Saturday, 7 December 2013

The first ever TeachMeetWave!

Thursday evening saw the very first TM or TeachMeet at Wildern School in Hedge End. Kate Broadribb and I organised it, nicknamed after the lecture theatre on site, and were excited but a little unsure what to expect. We were blown away by the number of people that took time out of their Thursday evening (and for Wildern teachers, that was after a staff meeting too) to get some free CPD and have a chat with colleagues from other schools. We welcomed 20+ colleagues from near and far and heard a combination of nano and micro presentations (3 and 7 minutes long, don't ask me to remember which is which). The event kicked off at 5pm in the LRC and luckily we finished right on time at 6:30, our handy stopwatch beeping to warn those that dared go over their time limit! We used the hashtag #tmwave to collect tweets about the evening and will hopefully be using it next time round too. 

Find below a summary of the presentations.

Ben Bishop - Green Pen (pre)Marking 
Students self assess their work in green pen, before submitting it. They then reflect in the usual way after teacher has marked.

Penny Langford - Talking like a book
Encouraging writers to talk aloud when forming sentences, rehearsing orally what they want to get down on paper.

Georgina Sculthorpe - Number Day
NSPCC Number Day hit Wildern this week - Georgina told us all about the numeracy starters, the number cake sale and the number hunt which raised over £200 for NSPCC.

Joseph Birch - Socrative (
Socrative is an online quiz website Joe uses with handheld devices in class to test pupils. You can also download results to see common errors.

Selina Plowman - Creative Design Ideas
Selina introduced us to how she encourages students to step away from 'drawing' in the design process and how she combines these techniques with snack learning.

Ali Gregory - What's the question in the room?
Ali's idea for a starter puts the students in control of guessing what the topic is using just a key word on the board. A student must hide outside first, whilst the class provide answers to any questions he asks when he comes in, but tailoring their answer so that the student can guess the keyword. Perhaps you have to see it in action for it to make sense from my explanation!

Javi Rodriguez - Flipping the MFL classroom
Javi and I introduced our new blog and explained our experiences so far with 'flipping' in MFL.

Helen Winter - PEEL (Point, Evidence, Explain, Link) paperchains
Pupils write a response in the usual PEE way, but using paperchains to write out their answers and linking them up for a visual way of developing answers.

Sophie Bullivant - Progress using Post-Its
Objectives are divided into colours - students work through colour by colour, encouraging them to aim for higher order responses. Post-Its become visual marker of progress made in their books.

Me - Kahoot (
See my blog post here for more info. 

Pam Rymill - Blogging (
Pam talked about how ICT are using blogging with teachers and students and introduced us to her site as a taster.

Lauren Vary - Doughnut Thinking Circle
Lauren's doughnut design was a clear way to show students how to link together and develop writing, by breaking it down in to manageable chunks. It was also good fun as Joe showed us by leaping up to help model an example!

Corinna Payne - Source Talk
Using sources in history but encouraging better engagement with the material through structured questioning. Source can be printed in middle of page with questions around it, pupils work their way through.

Iggy Rhodes - What is the Whole Education Network?
Iggy introduced us to what the Whole Education Network is about and how we as teachers can engage with some of its ongoing project work.

Thank you for attending and making it such an enjoyable and successful evening. And thank you for the kind comments!

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Flipped Lesson 2 - reflections

Today saw my second flipped learning lesson in MFL take place and I'm learning something new from each experience. Unfortunately, due to the completely restrictive nature of the controlled assessments at GCSE, I am off timetable Tuesday for speaking exams with my year 10 class, so this lesson was perhaps a bit rushed through so that we could have another go. Rhiannon couldn't take part in this lesson as she now has a student teacher taking her year 8 class but she helped us with the planning process and we were all happy with how the lesson was to take place. Pupils were set the video homework Thursday for completion for Monday - perhaps cutting it a little fine but most pupils had completed the homework by the deadline (a clear sign of their motivation, perhaps?).

We cut down on the differentiated activities this time as we felt that there was just a little bit too much going on in the first lesson. For a number of reasons, I felt that today too that was the case. It was a period 4 lesson, just before lunch and the pupils were a bit rowdy. Coupled with the fact they were arriving in dribs and drabs from swimming, we didn't get off to the greatest start, but I should add that we completed all the activities we set out too. I say 'we', as the flipped model does feel more collaborative with the students. The teachers put the work in and the students do their bit by completing the homework tasks so that they are ready for the lesson; if one of us didn't fulfil our expected role here, the lesson just wouldn't work.

Anyway we hit a couple of stumbling blocks in that today was a theme day so there was not one single piece of ICT equipment up for grabs, which meant the few pupils who hadn't completed their homework had to share my laptop. This wasn't practical - the class were a little on the noisy side and 6 pupils around one laptop wasn't going to work so they went and sat in the foyer. Rather than facilitating, I ended up crowd controlling somewhat. However, as soon as they had all seen the clip they joined us again and set about completing the rest of the lesson's activities.

Sentence ordering cards

We asked pupils to sort some sentences into the correct order as they were cut into cards. For some of the tables this was easy, so we had three sentences for them to have a go at. I think what the students, and indeed I as well found difficult was the 'checking' this activity was right. They are so keen for instant feedback the first time they complete an activity. Rather than having a couple of goes and seeing which way fits best, they simultaneously wanted me to check each of their sentences. I explained to them at the end of the class that they are going to have to learn to trust their judgement and go back to what they learned - where did Miss have a time phrase in her video? Have I made sure that's where my time phrase is too? I think they might need some training to get the concept of independently going through the lesson's activities - but I do feel it's worth the effort to persevere.

When asked, the students could articulate the purpose of the activities they were completing in relation to the work completed at home. They could identify that this was a skill needed in order to get them higher NC levels (not that they are set to be around much longer, but that's another blog post) and had retained the grammar structure well. They openly said that they enjoyed the video because it was fun to see the writing happening 'live' as it were but in this instance the video was too long, as we suspected. Some preferred the acting from their first flipped lesson but then who wouldn't want to see their teachers making a fool of themselves?  The only other thing I think we need to reconsider for next time is how to structure the tasks for those who don't complete the homework preparation task. I don't want to make it a punishment as I still want to engage those pupils but as might be imagined, the pupils who consistently don't complete their homework are usually the ones you might not want seated together! Perhaps catching up on the video is not the best way to start the lesson with those pupils - something I need to reconsider for the future.