I am a primary school class teacher, based in Scotland. I teach Primary 2 (age 6 -7 years).
I designed the Story of Me project to promote recall of vocabulary. It was inspired by an article I read recently by Turk et Al (2015) which found that children were more likely to recall target vocabulary if it was used in sentences where they themselves were the subject of the sentence.
At the same time I had been doing lots of work with my class on improving their drawings of themselves. I had been modelling the step by step process I would take to draw a person and discussing with them all the elements that one might think about when trying to represent somebody in an illustration and then, following on from that, how you might illustrate what they are doing in the picture.
I put together the project based on these on these two ideas to see whether co-authoring and the experience of being the subject of both text and illustration could make target words more memorable for children and also to see whether seeing themselves represented by an illustrator would improve their self-portrait skills!
I am currently studying illustration and I was engaged in this project as an illustrator as well as the class teacher (although the children were not aware that some of their stories were being illustrated by me!).
The model was as follows:
Identify target group of words for each child – these were a mixture of ‘high frequency words’ and ‘keywords’ from our reading scheme.
Children create sentences about themselves using these words.
Aspiring children’s illustrators were recruited to work (virtually) with the children in the class – they draw one illustration for each child’s sentence per week.
Child is created as a central character so each sentence becomes part of a story about them.
Aspiring illustrators gain experience in the creation of a character and placing that character in different situations each week.
Illustrations come back to the children via email or online sharing.
Over the 4 weeks of the project the children will compile a special book (either a paper book or an e-book) containing an illustrated story about themselves.
The primary aims of the project were as follows:
Children develop a strong relationship with the target words and recall them accurately.
Illustrators model good quality drawing and illustration for the children and the children develop their ability to draw figures and faces.
Illustrators gain experience creating a character and placing it in different situations.
Other intended outcomes:
Children get a taste of the collaboration of author and illustrator.
Children gain a better understanding of the work of both an author and an illustrator.
All children see themselves in the role of an author – they have written a book!
Children’s ideas are valued and celebrated.
Children themselves are at the centre of the story – they are important and interesting.
HOW DO WE INCREASE THE ATTAINMENT AND CONFIDENCE OF OUR LEARNERS ACROSS SCOTLAND?
While there is no overall magic bullet, I believe that by creating a growth mindset culture within our schools; we can do much to improve children’s attainment and mental health.
Let’s focus on the issue of closing the attainment gap. The link between attainment and poverty is well documented in education research, including the Joseph Rowntree report on closing the gap. However, working to support parents and teachers to embed a growth mindset culture transcends social class. It does so by raising the bar of expectation, in a way that is realistic, based on credible feedback that is supportive, friendly and person centred. Having increased confidence, resilience, appetite for learning and understanding by working hard and practising different strategies can bridge the deficit when there may be little aspiration or value attached to education in the family home.So, how do we make it practical? Growth mindset has the potential to act as a way of supporting vulnerable learners by working on their resilience and using a growth mindset to increase appetite and engagement with learning and allowing those who have reached a good command of a subject to achieve mastery while enabling everyone to improve. Teachers can fulfil this role as well by thinking about the language they use in class and how they differentiate work for pupils – thinking through their own judgements that are applied to student potential (such as avoiding the use of ‘sets’ at too early a stage; using mixed ability groupings to encourage learning, peer learning opportunities, etc).
Mindset activities within the school should be included within school plans but not necessarily as a separate area for improvement. Think what can growth mindset can do within the context of literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing. Standing back and looking at all activities that happen within the school can create the opportunity to think about teaching and engagement strategies that help learners to seek help, understand their intelligence is not fixed and that everyone can improve in their education.
We need to pay attention to transition points, to language, to the curriculum and in ensuring that everyone across the school community is working hard to promote growth mindset consistently and based on a plan that is right for your particular school and community.
So, what are you going to do today to make mindset real within your school for your pupils, fellow staff and parents? Comment below if you are using mindset to help attainment in your school.
I have had many weeks in my years of teaching where I have felt the magic and satisfaction of watching learning make it’s mark on little people and where that feeling has changed me just a little. But this week was one of the best.
I currently work with young learners with some pretty complex medical and developmental histories. We are happy together and, though each year the classroom family changes a little, the friendships that develop as the children play, observe, listen and interact together have a significant impact on their learning and being. This week I felt at times that I was on the edge of what was really happening. It was exciting to watch …….different elements of exploring stories, and reading, and word making, and visualising (and more) came together as we collaboratively retold a story. I was the scribe as none of them are quite at that stage yet. But everyone contributed, building on the sharing of others, and together we completed the project.
I was going to say task…….but I don’t really like the word as it seems to have some toil about it!!!
Sometimes together, and sometimes with one to one support, the children have been writing the story for themselves. It seems to flow and, with no sense of isolation, they have been doing so well and feeling good. And there was a definite sense of ‘REALLY?’ when I shared it with each of their parents at our OPEN TIME afternoon. Some of the personal writing is not finished but we will complete it soon and find the best way to display it for them to keep as a piece of learning treasure.
I read a quote on Twitter this morning: “Observe, and in that observation there is neither the observer nor the observed — there is only observation taking place.” I liked that because it seemed to express something of what has been happening, and it has been so positive.
And it happened again at the end of the week. A group of friends from P1 mainstream class came to join one of us for Active Maths. I had a plan……and I had some resources ready……but I had a bit of an accident with a walking frame and a painful, bleeding finger as a result! So as they tumbled into the classroom, full of Friday afternoon energy, I made a decision to let them explore any way they would!
Well…..I could not have imagined what would take place. Creating long chains with links…..led to spontaneously measuring the classroom by two of them. Pizza creating with 10 pieces in each – actually a resource called Place Value Petals , no longer available – led to working out how many could be at the party counting in 10s, and that was 160 just as our Head Teacher appeared in the room! And the number grew afterwards and when we tidied them up into 3 towers they could see that two were missing……and they turned up under the wheel chair. The suitcase of colourful shirts, shoes, socks and shorts led to the five anticipated outfits but then a very shy little girl, who has rarely said anything to me directly, put together an outfit with the left over pieces and said ‘ Now all we need is a head!’ And when I pointed to the paper tray she came back and completed the head with a smile! I took a photo with the iPad and I know I’ll remember much more than what I see when I look at that one in the future. Her smile and connecting with me said it all!
Today I’m still feeling the finger a little but it will heal before long and I will certainly be aware of the observations for much longer!!
How many jobs have you applied for and been unsuccessful? At what stage were you unsuccessful, on application or at interview?
When faced with rejection it is inevitable that you will feel frustration and that can quickly turn into feeling like a failure! I know, I have felt it! But that is where we need to turn to the great words of Shakespeare, in particular his Julius Caesar play,
“The fault, dear Brutus is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings.”
The interpretation is that it is not fate that dooms men, but instead their own failings. Now that sounds harsh that I’m blaming you for your inability to secure that job that you really wanted. But Shakespeare got it right!
If we really want to correct the fault in our stars then we need to address the underlying causes behind our shortcomings. Objectively, reviewing your own performance is not easy, especially when the bruises of a failed application are still so raw! Allowing for the dust to settle is too long to wait. You want to capture yourself in the moment. I’m not advocating storming up to the selection committee and giving them what for, but being your own critical friend and asking, “why did this not work out for me?” is the mindset to continuous improvement and success.
There may be many reasons as to why your application or interview was rejected, perhaps you are not mentally in the zone or physically ready for the challenge; trust me I know, I once went to an interview three days after having a knee operation. I hobbled into the room, explained away my crutches and then totally bombed on the interview. A* for effort and commitment to the cause, but totally ungraded for preparation and being mentally ready for the interview. I mean seriously how much preparation could I have done being drugged to the eyeballs on painkillers? In hindsight, (which is such a beautiful thing) I should have called, explained my circumstances, expressed my passion for the role and ask to be considered should they be unsuccessful in securing a candidate. At least that could have kept me in the frame in case the first round of interviews were unsuccessful, or if a future role was on the cards.
The key to all of this is to truly not beat yourself up! Instead, consider yourself as always the prospective candidate.
That way you’ll always be taking the steps to reflect upon your goals and what you need to do “daily” to achieve them. I say “daily” because without continuous tweaks and improvements over time, not only to your CV but to your own professional learning you are not positioning yourself as the number one candidate. As a Business Studies teacher I regularly teach Kaizen, the Japanese practice of continuous improvement.
Its core principal, change (kai) for the good (zen) can be applied to your own career development and when seeking new job roles. Kaizen suggests that everything can be improved, your research, pre-interview preparation, your CV, application form, cover letter, interview technique, observed lesson etc.
Don’t take my word as gospel; Ross Morrison McGill of Teacher Toolkit the leading blog for teachers in the UK has experienced adversity in the face of redundancy. Experiencing first-hand the challenges of the senior leadership application process, Ross shares his key takeaways on stepping up into senior leadership. On episode 36 of the Inspiration 4 Teachers Podcast Show, Ross offers his experience and advice to support you in your pursuit of Deputy Headship.
Press play and listen to our 3 Tip Challenge designed to provide you with Ross’s three essential tips when applying for roles in senior leadership:
Used as a starter (Boarding Card) and plenary (Departure Pass)
I saw this idea on Twitter originally and like most of our resources it was amended to our students. The concept is simple the ‘Boarding Pass’ is given to students as they enter the classroom and are instructed to fill in their name and ‘One fact from last lesson’ the teacher then goes through some of the answers with students writing them on the board. G&T students and students that finish early are encouraged to write down a ‘key word’ from last lesson too. Again these are reviewed and shared on the board. This is a great way to link previous learning.
Lesson objectives/todays outcomes are then presented to the class by the teacher. Students are asked to digest this information and fill in an individual ‘target for todays lesson’ and ‘what level I aim to achieve’ these are kept by the student throughout the lesson.
At the end of the lesson students are asked to fill in the ‘Departure Card’ (which is eventually torn off via a perforate edge). Students write ‘One thing they have learnt’ and ‘What level did you achieve’ based on the learning in todays lesson. Students then love tearing off the Departure Card with the perforated edge and handing it to the teacher as they leave the lesson. The ‘Departure Card’ can then be used at the beginning of the next lesson again linking prior learning/showing progression and/or stuck in a work book. Questions can be changed to suit the lesson/subject I imagine it could be used in all subject areas it has worked particularly well in our schools MFL lessons too. This shows fantastic knowledge and understanding of a topic in an engaging yet simple method!
“It is not what the man of science believes that distinguishes him, but how and why he believes it. His beliefs are tentative, not dogmatic; they are based on evidence, not on authority or intuition.”
I posted my Critical Thinking in Psychology essay recently where I discuss in depth critical (or rational) thinking in the context of A Level psychology. Here I want to share one of my favourite lessons of the year where I encourage my students to start thinking critically (find the lesson powerpoint at the bottom of the post or here).
One approach to increase students critical thinking skills is to get them considering methodological issues outside of the narrow framework of each subject specification and bring these issues to life. The use of activities such as ‘More cat owners have degrees’ demonstrating the dangers of misinterpreting correlational research and the possible bias caused by funding, and ‘The dangers of bread’ again illustrating issues of inferring causation from correlation act as excellent points for discussion about causation and correlation. Articles such as these teach students to be ‘savvy consumers and producers of research’ and develop the abilities needed to analyse, synthesise and applied learned information.
A key element of critical thinking is not taking results and conclusions at face value and questioning the methods that were used and any biases that these could have introduced when making inferences from results. I have designed several activities to make learners aware of ‘blind acceptance of conclusions’conclusions’ and the fallibility of accepting results without question. I have pulled all of these activities into one lesson with the aim of engaging students and creating an enthusiasm about evaluation.
Initially, I start with abstract questions to get the learners considering critical thinking outside of psychology and allow them to develop their own awareness. This starts from the moment they enter the room when the starter is the question ‘How many uses can you think of for a paper clip‘. After giggles, head scratching and some quite lateral thinking we move on to discuss what ‘critical thinking’ is.
Before moving into discussion explicitly linked to psychology studies I ask them to write some instructions as to how to make a piece of toast. The students are a little suspicious at this point but after a few minutes you get the usual: get the bread, put in the toaster … and of course the debate on Nutella vs Marmite! Then I pose the question ‘but where did you get the toaster from …‘ and show the excellent TED video ‘Thomas Thwaites: How I built a toaster — from scratch‘
From here is time to turn my new ‘questioning‘ students back to psychology …
The first activity is based on hindsight bias, or the “I knew that all along” attitude, helping students become aware of the fact that anything can seem commonplace once explained if you are not aware of the underlying methodology.
This was the rationale for the ‘Lazarfield task’ that starts with the class being divided into two groups with each half receiving conclusions from a study (adapted from Lazarsfeld, 1949). However, unaware of this, the two groups received the opposite findings. For example group one would receive:
“Better educated soldiers suffered more adjustment problems than less educated soldiers.”
Whereas the second group would have:
“Better educated soldiers suffered fewer adjustment problems than less educated soldiers.”
Each group have to make inferences about ‘why’ the conclusions might be true. Following on from the task students were asked to “did the findings make sense?” and to feedback their reasons. Only at this point will the class be made aware that they had the opposite findings and how easily it is to justify a finding after the fact. A discussion about the fallibility of the “I knew that already” attitude follows in relation to the students that the students have completed. This allows for the learner to review conclusions made and consider alternative arguments, confounding variables and biases in generalisations made.
To then scaffold students’ analysis and evaluation skills a set of critical thinking questions to frame evaluation of research was adapted. These critical thinking questions provide students with important questions that they can use to establish the credibility of a research method. It also allows differentiation across learners providing the opportunity for those with low ability to give limited responses and the more able students to expand and demonstrate their synoptic awareness of research methods and the surrounding issues and concepts.
This is one of my favourite sessions of the year – you can actually see the students thinking, discussing and debating issues. They are staring to think like psychologists, like scientists. Not accepting what is in front of them but asking important questions. What is great to see is the reaction following the session – how the students often refer back to the session.
My only warning – I asked my students to keep asking ‘but why?‘ – they do!
How do you develop critical thinking skills in your learners? Could you adapt this session to your subject? If you do – please share it in the comments.
There are lots of different ideas about Flipping your classroom, see this TED talk for more. But essentially you provide your learners with resources and videos to allow them to ‘learn’ the material as homework and then build on this with skills in your classroom. Starting in September 2013, and as part of my MSc research, I have implemented my own interpretation of a flipped classroom with really interesting results. This post is a brief into to the research behind the flipped classroom and then I discuss how I have implemented it and the power of blogging to engage students outside of the classroom.
Flipped learning? Flipping mad?
Flipped learning is “…a form of blended learning that encompasses any use of technology to leverage the learning in a classroom, so a teacher can spend more time interacting with students instead of lecturing” where the instructor provides “an opportunity for academics to provide more personal feedback and assistance to students, but also to receive feedback from their students about the activities that they are undertaking and what they don’t yet understand.” (Wiley and Gardner, 2013).
Several papers have reported on the impact of ‘flipped learning’ on undergraduate psychology courses and suggested that there is a positive impact of this on students’ attitudes toward the class and instructors as well as on students’ performance in the class (Wilson, 2013). There are far too many technological changes to how we are teaching and learning to list here, but they all suggest that same fundamental question: How do students learn best? (Halpern, 2013) and the possibility the flipped learning could be a step forward should be considered.
Using videos to support students’ learning has attracted the attention of a large number of researchers (Young and Asensio, 2002) and a key concept within the idea of flipped learning is the use of new technologies to support learning; or as some would label: blended learning (Garrison & Kanuka, 2004). To successfully implement the flipped classroom approach, a change is needed to the existing traditional teaching approach. These changes have been conceptualised by Hamdan et.al. (2013) into four important elements referred to as four Pillars of F-L-I-P. These four pillars stand for Flexible Environment, Learning Culture, Intentional Content, and Professional Educator.
An interesting comment from Wilson’s (2013) action research where she attempted to flip her classroom is that she suggests that what she implemented was not totally a flipped classroom:
Although I have attempted to ‘‘flip’’ my classroom, what I have achieved is really a half- or three-quarters flip. I have removed much, but not all, lecture content from the course. (pg. 197)
This raises the idea that a flipped classroom is a binary entity – it is either flipped with no teacher delivery of knowledge or it is not. This I disagree with. Flipped teaching is just another tool which teachers should embed into their lessons when and where appropriate. Especially at post-16 level it would be difficult (impossible?) to completely flip ones lessons and expect all learners to assimilate all of the knowledge of A Level outside of the class.
The Power of Blogging
For the best part of a decade I have been using blogs to stretch my students and have given several lectures, INSETS or workshops on the topic. This started with PsychBLOG in 2007 where I hoped to provide wider reading and current research for my students – now a site getting ~25,000 views a month. Moving on our department has had a blog and posted notes and extra tasks for the last four years with great success.
Blogging software is becoming more advanced with each day and now it takes nothing more than a few clicks to create your own part of the internet. There are really an infinite number of uses for blogs within the field of education: writing and collating new and relevant news for your students, giving students a summary of what was covered in that past week, leaving homework assignments, and so many others. Not only can you write your blog posts but students, other teachers and colleagues can comment on your writing and start discussions about what was raised.
There are many kinds of blogging software but the two most popular ones are WordPress and google’s Blogger. Both of these sites allow you to set up your own blog online and post articles or general musings through a web-based interface allowing access wherever you have the Internet. If used well blogs can provide to be a central part of teaching and independent learning, however, general rules of web etiquette still apply and all users need to be aware of this.
With this in mind, I decided that a blog would make an excellent platform for my flipped classroom…
My approach to flipped learning involved giving students a ‘task’ each week to compete which introduced the topic for the next week. This flipped task involved reading a chapter (a few pages) from their course reader, watching a video clip and completing a quick multiple-choice quiz (see the gallery for screenshots).
One reason the flipped experiment was so successful was the addition of the quiz each week. This ensured that I could monitor the completion of the tasks. It is also good to stand by the classroom door and know before the students arrive who has not completed their homework task. After a few weeks the students knew there was no escaping it.
Weekly flipped task to be completed before session.
Quiz that is attached to each weekly flipped task to monitor progress (and to monitor completion of task)
Flipped video attached to each weekly task to enrich and save time in class.
Resources for the following week published each week.
As well as the flipped tasks, each week I would publish the work that was going to be completed in class, the powerpoint and extension tasks on Jamie’s Flipped. I was surprised how many students actually read the articles, watched the videos or completed the extra tasks. Many commenting that they would do them on the bus on the way into college or while sat watching television.
At the first consultation evening of the year I canvased opinion as to my new approach and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive with students stating that they liked the format of the tasks, it was more ‘fun’ than usual homework, and that they found the lessons easier as they had an underlying knowledge about what was going to be covered. More than this it gave me more time in class to complete tasks and develop my students understanding of the content and experiment with other activities that I would not usually have had time for.
My experience of ‘flipping’ my classroom this year has been a really positive one and it is something that I will continue to develop and use in future years. As well as all the benefits of the flipped classroom my students know that all of their resources, homework and guidance is going to be ‘on flipped’. They know where to go if they miss a lesson to get the resources, and where to get extension exercises from when revising. It has required an investment of time – but nothing horrific – and now that I have the lessons for this year, as with everything in teaching, I can adapt and reuse these next year.
I have had loads of emails and tweets from people that would like to flip their classroom but don’t know where to start.
Here is a short (~15 minute) video that I have made that will take you from nothing to having a blog with your first flipped task containing text for your students to read, a document for them to download, a video for them to watch from youtube and a quiz to check their progress.
Here are links that I mention in the screen-cast:
resourcd.com – teacher resource sharing site resourcdblogs.com – where it all takes place wordpress.com / blogger.com / edublogs.com – other sites you can set up a blog
If you are considering flipped learning or just giving your students a different type of homework once in a while then this could be an excellent opportunity to experiment.
I could have spent hours talking about wordpress and all the ins-and-outs of it – so it might feel a little rushed. The best thing you can do it set yourself up a blog and spend an hour experimenting and seeing what you can achieve.
I recently had an observation with my line manager. I used to dread observations, especially when being judged by an expert teacher. I think the thing that even the most experienced teachers fear is an Ofsted inspection. Having received positive feedback for my recent lesson observation, I looked back on what I did and realised that most of it was automated, I do these things every lesson without thinking.
I came to learn about these techniques through our head of CPD (@HFletcherWood) whose numerous techniques come from the books of Doug Lemov and also talks and inset by Dylan William (See Youtube for a taster). By automating these good habits, we can free ourselves (literally and mentally) to address student’s queries more effectively. Since the beginning of the year, I have managed to automate 5 techniques which have had a huge impact on my teaching:
1) Start the class with a “Do Now”
This should have a low threshold for entry and plenty of room for growth. My example was simply to state what you like/dislike about the following posters and to suggest improvements.
2) Positive framing (Catching them when they’re good)
By using positive framing; only announcing names of people who were doing the right thing, it encourages those who are slow to start. “I can see James has started jotting down some ideas…I can see Megan has put one point for improvement”. Within 30 seconds, everyone is settled, they all have opinions and are scribbling away. This is the most challenging class in the school. Those who looked like they had finished were asked to suggest improvements to the posters or think of general rules to make the posters better.
Compare that to negative framing where you call out people’s names for being slow to start, “Ryan, you’ve been in here 5 minutes and you still haven’t got out a pen…Janet, why are you walking around?”. This type of framing adds a negative vibe to the lesson and may also lead to confrontation.
3) No hands up and no opt out
Asking only students who put their hands up is probably one of the worst habits you can get into according to Dylan William. The shyer students never get to contribute, those who are feeling a bit lazy will simply opt out and those with their hands up will get frustrated when you don’t pick them. Using nametags or lollipop sticks on the other hand keeps the class on their toes.
In combination with Doug Lemov’s “No opt out”, it ensures that all students will contribute when asked to give an answer. If a student answers “I don’t know”, you can respond with “I know you don’t know, I just want to know what you think”. Every student has something in their head. If they’re still hesitant, simply reinforcing that there is no right or wrong answer will build their confidence and even the shyest students will usually contribute an answer.
Extra tip: There are times when the question is so difficult that there is a good 30-40% of students who do not know the answer and do not even know where to start to think. In these situations, it is a good idea to do a “Think-Pair-Share”. A think pair share with a written outcome means you can quickly see if the majority now have an answer to give or if you need to go from pairs to fours to widen the pool further.
4) Student routines
All the aforementioned are teacher routines. As a Computing teacher, you will appreciate that we have one big distraction in front of every student, their own screen. For some teachers, they dread laptops or a lesson in the Computer lab as it just leads to students going on Facebook. Social networks aren’t even blocked in our school, but a student has never gone on a social network in any of our classes as far as I can recall simply because the consequences are so severe. Some teachers also find it difficult to get students attention. I would recommend asking students to close their laptop screens to 45 degrees on a countdown of 3-2-1. Some people call this “pacman screens”, I’ve heard of teachers literally holding up a hand in the shape of a pacman which seems quite novel and efficient. I just call it “45”-efficiency in routines is important!
By having routines for handing out folders, getting students’ attention, you make your life as a teacher much easier. Expectations are clear and students do not need to think about their actions, they just do it and in turn you’re making their lives easier. By having clear consequences for not following the routines, most students are quick to latch on.
5) Ending with an exit ticket
Ending with an Exit ticket is the quickest way to find out what students have learnt in your lesson. No student can leave the room before giving you their exit ticket. With these little slips (No smaller than a Post-It Note and no bigger than A5) you can quickly spot misconceptions and it also helps plan the start of your next lesson. It’s one of the most efficient forms of assessment. Some teachers sort these exit tickets into piles, one for those who will be rewarded with housepoints next lesson, one which is the average pile and the last pile is the one where students simply “did not get it”. The last group can also be pulled up for a quick lunchtime mastery/catchup session before your next lesson with the class. As mentioned earlier, these piles go directly to inform your planning. Very quickly you can plan for the top and the bottom.
When you get the dreaded Ofsted call, remember that there is no way that any teacher can change their teaching style for one lesson observation without seeming un-natural about it. The kids spot it, your observer spots it and you just end up running around the classroom sweating whilst trying to do a load of things you’ve never done before. Yes, I’ve been there loads of times, in fact probably for every single observation in my first 6 years of teaching! It took a school culture which does not believe in “performing for observations” or “pulling out an outstanding lesson with lots of gimmickery” which really changed my practice. The most important lesson I’ve learnt this year (mainly from my amazing head of CPD), is that in order to be excellent, you have to practice (and practise) excellence everyday. As your good habits become automated, you end up freeing up some of your mental capacity and therefore you are able to do even more for your students.
We would like to invite all our followers to write a post for the Pedagoo website, to share your day-to-day classroom practice. We firmly believe that Pedagoo is a grassroots teaching movement, run by teachers for teachers. We can improve our own practice by learning from the wisdom and mistakes of others, and one way we can do this is by sharing.
Many teachers might feel they don’t have anything special to contribute, or that their practice isn’t interesting or special enough, but it is. We are over whelmed by the wealth of Pedagoo Friday tweets each week, and would love to see more of them explained a bit more fully as a blog post.
You might not have written about your teaching practice before, but the Pedagoo community is a welcoming and nurturing one, where we welcome submissions from any classroom practitioner focused on pedagogy, curriculum and assessment. Take the plunge- it is truly rewarding to see your ideas having impact beyond the four walls of your classroom, and receiving feedback from teachers all over the country.
Maybe start with a post that is a walk-through of a successful lesson, or anything else from your teaching practice that you feel is appropriate. It can be any length, and include images if you have them.
You can submit a post by creating an account on the Pedagoo website, and submitting your post for review, or if that sounds daunting just contact us by DM and one of our admin team can help you with the tech side.
Please think about writing for us. It’s a brilliant boost to receive feedback in a profession that often feels beleaguered and you will be helping other teachers at the same time. We don’t always have time to ask teachers individually, so this is an open invitation to you, yes you.
We look forward to reading about all the brilliant things that go on in your classroom, and sharing them with the wider teaching community.
This weeks blog reflects on a lesson I delivered a little earlier in the year as part of an enrichment session to level 3 learners.
At the beginning of the academic year, learners were given autonomy over the topics delivered and this week, the session was based on money management.
In preparing for the session, I considered simply investigating the income and expenditure of learners and helping them to plan how they could save income and prioritise and calculate their spending. However, would this approach really engage 16-20 year olds? Possibly not some of them anyway – despite the consensus that this was an area they wished to look at.
So what did I do?… Well I approached the session with the mindset of a child – by playing a game! My favourite board game, monopoly was surely the perfect way to subtly utilise money management skills?…
Of course, I couldn’t just use the traditional monopoly board and let them play, it would have no meaning like this. So I embarked on creating my own monopoly board with items that would resonate with the learners (see board).
I had to ensure that I had differentiated objectives and this could only be achieved by giving some structure to the game, so I made four characters with different likes, dislikes and incomes (which they received when passing go). This meant that learners could prioritise what they spent based on their characters. The characters with more disposable income were strategically given to the less able learners and vice versa with more able, meaning the learners were challenged according to needs. Of course it goes without saying that learners had to keep a record of all calculations on their task sheet. The aim of the game was to finish with more money (inclusive of the value of items bought).
Prior to the game, learners were asked to identify different money management skills using a post-it note approach and questions were posed to ascertain meaning. Although I encouraged learners to utilise these skills, I was hoping to let the use of them occur naturally based on the restrictions imposed (i.e. character likes/dislikes etc), with the intention that reflection would demonstrate an understanding of skills.
During the game, learners were questioned to check understanding such as “what was your last purchase and why?” This was accompanied by the chance and community chest cards which threw in ‘curve ball’ income/expenditure, which learners had to explain what they would do based on the information provided. To end the lesson, learners were asked to reflect on the money management skills that they had used in the session. Peer assessment was utilised to ensure that they were able to justify where each skill was used in the game.
In summary, the session was highly engaging, fun and certainly ‘enriched’ their studies. It may have had more of an impact in a longer session… All of the above was done in an hour! Quite a lot to cram in really. I will certainly be using the method again and am happy to share resources if anyone would like to try? Tweet me @danwilliams1984 for more info.