Tag Archives: Linear examinations

Fish, dog, whale

Thanks to Kal for sharing this tip.

I saw a great activity when observing a trainee teacher yesterday. The activity is to do with recall of prior topics.

As a start activity or “Do It Now” three questions are put on the board as pupils enter:

The FISH question requires pupils to recall something that they were doing last lesson.

The DOG question requires pupils to recall something that they were doing one-two week ago (previous topic).

The WHALE question requires pupils to recall something they were doing a month ago (perhaps two topics ago).

This is a simple method of introducing spaced learning into lessons. Going forward a department could incorporate specific questions into a scheme of work.

Knowledge Organisers

Knowledge organisers were developed and adopted by the famous Michaela Community School, whose motto is ‘Knowledge is Power’.  These have recently become very popular and link both to our focus on linear learning and independent learning.  If you run a google search you will find lots of examples for different subject areas.  I have created one, attached, which I am going to try with my Year 11s to support their revision for mock exams.

On their website in their vision they state:

‘…we have, for too long, been teaching skills and neglecting knowledge. In English, we have taught any novel, or any poem, thinking that the thing that is important is the ‘skill’: of reading, of inferring, of analysing. And yet, novel finished, what have the children learnedDaniel Willingham says that memory is ‘the residue of thought.’ The problem with skills-based lessons is that they don’t require thinking about anything you can commit to memory. Nothing is learned because nothing is being remembered. Over years and years of skills-based teaching, children aren’t actually learning anything. They are simply practising some skills in a near vacuum.

We hugely underestimate how vital knowledge is. Skills-teachers across the land cannot work out why their kids cannot improve their inferences, cannot improve their analysis. Why can’t their ideas about the text just be a bit, well, better?

The children who grow up being taught facts and knowledge will thrive in their national exams. They will use all their background knowledge and cultural literacy to deliver deft insights in glorious prose, and sweep up the top grades with ease. The children taught through skills will improve slowly, painfully, and nowhere near fast enough to compete. They will endure two years of teaching to the test and lose any love of learning they might have gleaned in the previous years.

Is there another way? Of course: teach a knowledge-based curriculum from the very start.’

This link describes the knowledge organisers.

https://pragmaticreform.wordpress.com/2015/03/28/knowledge-organisers/

Teachers prepare these for particular topics and students go away and learn/self-test this as homework, there is a big emphasis on the testing effect.  This is then tested in lessons via starter activities so that teachers can monitor progress.

Are you already using a similar approach?  Have you tried knowledge organisers?  I’d really like to hear about it if you are, perhaps this is something to discuss at one of our next 15 Minute Forums or the T and L group.  Do you think it is ‘spoonfeeding’?  Do you think it is an approach we should adopt?  Do you think students should be creating their own knowledge organisers?

More information can be found here:

https://pragmaticreform.wordpress.com/2015/02/07/a-knowledge-led-school/

https://jlmfl.wordpress.com/2017/04/23/michaela-french-how-we-use-knowledge-organisers/

http://mcsbrent.co.uk/maths-9-03-2016-masses-of-maths-what-should-pupils-learn-by-rote/

And here in a podcast shared by Steven which is very useful https://soundcloud.com/user-907153766/kirb-your-enthusiasm-for-knowledge-organisers-1

KO Muscular System

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?

AOB

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

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

SOLO HOT Maps

https://www.trythisteaching.com/2013/03/concentric-squares/

http://tombrush1982.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/using-concentric-squares-in-raising.html