Tuesday, 10 July 2018

What is the Purpose of Success Criteria?

Earlier this year, Ross (of Teacher Toolkit fame) ran a twilight session at UCL. It was entitled 'Effective Classroom Differentiation with @TeacherToolkit'. It was on Wednesday 7th March, but we were unable to attend, but as we subscribe to UCL's PLN, we were sent a copy of the slides used by Ross in his presentation.

Much of what Ross had presented looked useful, but we were particularly impressed by his piece on Success Criteria. It really struck a chord with us. 


Here's the basics of it (and it really is simple): Get the children to design, draw, make, write something with only basic instruction. Get them to mark this against success criteria that they only see after they have finished. Then, repeat this, but with the success criteria shown in advance. Then, discuss which was more successful and why...

We've put together some examples here (Currently as .notebook & .pdf)

NB: unrelated to any of the above, but from the same presentation we also picked up the following;
- www.teachertoolkit.co.uk/2016/02/19/ssat 
- Refer to No Hand Up Policy as 'Cold Calling'
- www.teachertoolkit.co.uk/2015/03/28/the-question-matrix/

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Colloquial Imperatives

Want to help your children find, identify and remember where imperative verbs are used in instructional writing? 

Try making the imperatives a little less formal!


Saturday, 16 June 2018

#Taskmaster - Obscure [Noun] Miming Task


So, here's how the task went:
- contestant was handed an envelope. In that, it said to write down as many obscure animals as possible;
- once the list was written, they were handed another envelope. This envelope disclosed that they needed to mime the animals for their team-mate to guess.
- result, amusing TV!

The clip below shows one of the attempts and comes with a language warning:


So, how could this be used in the classroom?

- Name obscure adjectives, adverbs and so on...
- Name features of a topic, eg rivers, space, Egyptians
- Name cities in the UK
- It's endless...

But, you can't do it too often. It relies on the person writing the list not knowing the next bit is coming.

Taskmaster used this as part of a comedy program. We're certainly not looking to mock or ridicule children. The skills here are: deep thinking to make the 'obscure' list, quick thinking when the task develops, ability to communicate without words and the ability to interpret - and, this person must also have the knowledge to know what's being described! 

Give it a go.

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Sporting Number Bonds

Last month, I was at a football match. The team I support were winning, for a change. As a result, I was clock watching for most of the second half. As time went on, I realised that my Number Bonds to 90 are pretty good.

Too often in school, we focus on Number Bonds to 10 and to 100. This is all good and well, but it's not enough. The children need to know their Number Bonds WITHIN 100. This then aids their addition and subtraction greatly. They need to know all 288 X and ÷ facts, and in the same way, they need to know these sum/difference facts within 100. For example, 5 and what make 13? 15 add 7 is? 23 added to 19? 44 subtract 17?

Here's an idea. 
Like I was, use the scenario of a sporting event to help:
Football: Number Bonds to 45/90
Basketball: Four 12 minute quarters
Cricket: Number Bonds to 6 (overs), 40/45/50 (game length)
Netball: 60 minutes, divided into 15 minute quarters
Ice Hockey: 60 minutes, divided into 20 minute thirds
Rugby Union: Number bonds to 40/80 

Sunday, 6 May 2018

Do You Know?

It's my own children and the TV box in the corner of my living room helping me out again...

My toddlers and I have recently discovered 'Do You Know' on CBeebies. "Join Maddie as she finds out how things work."
As it is on the CBeebies Channel, it is aimed at toddlers, much younger than most of the primary age group. But, it's still largely appropriate. Maddie covers technical aspects of aeroplane flight, how plant pots are made, friction on a slide and more. It is a fine balance between being technical and factual, much of which goes over my chidlren's heads, whilst also being engaging to very young children. Primary age pupils will 'get' the factual information and be mostly still engaged by the child-friendly format of the show.

I have used them as an opportunity to add to our general learning by playing some at the start or end of the day or between lessons. But, they can be useful in lessons - the playground program in science when learning about friction for example. 


Thursday, 3 May 2018

Magical Hatching Writing

Recently, my daughters purchased some 'Magical Hatching Unicorns' and in school we used some hatching dinosaurs as a writing prompt.
With my daughters, toddlers, they knew that there were unicorns in the eggs and that they would hatch, but not how or why.
With the children at school, they knew the item was a 'toy' and that it would hatch, but not what was going to come out of them.
For those of you who have not come across these, it's a plastic egg, with an item inside and when it is placed in water for a couple of days, the egg hatches and the animal grows in the water.
To add to the excitement of the animal hatching, we used so augmented reality apps to make a dragon fly around the classroom.
The anticipation of what would come out of the egg, seeing it slowly appear and all the talk that went with it, created excitement and intrigue that lead to enjoyment of writing. 
What will you do with them?

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Pause for Thought for Your Thought

We are required to hold an act of collective reflection each day.

In our school, these are assemblies with the head teacher, church leaders, in year groups and as part of year group singing.

Recently, I was working at home (with Radio 2 for company). The Pause for Thought that day matched our assembly theme (humility) for that week perfectly. It reminded me of what the head had said the day before and I saw how it could be used as part of year group assemblies, on the same theme, later in the week. Some year groups did: the children listened perfectly, responded well and it made our assembly, and the reflection better. On key element was that it was spoken word, not TV or animation, but just a simple voice.


I'm going to use Pause for Thought more in assemblies, in class, and, as someone with faith myself, maybe even make more time to listen to them myself.

Take a listen...