Author Archives: Jordan-Leigh Cunningham

PL Loves Learning / Pedagoo R+R Group 8

Screen Shot 2014-09-27 at 22.37.05“I want to go back to work tomorrow!” sums up the general feeling of review and reflect group 8.

What did we enjoy most?

  • The buzz of the event
  • The passion and enthusiasm of all in attendance
  • A chance to meet with like-minded professionals and engage in a dialogue with people sharing / challenging our interests
  •  The positivity boost that many of us needed on the run up to October break
  •  An overview of areas of research with practical ways to implement them
  •  The chance to ask frank and challenging questions in an environment which encourages you to do so
  • This list could go on………..

That’s not even mentioning the lovely lunch catered by staff and pupils, the decoration or the dedication by all of the people who set up the day/ presented!

Our group managed to attend a wide range of seminars but the overarching feeling was that we had taken something different away from each of them. A small few that stood out for us:

Kenny Piper’s “I Love Marking. No, Really” reminded us of the importance to not only check books and give meaningful feedback but also of how important it is to MAKE LEARNERS ACT ON THE FEEDBACK!

Claire Young’s “Co-Operative Learning Lucky Bag” was described as an engaging, practical session which an opportunity to try activities which are sure to be used in many classrooms from Monday.

Ruaridh Nicolson’s “Introduction to Edmodo” was an excellent opportunity to reinforce ideas on using Edmodo and introduce ways to use it differently. A little reminder for some that it is okay to just use what works and not feel guilty about the other bits that aren’t necessarily helpful to your particular class!

Emma Webster’s “The Learning Cycle” brought the idea of contextualising knowledge to the forefront and provided a reminder of how important it is to make that visible throughout teaching and learning.

It was clear from the conversation that each of us has something to take back on Monday be it spreading the pedagoo message with others, changing our own mindsets, changing our approaches to marking, re-evaluating the way we use praise or even taking a hard look at the way our own schools approach teaching and learning.

And again I could go on….

Over the course of the next year we are looking to involve ourselves with MORE professional reading, trying out the learning cycle, making time and space for joint and cross-curricular planning and maintaining the momentum we will each take back with us on Monday.

PEDAGOO WE NEED YOU – to keep running these events, keep encouraging sharing and keep building our confidence to SHARE!! [We’ll see what we can do! – ED]

How are we going to go back and support others? By sharing the message of Pedagoo! By continuing the conversation and keeping each other motivated! By making it clear to others that the time for taking responsibility for our own professional learning is now! By creating environments where sharing is commonplace and supporting one another is second nature! We want to take this message back with us to colleagues and not be afraid to shout it out loud and clear:

“We have something useful to say and we want to hear your message too!”






Flipping – uncharted territory

Having recently started teaching a higher Biology class I am always trying to think of ways to liven up the “chalk and talk” approach that often gets lumbered upon higher classes due to time constraints. As we are starting a new topic after the Feb. break I am thinking now might be the opportune time to FLIP my classroom.

As I’m still debating it I thought I might open it up to the pedagoo community to supply me with thoughts about it!

The main reason I want to do it is to support my more and less able pupils. By removing the need to copy notes as we are going through it will remove the stage locked feeling allowing the more able to move forward and the less able the time to stop and go over content. I feel that by turning over the bulk of the learning to them it will really open up class time to iron out the kinks and use different approaches to search for meaning and demonstrate understanding.


A SOLO Experiment.

For the last few weeks I have been reading/hearing about SOLO Taxonomy and flirting with the ideas of introducing it to my classes but have had no idea how to do so. Having attended a CPD session in which there was a lot of discussion about learning intentions, and then seeing a prior post on Pedagoo about learning intentions I decided now was the time to revisit this notion of using SOLO with my pupils and using learning intentions as a way to do this.

As an NQT I have been brought through my teacher training habitually displaying the learning intentions at the start of every lesson for pupils but have always had this nagging feeling of
a) giving the game away before the exciting discovery has begun
b) the pupils not actually engaging with them at all
so I have spent this weekend pondering over the notion of creating learning intentions that pupils can actually use and engage with.

Following the post by Callum Mitchell I decided to use the five stages of SOLO to create myself some learning intentions which took the pupils through the 5 stages.

Here is an example of a set I created for a lesson I am teaching tomorrow about the stomata and leaf structure:

As an NQT I am still for the most part trying to plan my lessons in full so the above learning intentions came from my NEW lesson planning template that I created in order for me to think about various aspects of my teaching and new things I’ve picked up through CPD during the planning level… anyways… that’s another story.

Those learning intentions are draft two. Draft one was giving the learning content away too much and as I want the pupils to engage with these learning intentions without being able to use them to superficially answer the questions I didn’t want to do that –  I want to encourage them to evaluate where they are themselves and work out how they can move “through the levels” on their own.

My intention for the start of tomorrows lesson is to ask the pupils how much of the course so far they feel is about “recalling knowledge” and use their answers which I am sure will be a lot to explain to them that although recalling knowledge is helpful for the exam it is only “level two” and it is much better to recall things which we fully understand and briefly touch on explaining the five stages of SOLO. I am then going to give the pupils my student version of the learning intentions for this lesson which contains boxes for them to tick which stage they feel they are at. I will then give them a few minutes to come up with questions they need to answer in order to move through the stages — questions which will be answered during the lesson or by them for homework.

As we go through the lesson I will refer the pupils back to these and ask them to re-evaluate where they are.

I am hoping that by the end of the lesson most pupils will be comfortably in level 3/4 and a few in level 5 but I will leave it to them to come up with the steps they need to undertake (as homework) to move from their current level to the next or final level.

My aim is to introduce the pupils to the prospect of deeper learning and understanding and getting them to evaluate where they are in the scale and thus give themselves some responsibility for their  learning. The experiment begins tomorrow with my S4 class so I will let you know how it goes!

Wish me luck.