Thursday, 31 May 2012

Learning Walks Feedback 31st May 2012

Starters and Plenaries & Challenge and Pace


‘Bell work’ continues to be used with much success in all Languages lessons with simple revision tasks to get the students immediately focused before the lesson gets started. This is not necessarily the ‘starter’ to the main content of the lesson so much as a ‘brain teaser’ to get them thinking. Activities tend to include cloze exercises, word searches etc. With more challenging classes, they are also extremely beneficial in getting the students immediately focussed on something constructive.

A new ‘spin’ on mini plenaries in the form of ‘Egg Heads’ is also proving extremely popular in Business Studies with students producing their own questions and answers to assess learning – they’ve even got some nifty ‘Egg Heads’ question cards made up!

As we’ve come to expect at Cooper, the ‘challenge’ and ‘pace’ of lessons is consistently strong. In one particular Food Technology lesson, the year 10 students achieved an incredible amount in one hour as the support and care given by class teacher lead to high levels of confidence and focus. Even the numerous BESD students worked diligently throughout the lesson: thoroughly engaged and motivated – largely due to the infectious enthusiasm from the class teacher. 

My thanks as always to everyone who has participated in the Learning Walks.
Have a relaxing break!

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Learning Walk 13 - Behaviour for learning

Areas of strength

Most feedback celebrated the high levels of engagement demonstrated by pupils as a direct result of the stimulating teaching. Comments such as ‘great learning atmosphere’; ‘students eager to participate’ and ‘very good interaction between students and staff’ featured in the feedback. Unsurprisingly engagement and the resulting excellent behaviour was most evident in lessons where students were clearly enjoying the learning and were able to work independently on research, planning, designing and creating, whether individually or in self selected or designated groups.

The focus for Learning Walks fortnight beginning 7th May is Starters and Plenaries.


Thursday, 19 April 2012

Learning Walks 12

Use of Technologies 2

As we’ve come to expect, the use of ICT was prevalent in almost every lesson observed, with teachers often using Ppt to guide the direction of the lesson, remind students of success criteria and lesson objectives and highlight key areas of learning. In order to facilitate further development of our creativity and ingenuity, Alistair Surrell is running sessions on interactive projectors and Google Docs as well as anything else you might want to develop: Blogs, Prezi, Movie Making, Wix for example – Don’t forget to sign up!

Many thanks as always to all those who have participated in the Learning Walks.
The focus for the next 2 weeks is Behaviour for learning.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Learning Walk Feedback 11 (27th Feb to 9th March 2012)

Differentiation 2

We've seen some great examples of differentiation including two very engaging lessons with students self selecting differentiation by their choice of roles in which they would work as a group to produce a shop style exhibition selling cakes (which students brought in and had the opportunity to taste!) Groups had a range of abilities including those who took on leadership responsibilities, and group members worked collaboratively to support and encourage those experiencing more difficulty.
In another lesson the previous work that had been done with target setting really helped students to recognise what they needed to do in order to work towards their target grade. This meant that, when working independently, students worked with a clear purpose and focus. Many of them could articulate personal strategies for improvement which was in itself a form of effective differentiation.

Some possible suggestions to think about are outlined below:
Clear differentiated learning intentions for students, success criteria (for target) understood by students, questions targeted to particular students,  use of blooms taxonomy evident re questions, learning outcomes, materials, differentiated activities/resources, teacher support is differentiated e.g. questions, additional material, graduated tasks – increase of complexity, differentiation for time allocation, student grouping provides support for other students, students buddy up e.g work partners to support each other’s learning, students take responsibility for own learning, teacher gives oral formative feedback targeted to individual or groups of students, evidence of comments that advance learning (can be written), students self assess (with relevant criteria made explicit!) and set their own targets, teaching adjusted after data collection.

As always, many thanks to all who have participated in this Learning Walk. The current focus (until 23rd March) is AFL followed by Use of Technologies week beginning 23rd March.



Thursday, 1 March 2012

Learning Walks Feedback Walk 10 – Active Learning (2) Feb 2012

There have been some creative ways in which teachers have encouraged students’ active involvement in the lesson and given ownership of the learning to students. Some of these include asking students to decide on the learning objectives for themselves after the starter; giving students responsibility for leading parts of the lesson and using investigation and discussion to encourage participation. New technologies are also being used very creatively in some lessons to motivate and enthuse students to work independently – several examples of blogging and chroma key, as well as preparing Skype conversations were seen to be very effective in ‘immersing’ students in their learning.

Thanks again to everybody who has participated in this Learning Walk.  The current focus is differentiation.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Learning Walks Feedback Student Engagement – Jan-Feb 2012

Two Areas of Strength

Teachers used many interesting ways of engaging students with the starter activities often hooking students into the learning immediately. In the same way, teachers often used interesting and entertaining methods to engage and motivate. In one particularly engaging activity students sat back to back with one drawing what the other described.  This lesson then developed into one in which all students were actively and enthusiastically engaged, eager to show what they had learned. 
Another particularly engaging lesson was described as a ‘hive of activity’ in which the students were able to give clear, confident explanations about the effects of packaging on global warming. One of the key strengths in many lessons was the timely intervention of teachers during independent learning, using intervention well to ensure that students remained focused and on task.
The ‘high levels of passion for their subject’ was noted during a visit to MFL with a range of interactive resources used to inspire and motivate.
Questioning was also used to engage: In questioning whole classes, some teachers drew less confident students into discussions by highlighting that they were going to be asked a question next, therefore giving students time to think and prepare for their participation. Full responses were also encouraged, with most students keen to justify their thoughts.

An Area for Development

As we see often, students often learn best from one another and when they can work collaboratively. One of our challenges – and this leads on to the learning walk focus for this week – is to implement more opportunities for students to work actively within different learning scenarios. A further challenge is to monitor the effectiveness of group work to ensure that students are always on task and focused during these times.

As always, thanks to all those who have participated. The current learning walk focus is Active Learning.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Learning Walks Feedback Progress - January 2012

Learning Walks Feedback
January 2012

As always feedback has been overwhelmingly positive with particular praise of positive working atmospheres, good use of questioning to gauge understanding, differentiated support materials and carrousels of differentiated activities to extend students’ independent learning.
In the most successful lessons in terms of progress, there was explicit use of target grades and strategies for improvement. Students were clearly aware of what they needed to achieve and how. In these lessons, the students’ progress was very apparent.
In the first part of many lessons reference was made to what had been learned in the previous lesson. This ensured an understanding of the ‘bigger picture’ and areas for development.
My thanks to everyone who participated in this Learning Walk.