Tag Archives: Lifelong learning

Simple metacognitive strategies

Closed book/open book

Set an assessment/quiz to support retrieval of content previously taught.  Students divide the page in half and answer first on the left side with no books or notes to support them (you could just use different coloured pens rather than divide the page).  Then allocate another period of time where they can use their books, notes if they wish, to add to their answers.  By using the left-right column method, they are forced not only to spend time retrieving the information (or even just trying – which still benefits memory), but also have a clear record of how easily and accurately they could arrive at correct answers from long-term memory, without consulting external sources. This supports metacognition by building students’ explicit awareness of their level of learning, which can then be used to guide their study.

Questions that could be used during/after an independent task


What am I trying to accomplish?  (This encourages the student to identify the purpose of the activity)

What strategies am I using?  (This requires students to think about what is required of them)

How well am I using the strategies?  (This encourages students to monitor their progress and adapt if necessary)

What else could I do  (When students get stuck, this encourages them to think for themselves!)


What resources have you used in your learning on this topic so far and how useful were they? How else could you use them to support your learning?

How much has today’s learning challenged you? How could you increase the challenge? How would you tackle it?

What skills have you been developing in the lesson so far?

In what contexts outside the classroom might you encounter what we are learning today?

How could what you have learned today be used in other subject areas?

What do you need to do next to make further progress?

15 Minute Forum Thursday 19th October 2017 – Organisation

This half term’s 15 Minute Forum focused on the independent learning them for the autumn 2 half term of organisation.  Thank you those who attended, there was a really interesting discussion with many ideas shared:

Items discussed:

  • Providing A5 for students seems more beneficial, dissuades them from folding sheets/losing sheets if we ask them to stick them in straight away.
  • One thought was to check glue/scissor provisions per department to enable better organisation of sheets.
  • One method was to offer an ‘organisation buddy/guru’ who could model how they organise their books.
  • Staff members could model organisation, or at least explain how you might analyse a text using the visualisers.  Also, providing consistency when starting a new topic – how do we expect students to begin/note take? For Sixth Form, it would be useful if they have been offered ideas of how to organise that they can select for their own notes right from the beginning.
  • We could even narrate mark and explain why we have put ‘SP’ here (using a visualiser, or photocopied piece of work per class member) or explained why this piece of text/answer is a Level 4 and not 5 and the whole class puts the same response.
  • One point was raised about personal organisation systems of students which may be different to those modelled, and may seem like ‘organised chaos’ but works for the student.
  • In response to this, some members suggested asking students to justify their organisation strategies in 1:1 meetings e.g. ok find me information on this in your book, show me the definition of this term in your book.  Any organisation system is fine, but justification may be required to ensure that it is organised? [Just a thought from the group].
  • Perhaps one of the themes from the Peer Mentors/Y12s could be organisation.
  • Knowledge organisers were raised – is this a good thing?  One staff member talked about the Michaela School using it across all subjects and it seems to be working?  A blog has been forwarded from HUM to all members of the T&L forum.
  • A contents page at the start of the exercise book that the students keep referring to?  Numbered pages for exercise books? All of the assessed work in a separate book?
  • Y10 induction might be useful for providing parents/students with ideas on how to organise.
  • Photocopy planners as part of work scrutiny to see who students are coping with their organisation?


  • There should be a focus on presentation skills – this is in the 6th theme – research skills. Could/should it be sooner?

AGGS Teaching and Learning Library

The books listed below can be borrowed from the teaching and learning library:

The Teacher’s Toolkit (practical ideas to use in lessons)

Teach Like a Champion (CD included with access to the video clips)

Outstanding Teaching, Learning and Assessment

100 Ideas for Secondary Teachers  (A mini book ideal to have a quick flick through)

100 Ideas for Secondary Teachers, Revision  (Lots of ideas for effective revision activities)

Kagan Cooperative Learning (The Kagan manual with lots of information about cooperative learning and the theory behind it, structures included)

59 Kagan Structures (structures explained, more accessible than the above book)

Kagan Cooperative Learning Structures (minibook with the basic ideas behind Kagan structures)

The Tao of Coaching (for developing coaching skills)

Talk Less Teaching (ideas for teaching activities)

What if everything you knew about education was wrong (David Didau’s new book which really makes you think)

Mindset (Carol Dweck)

Invisible Teaching (101 ways to create energy, openess and focus in the classroom, some ideas may also be useful for tutor time)

Oustanding Teaching – Engaging Learners (excellent examples of how engagement can be created)

Outstanding Teaching – Teaching Backwards (a follow up to the book above about planning and teaching outstanding lessons with lots of excellent strategies to implement with examples of how they have been used)

The A Level Mindset: 40 activities for transforming student commitment, motivation and productivity (the secrets of coaching students to develop the characteristics, habits and mindsets which will help them realise their potential)

Make it Stick, The Science of Successful Learning (an excellent book that applies cognitive science to teaching and learning, well worth a read for supporting linear learning)

Make Every Lesson Count (an excellent book with so much to think about and will really impact on your teaching, there is also an English and Science version)

What every Teacher Needs to Know about Psychology (another interesting insight into how knowledge of psychology can support us in our teaching)

The Really Lazy Teacher’s Handbook  (Lots of easy to apply strategies)

High Challenge, Low Threat (A book for leaders at all levels, in all areas with lots of things to make you think about your leadership approach)

How to Survive Your First Year in Teaching (2nd edition) perfect for NQTs

How to Survive Your First Year in Teaching (3rd edition) perfect for NQTs

What Does This Look Like In The Classroom: Bridging The Gap Between Research And Practice (on order)

Mark. Plan. Teach.: Save time. Reduce workload. Impact learning

Much Promise: Successful Schools in England 

How to use Differentiation in the Classroom: The Complete Guide: Volume 3