Bright Spots – 4th December 2019

Today James Crane and I walked around the school and saw some fantastic practice going on in our classrooms.  Here is a summary.

In science Fahim Rahman was starting his lesson with a retrieval quiz that included questions on their current topic, but also what they did earlier in the year and last year.  He also had the section of the content checklist displayed up on the board, for students to see where this lesson sat in the whole topic – which really supports their self-regulation.

In English Paul Sluman was exploring ‘A Christmas Carol’ with his Y10 class.  Paul was skilfully using elaborative questioning to encourage his students to think more deeply about the characters e.g. ‘Who is Fan’s son?  What’s he like?  What does this tell you about him?

Up in history, Emily Hitchcock was using a Y8 assessment as a great opportunity for whole class feedback.  Having marked the students’ work, it was clear that they were missing marks because when the question asked them to make inferences, they were making inferences, but not linked directly to what the question was asking them – ‘Infer from source A how slaves were treated once they arrived in the Americas‘. So this was a great opportunity for Emily to model what they needed to do in order to address this common mistake.

Art NQT Helen Kingwell had done some fantastic planning with Y7 in previous lessons, in terms of designing a Matisse shoe.  As a result of this thorough preparation, the students were able to work with confidence and independence this lesson, preparing the paper templates for their designs.  A great example of a sequence of lessons progressing effectively.

In the hall Y7 were enjoying a dance lesson with Paul McCafferty.  Working in pairs, they were able to develop and improve their performance, because Paul had provided them with a ‘pre-flight checklist’ on the board, that told them what they had to do to improve in terms of action, space and dynamic e.g. use a different body part to perform an action.  Students understood the purpose of this checklist and were using it well in their pairings.

In maths, Sara Stevens was doing a great job of live modelling how to find the ‘nth term’.  Whilst modelling the strategy, she was also sharing out loud the metacognitive strategies she was using to solve the problem.   By the end of this, students then had a worked example in their books, that they could then use to solve a similar problem – a great way to reduce the cognitive load.

Finally in geography, Sam Atkins had just been having a great discussion with Y11 on managing water pollution.  The students were then asked to discuss the issue in pairs, but this was really well structured by Sam.  Rather than just a loose discussion between the pairs, Sam gave them three topics to discuss and told them that each pair had to have two bullet points for each topic, after 5 minutes.  This created a far more purposeful discussion.

It was fantastic to see so many examples of our teacher threshold concepts being mobilised so effectively during this lesson.  No gimmicks, no fuss – just really strong, evidence informed teaching.


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