Monthly Archives: March 2014

Modified lesson – one month in

When I returned to work,I reformatted my lesson plan structure (see previous post). I have now been using it for just over a month and thought it was time to reflect more formally through a blog post than just in my head. My visit to #PedagooLondon last weekend highlighted the idea of Lesson Study which I hope is something that my school will look at. Meanwhile, I go through a similar process but internally and on my own.

Stage one:
New lesson plan designed and trialled from 4/2/14.

Ideas including:
– mindfulness to start lesson and gain classes attention for any teacher
– use of solo taxonomy based station exercises to differentiate
– developing a common language in the classroom to show how to progress
– drafting our first answers (F.A.I.L.)
– limit teacher talk time
– redrafting our answers (S.A.I.L.)
– developing proof reading skills to focus on literacy skills- backed up by
Teacher checking work for accuracy
– using self and peer assessment between pupils to identify if a solo
taxonomy stage has been achieved. Using this to advise a “Feed Forward”
next step approach. This can then be applied to own work as well.
– homework – returning to the principle of providing evidence of research
sources and expecting a minimum collection of facts for multistructural

Realistically, my stage one involves a lot of ideas at the same time. Many aspects of these were being used beforehand but the classes had a period without me teaching where the habits I was working on had not been used.

Stage two:

Initial thoughts and reflections.

– Mindfulness – this clearly works most of the time for me as I am very calm.
Some classes have responded well, some groups within the class are more
reluctant but with patience and occasional slow counting by me leads to
the desired outcome.

Action: to continue to practice the skill and review after a second month.

– Solo taxonomy stations use- I have changed from 5 mixed ability groups
in the classroom to differentiating table groups by KS2 APS / in school KS3
target. This has allowed better targeting of pupil support by teacher and /
or the TA or Pupil premium mentor and tables can be aiming at the same
stage which allows more shared discussion within the table group.

Action: after the second month to use a student survey to review their
views on the process against their recorded marked stages (for classwork)
and End of Unit assessment.

– Common language using Solo taxonomy – this is generally working well but
the display symbols are not bold enough (see action).

Action: replace display symbols of the 5 solo taxonomy stages on
classroom pillars and also available to refer to on the group table. To do
for Summer Term 2014.

– Drafting first answers (F.A.I.L.) – for the first 4 weeks this was using A4
portable whiteboards. The amount of draft work noticeable increased
especially on the tables with the highest attaining pupils. The biggest issue
has been the number of board pens gone through in each week. A number
of alternative models have been tried. In the 5th week we are drafting in
the book and after the next two marking cycles I will look at the writing
quantity at the same stage of the lesson.

Action: review use of whiteboards and / or in exercise book in student
survey after two months and staff reflection too.

– Limit teacher talk time – this seems to make me stand back and ensure
learning is handed over to the class. However, I need to record or have
someone time this in lessons to see that my perception is correct.

Action: record lesson or peer developmental observation could time in
summer term and provide feedback. Student survey could challenge this
idea as well.

– Redrafting answers (S.A.I.L.) – this has run up against timing issues with
some individuals. I have then made individual decisions on strategies to
adopt. It has also highlighted where some stuff dents have gone off task
and their redraft is incomplete.

This links well into

– Developing proof reading skills – the new classroom expectation is to aim
for 100% accuracy and when individuals are sure their work is “perfect”
they are encouraged to share their work with the teacher. This is
becoming quite competitive with additional repetition of spelling errors
required if (when!) errors are found. It has developed some good
discussions individually about the importance of SPaG that they will face
at Key Stage 4. The satisfaction for pupil and teacher when 100%
accuracy is found is palpable and shared with the class to show that it can
be achieved or the pupil who comes up four times but gets to perfection
through persistence.

Action: to continue to use this with faster workers. Once work is perfect
the pupil is challenged to work on the next solo stage or in the case of
Extended Abstract to be set an individual task that responds to their
answers so far.

– Using self and peer assessment – this has worked well but could do wit
more time allocated every few lessons to allow greater depth in the
comments made and to challenge if there is a disagreement over the stage

Action: obtain student views in survey. Note where self or peer assess is
consistently inaccurate to work at with individual.

– Homework – this is set weekly and marked as part of the fortnightly
cycle – standards vary and pupils are more likely to work downs stage on
Homework than on classwork.

Action: further thought needed, although focus initially is more on class
Work tasks.

-plus – see marking post on which there is a
link to in the main blog. I have now run a series of “coaching sessions”
when two or more lessons are below the target for this term. These have
included use of the student’s book, answers and also hexagon tiles to
model how to develop answers from first principles at prestructural up
to their targeted solo stage.

Action: the key test of this will come in the second and subsequent months
to see if individuals need further coaching. The second session will be 60
minutes in length to include working through more examples individually.

Stage three:

See action points above in stage two and a student survey before the end
of the Spring term.

Feedback and feed forward are welcomed on the blog or through my
main twitter account (@aknill).

Thanks for reading.

#PedagooLondon 2014 and the post-event dip

Yesterday, I attended an event that I had been looking forward to since TMHavering. My second pedagoo at the Institute of Education and evening pub TM organised by Helene. Meeting tweep friends before for a drink and food then onto help Kev and Helene with arrangements led to sitting on the reception table on the 8th floor landing.

A great keynote by Rachael Stevens and off to four sessions where Twitter chats come to life and more tweeps met. I am not going to blog in great deal as others will do this so much better than I shall.

I gained, I shared my own ideas on how I strive to be better for my pupils. Thanks to Anne Williams, Karen “KDWScience”, Mel and Debbie of Tweeks (NOT twerks) and finally Rachel Jones for their great ideas. I got to make Foldables, a straw bridge, failed completely to throw a ball of string web and learn.

Kev Bartle gave a great link to how many miles we have travelled through space in the last12 months and how we use that time more effectively.

Such events – Teachmeets (small and large), Day meets – TLT13 and Pedagoo are my Informal CPD. I know about the because I have an online presence. Meanwhile back at the ranch, no one has heard of many of these events I attend knowing that I am amongst friends and colleagues with an improvement agenda for their own practice.

The news that I shouldn’t pigeonhole myself as “good” or “Out……..” Or the “other two” where I sometimes perceive myself is sweet heaven – I can just concentrate on using my new learning to try ideas, reflect and develop.

So why a post-dip? Because I am tired, too much sugary lemonade last night as alcohol no longer features as meds and MH are more important mean I feel slightly rudderless.

I can discuss and share so many things online, but back at the ranch I am on a different planet often, and seeing a week ahead of trying but not being able to share is hard. Yesterday confirmed how many of the ideas I am trialling and reflecting on are starting to work and I am genuinely pleased with that. The globalsolo network continues to grow and lead to great conversations – but so much is at away grounds.

Yes, I need to hold onto my positive thoughts, six months of varied Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) has reminded me that as have my various #BDamigos. Just the act of doing this post has an uplifting impact.

And onwards…Lots to do but in a non rushed way, pick myself up,brush myself down, be mindful and onwards…

Thank you to those that chat with me, read my tweets, reply and feedback on my ideas, sometimes you are so valuable because you remind me that I am doing work that matters. I must just keep my head under the parapet and share ideas when they are welcome.

Marking follow up to lesson plan structure post feedback welcomed.