Welcome to the Altrincham Grammar School for Girls’ Teaching and Learning blog.  I hope that this blog will become a resource of thoughts, ideas and innovation for all teaching staff. The blog will be regularly updated with the AGGS weekly teaching tips.  Teaching tips sent prior to this blog’s set up can be found in the Archives. The blog will also provide links to the Blog of The Week and the materials and discussions following our 15 Minute Forum. The reading list provides information about the books that are available to borrow from the Teaching and Learning library in the staffroom.  If there are any books that you think we should purchase please do let me know. I would also be interested in colleagues writing posts for the blog related to any particular aspect of teaching and learning that may interest others.  Please do get in touch if you would like to get involved. Finally, please do pass on any feedback about the blog and thoughts for how we may use it more effectively.  Please feel free to share the link with colleagues in other schools who may benefit from the wealth of ideas at AGGS! N. Walker Assistant Vice Principal, Teaching and Learning

Making Links

This is something I saw shared that I have adapted to encourage the students to think about performers in more than one topic area.   I printed this onto A3 and the idea was that students could use this template at home for revision by simply adding in different performers.

Making Links

Connect 4

A simple competitive recall activity

  • 2 players against each other with a different coloured pen each
  • Every time a question is answered correctly a circle is coloured in/crossed out
  • If a question is answered incorrectly, the opponents colours in the circle
  • The aim is to get four in a row

Connect 4

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?

Revision Decisions

Meta-cognitive and self-regulation strategies (sometimes known as ‘learning to learn’ strategies) are teaching approaches which make learners think about learning more explicitly. This is usually by teaching pupils specific strategies to set goals, monitor and evaluate their own learning. Self-regulation refers to managing one’s own motivation towards learning as well as the more cognitive aspects of thinking and reasoning. Overall these strategies involve being aware of one’s strengths and weaknesses as a learner, such as by developing self-assessment skills, and being able to set and monitor goals. They also include having a repertoire of strategies to choose from or switch to during learning activities. (EEF)

Attached is a resource that I prepared for Year 11 as we began to prepare revision materials in class and at home.  This gave them some time to begin identifying their strengths and weaknesses.  I  chopped up post-it notes for them to list the topics, then gave them some time to look back over their paper 1 mock and place the topics in the appropriate box.  The idea behind the resource is that as time goes on, there will be less in the red box.

I also added a box in to encourage them to focus on the AO’s.

Revision Decisions

Mobilising the evidence

This week’s blog comes for Durrington School which has recently been designated a research school.  Andy Tharby and Shaun Allison who wrote ‘Making Every Lesson Count’ teach there and this book can be borrowed from the staff room.  In the blog, teachers detail how they have put research into practice.  There are some interesting thoughts on retrieval, explicit vocabulary teaching, literacy in geography and effective use of knowledge organisers.

There are lots of interesting links on the site.