Category Archives: Archive


Many thanks to Helen Cleary for sending two teaching tips!

See attached resource ‘American Dream’ – Pupils are on tables of four. They have one minute to write down individually (no collaboration) their definition on ‘the American dream’ and what they think this is. They then have one minute to discuss their definitions and then one minute to write their group definition in the middle box. The background pictures are on America, but these can be changed. This could be adapted for any subject area and is a really nice way to get pupils discussing viewpoints and justifying responses.

See attached resource Haxagonal Handout – This is for revision of a subject or can be used to collate research ideas. Best idea for this is to invest in hexagonal post-it notes!

Teacher supplies headings linked to a topic on hexagons. The pupils then individually write everything they know about the headings, one point per hexagonal post-it note (or they cut out the hexagons on paper) and they put these under the appropriate headings. The pupils then see if they can link some of the points up so that they can see where the themes/ideas overlap. They will find that moving one hexagon might then cause all the other hexagons to move. This really helps to clarify pupils’ understanding and can then be photographed and used for revision purposes.

American Dream Grid

Hexagon Handout

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!

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.

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