.

Also B said she received this message from a previous student,

“Hello, I’m proud to tell you that I’ve just sent off my application for universities and most of it is down to you amazing ladies so I’d just like to say thank you for all the support that you have provided me with when I needed a kick up the ….! :0 I’m so grateful for you two making me realise that I can in fact do it!!!!!”

Sometimes, penny dropping and magic moments take a few years to come to fruition!!

Sandra-our examinations officer and clerk to the governors has been at Meols Cop since she was 11 and has stayed for the next…..years! Our longest serving colleague and expert worrier-Sandra’s Magic Moments;

“I have always struggled with being forward about my contribution to school and am terrible at ‘blowing my own trumpet’.  I have always been happy to be one of the old boilers, happily keeping the engine ticking over in the background.  My role has changed so much over the years and is now quite a solitary job.  When I worked in the main office (many moons ago), I got to know the staff and students very quickly.  I also knew most of the student addresses and ‘phone numbers too (without even having to look them up)!  Nowadays, I don’t really get to know the students (or staff for that matter) that well and only have direct contact with them when I am discussing or issuing examination information.  Students (and many staff) don’t really have any idea what is involved in ensuring that the exam seasons run smoothly. 

The students just turn up, sit the paper and leave the exam room again blissfully unaware of the background work, the behind the scenes working with Janet to free up exam rooms, having Barbara (and now Leon) as my ‘up front’ staff, ensuring that the exams are started, finished and conducted in a correct and orderly way.  The organisation of the access arrangements is a job in itself.  Making sure every student receives their entitlement is so important.  This involves the help and support of ICT Support, the caretaking staff, Nathan, Wes and Mandy, Marie and the teaching assistants and, on occasions, other support staff as well as my team of invigilators.  The exams simply could not take place without all of these people working together.

I live and breathe every single examination until it is over, hoping that I have done everything I could to ensure that it runs smoothly and efficiently and, each time this happens, I suppose this is a ‘magic moment’ to me.

I suppose my biggest magic moment in the exam season is when we have had our spot inspection and the inspector has worked his way through his tick list and all is OK.  The sense of relief I have once he has been is unbelievable – he came today and all was good!!”

History Helen, hasn’t been here quite as long as Sandra, although it feels like it sometimes! Berlin was one of my Magic Moments too-the staff and students were great company and we all would agree with her 2nd moment.

1] What has been  your favourite moment of the year involving your role-the moment when you feel you made a great contribution to school [don’t be shy!]

My favourite moment of the year within my role has been our trip to Berlin. I have never been so proud of a group of students and felt so proud to be part of the school. Their behaviour and attitude towards learning while away was amazing and I will have fun memories for years to come.

2] What has been your Magic Moment involving the students this year-what made it so special?

My favourite moment of the year was students coming out of their GCSE exam so happy and enthusiastic. They fed back and shared what they found good and what they didn’t and by me explaining what they could have put they felt even happier with their exam. It showed that the hard work paid off! Let’s hope it shows in the results J

I received a lovely card from Kelly and Kayley who visited Meols Cop last Wednesday.

“David, we would like to say a massive thank you for welcoming us into your school last week.

You have given us so much to think about and have inspired us to take a very different approach to teaching and learning. Thank you also for breakfast and dinner-we really appreciate how accommodating you and your colleagues were.

Hope to see you soon, thank you once again”

Senior staff should say thank you a thousand times every week but it isn’t often said back to us nor is it expected or sought-nice when it happens though-a Magic Moment! MAGIC Moments is an easy concept for me to talk and write about because they happen all of the time for me during every day. It can be intimidating when senior staff walk into classrooms but I always feel welcomed and able to have some banter with staff and students and to find positive moments of learning or relationships and to catch ‘GREAT’ in action. Colleagues are accommodating to visitors and each other and you do inspire me to rethink and reflect on my own practice. Thank you again for all of your support and encouragement.

Magic Moments 2

Last ever Chucklevision and Magic Moments 2

Bumper Easter Special

Catch a falling star an’ put it in your pocket Never let it fade away Catch a falling star an’ put it in your pocket Save it for a rainy day


Lots of ‘star’ ideas have been falling my way during observations or just sent to me for early magic moments. Rachael Hardman joined us at Xmas, after we lost two of our English faculty to last minute promotions at another school. She has been doing a great job and sent round this lovely idea for reviewing learning in lessons.


Rachael began her lesson observation with visual clues for her learning objectives


I hate the formulaic start to the lesson of flashing up the learning objectives, have banned writing them down ages ago and enjoy anything that are imaginative ways of sharing them, preferably making the students tell what they are rather than being told! Interesting new short blog post on LOs is here from Tom Sherrington;

And a touch of the recent history of learning intentions from Dan Brinton

The conversation after the lesson probed a few of our current themes-Rachael has missed many of our discussions and so she needed an up-date on our ways and philosophy, pointing towards great practice she can tap into and thanking her for her challenging lesson and for filling an English teaching gap so admirably. She was worried that the students weren’t responding enough to her questioning. [Latest news flash-Rachel is staying permanently! The power of chucking in a good lesson observation!!-Welcome properly to MCHS Rachel from all staff]

“You were concerned that the students like to be told what they need to do and were reluctant to answer questions out aloud-keep pushing the challenge and don’t give in to spoon-feeding-long term gain. Give out differentiated questions or have their names on the ppt with time to think before they answer-check how Hannah does it”

There are so many different ways of using questioning that are more effective than random name generators and their like so that all of the class are involved at some point over a series of lessons. I favour differentiated question cards given at the start of the lesson so that the students have time to think and can be placed into similar ability groups to answer and so on. Hannah Jordan has the student names on her ppt and gives them advance warning-again the questions are aimed at different abilities of student. Some like Socratic questioning, others like Blooms scaffolds-there are lots of ways and from our teaching resource vault are some I’ve gathered this school year and issued via our Learning Thoughts. I may not have put the names of the authors on as I cut and pasted-apologies if anyone spots their work and the authorship isn’t acknowledged!!

Questioning Techniques

Questioning and Blogs

Top Ten Questioning Strategies

Inclusive Questioning

We are still thinking hard across the school and trialling different marking techniques and certainly have nice stickers to encourage re-drafting of work before it is marked. The better the piece is before the teacher marks it, the easier it is for the student to be motivated into tweaking the work to make it really good rather than giving in work that needs a lot of attention and correction. Our reading group looked at a variety of feedback research from John Hattie, David Didau and Andy Philip Day and a couple of the slides based on their ideas here explain some of the debate surrounding feedback.

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FAIL/SAIL-first attempt at learning, second attempt at learning encourages re-drafting and checking so that ‘best’ work is given in and the learning gap closed.

“Have a good think about FAIL/SAIL –if you are going to mark something-let them draft before putting to paper you will mark-much better to have a nearly right piece of work than one with mistakes” Explained here from Belmont school.

David Didau’s flow chart explains how this might work in a practical situation and one that needs to be understood by the students.


Before peer critique-self assess and highlight areas where success criteria is met

Let the peer mate verify and check

You can do this step by step-I criteria at a time.”

There are a range of ideas that have been shared to try to engage the students with their feedback and to get them to highlight key areas of their work BEFORE it is marked. DIRT time –dedicated improvement and reflection time-is increasingly used for this purpose. [We could call it FLIRT!]

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These are ideas that have been shared amongst our staff and discussed in detail at our reading group. A whole range of DIRT stickers and stampers supports the idea and helps to engage the students. The students commented positively on the strategies in our latest survey and appreciated the reflection time.

Another of our favourite authors, Zoe Elder, offers her WD40 route to feedback and questioning encouraging the students, at times to seek out what they don’t understand-error seeking to find the marginal gains needed to improve. Well worth checking out.

Jennie Doherty our very own RE source of mad creativity and always worth a wind-up, called for me to visit her class to see her latest creation and after battling through the fluttering of butterfly wings, I had to admit that it was a good ’un! Take-away home-works are all the rage at the moment-here is Rachel Young’s Matisse example complete with a differentiated set of activities.


Jennie, after an experience in an Indian restaurant [don’t ask] thought of take-away intervention bags-here they are;

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Each bag has inside; revision resources, treats and a DIY cup of tea and you can see that on the outside Jennie has written personally to the students to encourage and motivate them towards year 11 exam success. I thought that this was a brilliant idea and so did many of her colleagues who wanted to borrow it when I shared on our emails. She has now extended her idea into an a-la carte menu for her RE revision restaurant-Michelin stars guaranteed!

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`Clair Benson and Alex Vine, two of our mathematicians have been working together on NTEN lesson study, planning and observing each other with a year 7 class they share. Their key enquiry question aims to improve and support the students when tackling functional maths questions-maths questions which require the students to consider and apply maths in an everyday situation. The literacy element and comprehension of what the question is actually asking is the aspect which some of our students find tricky. Claire and Alex have been encouraging the students to use the approach below when they are tackling such questions;


The support given has been improving the maths attainment but there were other ‘Magic Moments’ I enjoyed when I was the 3rd man in the observation process. All of the maths faculty have been using their 5 a day starter to the lessons with every year group-this is the one for Alex’s lesson.


The red no 6 is based on the current work that the class are studying, the other questions range across topics that the class have covered from September, Students haven’t learned anything until it is ‘stuck’ in their heads and by repeating and recalling knowledge each lesson, the faculty are hopeful that knowledge retention will be improved. It’s an interesting concept.

We have 20 different schools visiting us this week for a literacy conference, when we will share some of the strategies we use to develop literacy across all of the subjects. The maths example reminded me of how crucial literacy is in helping our students to overcome learning barriers. In both the maths and science lesson study lessons, the teachers predicted outcomes for the impact of their tactics on learning, were inaccurate with a couple of students who, whilst being the more able mathematicians\ scientists, didn’t achieve as high a score on the questions as predicted due to their weakness with reading and comprehending the question. Literacy isn’t a ‘bolt-on’ option it is just part of great learning and teaching and an absolutely essential aspect for our students who are coming to us with the lowest prior attainment of all the 21 high schools in Sefton-it is crucial that we get it right.


Subject specific literacy, as in this year 8 fortune teller for maths from Alex’s class –an alternative to 5 a day-is important to develop from the start of year 7 and we were able to share many examples at the conference-many have been shared on previous blogs.

Pleasingly Clair and Alex have been delighted with the impact that Lisa’s intervention has been having on the weakest student who go to her for intervention English and maths. Lisa is a primary/secondary teacher who we employed in September [and have now kept-well done Lisa!] to support our intervention and this will be extended in September with Fran also staying with us to offer more intervention support in maths and science. [congratulations and a warm welcome to Fran who has stepped into cover for science and maths so far this year ] When the students feel confident enough to take on learning challenges they felt that previously they would fail at-these are amongst the best Magic Moments!

There are some folks who are sceptical about using different coloured pens for different aspects of book work and assessment [they don’t always work full time day in day out in a school!]-the purple pens of progress  seems to offend some BUT the mathematicians have, across all year groups, been using highlighters to highlight key words [as on the slide] and purple pens to write their own responses in. They love it! Sometimes we forget that they are children and enjoy something different-perhaps writing in a different colour for different responses and the deliberate action and thought involved in picking up a different coloured pen, actually do help the knowledge and idea to stick. For schools where marking has been an issue, having a uniform approach may be the answer [so my other half tells me!]-I have marked in green for 30 years and I don’t impose marking/feedback colours and don’t mind what happens along as the students are responding in the form of a dialogue and have the time to reflect on what they have been asked to do. If student responses, peer responses and teacher feedback are in different colours, it does make it easier when monitoring books but I’m not sure that can be the basis of a policy!

Clair’s lesson took the same enquiry question as Alex’s, ‘to improve how 7 set 7 answer functional questions’ but the emphasis had changed from data to numbers and Clair wanted them to be able to read and check a solution and decide if it was correct or not. They were given G.C.S.E. questions to try in their pairs and one of my Magic Moments came towards the end of the lesson when Miss asked the year 7’s if they were be going to be frightened by such hard questions when they get to11-they all shouted NO! Building up confidence and discussing and talking about maths a.s.a.p. really help support the retention of knowledge and learning over time.


I hope your maths is good enough to realise that the answer is wrong in the question Clair modelled on the IWB! When I first observed maths lessons there was little discussion and no real maths literacy-the students sat and did sums. I can’t quite get my head around multiplication using grids and the Chinese method but there does seem to be logic to it and the students certainly used the methods well as they worked out whether or not the offered solutions were right or wrong. Miss had filled in the answers to the questions below and the students used their functional skills highlighting skills to help them decide whether or not she was correct or not.


Another Magic Moment came when the use of technology really supported the learning of one of our hard of hearing students in the class. We have purchased a couple of portable microphones after a request by TA’s Helen and Christine, who have developed their own CPD by attending a course aimed at supporting hard of hearing children. The microphone enables the student to hear group conversations and thus she can join in. This would normally be difficult and access to collaborative learning was difficult. Previously the student could hear the teacher because she wears a small microphone that is tuned into a suitable frequency. When I began teaching, mainstream high schools wouldn’t have been able to teach some of the students we have now- there was no wheelchair access and certainly no system for helping those who can’t hear very well. We have enjoyed teaching a child with Down’s syndrome and of course have an Asperger’s and dyslexic unit in school. Our community is richer for welcoming a wide diversity of students-wouldn’t it be lovely if schools were just schools that every one of all genders, faiths, race and economic wealth could attend! I can dream!

Attached below are the final Chucklevision shared thoughts from PSD [Cal and Marion] and Colin’s business studies. Huge thank to all of our teaching staff who have shared so openly this term and allowed their work to go to other schools and teachers. I really do appreciate your support and collaboration. Thank you.


Year 7 set 7 Topic   Drugs

Questions about drugs were written onto sheets. The students were asked to put a yellow sticker onto the sheet if they could answer the question and a red sticker if they didn’t know or were unsure. They were then split into two groups and each student given some information about drugs. They highlighted the information that they could use to answer the original questions and then discussed their findings with the rest of the group. The students then had to put blue stickers on another set of sheets which demonstrated what they now knew. This activity worked well because it was very visual and the students could see how they had progressed by comparing what they knew at the start of the lesson and what they knew at the end of the lesson

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In PSD I always try to plan lessons that will relate to issues in the “Real world”. Therefore as part of Fair trade fortnight I planned to do lessons which were based around a competition called Snack attack.

The focus of the lessons was on developing skills to work in a team and encouraging the students to have an understanding of how they can have an impact on the world in which they live (Citizenship AT – taking informed and responsible action).

In summary, the competition asks each group to:

Come up with a new snack idea that uses Fair trade products

Invent a name/ logo for it

Design the packaging

Design a marketing campaign to promote it


We had done a lesson about Fair trade and how it helped the farmers and discussed the big question of whether we would be prepared to pay more for fair trade products.

In the competition lessons the students were allowed to choose who they wanted to work with. But they had to negotiate to select which would be the team leader and identify the skills within the group to allocate the various tasks.

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Rebecca creating the advert.

Megan writing the description and how they have worked as a team

Jordan making sure everyone was on task.

They had to discuss what they had learnt about Fairtrade and consider ethical decisions before they decided what to make. They needed to apply time management and organisational skills (especially designing and marketing a product) and work as a team.

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The following lesson each team then had to do a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style presentation. After the presentation the work of each group was displayed on tables and all the class had a chance to look at the work. Then they could award the group they thought was the best a gold star.

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Self assessment

The students then had to complete an assessment of their skills when working with others. This was made up of two parts:

A self assessment of how they when made progress when working with others.This involved considering what when well, even better if and how they had helped the group achieved their goal as wll as identifying areas for improvement.

A peer assessment of the specific citizenship skill they had used to complete the task and a STAR review.

Self assessment

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Peer Assessment

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Magic Moments


Magic moments When two hearts are carin’

Magic moments Memories we’ve been sharin’

I wasn’t going to start our Magic Moments sharing until after Easter but found some good memories to share last week which fitted nicely with other whole school initiatives.  This is the opening act then for great things to come! I’ve put the information onto our blog so parents and friends can see what we are doing but the report, on this occasion is written for our teaching staff to feedback on our lesson study initiative.

The lesson study initiative, where 2 colleague plan lessons together and observe each other, is coming to the end of the first group of 12 volunteers. They will share their research with the rest of the staff after the holidays and I have simply been drip-feeding snippets of information along the journey. Rachel Young and Josie Morgan share a year 10 art class on different days so they have enjoyed the benefits of pooling ideas and supporting each other to tackle their key concern; How effectively can we improve the quality of sketchbook work in underachieving boys?

The teachers plan together and for each teaching tactic they have planned for, has to predict how they feel that the students will react and how it will impact on their learning. During the lesson and afterwards they consider what really happened and a much deeper conversation about learning begins-this is why we wanted to be involved! The developmental rather than judgemental form of lesson observation, we feel, will really move our teaching on. ‘Trail-blazing’, as Ofsted might describe it rather than ‘beyond outstanding’! Am I really using these terms-on with the story!

Rachel’s success criterion was that;

  1. 1.       All students should begin to work with less support, taking responsibility for their own path to ‘mastery’.
  2. 2.       Students will take more creative risks, learning from their mistakes.
  3. 3.       Students will have more confidence in their own ability.

Her research included some of our own share ideas but she tapped into the world of blogs and tweets [still massively under-used by teachers] and borrowed and adapted ideas from @huntingenglish and @pekebo. The original source is here


with Rachel’s ppt inserted by the author, Pete Jones-huge thank- you to him. The students have been responding well to the ’marginal gains approach’ and Rachel’s wheel gave them the opportunity to identify weaknesses that need to be immediately worked on to boost art mastery.


Rachel encouraged the students to learn from their mistakes and you can see her strategies below in the slides and on her planning sheet. Lesson study asks that we use 3 students to consider for the predictions and actual responses, although the whole class is involved in the learning and teaching and often the feedback when the students are asked for their views on the lesson.


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Predicted Response

Actual Response

1 Starter- Students have own portraits printed, from photos taken yesterday.  Students are given 5 minutes to draw a quick line drawing of their portrait. (5mins) Students may become frustrated and think “I can’t do it”. They may give up, or work slowly. Student A Entirely gave up after a few lines- no engagement, very frustrated. Did not hand in this work. Student B Gave it a really good go- made all expected errors.  Student C Gave it a really good go- made all expected errors. 
2 Look at students drawings as a group- what common ‘mistakes’ have been made. Powerpoint- refers to children’s drawings- how we learnt to draw people. Common portrait misconceptions. (10 mins) I hope to see ‘light-bulb’ moments- an understanding of where they were going wrong. Students should feel more confident to proceed. Took part in discussion- identified own errors. Quiet throughout discussion. Quiet throughout discussion
3 Students retry drawing, this time spending 20 minutes. Students are given small pieces of coloured paper and each time they notice a mistake, they write it down, take a photo and correct what they’ve done. Link to Marginal Gains. (20 mins) A and B will give the task a really good go. C may be more reluctant and ask for more help. All three boys will likely fill their ‘mistake papers’ quickly. Did not enjoy task. Focussing on mistakes was uncomfortable for him and made him feel self-conscious. He did not really try to improve his work. Work was marginally more skilful, so he did take on board some ideas. He was unable to identify minor mistakes, simply stating that he had done ‘everything’ wrong. B worked as expected. He had a good go at the task, and his work was of average quality. He identified his errors well and fixed them himself with little guidance. C was a real surprise- his drawing improved massively and he was able to verbally identify all small errors (though he did not write these down) and fix them independently and confidently. His work shows a real journey- he was able to engage with the process and found it helpful.

Rachel then added a different dimension into the learning by adding a Roy Lichtentstein comic book aspect into the art and afterwards was able to consider what had actually happened and what could be learnt from the lesson.

What were they able to do?What progress they made and how do you know? A was able to identify his weaknesses but was not able to move on from them and fix them independently. He did make some progress in terms of his portraiture skills, but still has a way to go on this journey. He demonstrated that he was keen to improve, and that he responds better to more open-ended creative tasks. B was comfortable with the technical task and was able to identify errors and fix them with some independence. His starter drawing and developed drawing showed real progress. He struggled with the creative element and working with a shorter time scale. C has excellent technical drawing skills and demonstrated progress with these during the lesson from his starter drawing to the more developed.

Initial Thoughts

A prefers more creative tasks. I will continue to work with him to improve his technical skills. I will continue to work with B to push him outside of his comfort zone, developing his creativity. C needs further support with developing his creativity and managing his time. I will continue to work on this with him.

Being an art lesson, it is easy to keep a pictorial record of development to share with colleagues when explaining lesson study!

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Josie had the same success criterion and same class and again worked on a step by step developmental approach;

2.Composition Design


Students will develop their understanding of composition by creating 3 designs.

The first design will have 2 pre-drawn images to provide guidance.

The second design will have 1 pre-drawn shape.

The final design will be plain paper.

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This was to avoid the blank piece of paper ‘panic’ that spooks her students! She was hoping that this structured approach would create a better final piece. Josie began with a laminated overlay that the students placed on an A4 2 painting sheet-this was an idea that came from @pedagoo and several teachers had been producing for different subjects in our learning hubs. The production is quite time consuming and fiddly but once produced; there is a really useful self-critique activity that can be used more than once.

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Josie’s predictions and actual responses for the first 2 activities are here for you to read.


Predicted Response

Actual Response

1.Starter(10mins)Analyse 2 different artworks identifying compositional techniques. Students will work together and use the overlay to answer the questions and support learning.What is the first thing you noticed in the artwork?

What do you notice next in the artwork?

What guides your eyes around the artwork?

All three boys will complete the questions on the overlay. A should work confidently with others to discuss opinions and he may also contribute vocally. B and C are unlikely to voice their opinions without prompting at first, but should gain confidence. A was able to verbally discuss the noticeable points of composition and discuss his opinions with confidence and ease.When it came to writing down his opinion and thoughts, he struggled to write without asking for support and gave up; relying on the other members of his group to complete the task. B understood the task and when prompted he was able to confidently suggest why the composition directed his eyes. B did require some prompting to develop his ideas further, but not as much as expected.He also was confident enough to voice his understanding to the members of his group with ease. C worked well with his group and confidently discussed the compositional techniques.When spoken to, he was able to talk with assurance about his ideas and opinions.He was able to easily point out the composition conventions and led his group in the answering of questions.

2.Composition Design


Students will develop their understanding of composition by creating 3 designs.

The first design will have 2 pre-drawn images to provide guidance.

The second design will have 1 pre-drawn shape.

The final design will be plain paper.


All three boys will work on their 3 composition designs.

B will work diligently and try to complete all three tasks. He may need to ask for support regarding improvements.

B will attempt the designs, however he will ask for support and guidance to reaffirm his understanding.

C will work slowly and precisely, but will be reluctant to ask for help due to lacking confidence.

A understood the task, but was slow to work and seemed reluctant to start drawing without significant guidance.

He did complete all three designs; however the standard of the work is low, due to his slow working and repetition of previously used shapes, rather than exploring new ideas in his artwork.

B made great progress on this task and produce a high standard of composition focussed designs.

It was clear that he enjoyed the structured nature of the task and as the task progressed; his confidence in his ability also grew.

The work he produced shows a confident theme and high standard.

C probably made the most progress in terms of my expectations.

His three designs were completely quickly with confidence and show excellent understanding of compositional theory.

He clearly works well with timed exercises, which set him limits to work to.

Josie’s research for her planning took her to a source close to her heart-her fiancée! He works with apprentices in industry and uses the STAR approach to self-critique. This was the first time she had used this approach and it was interesting to find that the students didn’t all play as safe as she expected by giving themselves middling scores-as students often do. Perhaps the strategies had helped confidence and risk taking.

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3.Success Star

(10min demo)

Students will be given a Success Star with 10 statements relating to the task and their confidence.

They are to then rank their lesson outcomes and join the numbers to create a shape of success.

10 – Very Successful

1 – Not Successful

All boys will complete their Success Star.All boys will most likely link numbers in the middle of the scale, rather than showing clear confidence in their work and progress. A completed the star and rated himself 7 on most statements, apart from statement 2, where he gave himself 8 for incorporating the shapes and statement 3, where he gave himself 5 for showing rhythm. B was surprisingly confident in his Success Star and rated himself 10 for liking his compositions and 9 for making progress in the lesson. He was less confident regarding his use of Kandinsky shapes and variety of proportion, awarding himself 6. C was also surprisingly confident, with the majority of the ratings getting a 9 or 8.He awarded himself a 10 for not requiring support or guidance, which is excellent for C

The pictorial record again showed interesting development and progress, below, but for both teachers, the learning progress will be measured over time and repetition of the strategies will be needed to clarify a summer evaluation of whether or not the approaches do help to answer the original enquiry question;

Enquiry Question: How effectively can we improve the quality of sketchbook work in underachieving boys?

Drawing One – Two shapes drawn on for support


Drawing Two – One shape drawn on for support


Drawing Three – No shapes drawn for support



I don’t need to be convinced about the power and validity of lesson study as one of the best CPD methods of helping our teachers develop and reflect on their skills in the classroom but I may be guilty of over-simplifying what isn’t always an easy idea for schools to organise and one that needs time for all aspects of the study to be built in. The mention of the T word tells you that organisation is key for the senior leaders and teachers involved.

  • ·         There does need to be a real need for the enquiry question at the beginning-what evidence is there that the students are not progressing/understanding the chosen concept. Is there statistical evidence to support the need for the enquiry before we begin it? And bearing that in mind, how will we use statistical evidence to prove the success of our strategies in our evaluations? Not always our areas of strength-we are aware of other schools using universities [York ] to help them-can Edge Hill support us with giving our research a measureable impact that is both simple enough for us to use but meaningful enough to persuade teachers to engage with it? Huntington School have an interesting approach on their blogs that may be useful and NTEN can also help.
  • ·         Research to support the enquiry and find best practice is again time consuming and although teachers are encouraged to read information and to search the web; much of the information comes via my searches for interesting ideas-that’s fine, it’s one of my roles but independent research and searching for very specific needs is much better done by the individual concerned and I’m still trying to get more involved in going onto the internet –the time involved is gained back a hundred fold when resources/ideas that are just perfect to adapt and use tomorrow, are found. Best CPD around!
  • ·         We do try to build in time to support the practical bit of turning an idea into resources and classroom use-our learning hubs give some time but most has to be produced as part of normal planning. I can’t, of course, ask anyone to work outside of school hours but realistically this probably happens and I’m eternally grateful for the commitment shown!
  • ·         The time needed to plan together and discuss afterwards also relies heavily on our volunteers finding time-I do waive the normal formal appraisal observation and planning involved for the lessons study written up and given as evidence for the quality of teaching portfolio we are developing [we don’t have graded observations or a list of them here] to be placed with the other measure of QT that we feel are important. Hopefully half of the observations next year will be based on lesson study with 1 formal appraisal observation with line managers-we have to remember that part of our development of great teaching is to support quality observer feedback so opportunities for line-managers to observe and offer developmental feedback/advice are important too. I will build in more directed meeting time in during the autumn schedule to give more time for planning together, feedback and writing up the evaluations.
  • ·         Lessons are covered to allow lesson study to happen unless it happens to fall in PPA time. Whilst it is a great use of that time, the time is bought back by covering another lesson or I can sit with the class. The whole time issue may become more difficult as our lesson study numbers grow but I’m sure we can, as always, work around any barriers if we believe that LS is as important as I think it might be!
  • ·         Five of our partnerships are in the same subject [or area e.g. performing arts], often with the same class of students and one group is across English and maths. All have worked well although performing arts have fewer lessons per week and this makes it more difficult for them to choose the most appropriate lessons in their schemes of learning to choose from.
  • ·         Each partnership has tried different ways of involving the students and getting feedback from them. A couple with the older students haven’t specifically told the students they are observing to avoid the students being embarrassed-they tend to fill the feedback sheets in with all of the class sometimes at the need of the lesson or sometimes at the beginning of the next to aid recall. Those where the students have been told have either just asked those students or still sought feedback from everybody. Not sure any of the ways are better than another-perhaps freedom of choice and professional judgement is best.
  • ·         I did worry about just looking at 3 students-what is the point of that! However to look at more in such depth, I think we all realised would have been impossible! The numbers of students is irrelevant to be honest when the main conversation is about teacher reflection. We do look at the whole class in our formal observations and ask the same questions about predictions and actual responses so have tried 3’s and whole classes. We just don’t dig as deeply in our formal observation and cover other areas such as book marking/dialogue and CPD needs.
  • ·         The growing numbers of schools involved are a diverse bunch and that makes the NTEN aspect of lesson study perhaps more interesting. It would be unusual for such different schools to mix on the same teaching project but recently the independent school Wellington College blogged about their learning study experience here;

Selective grammar school KEGS added their A level experience of lesson study

Our partner NTEN CPD audit school St Mary’s from Blackpool explained how they will; use lesson study as part of their research group, activities here

And explaining why research matters more than ever is a blog from Huntington School

  • ·         Very different schools but all aiming to provide the best learning and teaching possible for their students-interesting times! We will also shortly have a system of Iris classroom filming available to support our coaching, lesson study, informal observations, self-reflection-you name it we will use the camera for it! Jen Filson saw the system in action at KEGS and they demonstrated it in school. Happy days!

This is an interim report and hopefully a positive one for us all to consider. The examples of lessons study so far on our other blogs have engaged and interested other colleagues and we should have plenty of volunteers for the next cohort. There is a growing interest from other schools and it is an initiative that is deserving of whole staff involvement. It is early days and there are plenty of tweaks to be made especially in the research and statistical aspects but the first requirement was commitment and a will to become better teachers-the fact that I couldn’t fit all the volunteers into the first cohort tells me what I already knew about you all!




Chucklevision 5


Thank you to our MFL and Performing Arts faculties for sharing their ideas with the rest of the staff.

Helen our MFL subject leader begins this collection.

“I wanted my year 10 French class to produce a leaflet about Southport to bring together vocab and structures we have been learning about home and the environment.

The leaflet aimed to improve their ability to:-

Write for an audience (it needed to promote the town so had to be positive) and the formal nature of a leaflet required them to practise the 2nd person plural form of the verb  … visitez/vous pouvez… etc.)

We have also been focusing on using a range of connectives and more exciting adjectives in our work – so this was an ideal situation in which to put them into practice.

By including some reviews of the town on the back page, more able students had the opportunity to include some perfect and imperfect tenses thus increasing the complexity of their work.

Finally I assessed the work they produced and have given them a detailed feedback form with subject specific advice for next time.

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From Marian

7 set 5 Target (levels 3+/4-)  –  (2 lessons)

I have been aiming to encourage the students to use connectives so that they can produce longer texts which help them reach a higher level. The group is quite mixed in character and ability so I thought a group activity may give them the confidence to then go on and achieve a good level independently. Each student in the group was given a sentence in French to match up to the English equivalent (more able students were asked to translate it). Then, they had to as a group, put the French sentences into an appropriate sequence. They had to collaborate and cooperate for this as there was more than one way of doing it. Following this they discussed which connectives could be used to link the sentences and then they had to place them correctly between those sentences. The end result was a substantial paragraph in French with a variety of connectives (Level 4+). The students then reflected on the activity, discussed it in class and completed the feedback sheets. I will let you know how the follow up lesson went.

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From Eddie

infinitives Wipeout Game

An example of an IWB game he plays with the students.

I spotted Rebecca’s comic strips whilst showing a year 6 young lady round-here they are from Rebecca plus a few Spanish challenges.

Comic Strips

Year 9 created their own comic strips in Spanish. Students used the comic strip creator on The topic we have been studying in lessons is free time, so I asked students to create a comic based on this theme. This gave students a chance to be creative and consolidate their learning during the lesson. I asked a few students to print their work, which is now proudly displayed on the wall in my class room.

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Marking and dialogue

I am trying to help students improve their writing, by setting mini challenges in their books.

E.g. I asked Ryan to use more adjectives in his writing when describing his town. I set him a challenge to unscramble the adjectives and then use them in his own writing.


I asked Nathan to use more variety when writing his opinion in Spanish, so set a simple translation exercise.


Lovely Spanish learning moments from Bronagh

Extended writing carousel

Pupils often struggle to extend their answers and forget to include some of the main details needed including connectives, descriptions, opinions and high level phrases. Therefore I broke them down into separate groups in which pupils had to move around in a carousel and brainstorm as many ideas as possible. Each group had a different coloured pen and had the challenge to find as many phrases. When all the table were completed the pupils had time to move around and steal as many ideas as possible before sitting down to complete their own answer. This not only proved to them that they clearly do know how to use these phrases but also challenged them to find new vocabulary and extend their knowledge further than the basic phrases they always use.

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Year 11 Revision activities

To keep year 11 motivated and help revise key phrases and vocabulary I have been using Tarsia charts and fortune tellers. 

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Reading activity

A lot of pupils find reading tasks with new vocabulary really daunting and immediately give up when faced with a longer paragraph. I have been using an idea for MY to break down the reading into different categories such as tenses, connectives, details etc. The pupils have to skim and scan for all of these firstly they then need to match the pictures they have to the new vocabulary. When they have completed this they have read the entire paragraph thoroughly without realising!


Progress and revision checker

I have adapted this Spanish flag idea from a resource on the TES which is used to help the students monitor their own progress. At the end of the lesson they can colour in the square they have completed. By the end of the topic they can clearly see what progress they have made and if they have any gaps this is what they need to revise again.



Peer Assessment


Below is an example of our peer assessment method of SENORITA. Pupils follow the senorita method to check the work they then give the pupil the 3 strengths of their work, give them 2 pieces of advice and set them one target to be completed immediately. When this target is completed they reassess the work and give it a final grade.

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Local people used to be convinced that we are a Specialist Performing Art’s College rather than a Sport’s College-[in old money!] perhaps because of the primary school work that we do? We do actually teach music and drama of course and you can see from some of the current Progress Stars recipients that students are showing some great learning characteristics and G.C.S.E music continues to grow and flourish. [Drama has always had more students at exam level] Both departments have made great developments over the last couple of years and have grown in confidence and are now sharing and innovating with the best of the rest!

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From Adele

Here are some photos of year 9 students using peer assessment prompts and examples of the work produced in music.

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The class enjoying videos of their performances to verify and reflect on prior critique.


From Sophie and Katrina,

The year 8 students are following a scheme on China across music and drama. They are making shadow puppets in drama and writing a script and composing pentatonic music to go with each character in music. The assessments will be done together at the same time.

There are also photos of the windows and floors from my observation which show encouraging use of vocab and key words for exam practice (the sticky notes), collating knowledge and putting it into context, seeing the gaps in the knowledge and adding to it (the writing on the windows).  I’ve also included a picture of a display I did in music based on a picture you sent out, for KS4 to help themselves to any resources they need.35 36 37 38 39




Chucklevision 4

I hope you have enjoyed some of the ideas we have shared amongst our own staff and then with a further audience via our blogs and twitter. Some lessons and learning can be enhanced by great visitors and this was certainly the case when Luther Blisset and Anwar Uddin came into school to support “Show Racism the Red Card”- two perfect gentlemen and a really important initiative for us to be involved in.



I missed meeting them, being at a conference to pick up ideas at Failsworth School in my home area. Shamefully I recalled that playing against their old boys in the Lancashire Amateur League, being booked for the last time in my amateur career. I was in my late 30s and still playing first team soccer and arrived slightly late [although as quickly as I could!] for a tackle. As I played on through my forties, I became too slow too even be considered for a foul although my speed of tongue merited the attention of the referee! Failsworth have a magnificent new school with sporting facilities that our PE faculty would die for! It was a crying shame that we weren’t able to even get a Sport’s Hall from the BSF fiasco. Never mind we soldier on and another great learning experience this week outside of the classroom was our year 8 soccer team managing to win a game [I know Hyde have only won 1 game as John Nichol our technician whom manages the team reminded me!] It’s great to win, and John’s brother who played for both United and Rangers experienced some great moments in soccer, but for John and his team, the win against Litherland was a moment of magic.

Lesson observations and learning hubs have revealed some brilliant ideas which have been shared with our staff, as has SPaG week-spelling punctuation and grammar. We will be holding a SSAT literacy across the curriculum conference on April 1 [not a good choice for me to not torment visitors on!] and have been thinking very hard about our own literacy in different subjects but won’t reveal too much on this yet. It’s absolutely one of the best bits of my job when great ideas drop into my email inbox and Katie Fleetwood’s marking frame which she has been developing really excited me.


We will be moving away from levels next year and Joanne McDevitt has devised this frame to help the humanities faculty focus their students on some of their key concepts. Love it!


Jo also sent me her 3B4 ME [from Jim Smith, I think] poster that she was developing in her learning hub to encourage the students to consider independent options of research, before asking their teacher.


I observed Lisa, one of our NQTs this week and as well as enjoying the lesson, I was delighted to see each slide reminding the students of their SPaG targets and the chance to support each other by checking learning for them.

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Collaboration has become a huge part of learning and teaching at Meols Cop and supports everyone’s CPD too. The blogs have shared our teacher, TA and mentor ideas with ‘to you’ and Chucklevision has shared teacher ideas. After Easter I will be looking for ‘Magic Moments’ to share everybody who works here’s ideas. We are often guilty of searching for negative things that are going wrong-we need to catch colleagues and students doing things right and brilliantly well! Subject leaders will drop into lessons to look for ‘Magic Moments’ and feed them back, TAs and mentors will talk to each other and feedback 2 other colleague’s Magic Moments and office staff, technicians and premise’s staff will share their colleague’s Magic Moments too. Magic will abound and I’ll be the new Paul Daniels with Alison as Debbie McGee!

Please find attached some super science sharing from our very talented science faculty. Thank you to them.



Science Chucklevision

Year 7

The year 7s have been working on their science literacy this week.  They have been labelling equipment, which they set up themselves, with the correctly spelt keywords.

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Examples of correctly labelled apparatus. 


With the end of unit assessments approaching, 7 set 3 made ‘fortune tellers’ and ‘revision cubes’ based on the chemistry unit. 


Example of a simple fortune teller.

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Example of a revision cube.

The year 7s also worked on revision mind peer assessing using post-it notes.  Pink for ideas they would pinch and yellow for bits that needed to added. 


Example of a mind map with post-it notes.

Year 8 As part of the key stage 3 biology unit on genetics, the year 8s were challenged to make a model of DNA using a variety of sweets. They were only shown a simple diagram and no instructions.


Individual bags with the sweets & cocktail sticks ready to be used.

There was lots of dialogue between the groups and they collaborated together to produce excellent representations of DNA.  Students were quick to realise that they needed ‘pairs of gummy bears’ and to ‘twist’ their model to achieve the correct shape.  This activity got the students excited and eager to learn more about the structure and what each part represented. 

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Work in progress and a finished strand of DNA shortly before it was eaten. 

Another year 8 class investigated how to extract the DNA from a banana.  They showed excellent determination and completed the difficult experiment successfully obtaining the DNA sample. 


Banana DNA!


The year 8s then did the DIRT on their experiment. 


Example of DIRT.


Year 9

The year 9s have been working hard studying the space section.  They produced detailed posters showing the life cycle of a star.

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Year 9 hard at work!

Year 10

The second part of the science NTEN started this, building on the previous terms work on developing extended answers.  This time around the focus was on interpreting the specification and writing the questions.  Groups were given a pack with a command word, a section of the specification and an example of a question.  The students discussed what made a good and bad exam question then set about the task of writing a question. 

When they had completed writing a question, they peer assessed using an overlay.  


Example of a peer assessed question.

The overlay prompted the students to dissect the question and suggest ways to improve it.  The students then went on to improve their question and develop a structured mark scheme.  There will be more to follow after the next NTEN lesson. 

 As part of their preparation for exam week, the year 10 triple scientists wrote short exam style questions and mark schemes on all the topics covered since September.  This proved to be an excellent revision activity with some students taking them home to test themselves again!


Examples of some questions that have been answered and marked.

Year 11

To aid the year 11s in their quest for exam success, Rachael and Hannah have been designing intervention sheets complete with a marginal gains wheel.  Following a successful trial run with one class, they are now going to be rolled out across the year group. 


Example of an intervention sheet.

DIRT and Marking

Across the department, science is implementing DIRT as part of each lesson.  The students complete their work in black, self/peer assess in red and reflect in blue. The images below show some early examples.

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