Tag Archives: Differentiation

Margin checklist

I saw this shared on twitter by a fellow PE teacher, see attached picture.  I have created one and added it into a practice test for Year 11.  Students often forget the structures we teach them when setting off on an extended question so this should help to scaffold their answers in preparation for exams.

The margin master could be cut out and stuck into books as pictured.

Margin Checklist

Margin Master

Concentric squares

This tip comes from something that I saw on twitter and used last year.  I am about to revisit it again with Year 11 in preparing for mocks and extended writing.  There are two links to two blogs where you can find out a little more about it.   In addition, Kal sent a SOLO taxonomy document that also support this.   Templates below.

Concentric Squares




Learning grid

Below is a an activity that I have used to support the development of the extended question.  Instructions are on the sheet.  It was designed to give them time to discuss in pairs before attempting the answer at the bottom.  You will need two dice per pair for this.

It should work in any subject area and is specifically linked to the assessment objectives.

3.2 Components of Fitness Dice Activity

15 Minute Forum 15th December – Homework

This half term’s forum was focused on homework.  We took a brief look at the EEF’s toolkit which outlines the findings from educational research into homework at secondary level (link below).  On average, the impact of homework on learning is consistently positive (leading to on average five months’ additional progress).  However, beneath this average there is a wide variation in potential impact, suggesting that how homework is set is likely to be very important.

The toolkit states that homework is most effective when:

  • it is used as a short and focused intervention (e.g. in the form of a project or specific target connected with a particular element of learning)
  • it relates to learning during normal school time
  • it is an integral part of learning, rather than an add-on
  • students are provided with high quality feedback on their work.

We discussed the various types of homework that we all set and agreed that it must not be an add on and must add value to the students’ learning outside the classroom.

English shared their use of the takeaway homework tasks that they have used with some classes and how they had been surprised that most students had chosen the most challenging task, or if they had chosen the lower level, had done the middle task too as an extra challenge!  They felt that this was good for the students to have the choice to differentiate themselves and to choose to present their work in a style that suited them most.  An example of an English takeaway homework can be found below.

We discussed in quite a bit of detail the benefits of flip learning which more colleagues are beginning to experiment with and some very successfully.  The key messages were that flip learning allows the students to do the basic preparatory  work at home leaving the lesson free to build on this basic knowledge and access the content at a higher level developing the required skills.   Some colleagues had experienced some students who had not fully engaged with the process and others who has started the course in this manner had found that persevering and being clear about the expectations, was ensuring that students were completing what was asked of them.  More information about flip learning can be found in the staff area in the CPD folder.



Using Ankiapp to help students recall information

This week’s blog is linked to our shared target with a focus on reviewing knowledge and retrieval practice.  There is some interesting reading and links in the blog and if you are a technology enthusiast, you may be interested in the app.   Ankiapp is an app that can be accessed by teachers and students.

How does the app work?  Students complete the question, from the flashcard, and are then asked to rate how ‘easy’ they found that question. The ‘space recognition algorithm’ used by Ankiapp has been developed by their ex-neuroscientist and, based upon the students’ response, determines how soon the same question is repeated during the students’ review.

I have not used this yet, but I am going to try and create one and see how it works.

Reflecting on the quality of our questioning

This week’s tip is one to get us thinking about the quality of our questioning in the classroom?  After a long half term, how successful has this important strategy been for us?


  • Is questioning targeted to individual students?  A hands down approach.
  • Does questioning involve a wide range of students?
  • Do we ask students ‘Why?’ – to get them to verbalise their thinking?
  • Does questioning both deepen and develop thinking?  Is it carefully targeted to check for common misconceptions?
  • Are student responses developed by further questioning e.g. what do you mean by that? Can you expand on that?
  • Are students given enough time to think about their responses? Think, pair, share is a nice strategy to develop this.
  • Are hinge questions used during the lesson – to assess whether or not the learning can be moved on e.g. from surface to deep learning?
  • Are reluctant respondents encouraged to respond by careful scaffolding?
  • Are students encouraged to respond to and evaluate the responses of their peers e.g. use ABC questioning – after a response, they need to agree, build on or challenge the response.
  • Are students encouraged to ask questions?
  • Are students expected to rephrase answers in Standard English?
  • If the answer is not correct, do we develop their response by further questioning?

Rotation Square

Attached is an example of a rotation square that I have used quite a few times now and it has been really successful.  There is a link below to a website which explains how it can be used to collaboratively plan an extended answer.

I used it slightly differently as you can see from the version attached.  I had mixed ability groups with the most able pupils starting on the 6 mark questions.  Those who started on the ‘name’ and 3 mark question had the opportunity to see some of the 6 mark content before they had to attempt it.

I stuck the A4 copy onto a piece of sugar paper, gave them different coloured marker pens to monitor input and moved it around after about 2 mins.  The activity led onto them working on statements for the extended question and discussing their quality.  They then had their own copy onto which they wrote the answer for the lower level questions and a plan for one of the extended questions to answer at home.  I also allowed them to take a picture of it.

It may be of use in some subjects, let me know if so or if there is any other way you might adapt it.

1.2.1 Somatotype Rotation Square