The return of schools after Covid-19

On Sunday 10th May 2020 – The Prime Minister announced that some of the Covid-19 lockdown measures would be eased – this included a possible phased return of primary schools. The PM told the nation that reception, year 1 and year 6 children would be the first to go back on a possible date of June 1st.

Soon after this I asked Twitter if they had a child in those year groups, would they be willing to send their children to school? Is it worth the risk?

So far it looks like most/most parents would keep their children off school

 

So far it looks like most/most parents would keep their children off school! A few teachers have commented saying they will no choice as they will have to work.

It also brings about many unanswered questioned, which I am sure will be answered in the coming days. Questions like:

How do you manage to tell 5 year olds to keep 2 metres apart?

How will class sizes be managed?

Will students be bused in? how will school transport be monitored to government guidelines?

Will their be staggered times of entry? managed lunch and social times?

Will taking your child to school be optional? What if you have one child in year 1 and one child in year 3 – can you return to work?

Will the keyworker list be extended?

It will also be the start of many secondary schools planning as the PM also said year 10 and year 12 will have some time their teachers before the end of the year (maybe he has forgotten they are still being set work and contacted by their teachers?). Many of the same problems I highlighted for the primary schools will be similar for secondary.

Just like before lockdown when all schools worked independently to quickly make plans for remote learning, with little or no guidance from government it will be the same again for planning for a phased return? Every school will now be planning, yes every school has a difference context and cohort, but would it not be easier for schools to be given basic guidance first and allow them to plan from these starting blocks.

Many schools will start to look at what measures, Europe and the world have implemented, as schools have started to reopen in other nations.

France

A return in staged year groups [1]

No more than 15 pupils per class [1]

Parents will not be forced to send their children to school – it will be optional [2]

If classes are oversubscribed keyworker and vulnerable children will get priority [2]

Primary pupils aged 5 to 11 would go back first (12.05.2020) [1]

The following week secondary students would return[1]

Summer holidays will not changed [2]

All teachers and school staff should wear masks. Secondary students also need to wear them. [2]

Teachers with poor health / isolating will continue to work from home[2]

French Education Minister  Jean-Michel  Blanquer said the aim was to have primary school children back in “small groups”, probably of “less than 10 pupils”. The plan is likely to prove challenging for headteachers in public schools, where classes of 30-plus pupils are common. [1]

 

Netherlands

Primary schools would reopen on 11.05.2020 [1]

Pupils will attend school in rotation. One day for half the pupils the next for the other half. [1]

Half ‘groups will be all day at school the other is at home

Groups are split depending on surname so family groups will be grouped together

Secondary schools would reopen one month later [1]

 

China

Smaller classes – maximum of 20 students [3]

Shorter lessons [3]

Assemblies cancelled [4]

Avoid public transport – parents told to collect children by car [3]

Middle are high school students returned first [4]

Students walk past thermal scanners, have masks and screens [5]

All students and staff have had virus tests before turning to school [5]

 

Denmark

Primary schools reopened 15.04.2020 [6]

Desks are 1.8m apart [6]

Start times have been staggered [6]

Parents are not allowed in the school building [6]

Try to teach outdoors [4]

 

Norway

Primary schools reopened 27.04.2020 [5]

Maximum class sizes of 15 pupils [5]

Most children kept in smaller groups [5]

 

Belgium

Maximum of 10 students per class [5]

Open from 18.05.2020 [5]

 

Italy

Schools remain closed until September[6]

 

Germany

Reopened [6]

Students need to be 1.5 metres apart [6]

Reduced class sizes [6]

Desks spaced apart [6]

Teachers of 60 and those that are vulnerable are told to stay home [6]

Hallways are one way systems [6]

Teachers to wear masks [4]

Students and teachers can be tested twice a week [4]

 

Australia

Schools opened in a staggered fashion [4]

1 class or quarter of the students from each grade [4]

 

Ireland

Schools shut until September [6]

These blogs may also be of interest – for lockdown related educational blogs:

Top Ten Resources To Support Remote Learning During Lockdown

Top Ten Tips for a remote interview

Top Ten Reasons why Seneca Learning is awesome.

Trivium Tutor Time Challenges (tutor time activities part 2)

Which measures do you want to see in our schools?

Sources

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/21/lockdown-eased-netherlands-and-france-plan-to-re-open-primary-schools

[2] https://www.thelocal.fr/20200421/what-we-know-about-frances-plan-to-reopen-schools

[3] https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/52556245

[4] https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/10/world/europe/as-europe-reopens-schools-relief-combines-with-risk.html

[5] https://news.sky.com/story/coronavirus-when-will-uk-schools-reopen-and-what-can-we-learn-from-europe-about-how-it-will-happen-11983528

[6] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/explainers-52575313

 

 

 

 

Top Ten Reasons why Seneca Learning is awesome.

With lots of teachers, leaders and schools getting used to remote learning, Seneca Learning has certainly helped me.

I have known about Seneca for about 2 years. I was lucky enough to be asked to write some of their KS3 content and promoted its use among colleagues, striving to become a Seneca Learning Pioneer school.

See my blogs and classroom based inquiry here:

Seneca Learning: The Start of the Journey…..

Seneca Learning – classroom based Inquiry: The Questionnaire

During these past few weeks and months as the COVID-19 pandemic has hit schools, Seneca has really stepped up.

These are my top 10 reasons why Seneca Learning is a great remote learning tool to have in the back pocket.

  1. Students ( and teachers) really find it refreshing. So far, very few students have got moaned when I mention Seneca Learning. The online resource really has something for everyone. To add to the mix, they listen.
  1. Teachers and students are constantly suggesting ideas to Seneca, which are quickly implemented. The customer service in my experience is second to none.
  1. It doesn’t matter if you have a class of higher prior attainers or lower prior attainers, they can all access it. Admittedly the lower prior attainers struggle the most, but the programme allows them to go through it at a slower pace and of course use other supportive resources at the same time.
  1. The resource can be access on a range of devices and the courses / units can are short, sharp and to the point. The fact students can repeat and redo to improve is excellent. Personally, I enjoy using it more and more as a tool for CPD on my own mobile phone.
  1. CPD – the teachers CPD is a quality resource and is evidence informed from some of the great teachers and leaders on twitter and beyond. They include:

  1. Student love the competition between each other in their classes and year groups. This acts as great motivation for learning and revision
  1. Students really get on board with the nation and international revision tournaments. My students last year racked up 1000s of extra hours of revision across all subjects – this can only be a benefit in their preparation for their GCSEs.
  1. Progress overviews – one the latest and much needed additions to Seneca are the progress exports, you are able to download and analyse data straight away to see how your students are getting on and so plan for intervention.
  1. The main attraction for me is that it uses cognitive sciences to evolve its platform. The evidence based research is second to none. This is one of its biggest selling points.

Our Neuroscience Experts

We work with top neuroscientists to continuously improve our platform. Our research has found that students learn 2x faster using Seneca compared to a revision guide. This groundbreaking research involved 1,120 students and was published in the peer reviewed academic journal IMPACT. We also provide free CPD courses for teachers to help apply these practices in the classroom.

  1. Its free. Seneca wants to remain free. The cynics among you may point out that there is a premium package. I personally have not explored the paid for premium sections, however I know students that have paid for the extras and they have been generally pleased.

How do you find Seneca Learning?

let me know

Top 10 principles of having a difficult conversation

Having difficult conversations is a something a leader does on a regular basis. This could be with a colleague, student or parent.

This is a checklist that may help you have these conversations which you can easily shy away from.

What is the purpose?

 

DC1 What do you want to achieve with the conversation? Have you got data and evidence?

You must have a purpose so make sure you are prepared

Plan it out. DC2 Plan out how you want the conversation to go. Use the evidence you have collated to help form this plan.
Right place, right time DC3 If this conversation is with a parent, I also check with them it is an appropriate time to speak. Likewise for colleagues, make sure you have enough time for the conversation and will not have to much of an impact on what they will do next.
Listen DC4 Say what you have to say, but listen to what they are saying. Write notes if needed.
Be empathic not sympathetic Dc5 Empathy is understanding and connecting with another’s feelings. It is all about listening not trying to put a silver lining on an issue.
Aim for win-win DC6 You want to come out knowing both parties are happy and can work towards a positive outcome.
Be direct DC7 Know what you want to say and say it. Follow your plan, it is the only way to get the win win outcome you want.
Review DC8 Go back through the main key action points and check everyone is happy with it as a record of what has been covered?
Action DC9-1 Do what you said you would do within the agreed time frame
Follow Up DC9 Make sure you get a chance to go over the action points and how they have resolved.

Trivium Tutor Time Challenges (tutor time activities part 2)

“Trivium: Latin for “three roads” refers to the three stages of learning: grammar, dialectic and rhetoric”

                                                                                             CCEMA

The idea of ‘trivium’ first struck a cord with me after reading this blog from Tom Sherrington. In the article Tom explores the book “Trivium 21c: Preparing young people for the future with lessons from the past” by Martin Robinson.

I was not in a position to implement these ideas across a whole school however I was keen to see how I could embed the ideas of Grammar, Dialectic & Rhetoric into my teaching to raise achievement in my lessons. I was and am still also conscious it should be a skill set that is cross curricular and so as Head of Year I inserted these ideas in my tutor time, in what I named so aptly tutor time challenges.

The vision of these challenges that I have sold to tutors and the year group is that – this is your chance to learn stuff that isn’t always on the curriculum but could win you a fair amount on a quiz show like ‘who wants to be a millionaire. Of course, there is so much more to it than that. I have found it is a brilliant opportunity of students to explore learning (work out which methods of learning really work for them and be able to make mistakes in a low pressure environment out side of the classroom) and to reflect on these mistakes. This links in nicely with our metacognition and self regulation whole school focus. I want tutor time to be organised, productive and worthwhile – this fits the bill nicely.

The challenges have so far initially designed by myself and have included the NATO phonetic alphabet, learning the states of America and capitals of Europe. Topics are also being designed by tutors in their fields of expertise such as PE (Olympic based), History (Kings and Queens)   A period of learning time is given to students in groups and after which they are quizzed on the topic. I then asked tutors to mark the quizzes and I hand out little prizes for the winning group in each tutor group.

So far different students have won, as the expertise can come from anywhere. Some tutors have told me how suddenly some students have really come out of their shell when studying certain topics and others have shone as it is linked to a passion or experience out side of school (Phonetic alphabet for those that go to cadets for instance).

So you may ask how is this linked to Trivium?

triv

  • Tutor group challenges – using Trivium ideas
    • Grammar –> Knowledge –> Teacher Input: The Capital Cities of Europe
    • Logic –> Understanding–>Student discussion, collaboration + learning
    • Rhetoric –> Wisdom–> Output: Application of Logic

We start with the Grammar! The Knowledge this can a be heavy tutor input to begin with however once the students have the notes they move on to the Dialectic. Dialectic, starts with the discussion of how best to learn the information. This dialectic or logic, is when students can really start to independently put ideas together. This needs to be practiced – retrieval practice; self quizzing; group quizzing to gain wisdom or rhetoric.

Today I took a tutor group for registration and went through the current challenge The Capital Cities of Europe. One student knew them all, he printed off a list at home and read and quizzed himself on them. I could not have been more impressed.

See some examples of what I have created so far and use them yourself – including quiz sheets  (downloadable from TES)

Learn the NATO phonetic alphabet

Learn the United States States

Learn the European capital cities

See other ideas to do in tutor time here

Mapping the Physics GCSE Curriculum

I have started to think more and more about the Physics I offer at GCSE and how they fit together. I believe the cynics amongst you may believe this because of the OFSTED triple I’s – it has certainly been a positive push to make me think about the order and reason we teach topics and how we can use ‘research’ to inform our teaching and curriculum ( retrieval, spaced practice and interleaving)

I have lots more work on this and there is lots of great blogs out their – this is an excellent blog to start with https://rosalindwalker.wordpress.com/2019/08/06/curriculum-and-cognitive-science/

I have created this Physics curriculum map to help me in my first steps.

It physics curriculum map 2

It can be downloaded on TES here https://www.tes.com/teaching-resource/physics-gcse-curriculum-map-aqa-12204332

Follow me on twitter

Why not read the following while you are here:

Assembly – Tackling Homophobic Language in schools.

14 Research Papers on Dual Coding

Get that job, interview success – a 3 minute quick read.

A to Z of Cognitive Science

Using research and making use of evidence from cognitive science to inform education is now becoming a hotly debated topic on platforms such as twitter and more and more educational companies are using the ideas to support students. Educational companies such as   who are soon to hit million subscribers are a front runner in using these techniques and not forgetting the team at who post engaging videos, educational blog posts and enlightening strategies that teachers can use quickly.

I have compiled an A to Z to help those that a new to this research and of course those old hands who may need a refresher.

AAce That Test from the Learning Scientists. A team of brilliant cognitive psychological scientists who research the science of learning. Their blog posts are a must read for all teachers as well as parents/carers and students alike. They have a vision of sharing scientific research and making more accessible – they have certainly do that. I have been lucky enough to see them present at a teachmeet organised by the  in 2017 and they completely transformed my thinking around education. The team can also be found on twitter separately – they are all well worth following.

B – Blake Harvard – The Effortful Educator https://theeffortfuleducator.com/ . Blake is an American teacher however has some very useful blog posts on applying cognitive science to education. Blake can also be found on twitter here ]

C – Concrete ExamplesOne of the famous 6 strategies highlighted by as a method to help students to study effectively.  Concrete examples are used when we need to understand an abstract idea.

 

D- Dual Coding – using visuals and text simultaneously so the information is encoded into long term memory. I have further blogs on this topic:

and recommend you follow on twitter as the dual coding oracle.

E – Efrat Furst – Dr Furst does a fantastic job at communicating and promoting cognitive sciences to education. She teaches out of Harvard University and her research-informed strategies have transformed many a classroom. Follow Efrat on twitter

F- Flávia S Belham PhD– The chief scientist behind applying cognitive science to education. Sign up to Seneca as a teacher/student/parent HERE and follow Dr Belham on twitter

Seneca has a great cognitive science course for teachers that I very much recommend. My certificate for this is proudly on the wall of my classroom.

G – Google Scholar. There are lots of ideas in cognitive sciences and you will have your favourite techniques and strategies. Google scholar searches academia for research and if possible gives a link for a free PDF download. It is well worth exploring this. For example “retrieval practice classroom ” gives some excellent results.

H – Henry Roediger III – Professor Roediger researches aspects of human memory, how knowledge is retrieved and how this can be applied to enhance education. His work on the testing effect with Dr Jeffrey Karpicke has changed teaching for the better.

I – Interleaving – one of the 6 effective study strategies for students by the learning scientists. Interleaving is a method of revision that suggests you mix up topics during your revision schedule and is often combined with spaced practice. There has been lots of debate on best to interleave, Mark Enser does well to explain how to embed this into the curriculum planning as interweaving.

J – Journals – Keep education evidence informed by reading. Research schools do a great job of passing on snippets and research however I believe it is important for all teachers to read and improve, we expect students to do it after all. I currently subscribe/read two accessible journals that are written by teachers for teachers. One of which is IMPACT from The Chartered College of Teaching and the other is ResearchEd – I fully recommend them both.

K – Karpicke, Professor Jeffery Karpicke has researched and written extensively on retrieval based learning, metacognition and cognitive strategies. One of his most ground breaking papers was co authored with Phillip Grimaldi on retrieval based learning

Karpicke, J.D. and Grimaldi, P.J., 2012. Retrieval-based learning: A perspective for enhancing meaningful learning. Educational Psychology Review, 24(3), pp.401-418.

L – Long Term Memory – After we have encoded and consolidated information in the long term memory our ultimate aim would be to retrieve it.

M – Metacognition and Self Regulation  -a cost effective way of raising standards across your school. The Education Endowment Foundation have produced this guidance report to help support teachers in embedding metacognition. Lots of research is being done on metacognition and it is well worth thinking about how you can embed into your pedagogy.

N – Neuroscience – Neuroscience is the study of the brain and cognition is about acquiring knowledge and developing understanding.  There is a great blog here by   

  has a nice video here

O – Online Platforms –Seneca Learning has been developed using cognitive science and is a platform that many students across the country are enjoying and benefiting from. I have blogged about Seneca here.

Plickers is a brilliant and free quizzing tool in which you can collect in data from retrieval quizzes.

P – Pooja K. Agarwal – Dr Agarwal is an assistant professor at Berklee College of Music teaching psychological sciences. She is also the founder of retrievalpractice.org collaborating with Henry L .Roediger III. Pooja has a great insight into cognitive science and retrieval and can be found on twitter  and

Q – Questions / Elaboration –Elaboration is one of six strategies named by the learning scientists in order to help students to study effectively. Elaboration is adding detail to what you know by questioning yourself. Why has this happened? How has this happened?

R – Retrieval Practice – another of the 6 strategies named by the Learning Scientists.The testing effect has long been researched and the simple conclusion is the more  you self test and quiz the better you will do. This should be done over a period of time (see spaced practice) and is the opposite to cramming and just reading material. I have written further blogs on retrieval practice and ideas of how to implement strategies here.

S – Spaced Practice- another of the 6 strategies named by the Learning ScientistsThis is the opposite to cramming. I have created a few resources for my students to use.

Good flashcard revision will not only support spaced practice but also retrieval.

 

 

 

T- Teachers & Twitter – on the front applying and testing these strategies need to be in the A to Z. Twitter is full of educators that are passionate in the application of research informed learning, some of which are mentioned in this A to Z. Twitter really is the best CPD out there and if you want ideas to implement a strategy, twitter is a supportive environment for you to ask the questions. #cogscisci is a great place to start

U- Untested and Unproven theories  (Neuromyths and Neurononsense)Brain Gym/VAK learning styles/ left and right side of the brain misconceptions – you name them and education has  –Dan Willingham has a brilliant and is active on twitter. See here a collection of articles that Dan has written which really are a must read for any teacher.

V – Volume keep it low. There is lots of conversation at the minute around if student talk is productive. Should students work bu collaborating in groups? is this effective? This is another great blog by Mark Enser “what does learning sound like?” and others from noise” and The power of silence

W – Working memory – working memory is the short term memory that is utilised when we are manipulating data of some kind. Once finished with it is either forgotten or encoded to the long term memory.

X – X-Amples from Rosenshine Principles of Instruction. Another must read for all teachers nicely summed up by in this blog and the research article by Barak Rosenshine 

Y – Years – how long facts will stay in your long term memory if you apply the strategies (hopefully…well that is the idea anyway)

Z – Zest and Zig Zag– From the zest of discovery and knowledge many teachers are now changing direction – zig zagging – in how they approach teaching and learning and their application of cognitive science in lessons.

Happy to take further suggestions – find me on twitter here

10 strategies to involve parents in retrieval practice

In recent weeks I blogged about how as a teacher I have embedded retrieval practice into my everyday teaching and also how I have urged students to be independent in their own retrieval.

10 Research Papers on Retrieval Practice.

14 Research Papers on Dual Coding

20 Ideas for student led retrieval practice

10 ways to embed retrieval practice into your lessons!

This led on to me think how I could encourage parents to further support students learning. See here for 10 strategies to encourage parents to become more involved.

Provide Question and Answer banks.

Similar to what calls retrieval roulette however this is not classroom based but home based. I have put a series of questions and answers on the school VLE and made the pages to parents so they are able to self quiz students at home.

A question a day

I have provided 5 months worth of worth of questions (however not the answers) which parents and students are able to use. These have been handed out to students and parents in lessons and at parents evening, they are also available on the school VLE and TES.

AQA Physics

AQA Chemistry

A guest blog written by  explains it well Hexagon and Monthly Revision Strategies

Knowledge organisers & checklists

I have given students knowledge organisers and topic checklists and have asked parents/carers to involve discussions and questions around these points.

How do you solve a problem like….checklists

Sign up to Seneca

I have written an article for the school newsletter encouraging all students to sign up to Seneca and for parents to join them. Many parents have said to me in the past “Physics!, I have not done that since school, how can I help him/her” – well now they can.

Seneca Learning – classroom based Inquiry: The Questionnaire

Seneca Learning: The Start of the Journey…..

Accessible Past Papers

With the new 1-9 spec just started we are currently restricted with the amount of past papers however I have told students/parents where to find out papers such as here and here.

Log into Kerboodle 

I have made sure parents/carers are aware of their child’s log on for kerboodle and have encouraged parents to look around the site and support their son/daughter in using it.

Learning scientists blogs

I have given parents a link to the Learning Scientists blogs so they can better understand how to revise and offer effective support.

Encourage parents to design a timetable for students

I have create a revision timetable for AQA Physics however if parents and students can create one  together – even better. See my example here

Make and quiz each other using flashcards

It is becoming well known now that it isn’t the making of the flashcards that is important but the self quizzing using them. I have asked students to quiz parents as well as parents to quiz students.

See this Learning Scientists blog on how to use flashcards  

Self quiz from mindmaps

Once mindmaps are created parents and carers can help supports by quizzing them on them and allowing them recreate them from memory.

See this Retrieval Practice blog

If you have any other ideas let me know via

14 Research Papers on Dual Coding

This is part two of a research paper collection following:

10 Research Papers on Retrieval Practice.

I have here 14 papers which may find useful if you are new to “dual coding” or as it seems to be referred to in research “multimedia cognition.” These papers will hopefully give you a understanding in which you will be able to embed the strategy to improve your lessons.

Mayer, R.E. and Anderson, R.B., 1992. The instructive animation: Helping students build connections between words and pictures in multimedia learning. Journal of educational Psychology, 84(4), p.444.

Mayer, R.E. and Moreno, R., 2002. Animation as an aid to multimedia learning. Educational psychology review, 14(1), pp.87-99.

Moreno, R. and Mayer, R.E., 2000. A learner-centered approach to multimedia explanations: Deriving instructional design principles from cognitive theory. Interactive multimedia electronic journal of computer-enhanced learning, 2(2), pp.12-20.

Mayer, R.E., 2005. Cognitive theory of multimedia learning. The Cambridge handbook of multimedia learning, 43.

Mayer, R.E. and Moreno, R., 2003. Nine ways to reduce cognitive load in multimedia learning. Educational psychologist, 38(1), pp.43-52.

Mayer, R.E., 2008. Applying the science of learning: Evidence-based principles for the design of multimedia instruction. American psychologist, 63(8), p.760.

Mayer, R.E. and Moreno, R., 1998. A cognitive theory of multimedia learning: Implications for design principles. Journal of Educational Psychology, 91(2), pp.358-368.

Paivio, A. and Clark, J.M., 2006, September. Dual coding theory and education. In Draft chapter presented at the conference on Pathways to Literacy Achievement for High Poverty Children at The University of Michigan School of Education.

Clark, J.M. and Paivio, A., 1991. Dual coding theory and education. Educational psychology review, 3(3), pp.149-210.

Reed, S.K., 2006. Cognitive architectures for multimedia learning. Educational psychologist, 41(2), pp.87-98.

Najjar, L.J., 1995. Dual coding as a possible explanation for the effects of multimedia on learning. Georgia Institute of Technology.

Simpson, T.J., 1995. Message Into Medium: An Extension of the Dual Coding Hypothesis.

The great Oliver Caviglioli  suggested two great additions to the collection. It fact they should be read first before any of the others.

Larkin, J.H. and Simon, H.A., 1987. Why a diagram is (sometimes) worth ten thousand words. Cognitive science, 11(1), pp.65-100.

Vekiri, I., 2002. What is the value of graphical displays in learning?. Educational psychology review, 14(3), pp.261-312.

Follow me on twitter for more great ideas

Want to use Retrieval Practice more effectively see:

20 Ideas for student led retrieval practice

Mid Topic Retrieval Quizzes to aid metacognition

10 ways to embed retrieval practice into your lessons!

Mid Topic Retrieval Quizzes to aid metacognition

Retrieval Practice is a strategy I wish I embedded into my practice very early on in my teaching career. It has only been in last year or so, that I have embraced the technique and tried to implant it into my everday teaching.

I first read about retrieval from IMPACT, a journal I receive as a founding member of the Chartered College of Teaching. [Interim Issue, May 2017 & Issue 1, September 2017] . I have written further blogs on retrieval practice.

 I really caught the bug after I saw so many teachers sharing retrieval grids on twitter based on the design by Kate Jones   – see her blog about this here. 

I created my own grids and you can find examples here of ones I have upload to TES and free to download here. I even got students to create their own to self quiz each other – the template can be downloaded here.

The grids do take  time to create and it was a lightbulb moment when I saw Adam Boxer was collating what he called ‘retrieval roulette’ activities. If you have not come across this as yet, I fully recommend that you take 5 minutes to explore this page on his blog. 

It has become ingrained for students to enter my lab, turn to the back of their books (BoB) and complete theebbinghaus-diagram 6 questions for a low stakes assessment. If they do not know the answer – I now get them to write the question out as well. This example of routine self quizzing is a win win starter and is linked to the “Forgetting Curve” which was first described by Hermann Ebbinghaus. Ebbinghaus explains that information is lost over time and in order to “recall” this information we must first “retrieve” it. He also suggested that if you have forgotten something and then retrieve it, it will stay in your memory for longer. I use this idea, and idea of retrieval practice which is explained very well with downloadable materials by . Why Retrieval works by   is also a recommended  read.

Step forward a few months. Our CPD across my school for this academic year is based on applying ‘metacognition.’ While I reflected about how I use and can better embed metacognition in my own lessons, the more I saw the links between retrieval and metacognition. I did not want students just to experience teacher led retrieval but know which strategies work best for them and support their learning. Karpicke (2009) shows that students do not retrieve often or early enough, so I wanted to make sure students were self-reflecting at every learning opportunity.

I have used plickers in the past to assess progress (  Using Plickers to assess for Mastery ) however for this I wanted something more substantial in their books. I wanted it to cover retrieval, metacognition and teacher feedback to aid my workload and to inform my future planning. I decided upon a mini quiz half way through a topic and trailed it with a year 9 triple science class. The topic in question was from AQA Physics  “the Particle Model of Matter.” I created a 20 question quiz that I uploaded to TES for you to download. If I was lazy I could that used the questions I use at the start of lessons however I wanted fresh questions. We then self marked these questions and I allowed time for student reflection.

What has gone well?

Where are my knowledge gaps?

Why have I got knowledge gaps?

Am I able any strategies I have used to content I have remember to content I don’t remember?

How else am I able to learn?

This ticked the boxes in my own 3 step success criteria:

Retrieval Practice

1)      Students had a ‘surprise’ quiz with no access to books

2)      Questions were just from the topic we were studying some of which had been taught by a student teacher. (5 from Kinetic Theory, Specific Latent Heat, Specific Heat Capacity and Density)

3)      Questions were self assessed

4)      I decided to record the score when I gave written feedback

Metacognition

5)      Chance to reflect on what is going well so far in the unit of work

6)      Identify knowledge gaps

7)      Link knowledge with their topic checklists. See how I use checklists with my classes here.

8)      Give the students chance to reflect on how they have learnt

9)      Aid reflection on how to transfer useful skills and strategies

Assessment

10)   I have printed this out on yellow paper (school policy)  so they are the building blocks of any written feedback I give to students.

The feedback I have written as been quick and to the point so will hopefully allow for more learning. The weaker areas of the topics will be explored in more detail in future lessons as retrieval based starters such as these 20 starter activities to stretch & challenge students

I gave out to students as a surprise ‘test’ or ‘quiz’ as I called it as I thought it would really see the impact of retrieval. I have not told students yet, but I plan to issue the same quiz out again after term to see the effects. (More on this later). I may also complete further mid topic retrieval quizzes after I have instructed students to complete various topics on Seneca Learning to see if that makes a difference as well. There are lots of different pathways where this could go, I am sure I will blog the results in the future.

retreival mid termretrieval practice mid term

Karpicke, J.D (2009) Metacognition Control and Strategy Selection: Deciding to Practice Retrieval During Learning. Journal of experimental Psychology. 138(4)469-486.

Follow me on Twitter for future updates:

20 Ideas for student led retrieval practice

There is currently a lot of ideas on twitter about the retrieval practice and the testing effect. If you have come across this blog and are not familiar then I suggest you spend some time reading this research by Karpicke and Grimaldi , I would pay a visit to this website  from by

I have blogged a few ideas about how I have used it, as a classroom teacher however I wanted to explore more ideas about how students could be trained to retrieve knowledge in the classroom and at home.

The following are some ideas that are tried and tested and some ideas that I want to explore in more detail.

1)      Flashcards: I am going to spend time explaining to students how to use flashcards effectively. Much of this is based on this blog I discovered from  by Rachel Adranga. This gives ideas on how to use flashcards along side” instruction” flash cards. I am also pushing students to create their flashcards using dual coding. 

2)      Self Quizzing: this one is basic however so many students just ‘read’ notes and do not quiz themselves from this information. I encourage students to write questions from their notes so they quiz each other and self test at a later date. I have even got students to create their own retrieval grids to quiz one another. Download the grid from TES for free.

retreivalown

3)      Parent Based Quizzing: To support this I have sent parents and carers a bank of questions and answers (via the school VLE) so quizzing can be done at outside of school, ending the need of the question “but what else can they do at home?”. I will reflect and review this later, as this has only just been done. 

4)      Seneca Learning: While we are on the subject of self quizzing, the Seneca learning platform is a brilliant resource for students to do just this. It is free to sign up to and I have just completed a review of how my students find it HERE.  Seneca can also be found on twitter and I have also blogged about Seneca Learning before in these blogs:

5)      Revision Guides/Textbooks: Not just reading them but using them to self quiz and test. Make good use of the questions and answers in the books, cover and write and repeat etc. If there isn’t any questions and answers embedded at the back then there is a great blog here -again from blog pages that details a brilliant method in retrieving information.

6)      A Question A Day: I have created a question a day from January up to the summer exams. I have given these out at parents evenings in the past. I have examples for you to use for the 2019 summer exams.

7)      Mindmaps: Students not only create mindmaps from keyfacts but also self test from the information. It is important students use the idea of dual coding on mindmaps and do not overfill with too much text and  highlighting text. Then try and recreate it all from memory. More ideas can be found from this website.

8)      Quizlet: I have personally not used quizlet however lots of teachers on twitter have commented on how great it is for knowledge retrieval. There are plenty of other flashcards already made my teachers that students can use. Join up here: https://quizlet.com/latest

9)      Heads Up/Taboo: Students can create keywords and terms, mix them up and put them on their forehead. Other students, then have to try and explain what that keyword is without saying it. This aids retrieval from all students – even if it is repeated, the jogging of the memory will hopefully bring up more key terms.

10)   A to Z: A very simple exercise, students jot down A to Z on a bit of paper. They then have to recall key terms for each of the letters they have written down. Download a free template from TES for this from my TES SHOP.

11)   Kahoot: students can set up their own Kahoot and test each other. Like quizlet there are plenty of quizzes already made which you can find here https://kahoot.com/

12)   Homework: As soon as students start their GCSE science course, I prepare them by only setting past paper questions. I then collect these in after students have self marked them and corrected mistakes. In year 11 I give these home learning sheets back and students can use them to self quiz at home. I written how I use this here: How To Solve A Problem Like….Homework

13)   Past papers: These are great, not only for understanding how exam boards write questions in conjunction with their mark schemes and easing anxiety towards their exams. If used in ‘exam conditions’ they promote retrieval in its most basic form. has written an article here on 10 ways to use past papers

14)   Write their own exam style questions: Students write their own exam style questions and quiz each other.

15)   Venn Diagrams: After reading a text, if appropriate students create a venn diagram. Re-read and add the venn diagram. They can then try and recreate it from memory.

16)   Knowledge organisers: If you have jumped on the band wagon like myself and created knowledge organisers it is important to challenge students in not just reading them but recreating them in order to make the knowledge stick. There are plenty of free physics and chemistry knowledge organisers in my TES shop https://www.tes.com/teaching-resources/shop/TRJ

17)   Wordsearch: Challenge students with a wordsearch not by just giving them one to complete but to create one with clues.

18)   Crossword: See 17) Wordsearch

19)   Brian Dump: After reading their notes ask students to write as much as they can from memory. More information can be found here https://www.retrievalpractice.org/strategies/2017/free-recall

20)   Quiz & Trade: Students write 3 of their own questions on one side of a piece of paper and the answers on the reverse. They then go around the classroom and quiz each other with their own questions. If a student they are testing gets it wrong they put a tally next to the incorrect question. After the questions have been exhausted then students swap questions and test somebody.

Have you used any of these strategies? how have you found them? What other ideas do you have?

Seneca Learning – classroom based Inquiry: The Questionnaire

As a Seneca Pioneer School, [read about the start of the journey here] I decided to roll out a questionnaire to all my classes that I have used Seneca Learning with. Some groups where just introduced to it, others had used it in the previous academic year. I contacted Seneca to see if they would like any particular questions asked. I intended to use the results inform my day to day practice, send some ‘usage’ data to Seneca and to lead some staff CPD next year.

The questionnaire and sheet I used to tally up the results can be download from TES here:

The Groups I test were:

9.4 – A foundation level group that have just started their GCSE Physics course with me.

9T1 – A higher ability group that are mostly higher prior attainers and have chosen triple science as a curriculum option

10.5 – A small group of learners who find science very difficult. They will sit AQA Trilogy.

10.3 – A larger less able/mixed ability group taking AQA Trilogy. I am new to teaching this group this year.

10T1 – A higher ability triple science group. I have taught this group since the beginning of Y9.

11T2 – a mixed ability triple science class. I have taught this group from the start of Y9.

11T1 – a higher ability triple science class.  I have taught this group from the start of Y9.

In total 153 students took part in the survey from years 9 to 11.

Question 1:

How easy was it to sign up to Seneca Learning?

senecaq1

98% of students found signing up to Seneca Learning easy or very easy. It was interesting to see that younger found the process more ‘difficult’. It was also noted that some of those students that did find it easy were absent when I went the process.

Question 2:

How easy have you found it to navigate through Seneca Learning?

senecaq2

92% of students found Seneca Learning very easy or easy to Navigate. In total only 1 student (from the Y10 cohort) from Seneca learning ‘very hard’ to log on to.

Question 3:

In General, how have you found Seneca?

senecaq3

These results show clearly that students enjoy Seneca Learning. With higher triple groups finding the platform better than other groups.

Question 4:

Is Seneca an engaging and productive way to learn?

senecaq4

93% of all students who took part in the questionnaire found Seneca engaging and a productive use of their time. The 7% who did not feel it was a useful tool were mostly from the more foundation sets. This could be because of the student not understanding the context and the language used in the units. The group that had the most ‘No’ answers was 10.3 (5 students out of 21) – this group had only just been introduced to the resource so it would be interesting to repeat the questionnaire at the end of year to see if this has changed.

Question 5:

Has Seneca helped you learn?

senecaq5

Again a really positive outcome for Seneca Learning with 85% of students find Seneca helps them learn (56% some, 29% Lots)

Question 6:

Have you noticed you make more progress when you use Seneca?

senecaq6

Only 7% of students said they do not make any more progress than they normally would when the use Seneca Learning (this was only 10 students out of 153). 16% make lots more progress, 56% make some progress and 22% of students make a little more progress.

5 out of the 10 students who mentioned they do not make any progress were from my foundation year class, who had only just been introduced to Seneca. In 3 of the 7 classes questions every single student noted they make at least a little progress.

Question 7:

Does Seneca help you help the course content? And how?

senecaq7

Only 5% of students claimed that Seneca Learning does not help them learn at all. 26% believe Seneca helps them lots, 60% believe Seneca helps them sometimes and 9% claim it helps them a little bit.

Once again 3 of the 7 students who claimed Seneca does not help them at all were from the foundation year 10 group. 3 students from 11T1 also made this claim, possibly because of the reasons given in question 14.

These were the reasons students gave as to why Seneca was useful for them.

“Mostly easy to read”

“Interactive”

“Gives you the answer & corrects mistakes”

“You can go back over the questions”

“Good for revision”

“The repetition of the questions is useful”

“You have to read the questions to answer the question”

“Lots of extra facts and information”

“Key information is explained well and it is fun”

“Helps me retain information”

“Different types of questions”

“Helps me remember as it explains things in a different way”

“I’ve learnt lots just by using Seneca”

“Seneca keeps my focus”

“Helps with my understanding so I wont make the same mistake again”

“I remember the pictures and diagrams”

“Engaging and a fun way to learn”

“Covers all the course content and questions ensure you through it thoroughly”

“Teaches you step by step”

“Helps me remember info to store in my head as it is all in my head”

“Highlights my weaknesses”

Question 8:

Compared to other revision / Learning Resources how does Seneca compare?

senecaq8

Compared to other revision sources it is clear Seneca Learning is preferred by many students. 63% of students asked believe Seneca is better than anything else they have used. 32% believe the resource is parallel to other sources. 5% of students have used better sources of revision for them. This is surely expected as one program or type of revision will not suit everyone.

This questionnaire was completed before Seneca Learning introduced the ‘classes and assignments’ section and teachers were able to set and push out assignments to teachers.

Question 9:

When have you used Seneca Learning?

senecaq9

Students had the option to answer more than once on this question or not at all. As an over view it is clear to see the ‘T’ (triple) groups used Seneca Learning far more in their own time at school and at home compared the less able groups.

In total 25% of the students asked said they have used Seneca Learning in their own time at school and 48% claimed they use Seneca Learning In their own time at home.  It is unsure at this time whether or not students who said they use Seneca in their time, may have been asked to use Seneca Learning for home learning.

Question 10:

If you log into Seneca Learning in your own time, how long do you spend using it?

senecaq10

This was an interesting question.  Only students that used Seneca in their own time had to answer it. 45% of students used Seneca Learning for under an hour in their own time. 27% used it between 1 to 3 hours (41 students), 3% (5 students) used it for 3-5 hours, 4 students used it for 5 to 10 hours and 1 student 10 hours plus.

On reflection this was not a great question, as I did not make it clear if this over the course of one day, one week or the total usage. Even so, once again it is clear that the higher attaining students from

Question 11:

Which platforms do you use to log into Seneca?

senecaq11

Students could answer multiply choices on these questions – in fact some answered all four. The device used most to access Seneca was using a PC/Laptop. Students did comment saying they may use tablets/Ipads and mobile devices more in there was an app available. Students were more likely to use a device at home but a PC in school.

Question 12:

Which subjects do you revise with the most on Seneca? (is your teacher aware?)

I believe I was the first member of staff at my school to introduce Seneca to the students. Feedback I received from this question shows that most students are using Seneca at various times across the curriculum to revise and learn in most subject areas, most teachers were not aware of this.

Question 13:

What is your favourite feature/aspect of Seneca?

There were many positive comments, that demonstrate the impact that Seneca has on student achievement. The most common comments include how easy and fun Seneca is, along with the use of the audio and visual elements that are embedded within the courses.

Here are some of the comments made by students in each class:

93

“Good mix of easy/hard questions”

“Good that you can see your mistakes”

“The videos are useful”

“Like that you can see your progress”

“The knowledge score and leaderboard”

9T1

“Easy to learn with”

“content is well explained”

“Easy to navigate”

“I like the world memory”

“The toggle questions”

“You can join your class”

“simple to use”

“Visuals are good as are the tests/questions”

10.5

“I like competing against friends”

“Audio and visuals are good”

“lots of subjects and courses”

“makes learning fun”

10.3

“useful facts”

“I like the memory palace”

“Lots of different types of questions”

“Shows how much you have done”

“layout is easy to use”

10T1

“Good variety of questions and courses available”

“I like the images, GIFS and videos”

“Ease of navigation – laid out clearly & simple to use”

“Progress score”

It is good when questions are repeated”

“Like the multiply choice questions”

“Memory storage”

“Competition between peers”

“I like the fact you can redo courses until you get 100%”

11T2

“Types of questions”

“Gifs and Videos”

“you need to get it right before you move on and can repeat”

“Interactive memories and knowledge score”

“Builds knowledge up”

“Wide range of subjects and questions”

“Interactive and rewarding”

“Clear and engaging”

11T1

“Repeat the questions if you get them wrong”

“Good to see the blue circle fill up”

“Memories and the knowledge score”

“Interactive, quick and easy”

Question 14:

How could Seneca Learning be improved?

The students really thought long and hard about this question. I was very impressed with the fact, many students really wanted to propose sensible suggestions. Some of most common themes from the higher tier students were:

  • Increasing the difficulty of the some of the questions
  • Longer exam style questions
  • More difficult to get questions correct (no autofill) + and at times the answer need is very random
  • Past paper type activities and questions

Foundation Tier students found:

  • Sometimes the language was too advanced – could some kind of dictionary be included or key word list with definition.
  • Extra quizzes
  • Learning Games included

9.3

“Some questions are too hard”

“more tips to help remember staff – like jokes and songs”

“The questions that you toggle are too easy because they are coloured”

9T1

More detail as to what you have got wrong”

“A warning box that pops up in case you press continue by accident”

“make your own nickname”

“more questions on topics”

“more choices for storage/memory palace”

“Even if I get all questions correct, I don’t get 100%”

“Some of the language is a difficult to understand sometimes – so explanation on key language of a link to a dictionary”

“I would like to see virtual rewards”

“Clear timers”

“More information and detail if you fail a question”

10.5

“Write your own name/nickname”

“Create avatars for yourself”

“Download the app in the app store”

“I want to see learning games and activities”

10.3

“Easier to find things”

“Make it more fun and interactive – like include games”

“Add extra video links”

“More fun quizzes”

“Add more vocational courses like Agriculture”

10T1

“Timed questions”

“Include harder exam style questions”

“Exam style exam papers”

“More quizzes”

“Choice of harder/easier questions”

“longer lessons dedicated to harder subjects”

11T2

“Higher / Foundation tier toggle option”

“Extra links for help and support”

“Different types of questions”

“Too easy to cheat!”

“Increase level of difficulty”

“Exam style questions”

“Past paper questions”

11T1

“Higher tier needs less autocorrect – you get the answer right sometimes when it should be wrong”

“More detail”

“Answers to fill in can be very random at times”

“More questions with a higher level of challenge”

“Extra style questions – with less multiply choice – more 4/6 mark questions”

“Individual class leader boards that are visible to the whole class”

Next Steps

The answers to this questionnaire has informed me that Seneca is a positive learning tool to have in the classroom. Hopefully results will see an improvement in student attainment. I personally will be using it more to set further home learning.

I will also be feeding some this to the whole school during an INSET later this term.

Top 10 Teacher Time-Saving Hacks

This blog has been on my mind for about a year now. What are the best simple teacher time-savers? These are little ideas which I have embedded in my practice over the past few years. They all save me some valuable time. I hope they might save you a few minutes as well – remember every second counts.

I have either come up the ideas myself or heard the idea elsewhere so I can not take credit for them all. I will try to justify how and why they have saved me time and I hope like every good #teachmeet you are able to take one strategy away with you.

1.       Number Student Exercise Books:

A simple idea, that I started to do in preparation for (idea 2). I export a class list from SIMS and number the students 1 to 33 (or generate a class list from Plickers and project this as this has numbers as well). Students then put this number on the top left hand corner of their books.

This saves time as I am able to (or selected lucky students can) quickly order the books, so I can see which numbers and so students are missing. Before this, I spent ages checking the register to work out who didn’t quite understand the instruction of “Please leave your books on the desk!” by the time I realised it was Joe Bloggs, they were long gone.

These numbers can also be put on home learning, so again you can quickly order the work and see who has handed in what has been asked.

2.       Using Plickers for Low Stakes Assessment:

I have blogged and raved about Plickers many a time. One successful blog is how I have used Plickers to assess for mastery.  https://sciencetltoolkit.wordpress.com/2017/01/25/using-plickers-to-assess-for-mastery/

Low Stakes assessment as retrieval practice and quizzing is an area Barak Rosenshine promoted in his “Principles of instruction” https://www.aft.org/sites/default/files/periodicals/Rosenshine.pdf

Plickers is very quick and easy to set up and is a great AfL tool to assess students, monitor progress and inform future planning. Once you get the hang of it, it is simple to quiz students. I use it most lessons to recap previous knowledge but every couple of weeks I create a longer quiz, in which I take in the marks.

The time saving aspect of Plickers is that it saves your questions, it is self marking and exports results straight to Excel. You can see which questions stumped the most students to inform future planning and which students didn’t quite perform as per expectations, so you are able to offer a little encouragement. It is very quick and easy to copy and paste in excel, and I do so in to my Excel Spread, which brings me on to time saver 3.

3.       Excel Marksheets

I have marksheet for each of my classes. These contain baseline data from SIMS, to help with seating plans etc. But I also record the day to day goings on. Stuff you think about but forget by the time it comes to report writing and parents evening (time saver 4). It only takes a moment to jot it down. I also record student absence, if they have forgotten their books and lack of equipment. These are updated and added to each term.  The spread sheet is where I record home learning marks & efforts (time saver 5) and scores from Plickers as well as summative end of unit test scores.

excel spreadsheet

I have taught my current Y11 since Y9 – Looking back, it is brilliant to see how some students have progressed along with trends and patterns.

I print a copy out and have it in front of me at parents evening. Talking of which….

4.       Parents Evening

Parents evening as much as they are dreaded by some teachers because it adds another 4/5 hours on to their working day are very important. They are important for parents to meet their children’s teacher, who they are trusting to support their children to get brilliant results and significant for teachers to meet the parents!

I found in my first few years teaching, I repeated myself at parents evening. This frustrated me, as I felt I wasn’t doing students, parents or myself justice. So I now offer up a more detailed analysis of students performance, attitude and attainment using the excel marksheet (time saver 3). This gives evidence to parents and students, suggesting I am not just making it all up.

parents evening

One question I get a lot, so I assume this is a common theme across is “ what can I do to help xxxx” and “what else can they do…” I now produce a simple parent take away slip which logon details for software the department has purchased for students, useful websites and tips. I have now to log on to Kerboodle, Seneca learning and links to exam board specification. Feedback from parents is very positive. This saves you time, as once it is done it is done and printed. It can be edited. It also saves your voice, on an evening when your voice needs to be conserved.

5.       Peer or Self-Marking Home Learning

Home Learning or Home Work is the vain of many a teachers life. I am a believer that any work a student does at home should consolidate learning and not be a filler. I hate seeing students doing a title page or word search because school policy states home learning needs to be set every week.

Home learning could add a considerable amount of time to marking workload. In the past, early in my career I may have done this. I apologise if this was the case. I now make sure every task I set to be completed at home, is relevant, useful and promotes learning.

I use exampro to download past paper questions from AQA and edit them. The questions can then be self or peer marked. Students put their number (time saver tip 1) and adding to marksheets (time saver tip 3). No teacher marking, but when you go through the questions you can give detailed feedback on how to answer questions and those extra snippets of knowledge.

The home learning isn’t always on the topic in hand either. Why not try to set homework from a topic from the previous topic or even year.

6.       Retrieval practice

 Creating a selection of questions that can be used a low staked starter. These are time savers, as questions can be saved for topics and can be repeated at any time. Remember to mix up the questions – they don’t just need to be on the topic in hand. See The Learning Scientists for the latest educational research on this.

Here is a previous blog I wrote on embedding retrieval practice into every day lessons: https://sciencetltoolkit.wordpress.com/2018/05/23/10-ways-to-embed-retrieval-practice-into-your-lessons/

7.       Live Feedback

Live feedback should not be live marking……….marking for the stake of it……. or…….. marking because school policy states it should be done!

I am a believer in live feedback during lessons because not only does it save you time but also it saves the students time. Rosenshine states that the more mistakes a student makes the harder it is to reteach it. So why allow students to make the mistake in the first place.

Once again, I hold my hand up to this. In the past I have seen a student draw a graph and not put units on an axis label. I have thought, great, I can now highlight this and prove to the powers that be that I am offering great productive feedback. Now, I tell students, as I check and monitor work what they need to do to improve. I am not writing anything in books, I may get students to jot down a self-assessment note, to what they have to do to improve, but this is purely for them, not for “the powers”.

Don’t allow students to make mistakes, this will save you time reteaching in the long run. This is another nudge to read Rosenshine.

8.       Feedback and D.I.R.T

How many times do you write the same comment in students books? Do this…do that…think about this! This wastes time, why not get students to write it?

I jot notes down as I go through students books. Write down students of praise and of concern who made need intervention. I use these notes to inform future planning – for instance if there was a message or comment I would have written in most students books I would make sure I address those issues the next lesson. This is a great opportunity to promote the use of DIRT (Dedicated Improvement and Reflection Time) to get students to improve their work.

9.       Student Reflection and metacognition

Linked to live marking (time saver 7) I use this when I have taught sections of work and want some feedback on how students have found it. I have just used this, [today in fact] after teaching alpha and beta nuclear decay equations. After modelling and teaching, I have lots of examples for students to complete on the board. I then went through these and students self assessed their answers. I then asked students to write a brief sentence or two describing the method of how they solved the problems and explain how they felt about the process. This included, how confident they were of their learning processes. You can read more on Metacognition here:

http://www.sec-ed.co.uk/best-practice/in-the-classroom-metacognition-explained

10.       Checklists – referenced through work to aid revision

At the start of every topic I hand out a checklist and knowledge organiser to all students. The organisers contain key words and definitions, timelines and visuals such as annotated diagrams and practical equipment. I have uploaded these to TES and they are free to download.

checklist

My checklists have been written in student speak from the exam specifications. I have given each ‘can do’ statement a code. Students use these codes to reference their work as they go through their books. Sometimes I tell students……today we are focussing on F11 sometimes they have to work it out themselves. Students find this a great help in organising their work. Students can tick as they go along, this is also a great visual overview for students who haven’t attended lessons for a while, they can see what they have missed and what they need to do to catch up.

11.       Edu-Twitter

A bonus if you are not already on twitter do it. There are ideas shared a plenty evert day. To those that share, thank you.

Let me know your top teacher time saving tips. 

 

10 ways to embed retrieval practice into your lessons!

I first heard at retrieval practice when I heard the Learning Scientists present a keynote at through the

This was the first occasion, when the idea of evidence informed practice hit home. I felt inspired to read more and embed these ideas to make them common practice within my teaching. The three ideas from which I wanted to explore further were retrieval, interleaving and spaced practice.

This will be a short blog on some ideas on how I have and how you could easily plan for some retrieval in your next lesson. Retrieval, is just another way of saying ‘recalling some information’ however it is important students are allowed to think before they look anything up. I believe it is all about making this explicit in the classroom and that is our jobs as teachers. If you inform students what you are doing, it can only benefit them to understand the lesson and in terms of their personal revision at a later date. Like I have alluded to, teachers all for retrieval every lesson, but this not always planned for and at times may lack quality due to it lacking priority and being rushed.

Here are 10 ideas you could use tomorrow. [I stake no claim for these ideas, they are all ones I have used but most have been picked up and modified from other teachers and tweetchers.

1) Low stake assessment/multiple choice starter questions: This is simple to implement and the questions can be saved and used again and again (if answered poorly with the same class even). There are lots of ways of doing this but normally 4 to 9 questions that include questions on the prior lesson, previous topic and past topics. The last question could also be on a future topic, that way you can see progress and even allow it to inform your future planning. Students are trained to enter my lesson and to complete these questions in their BoBs (back of books)

RetrievalQuiz

2) Creating flashcards and mindmaps and allowing for students to revisit this information and self test each other.

3) Knowledge organisers and self quizzing. Everyone seems to be on the knowledge organiser trail at the minute. I use them in a couple of different ways. Using a knowledge organiser for self quizzing. A great example can be found here:
https://thelearningprofession.wordpress.com/2018/01/13/on-self-quizzing-homework

I have lots of science knowledge organisers on my TES resources – free to download.
https://www.tes.com/resources/search/?authorId=604769&q=knowledge&shop=TRJ

4) Use of plickers. Plickers is a great formative assessment tool. I have blogged about how I have used this in further detail here:
plickers

5) Deep questioning. I am a big believer that we must constantly make links and ‘bridges’ between what we are currently learning and previous topics [and subjects]. As a science teacher there are lots of links and bridges between topics and I question students to make them think about these and make them explicit and the forefront of learning. I also have a cross curricular grid on my wall, this a small table like the one below – if a student can make a solid, educational link between what we are learning and another subject that subject is then crossed off. This can be played a little like bingo.

Biology Chemistry Physics
PE RE MFL
English Maths History
Geography Drama Food Tech

6) Knowledge rally: students are told a previous topic or theme and have to jot down in a group everything they remember about it. Groups can then join together and add to each others lists. A great why to incorporate self and peer assessment and of course the outcomes can inform future planning.

7) Lots of past paper questions either as a starter or embedded in the lesson.

8) Homelearning. I make sure my home learning for KS4 is always mostly past paper questions. These questions are often on topics studied in previous months and years. These can then self marked, I can take in scores and students can store in assessment folders.

9) Read and write: This is reading some text, covering it and then simply using your brain to rewrite it (in your own words). Revisit the text to check for misconceptions and repeat. Try and move away from copying all the time.

10) Student led: Get students to write their own questions on previous topics and to quiz each other.

I hope there is at least one idea you can take away here and use in your lessons. If you have used any more please let me know and I will add to the list (or create another 10).

Thanks for reading,
TJohns85

20 starter activities to stretch & challenge students

Stretch and challenge is one of latest buzz words in education. I see it as more than “gifted and talented” which focuses on the few. Stretch & Challenge is for all. Every student should be stretched and challenged, as basic differentiation regardless of ability.

Here are some examples of starters I have used:

  1. Curriculum Links: Allow your students to make links to all areas of the curriculum from the topic you are studying:IE: if you are covering atomic theory can you link aspects to the following. There could be an opportunity to award points [insert….school behaviour reward here]. More points could be awarded for harder to link to subjects:
English D+T Geography Art
Careers History Business Studies ICT
Food Tech PE Maths MFL

2.  Anagram Starter: Jumble up a keywords and key terminology for students to unjumble

ESCNIEC : Science

SGIHNLE: English

3. Retrieval Quizzes: After I watched present a keynote at a teachmeet I went away and reflected on improving my starters.to include the idea of retrieval practice http://www.learningscientists.org/blog/2016/6/23-1 I now attempt to give all my students 5 to 8 questions based on previous lessons, topics and even questions from previous years and sciences. I did these very simply as a list – a few months later I came across a much better student -friendly design by .retri

Download an example for FREE here

https://www.tes.com/teaching-resource/physics-retrieval-quiz-energy-waves-and-electricity-11814407

4. Odd one out: Give students 4 pictures and ask them to point out the odd one out and the reasons why?

5. What Dat Picture: have a photo on the board [as a hook…] and ask students what questions the picture brings to the surface and/or how it links to their work.

6.Scrabble/Pointless: Use the scrabble tiles for students to rearrange to create keywords and terms from topics, getting them to add the points together. Include Pointless into this if there is a word that only one student has written down.

scrabb

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Science can add to this by creating words from the symbols of elements of the periodic table. Students can then add up the atomic masses.

Remember points win prizes

Template can be downloaded here: https://www.tes.com/teaching-resource/a-scrabble-and-pointless-game-starter-activity-11854487

7. Thunk: From independentthink.co.uk:

  1. Thunk is a beguilingly simple-looking question about everyday things that stops you in your tracks and helps you start to look at the world in a whole new light. discussion and debate

Such as:

  1. Should cyclists be fined for speeding?
  2. Where does the horizon start?
  3. If you had £500,000 what scientific research would you do?
  4. What colour is Physics?
  5. If you had £500,000 what scientific research would you do?

More examples can be found here:

8. Well Rounded: Give students a topic and let them explore it with helpful hints:

Who gains from it?

Who loses out?

What are the financial issues?

What are the unanswered questions and issues?

9. 6 degrees of separation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcxZSmzPw8kPick two random areas from topics (they can be different) and ask students to try and link them in 6 steps.

10. Reverse Questioning: Give students the answers to questions and get them to write the questions and/or calculations. If you are giving a number answer – then remember to include the units.

11. Strip Starters: Hand out to students as they enter the room and get them to stick in their books and answer the questions next to them. Another take on the retrieval quiz.

Find an example to download here: https://www.tes.com/teaching-resource/aqa-1-9-energy-starter-strip-11847566

12. Question Developer: Get students to write their own probing questions using these prompts

Ques

13. Who am I? This can be extended or shortened depending on the group. How did you get on with this one?

5 points: I was born on the 8th October 18503

4 points: I was born in Paris, France

3 points: My field of science was Chemistry

2 points: My research centred around changes in concentration, temperature & pressure

1 point: The principle named after me is used by chemists to predict the effect a changing condition has on a system in chemical equilibrium

Name: Henry Louis Le Chatelier

And some further watching:

Who is Le Chatelier? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XmgRRmxS3is

What is equilibrium? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dUMmoPdwBy4

14. Dingbats: use pictures to describe a saying or keyword.Any thoughts on this one?

Dingbat

Robert Hooke’s Law to find the Spring Constant

15. Code Breakers: Give students a topic and put the keywords in a code (IE A= 1 B =2) students then have to rearrange.

16. Quotes A: Give students related to a topic but put synonyms in place of the key terminology. Students then have to alter it.

17. Quotes B: Give students a piece of text but change some of the words and key terms. This could be grammar or incorrect information. Students need to correct them all.

18. What will you ask them? Show a photo of a famous person and ask students to write down questions they would want to ask them? IE what would you ask Charles Darwin?

19. What happens next? Show students a picture or a series of pictures and ask them what happens next? Encourage deeper thinking skills.

20. A to Z: A longer activity than a short engaging starter – but get students to find a keyword for a topic beginning with A to Z.

 

If you have any more ideas share them and let me know on twitter: