15 Minute Forums – Autumn 2014

15mfThe 15 minute forum programme this term has been rich and varied.  For those that are unaware of what a 15 minute forum is, every Thursday after school, a member of staff shares something that has been going well in their classroom, with their peers – in 15 minutes.

This post is a summary of the key messages from each forum that has taken place this term.

As a school we have identified 6 key pedagogical principles that we think are essential for great teaching.  Teachers are encouraged to implement these in way that best suits them – there is no prescriptive way of teaching.  The 15 minute forums provide a great way of stimulating discussion about how these 6 principles might be put into action:

expert pub

A summary of each of the forums follows.

Retrieval Practice – Andy Tharby – 25th September

  • Knowledge is key – you can’t think critically, evaluate or analyse something without knowledge.
  • Using your memory, improves your memory – so regualr, low stakes tests/quizzes/questions and answer sessions are all really useful for memory.

Read more here.

Closing the learning gap with homework – Sam Down – 9th October

  • Homework is useful for students as it supports deliberate practice and for teachers as it identifies learning gaps.
  • Once students do their homework, they should get useful formative feedback on how to improve it and then be give the time to work on the improvements – either by redrafting their work, or by completing questions on the topics they were stuck on (following teacher input)

Read more here.

Success with low ability students – Shane Borrett – 16th October

  • Raise your expectations of low ability students amd think about them not as low ability (suggests achievement is fixed) but as having lower starting points – but still aiming for the same finishing line, in terms of their learning.
  • Praise the effort they put into their work and make them feel proud when they produce an excellent piece of work.  Make sure they know why it is excellent.
  • Modeling and feedback are key – as is repeition through interleaving.

Read more here.

Student led discussion on feedback – 23rd October

  • DIRT is great – but give them more time to do it well!
  • Verbal feedback is great, but even more useful when the teacher writes the feedback/question in the exercise book for the student to respond to.
  • One to one feedback was seen as the most useful – when the class are all quietly working on a task and the teacher has an individual discussion with students about a particular piece of work.

Read more here.

The best revision guide ever! – Kate Bloomfield – 13th November

  • Make students realise that the best revision guide they could have is their exercise book – i’s all relevant, organised and personalsied to them….and free!
  • Insist that they ake pride in their books!  Keep it neat, well organised, annotate it with points during the lesson and respnd to teacher feedback.
  • At the end of a half term, go through and colour code the pages depending on the topic covered.

Read more here.

Unpicking the pupil premium – Kate Blight/Chloe Gardner – 20th November

  • What greater moral purpose can a school have, than to make sure that social background is not a barrier to success?
  • Know your PP students – not just their names, but what their strnegths are and what they struggle with.
  • Use personalised and specific feedback to support them with the topics they struggle with – and check they respond.
  • Ensure they are challenged – don’t lower your expectations for them – but make sure they are supported.  Many will have low self confidnece about what they can achieve.
  • Homework makes a positive difference – just make sure they have the facilities to do it.
  • master learning appears to work ie. do less, but better.  So focus on mastering the key ideas and topics.

Read more here.

Walking, talking exams – Jody Chan – 27th November

  • Students lose a number of marks in exams through not responding to the question appropriately – or not using the information provided with them.
  • So do an exam – or part of an exam – differently.
  • talk them through each question one at a time, pointing out the key features of the question – but don’t give them the asnswer or share any knowledge.
  • Then give them the allocated time to answer the question.
  • Then talk through the mark schems and mark the questions together.

Read more here.

Literacy Matters – Lucy Darling – 4th December

  • Insist on subject specific, academic language.
  • use ‘verbal response starters’ in the same way as you would use written ‘sentence starters’.
  • Encourage redrafting of work to support high expectations of written work.
  • Know your subject specific writing genre and model this.
  • Encourage and support reading.

Read more here.

Take away homework – Chris Runeckles – 11th December

  • If using take away homework i.e. givin students a choice of tasks to complete at home, create an ‘illusion of choice’ by making sure that all tasks have a similar element of challenge – so there is no opting out!
  • DIRT tasks should be compulsory – just make sure that students have had sufficient feedback and teacher input to implement the improvement.
  • Whichever options they go for. plan in useful and formative feedback.  This can be made easier by having prepared success criteria for each task.

#15mfMany thanks to everybody who led, attended and contributed to the 15 minute forums this term.  We will be back next with another great programme of forums – details here.

Have a great Christmas and New Year!




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5 Responses to 15 Minute Forums – Autumn 2014

  1. Pingback: Geography News Week 1 | Geography is easy

  2. Pingback: Geography News December 2014 | Geography is easy

  3. nappits1443 says:

    Just to say that I think the 15 minute forums are a terrific idea. Really enjoy following them. What a great way to empower and develop your staff.

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