New Ideas for Everyday Learning

by Nat Moody

The principle of this group is to for members to experiment with new ideas and then share their experience with their colleagues and the wider teaching community. We draw on various resources on rotation. The aim is to celebrate and share approaches that can be used by staff in a variety of subjects easily within day-to-day teaching.

My task for term one was to focus on feedback, drawing on websites as a resource. I decided to experiment with my A2 Sports Psychology group. These students struggle with long answer responses and, as a result, their drive to improve their performance in this area can dip due to a lack in confidence; some feel that reaching higher grades is just not possible for them. When I have marked these responses in the past I have often found misconceptions in one or two aspects which have a significant impact on their final grade. Motivating this group to respond to my feedback independently is not easy. I feel this process is essential and I had been looking for a simple way to motivate them to do so.

NMoodyYellowBoxDuring my research I found a post on called ‘The Yellow Box’, which had been taken from The George Spencer Academy. Employing this strategy allows the teacher to mark a section of work in great detail, highlight that to the student via the yellow box. Feedback is then provided, focusing on the work in the yellow box only. The hope is the guidance given will have a positive impact on the entire piece of work without the teacher having to mark to entire piece in detail.

NMoodyExampleI have employed this method in a different way to meet the needs of my group. I have been marking the entire long answer questions as per normal. Instead of asking students to re-write or apply my feedback to the entire response which can be demotivating for a student who struggled to complete the work in the first instance; they only re-write the work highlighted in the yellow box in response to my feedback. Students approach responding to my feedback more readily, they are learning to identify areas within long answer questions that have a significantly negative impact on the entire piece and the work they produce in response to my feedback is focused on quality not quantity. This also saves me time when remarking work; in most cases the work in the yellow box that has been re- written by the students increases the grade of the piece, and also increases the confidence of my students when approaching a difficult aspect of assessment in this course.

Over the next few weeks other members of Nat’s focus group will feedback on everyday ideas that they have tried and tested. Keep checking back for more ideas!

Let’s bring an end to boring INSET

By Sue Lutz

After a buzzing MFL Teachmeet on Wednesday 3rd June, I headed home to relieve my babysitter, a friend who is also a teacher. On hearing that I had run a twilight training session, he started to sympathise because, at his school, there was a lot of negativity regarding INSET sessions. He described “death by powerpoint” and irrelevant training sessions, which I had to tell him just don’t happen at Beaumont. It is a real privilege to work in a school where there is such a positive culture surrounding development of teaching and learning. The twilight Teaching and Learning INSET sessions are relaxed and enjoyable, being in a small group format and mixing staff from a variety of departments so that you can get a real range of ideas. Far from the grumbling described by my friend, my Teaching and Learning group was characterised by laughter. It is a shame that too many teachers still experience training where they are simply lectured at, an approach they would never countenance with their own classes, when there is so much more to be gained by having a chance to talk about teaching with as wide a range of colleagues as possible. Let’s hope that the Beaumont T&L model of show and tell sessions, Teachmeets and generating enthusiasm in all sorts of ways will be spread across as many schools as possible, bringing an end to boring INSET.

Beaumont MFL TeachMeet

By Kirsty Wrightson

mfl TM2 (1)On Wednesday 3rd June, Beaumont MFL department was delighted to welcome 45 delegates from 15 centres in the area to its second annual MFL Teachmeet.

After coffee, cake and a little conversation, the presentations began.  On the agenda were topics as diverse as “Starting an Exchange from Scratch”, “Collaborative Learning Structures”, “Keep Fit French”, “Life Beyond Levels” and many more.  Top of the bill was guest speaker from Routes into Languages, Sarah Schechter, who provided yet more fresh ideas, resources and networking opportunities. Mfl TM2

After the event, conversations continued in the more informal surroundings of The Speckled Hen.  A T&L hub followed by pub grub – we’re looking forward to the next instalment already.

Teaching and Learning Marketplace

On the last Wednesday in May, our final T&L INSET for 2015/16 was a celebration of all the wonderful work in Teaching and Learning which has been happening around the school, in all subjects, throughout the year. We held a “Teaching and Learning Marketplace” where each subject had a “stall” to display their wares – ideas, resources and tips which they had found to be particularly useful over the past year. photo - Copy (4) There were some lovely resources on display, which are easily adaptable to a variety of curriculum areas.  These are all available here for you to download.

photo - Copy (3)As usual there was a really nice buzz around the room as teachers shared their ideas and took the opportunity to discuss how techniques could be made to work in different contexts. Everyone completed a slip of paper before they left, indicating their favourite three ideas or resources – someone will have the lucky job of working out who wins the prize for the most-voted-for idea.

Beaumont Maths Week

By Fiona Rosler

The idea to run “Beaumont Maths Week” arose after attending the Beaumont Teachmeet last November. I attended Sue Lutz’s seminar on “Raising the profile of your department” and came away feeling inspired. I wanted to do something that would get students thinking about the maths skills they were learning and how they could apply them in other areas, and also wanted to promote enthusiasm and excitement for maths around the school.maths cakes

We launched Maths week with an assembly where I shared the story of how I was drawn to the subject of maths when I was in school and the aspects of the subject which I found difficult. The idea of doing an assembly was quite a daunting prospect, but I knew that it would create the right kind of buzz about the subject and the activities that were coming up. I booked myself in for an assembly slot before I could overthink the idea and talk myself out of doing it so, although I didn’t sit down to properly plan what I would speak about until February half term, the thought process began months before and I always had a vague idea of what I wanted. I felt nervous before I began but once I started talking the story just came naturally. The high that I felt when I finished (and realised that people liked it) was amazing and it’s something I’m really glad I did.

maths cake 2There were various activities run during “Maths Week”. Because the idea had formed in my mind so early on in the year, I actually had a few months of being able to let ideas float around in my mind and decide what was good and what wasn’t, or what would work better than something else. This meant that when I sat down to actually write the challenges and questions I had a clear idea of what I wanted.

The staff questions were a big hit and I was so pleased with the response from so many different departments – who knew we had so many talented mathematicians? The competitive element obviously made it a bit of fun and I’m already thinking about more difficult questions for next year. It was really great the way staff talked about the quiz with their classes and the students who helped teachers couldn’t wait to come and brag about it to the maths department.

There were house activities for each year group and again, the response from these was amazing. It was great to see so many students working on problems together and to have students come up to me to chat about what they were doing and see the enthusiasm and excitement it had created.

There was the Numeracy based T&L Challenge which staff also got involved in and which really highlighted how numeracy skills can be transferred across subjects.maths cakes 4

As the finale, we ran a Maths-themed bake off and cake sale for the 6th form. This was the part I was most worried about as I knew that if there weren’t enough entries we couldn’t then have the cake sale that had been advertised. Believe it or not, I actually had dreams the night before about setting up a shop with nothing to sell, My fears were unfounded however – we had so many entries that looked and tasted amazing and the subsequent cake sale was so popular that it only lasted about ten minutes before we were completely sold out. We raised almost £90 which we donated to the National Numeracy Organisation whose work you can read about here.

maths cakes 3For the week to be successful, there was a lot to organise, but with everyone in  the lovely Maths Department pitching in, as well as the 6th form Maths Captains, all of the effort was definitely worth it. I was so pleased with the response from staff and students and am already looking forward to next year.

Become a Magpie!

By Sarah Hosegood

twitter image 2Following our Learning Lunch on getting to grips with technology, several staff decided to get signed in with a twitter account. When starting out in Twitter it is always good to have a few people to initially follow. Once you have followed them for a couple of weeks you can see who they follow and re-tweet and then start to branch out. The list below gives you some people who tweet general teaching and learning ideas which can be then adapted to lots of different subjects. It is also worth looking out for people who specialise in your subject.

@teachertoolkit – the most followed teacher in the UK. He also has a blog with lots of articles related to a wide range of teaching and learning

@ASTSupportAAli – also look at his blog which has a lot of free teaching and learning ideas

@Tombrush1982 – a PE teacher who posts some good teaching and learning ideas which can be adapted to other subjects

@OTeaching – authors of the books Engaging Learning and Teaching Backwards. They also work in a lot of schools and post pictures of ideas they have seen

@Gemmaharvey73 – a Sandringham teacher who also has a blog with lots of teaching and learning ideas

@Wendy21brown – she attended our teachmeet and works in a variety of schools across the country. She posts lots of ideas she sees.

@hannahtyreman – is in charge of teaching and learning at Reading College

@ICTEvangelist – specialises in using technology and Google in the classroom

@rlj1981 – teaching and learning co-ordinator who also has an excellent website

@pedagoo – has an excellent website as well and look out or the #pedagoofridays when hundreds of teachers share good ideas

@FullonLearning – a member of SLT at Clevedon School and in charge of the Clevedon Learning Hub

To search for these accounts use the magnifying icon on the top right when you click on ‘home’.

Be Persistent – The Ballot

By Helen Wilson

Be Persistent voteBack in September 2014 we set ourselves the task of raising awareness amongst our year 10 and 11 pupils of the need to Be Persistent. It was the beginning of what we saw as “Phase 2” of the Skills for Success Programme. As explained in this post, we launched the idea through assemblies and through the “envelope activity” which both pupils and staff took part in. As the term progressed, we talked about “Being Persistent” in lessons, persevering even when things are hard, being prepared to start over and try again and again to achieve a goal. We heard teachers in the staff room talking about the challenge they had set themselves in their envelopes; pupils were heard reminding each other to “stick at it” and “Be Persistent”. In form rooms, posters appeared celebrating the successes and achievements of pupils who had met personal goals.

Towards the end of the term, there were two things we wanted to do to continue to raise the profile of this important skill:

1. Open the envelopes

2. Reward those who had really shown what Being Persistent meant in some way over the term.

Pupils opened their Be Persistent envelope in the last week of term and tutors were given this guidance to help lead a short reflection as the envelopes were returned to their authors. The important idea was to let those who had met their goal feel that real sense of achievement which comes when you have to work hard at something, but also to encourage discussion of strategies for the future to help those who needed more encouragement to continue with persevering to achieve their goal.

As staff we realised that just simply rewarding pupils who had achieved something over the course of the term did not really fit the bill. We wanted to reward and acknowledge the pupils who had persevered, sometimes against the odds, even if they had not yet achieved what they were working towards. We felt that the people who would know best who had been really putting in the effort, were the pupils themselves. Hence we set up the Be Persistent Ballot at for year 10 and 11 pupils at the end of term.ballot 2

ballot 1We advertised the ballot through assemblies and posters; made ballot boxes and set up a polling station; gave each pupil their own personalised polling card; set a date for pupils to go and vote at break time and lunchtime; and then waited nervously – would they “get it” – the fact that they were the ones who knew and could tell us who had been persevering? We needn’t have worried – the turn out was 72% of both year groups – better than any recent UK general election. The comments made on the nomination forms were touching and showed how much the pupils really understood about persevering even when it’s hard. Certificates and rewards were given out to pupils with the highest numbers of nominations in end of year assemblies – to enthusiastic clapping and cheering, and all pupils who were nominated by at least one other member of their year group will receive certificates in the new year. Hopefully the process will have highlighted that the perseverance is as important as the goal achieved.