Monthly Archives: May 2013

Flipping Co-construction

Blog 2-a tribute to the school ducks!

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‘”Every teacher needs to improve, not because they are not good enough, but because they can be even better!” Dylan Wiliam-he must have been talking about our philosophy!

In Claire Gadsby’s little ‘Perfect Assessment’ book, she mentions an old picture of schools that would resonate with most parents based on their own experiences of school-“classrooms are where pupils go to watch teachers working hard” This week’s blog will suggest that learning is far more important than teaching and begin to explain how our students are beginning to plan and deliver their own lessons and to take an active role in marking their own books and those of other students-I can already hear the gasps of shock-“ you get 6 weeks holidays in summer and the kids teach the lessons and mark your books for you!!”-stay with me whilst I explain.

Flipped Learning is a growing teaching strategy in North America which sees learning ‘flip’ from the traditional teacher teaching in the classroom and students traditionally doing homework to the teacher making short videos of themselves teaching/introducing/explaining a topic, sending it home for the students to work on and then allowing the students to use their gained knowledge in class to work on assignments individually or in small groups. The teacher can then move around the room to help those students who may be struggling, have misconceptions or may need extending. This wouldn’t happen all of the time and does rely on technology to a certain extent but its advocates argue that it does help to develop independent learners by allowing them to manage their own time, learn at their own pace and encourages collaborative learning-all great skills for life.

Another interesting development is co-construction of the learning, where students and teachers work together to plan their own learning or deliver some lessons. This may involve one off lessons perhaps learning a new topic and then teaching the rest of the class or a longer term planning of content over perhaps a full topic where sequences of lessons are agreed upon and delivered by the teacher or students and homework assignments and marking are a joint affair. [see Tom Sherrington’s blogs] Again the influence of such an approach should help to develop wonderful independent learning skills and fit Guy Claxton’s powerful learner traits of being creative, having the courage to explore and investigate, to experiment and to be imaginative-very similar to our own 6Cs.

We have mixed and matched the 2 ideas to be Flipping [Meols] Cop-Constructive, if you like! Flipping the learning Southport style may mean reversing teacher/student roles with the students planning and teaching a lesson on a new piece of learning or it may follow the American pattern. As long as the result benefits student learning, the name doesn’t matter! Andy Cassell, our subject leader for maths, began to experiment with students leading lessons after having time to plan, our literacy leaders delivered part of lessons in English and Jennny Filson delivered an inset for the NQTs based on Flipped Learning, using ideas gained on a leadership course and trialled in her class. Some of their ideas can be seen below.

We have also been constantly seeking to improve the dialogue in books between teachers and students and have been trialling different ways of improving both self and peer assessment. Both rely on a high level of maturity and encourage deep thinking and a high level of oracy and listening.

Our students know that outstanding learning relies on outstanding collaboration-we are all responsible for supporting and developing each other’s learning-therefore a tokenistic peer assessment comment-“add more details, use connectives” as part of the feed forward isn’t acceptable-the learner can gain nothing from this unless the comment is explained and an example given. Having provided a detailed comment, it then needs checking and verifying by another peer assessor, before a learning conversation ensues with the original author. As our teachers are expected to do, the feed forward must then be checked at an appropriate future time, to see if it has been successfully met. Accepting friendly criticism helps create a mind-set of resilient learners [Carol Dweck] who are determined to self-analyse and take on challenges-we are on our way [I hope!] and the end learning result should impact positively on progress
We want to make our learning irresistible-enjoy our journey as it unfolds!

Rebecca Phillips NQT
I planned a flipped learning lesson with 9A Spanish. I asked them to create a learning resource to teach the near future tense in Spanish. I gave them the formula to create the near future tense and directed them to a page in the workbook which also explained it. They then had to be able to explain it themselves. I asked them to work in small groups and create either a power point, worksheet or game.

They came up with a great range of resources. There were worksheets with match up activities and different questions. There were a few board games and also interactive activities on the white board. If I had more time I would have asked every group to present their learning resource. It was a great way to teach a tricky topic

Helen Rose Subject leader for history and hub leader [3rd year of teaching]
Tarsia/ Dominoes – organised this across different abilities groups. For GCSE revision used to motivate students to revise – really encouraged boys to be competitive and ensured that they looked up information they had forgotten. Next time information will be left out to give students a challenge to fill missing gaps.

For GCSE year 9 classes they designed their own based on different sections of the GCSE topic, students tested each other and checked them. They played this as a game which has meant students now are confident with obscure facts.

Peer verification Grids – this has been used to support year 7  understand progress levels. This has been adapted from smiley faces, to basic improvements and now the Meols Cop verification grid. This has been planned across year groups and has enabled students to gain a greater understanding of what they need to do to achieve and progress in the subject and as a consequence lead to them achieving a higher level. Next time students will complete the Meols Cop grid with less support. I would also like to get them to design their own peer verification grid.

Students at GCSE level have now moved their dialogue on by giving examples of how to improve; this has built up over a year also starting with positive comments, moving to targets, then moving to exam criteria-now students give clear examples of how to improve. This has led to students planning perfect answers before they start. I now want to try to get students to self-assess their work before they start by predicting what they will do well and what they will need to improve. Students will set themselves targets before they start.

Kate Lewis NQT
I have been using the success criteria that pupils make in groups having taught the main concept of the lesson and then asking pupils to mark work either against these or against pupil-friendly APP descriptors. They then are asked to give feedback in red pen in their books with an example of whatever they have suggested.
I wanted to make sure that peer assessment was meaningful and that it provided useful formative feedback to pupils
I would like to use a similar ‘map’ to the one I saw in science at the hub so that pupils have a greater range of feedback ‘vocabulary’ to make what they say to one another useful.

Rachel Moreau NQT
I planned a lesson for year 9 students focused on peer assessment. The students were writing scientific plans based on a hypothesis using specific success criteria.
The idea behind this lesson was to allow the students to teach themselves and each other how to write high level scientific plans. The students were provided with specific success criteria and an accessible mark scheme, so that they were aware of exactly what they needed to do to reach each level. They used the success criteria to write their plan, and then the mark-scheme to peer assess each other’s work, which was then used to improve on the original plan. I provided them with peer assessment mats that Joe had made for the Learning Hub, and adapted it to fit the mark scheme. They used this to help focus their assessment, and to ensure they were relating their comments to the specific criteria from the mark scheme.

The students were mostly able to write high level plans by the end of the lesson, with very little intervention from me. However, to improve this activity, I think the next stage would be to ask the students to verify each other’s peer assessment, so that two or even three students were marking each piece of work.

Emma Douglas NQT
X was given a topic outline from the history department on the KKK and was asked to produce a lesson to teach the geography dept about it. He was introduced to the structure of a lesson and the elements needed to make his learning and teaching effective. Working independently and with little guidance he formed a 3 part lesson including a starter, main, plenary and progress checks. He completed research on the role of the KKK and formatted this onto a ppt presentation. X added Learning objectives to direct the learning for his audience and made effective resources to support anyone he was to teach. I believe X benefited a lot from this as it enabled him to learn independently but to also realise the misconceptions and possible problems others may face in fully understanding the topic. As a result X ensured his tasks were informative and beneficial to show progress. Next time I would provide the student with a lesson plan pro-forma so they can record as a teacher would the lesson sequence and identify the expected outcomes of all activities they have planned. (attached is a copy of work X produced.)

Currently I have started the same process with year 7. They have been given the topic outline and starter questions to direct there learning. In pairs they are to find out information relating to various questions relating to sweatshops. The lesson will be run over two classes and then they will share their information with their peers. After having visitors in the lesson yesterday with Miss Heaton the idea of flipped learning to them was that it was a high level of independent work……7.1 were very happy to hear this comment and be praised on how independent they can work.

Joe Ford NQT
SOLO I tried to use the hexagon task 2 weeks ago with 7-3. I gave them paper hexagons to use. I have since found a free app called ‘Triptico’ which has a IWB version of the hexagons that the students can use. They can drag and drop the hexagons, add new ones etc.

It also has student selectors, bingo (10-6 love it), and card matches.
To try and reduce the number of post-it notes that I have worked through, I have been using the word magnet part of the app. The students drag and drop their names as they progress.

What you organised.
As a department we have been looking at ways to organize peer assessment, make it accessible to all students and to make it easily identifiable.

Why did you set this up-what success criteria did you have?
Often during peer assessment, the students struggled to give constructive feedback to each other. This was particularly true of the younger students who have not been exposed as much to peer-assessment. I experimented with different formats of a peer assessment proforma that included guidance on literacy assessments. After many trials, I have settled on a format that includes sections such as number of keywords, level achieved, reasons for your assessment etc. By printing it double sided, the students can ensure that their work is checked by at least 2 other people. It is also on pink paper so that it stands out to the students in their books.

What happened-what went well and what might you modify?
The students engaged with the proforma well. They were giving each other constructive feedback and using it to improve their work I am currently looking at improving it by including a section where they can ask each questions and note when they achieved their improvements.

I am also testing a peer assessment mat that prompts the students with sentence starters. This was following on from an idea that I picked up at the Edge Hill NQT conference. During the recent learning hub we collaborated to create subject specific mats. Rosie Pilling developed one for dance whilst Andy Cassell worked on one for maths. Both Rachael and I have been using our mats during our lessons. We will be feeding back on our progress at the next hub. By coupling this with the peer assessment proforma I am hoping to make our peer assessment outstanding.

How did you organise it?

Year 7 Set 3
The homework that I set was based on the VLE. I made instructional videos explaining photosynthesis. I also provided links to other activities for the students to work through. The students had three questions to consider whilst they were working through the material. To ensure that all the students could access the material I held a drop-in session where they could use the school computers during a lunch-time.

For the lesson I prepared a lesson mat with prompts on to help record their progress. During the lesson they were split into groups and given a question/area to research and teach the class on. These questions were higher level designed to challenge their thinking.

How did it work?

The students really engaged with the flipped lesson. They enjoyed taking control of their learning by teaching themselves at home and during the lesson. During the lesson they were bouncing ideas off each other and demonstrated their knowledge when verbally assessing each other’s work.
I gave the students’ free reign over how they would present their lesson to the class. I found that some got too caught up in the aesthetics and not the content. For the next time i would use a more structured approach to ensure that they stayed on task.

What learning benefits do you think it had for the students involved?

The students enjoyed the challenge of teaching each other. By explaining the concept in ‘kid speak’ they picked it up quicker.

Will you change anything for the next time you have a go?

I have carried out flipped learning with the same class twice since my first attempt. I have used the same format for the homework materials (video tutorials). The first lesson I had several questions for the students to demonstrate their learning. This worked well – they even progressed to GCSE questions!

The following time I prepared a folder of images and asked the students to use these as prompts for creating their own instructional video.

I am still working on ways to assess their progress throughout the flipped lessons. I am also going to try ability based groups instead of random groups.

Welcome to Meols Cop High’s Learning and Teaching Blog

This is the first of our learning and teaching blogs aimed at informing our own learning community and colleagues at other schools, who we are working with and sharing ideas with, of some of the ideas we are currently trialling and discussing.  Any comments, suggestions, feedback or, of course, visits will be welcome! If there is something mentioned you would like to know more about-please ask.

So much has happened since our inspection in terms of moving our learning and teaching beyond outstanding, that I’m not sure where to start.  Internal staff collaboration has seen our hubs cover many areas to share new ideas, create resources, peer observe and feedback. These have included Prezis, new technology including Edmodo, SOLO taxonomy, literacy, numeracy, peer assessment, latest educational publications-practical uses, clever learning objectives, using drama in the classroom and so on. Hub leaders have been Andy Cassell, Claire Broomfield, Tim Roberts, Claudio Vinaccia, Helen Hallmark, Phil Johnson, Helen Rose, Martin Davis, Hannah Jordan, Jenny Filson, Katrina Farley, our NQTS-have I missed anybody?!  Our first Gold Leaders of Learning accreditation’s went to Helen Rose, Alex Vine, Anne Pickup, Joe Ford, Lisa Yarwood whilst Tim Roberts, received his platinum award!  Many more to come in July.

Visiting schools have often looked at our approach and philosophy towards developing a collaborative approach towards learning and teaching or visited our English department. Our developmental approach towards lesson observations is different than some other schools and our Literacy Leaders have proven to be of interest.  Once year 11 have left, we will develop them more to play a much greater role in supporting literacy across the curriculum.

Having 10 NQTs has provided us with willing guinea pigs to try out new ideas with [and on!] Apart from developing their all round teaching and assessment skills, we have been trialling SOLO, ‘flipped learning’ and peer dialogue strategies with them and they have been brave enough to lead one of our hubs to share their peer assessment ideas.

Our marvellous TAs have also been sharing their ideas and had their first experience of their own lesson observations or learning conversations-they too will have the opportunity to become Lead Learners and we are working hard to create CPD relevant to their needs.

Schools don’t go out to external courses as much as they once did but gatherings of teachers [teachmeets] and blogs/twitters, offer a different approach to swapping and sharing ideas.  The Liverpool teachmeet was interesting [we liked boxing to argue from Calderstones] and hopefully our talented teachers will deliver sessions at others in the future.  The sporting theme caught our imagination and we have soccer stars and wrestling stars encouraging our students to engage in reading and SOLO-if a ‘tombstone piledriver’ or Rooney overhead kick encourages our students to analyse a text, to skim and scan or to evaluate their own performance-fine!

We have been sharing our ideas externally with Alison Heaton talking about our tracking of pupil premium in London and Manchester and David Jones speaking at the SSAT national conference rondevals. We will be sharing some of our literacy ideas at a SSAT conference to be held here in Autumn and will be shortly offering NCSL leadership courses for Merseyside here, with Alison and David leading the training.

Once our NQT observations have finished, I will share some of the wonderful teaching ideas they have tried out for me and their peer observer.  Thank you for reading.