By Katie Unwin
On Wednesday 4th June Beaumont School held its first languages specific Teachmeet, led by Sue Lutz. It was lovely to see some former Beaumont MFL teachers amongst the 35 teachers attending the event from 15 schools across Hertfordshire, sharing Teaching and Learning ideas for MFL lessons. The evening began with the opportunity to chat, mingle and share ideas and experiences, fuelled by plenty of tea and cake. The presentations which followed addressed a range of issues including assessment feedback, increasing target language use by pupils, using online resources in lessons and lots of ideas for making language lessons engaging and fun. Indeed there was a party feel to the evening as we heard ideas of how to make revision bunting and how to adapt popular games such as musical chairs, pass the parcel and hide and seek in order to practise questions and answers. Another creative idea was the use of flipcams to record pupils speaking about themselves whilst in disguise so that the rest of the class could be challenged to guess who they were. MFL teachers will now be hunting out their sets of Jenga to practise vocabulary and structures in a fun way, their multi-coloured post-it notes for starters, plenaries and self-assessments, and trying out an array of new websites to make their lessons more interactive. There was a buzz of enthusiasm from the teachers who attended the event, listening to new ideas, chatting, sharing thoughts and trying to remember the former currency of Finland to win the half-time quiz. I certainly came away feeling inspired and energised for the forthcoming half-term, armed with lots of new contacts and ideas to try out in my lessons. I look forward to the next Teachmeet!
On Thursday 10 July 2014, Beaumont Teaching and Learning Team will be hosting its second TeachMeet. The format will be different, but we are expecting to find the same warm and enthusiastic atmosphere you get when a group of teachers come together to share ideas and provide each other with fantastic CPD opportunities.
We are looking for presenters, seminar leaders and, above all, people who want to join other teachers in creating one of the most enjoyable teaching and learning events of the year.
Our first TeachMeet in November 2013 was good – we are expecting that 10 July 2014 will be even better.
If you are interested in being a presenter (3 mins or 6 mins), a seminar leader (5 mins) or an attendee, please get in touch via twitter or email (email@example.com)
We are having a Languages specific TeachMeet on Wednesday 4th June from 4-5:30pm at Beaumont School. At the time of writing, we have 40 colleagues from 14 schools coming along to talk about teaching and learning in the MFL classroom. If you would like to join us, email firstname.lastname@example.org
by Jo Cavanagh
On the back of our very successful TeachMeet in November 2013, I was asked to present at Bentley Wood’s Teachmeet on the 16th January on our “Washing Line of Ideas”. The presentation was to last up to 2 minutes – a pretty tall order when there were so many ideas to share. On arrival at Bentley Wood I was very impressed with the set up, particularly when I discovered that every delegate received a goodie bag!
The presentations over the course of the evening were fantastic, ranging from “The Power of Film Club” to “Dispelling the Myths of TeachFirst”. Particular highlights for me were presentations by James Davies and Sarah Robertson from Hertswood Academy. Sarah presented on independent learning strategies, essentially C3B4ME (see 3 before me). Students were shown talking about how they could improve their work with very little input from the teacher, which was very impressive. James talked about Hertswood’s peer assessment strategy, which is currently aimed at year 7. The idea that got me particularly excited was their use of effort descriptors, where students self-assess using outstanding to unsatisfactory criteria. I was so struck by this idea that, after getting home quite late, I devised some of my own descriptors to be used with my year 9 class the following day. It worked brilliantly and I loved the fact that the students were so honest about their performance. I will definitely use them again.
Attending the TeachMeet got me excited about teaching all over again. At a time when it seems that every day brings new pressures, it is nice to get back to basics and talk about teaching and learning with colleagues. Bring on Beaumont’s second TeachMeet on the 10th July!
The 2013 TeachMeet at Beaumont School, run by the T&L team, led by Jo Cavanagh, was incredibly successful in giving an opportunity for classroom teachers, teaching assistants, deputy heads and senior teachers to come together and talk about Teaching and Learning. It may have been a dark rainy evening in November, but the enthusiasm of all present meant that everyone left with a spring in their step, keen to try something new on the following Monday morning. Jo Cavanagh has spoken at another TeachMeet explaining how we approached the event and why we felt it was important. See the video from the event, and previous posts to understand why we are keen to do it all again.
Planning for our next TeachMeet is underway. Put Thursday 10 July 2014 in your diary for an evening of chat, sharing, networking, and the best CPD you will get this year.
by Helen Wilson
When we all got together for the first time at the end of the summer term in July 2013, I don’t think any of the members of the newly formed Beaumont Teaching & Learning Team realised what lay ahead. We knew that we could all sit around and enjoy talking about something we all felt passionate about – education and making the learning experience of pupils at Beaumont School the best that it could be – but we didn’t really know whether or how we would be able to have any impact. I think we all felt that the main aim of the team would be to facilitate the sharing of ideas and the good practice that are prevalent across the departments in the school, so that everyone could benefit from the creativity of many, and the enthusiasm and commitment of all, to making learning opportunities in the school the best that they can be.
When we now look back at the term, I think we will all feel as if our work has had some impact. We have held 3 very well attended Learning Lunches, 2 twilight INSETs and a fantastic TeachMeet. We have set up a busy Teaching & Learning blog, established a twitter account and started to develop a pearltree of our favourite T&L websites. We have provided staff with a Black Box of Teaching & Learning ideas on cards, which we try to add to on each INSET; a Take Away board of ideas for quickly helping pupils demonstrate their learning or progress in a lesson; and an amazing advent calendar of quick ideas which appear day by day throughout December. But most of all, I’d like to think that we have helped teachers to see that they are all brimming with ideas for wonderful things to do in the classroom – so much so that we need lots of different ways to share those ideas. It seems to me that there are a lot of “T&L conversations” happening both within and, more importantly, across departments, and teachers are regularly talking about resources that they have seen or found and have adapted to use in their own subject area.
If the enthusiasm before, during and after the TeachMeet was anything to go by, talking about Teaching & Learning is high on the agenda for many of us. We hope that we can continue to provide opportunities next term where those conversations will be just as plentiful.
In the meantime, if you are doing something in your classroom which you would like to share, why not drop us an email (email@example.com, or anyone on the Team – see the list in Who’s Who) or send us a tweet (@Beaumonttl) or talk to one of us (the photocopying room seems to be a good T&L chat place these days!) and we will help you to find a way to share your ideas widely across the school.
By Sarah Hosegood
At the Teachmeet a couple of weeks ago I presented three ideas linked to measuring progress during sixth form lessons. Below is a brief summary of each one and the presentation I showed can be found on the T&L blog.
The Whiteboard of Progress
This idea can be used during a carousel activity, during a practical lesson, during a research lesson or can be left on the board during a lesson containing several smaller activities. On your classroom whiteboard, write up the lesson objective(s) or an exam question they are aiming to answer. Underneath this draw an arrow with key times during the lesson written on. As the students complete activities/ research/ the practical etc, they are asked at these key times to write on a post-it note what they have found out or achieved towards the lesson objective or exam question. These post-it notes can be reviewed by the teacher and can be a point of discussion during the lesson. The end point of the activities could be the students answering the exam question or presenting to the class the knowledge they have gained in order to meet the lesson objectives.
Draft, Peer, Re-Draft = Progress
Either as a result of home learning or a starter activity, students bring in a draft of an exam answer. They give this draft to their peer, who either uses sticky dots or a brightly coloured pen to indicate where in the answer they think improvements could be made. They then join up and give verbal feedback to explain the location of their dots. The work is passed back to the original student and they re-draft the answer trying to improve using the feedback they have been given.
Core, Challenge and Super-Challenge Question Grid
Depending on how many questions you want the students to write, this activity can be a mini or final plenary, or a part of the main activities in the lesson. Students use their learning from the topic or lesson to write questions about it. These questions start as simple ‘core’ questions using basic exam question command words, and then progress to more complex ‘super challenge’ questions. Once the questions have been written students can walk around the classroom asking their peers the questions and listening to the answers given. If they are satisfied with the answer they place the students’ initials in the question box. This can then be reviewed by the teacher. Or, students can challenge one of their peers to answer one of their questions during the lesson and they could peer mark each others’ answers or use the ‘draft, peer, re-draft’ idea above.