All posts by Thorp

Pass the Parcel

Many thanks to Linda for this week’s teaching tip.

Following the conventional pass the parcel procedures, girls unwrap the parcel and receive a subject related question to answer, this may also include a small prize!!

This can also be done with Russian dolls and saves on wrapping paper!

Differentiated Plenaries

Many thanks to Helen Cleary for sharing this week’s teaching tip which she was given by a delegate on the ITP recently.  The cards are made into laminates and handed to each pupil, group or pair.  Some tasks are more challeging than others and would be handed out appropriately.

If you were a teacher

Literacy/Key Words

Each classroom has key words on display but are these used effectively?  The words may become wallpaper to the pupils and of no use, other than making sure they spell the word correctly.  Below are some ideas that could be used to check understanding and develop the pupils’ use of the key words in your subject.


1. Choose the word/ words that you want to develop the use of in the lesson or SoW. Display the words on the classroom wall so that they are easily accessible to the pupils.  Give the pupils synonyms and ask them to stick them on the relevant word.  The synonyms could vary in their difficulty to develop the pupil’s vocabulary.  Check that the correct words are stuck with the right key word and discuss any words that are misplaced.

2.  Give each pupil a key word  and ask them to write a subject specific sentence/paragraph including the key word

3.  Ask pupils in pairs to write a definition of a key word and share with the group.


Thank you to John Murray who has forwarded this powerpoint focusing on connectives.  It is really useful to many subject areas.  The questions can be changed to meet your subject requirements.  Macros need to be enabled for it to work effectively


Connectives Factory Manufacturing

Silent Discussion

This week’s teachng tip I saw delivered by Zoe (biology) and Katie (history) on last week’s OTP.  Thank you to you both for sharing!

Show a picture (they showed a very moving picture).  Pupils are in a pair/group of three.  Each group has a piece of sugar paper and a different coloured marker pen. 

Tell pupils they are not allowed to talk, they are to write on the paper firstly how the picture makes them feel and secondly what else they would like to know about the picture. 

The use of different coloured pens made it clear who had made an input.  Collaboration was evident but in a form other than verbal as instantly the pupils will reflect and write back to each other.

Progress could then be demonstrated by using these at the end of the lesson to add to/annotate and see what new learning has taken place.

Spend a Quid

All pupils have the same number of ‘quids’ (see attached funny money, or you could use plastic counters).
Teacher decides on a number of responses to a given problem, each response is numbered and a response mat is laid on the group’s table (example attached).
Pupils decide individually how many quids they want to spend on each response (this works well if there could be more than one answer, or it could be used for a response where the group have to judge the quality using an assessment criteria).

Each pupil has to verbally justify why they chose to spend them that way.
The group counts the number of chips to determine which option won.
At this point a spokesperson from each group could then summarise why the group chose that particular response.
Each pupil could also have different coloured quids or counters so that the teacher can monitor each pupils’ understanding.


Spend A Quid Funny Money

Spend A Quid Options Table

The Thunker

This week’s teaching tip has been sent by Becky Denning (dance).  It is a powerpoint containing over 100 questions/statements which require deeper thinking and reasoning.  It is quite useful for discussions, debates, starters, plenaries and form time.  As there is never a clear and definite answer, it may help with the resilience target and the expectation that pupils will discuss and justify answers.

Click to download the PowerPoint

Impossible Group Questions

Pupils are in small groups.

Set a puzzle that is almost impossible to answer.

Allow groups to develop an answer with the goal of demonstrating reasoning skills, rather than ‘getting it right’.

Allow time for pupils to discuss.

Groups justify their answer.

Could also give the class time to ask the group questions to extend the activity.


Many thanks to the biology department for sharing this week’s teaching tip which links very well to the shared target.

Welcome to the new AGGS WordPress site

Welcome to the new AGGS WordPress blogging site.

If you’d like to have your own blog established (for school use) – speak to Mr Pearce or Mrs Thorp and they’ll be happy to sort you out…