Tuesday, 26 May 2015

9 Ideas for Using ClassDojo

Improving participation with ClassDojo

Reinforcing school values with ClassDojo

Encouraging the right behaviors using ClassDojo

Engaging parents with ClassDojo

Transitioning faster between activities with ClassDojo

Supporting PBIS (positive behavioral interventions and supports) schools and special education with ClassDojo

Encouraging group lab participation with ClassDojo

Encouraging active listening in high school with ClassDojo

Engaging bilingual students with ClassDojo

Plenary Activities

The Plenary – last but not least

‘The plenary remains the weakest element of mathematics lessons, its impact often reduced by poor time management.  There is more to plenaries than asking pupils what they have done or learned, and “show and tell” sessions rarely engage the interest of other pupils.’

The National Numeracy Strategy: an interim evaluation by HMI.  Ofsted 2000.

The above report goes on to describe the best plenary sessions that were observed. These:
  • were pre-planned, with the teacher clear about what is to be achieved and how long this is likely to take – too short and little gets done; too long and pupils lose interest.
  • confirmed what learning had taken place, making reference to the lessons objectives and drawing together the key points that pupils should know and be able to recall.
  • contained the diagnosis of misconceptions (for example three correctly labelled and three incorrectly labelled angles on the board).
  • reduced to a minimum disturbance in moving from the main part of the lesson to the plenary
  • engaged the pupils in discussion
  • contained short tasks that drew on the pupils knowledge
  • looked forward to what pupils could do next – where appropriate homework was set.

Plenary ideas:

Plenary Producer: Milepost 2 and 3, Key Stage 3

Selly Park’s Favourite Plenary Activities

Outstanding Teaching with Make Gershon

Mike Gershon is the author of numerous books and publications covering different areas of teaching and learning as well as a series of online guides to classroom practice. These include amazing resources for teachers of students of all ages:

  • The Assessment Toolkit
  • The Starter Generator: KS2, KS3, KS4
  • The Bloom Buster: Improve Questioning in Lessons
  • Challenge Toolkit
  • The Plenary Producer. Ideas. KS2, KS3. Powerpoint
  • The Differentiation Deviser
  • Plenaries on a Plate
  • Make Your Own AFL Box
  • Peer and Self-Assessment Guide
  • The What If...? Box
  • Movement Breaks
  • The Whole Class Feedback Guide
  • EAL Toolkit

Resources for Teachers

Enabling Environments

Enabling Environments

Children learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which classroom and outdoor learning experiences respond to their individual needs, and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and/or carers.

Enabling Environments:

  • value all people
  • value learning
They offer:
  • stimulating resources, relevant to all the children's cultures and communities
  • rich learning opportunities through play and playful teaching
  • support for children to take risks and explore

Resources and Ideas - Environment

Girls and Boys: Reading Habits

Image result for girls and boys reading

National Literacy Trust findings report on girls' and boys' reading habits, with some surprising results:

Ocean Mysteries

Yellowbar angelfish

Not just for geographers, from The Guardian, great photographs of ocean life to inspire awe and wonder:
Mysteries of the Deep

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

How to Be Emotionally Intelligent

How to Be Emotionally Intelligent
What makes a great leader? Knowledge, smarts and vision, to be sure. To that, Daniel Goleman, author of “Leadership: The Power of Emotional Intelligence,” would add the ability to identify and monitor emotions — your own and others’ — and to manage relationships. Qualities associated with such “emotional intelligence” distinguish the best leaders in the corporate world, according to Mr. Goleman, a former New York Times science reporter, a psychologist and co-director of a consortium at Rutgers University to foster research on the role emotional intelligence plays in excellence. He shares his short list of the competencies.
Realistic self-confidence: You understand your own strengths and limitations; you operate from competence and know when to rely on someone else on the team.
Emotional insight: You understand your feelings. Being aware of what makes you angry, for instance, can help you manage that anger.
Resilience: You stay calm under pressure and recover quickly from upsets. You don’t brood or panic. In a crisis, people look to the leader for reassurance; if the leader is calm, they can be, too.
Emotional balance: You keep any distressful feelings in check — instead of blowing up at people, you let them know what’s wrong and what the solution is.
Self-motivation: You keep moving toward distant goals despite setbacks.
Cognitive and emotional empathy: Because you understand other perspectives, you can put things in ways colleagues comprehend. And you welcome their questions, just to be sure. Cognitive empathy, along with reading another person’s feelings accurately, makes for effective communication.
Good listening: You pay full attention to the other person and take time to understand what they are saying, without talking over them or hijacking the agenda.
Compelling communication: You put your points in persuasive, clear ways so that people are motivated as well as clear about expectations.
Team playing: People feel relaxed working with you. One sign: They laugh easily around you.
A version of this article appears in print on April 12, 2015, on page ED17 of Education Life with the headline: Leadership Checklist.

The 5 Minute...

5 Minute Marking Plan

Behaviour - #5MinuteBehaviourPlan

Success Criteria for writing

Examples of Success Criteria for writing from Reception to Class 4:

Success Criteria Writing 1

Success Criteria Writing 2

Marking and Success Criteria

Reception and Milepost 1 resource

5 Star Writing

Kung Fu Punctuation

Kung Fu Punctuation - I am still unsure when/where to use the capital letter.  From what I understand, it is to be used at the beginning of a lesson or tournament (2 contestants, and umpire)...Do we need to use it when reading out a sentence??

Kung Fu Punctuation Display

The Top 10 Subjects for a First Class Degree

One of the main priorities for students studying at univerisity is completing the course with the highest degree possible, and research by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) has revealed the top ten subjects where students have qualified with a first. The data looked at the percentage of overall students, graduating in the years 2013/2014, who gained the top degree result. 

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Critical Thinking for all subjects in the Senior School

A great website for teachers and students interested in Critical Thinking, Ethics and Philosophy and Theory of Knowledge.

So How Do We Know?

Staff Development Writing Classroom

As part of the course for Assistant Teachers, we share resources and ideas to support the teaching of writing. If you have any useful tips, ideas or materials that you have used successfully in your classroom, please feel free to add them by joining our Google Classroom.

If you wish to join the writing classroom, please use the following code: 6bssh4

Fine and Gross Motor Skills in the Early Years

  1. Take some of the spirit of musical chairs and incorporate it into an indoor obstacle course that will fine tune your child's motor skills!     Your preschooler will have a great time painting on a foil background to create a stunning, shiny work of art!     Lacing is a great way to practice hand-eye coordination, which helps with writing. Turn it into a fun preschool art project, by stringing up some ABCs!     Make corn kernel necklaces this fall and help build your child's hand-eye coordination along with her fine motor skills.
  2. Fine motor skills are small movements — such as picking up small objects and holding a spoon — that use the small muscles of the fingers, toes, wrists, lips, and tongue. 
  3. Gross motor skills are the bigger movements — such as rolling over and sitting — that use the large muscles in the arms, legs, torso, and feet.

Mr Thorne Does Phonics

Here is the link to the dropbox where the presentations and resources are all online from Mr Thorne's sessions at the conference. 

Mr Thorne Does Phonics Workshop: Materials and Powerpoints

Phonics Blog

Phonics for Fidgets

This website has lots of practical activities and fun activities for teaching phonics. There is also planning available which is ideal for group work.

Phonics for fidgets

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Reciprocal Teaching

Reciprocal Teaching 

Reciprocal Teaching

Reciprocal Teaching refers to an instructional activity in which students become the teacher in small group reading sessions. Teachers model, then help students learn to lead group discussions using five strategies: summarising, question generating, clarifying, visualising and predicting. Once students have learned the strategies, they take turns assuming the role of teacher in leading a dialogue about what has been read. Why use Reciprocal Teaching?

  • It encourages students to think about their own thought processes during reading.
  • It helps students learn to be actively involved and monitor their own comprehension and others´ as they read.
  • It teaches students to ask questions about their reading and helps make the text more comprehensible.
  • Student talk is at the heart of Reciprocal Teaching and a ´book club´ atmosphere prevails, which means that reading is perceived as active and fun rather than silent and boring.

Studies demonstrate massive gains in both comprehension and word recognition levels following the introduction of Reciprocal Teaching. 

www.learningpt.org/pdfs/literacy/nationalreading.pdf (p.31)

Resources to support Reciprocal Teaching:

Graphic Organisers

Students can classify and communicate ideas more effectively. Graphic organisers can structure writing projects,  to help in problem solving, decision making, studying, planning research and gathering ideas.

Graphic Organisers for Reading Comprehension

A wide range of graphic organisers

collection of ready-to-use graphic organisers

Talk for Writing Monthly Newsletter

Join the network

The Talk for Writing network is free to join. Members receive a termly email newsletter containing info about new free resources. 

Sign up here for free


Talk for Writing provide free downloadable resources for you to use with your own class. 

Smoothing transitions

Behaviour management: smoothing transitions

Teachers who change direction without warning, indication or even hand signals can find children travelling the wrong way. Ask children to stop working and stack the chairs and some change direction instantly; others like a cruiseliner – very slowly and only with lots of tricky negotiation. Even fully mature adults who otherwise appear to be entirely rational fear change. They actively organise their lives to avoid it. It is hardly surprising that some children find it difficult.
At home the link between change and behaviour is clear. I turn off the TV without warning and a look of shock, upset and mild revenge scrunches the face of my eight-year-old. In the classroom, where learning is dynamic, flexible and open to change, the connection is not immediately obvious.

Preparing children for change reduces low-level disruption and instant protest. And it is the beat before you give instructions that’s of most importance; the pause to remind children of the routine. In our heads we hold the fine detail of the routines and behaviours we expect. We have a secret and detailed filing system of rules, routines and rituals. The problem is that we don’t communicate this in fine detail. It is usually when the child transgresses that we remind him of responsibilities he was previously unaware of!

You can prevent poor behaviour by preparing yourself and, most importantly, preparing the children to anticipate change. Children who dislike change are trying to cope in an environment where change is the whole raison d’ĂȘtre. They need support so that the day is spent learning and not worrying about what is going to happen next. An efficient routine that prepares children for change is an essential part of a teacher’s banter; be it signs, symbols, non verbal cues, countdowns, timers on the screen, warning flags or whistles.

Organise groups

Changes in groupings can quickly cause children (and adults) some anxiety. It is left to a teacher’s best judgement as to whether the children should stay with the same groups or work randomly with anyone. Each class is different. If your preference is the latter then try a random group generator (e.g. brendenisteaching.com/tools/sortinghat). If you have time to spare then a more analogue solution can be enjoyed by drawing names from a hat! Random group selectors stop most of the arguments and can make change more exciting. Children still feel the disappointment of having to work up close with Whiffy Darren, but at least the process engages and prepares.

Often, transferring a small piece of the classroom environment from one part of the day to the next can smooth change. For younger children a cushion might move as the activity changes. Older children might be given control of the egg timer. Fear of change is often fear of losing control. With these small concessions the control is retained by the child and transitions are eased.

Map out the day

For some children an outline of the lesson or day is important as it helps them to predict the types of activities, groupings and environments they will experience. Display your outline of the day as a set of photographs (of children doing the activity) or agreed symbols. The more information children have the easier it is for them to cope with change.

Some children thrive on change, whilst others prefer to sit in the same place with the same people around them and the same bit of wall behind them. I had the privilege to work with a specialist teacher of children with Asperger’s at Littlegreen School in West Sussex, who saw the effect that an unpredictable environment was having on children’s behaviour.

To cocoon the children from each others’ behaviour, she had screens built around every desk. The behaviour in the classroom was transformed. In their own predictable, controllable space, the children became a completely different class to teach. For this particular group the environment was critical. The screens protected the children from the threat of sudden, unpredictable change.

I am not suggesting that you do the same in a class of 30, but the environment that is unpredictable and not constant can be unsettling – threatening, even. There are many children who have no diagnosis for ASD who display many of the traits with regard to change. You know them. They become fractious if they can’t use the same pencil, unsettled if they cannot fulfil their morning routine and find group work socially impossible.

Use partial agreements

It is often during transitions that the best preventative work is done. When negotiating change it is important to show some understanding and demonstrate you are prepared to listen:
• ‘I understand that you would rather not….’
• ‘Yes, you may prefer to spend the day lying down…’
• ‘I know that the library is a good place to spend the day…’
• ‘The underside of the table is fascinating, I agree, yet….’
Persuading some children of the need for change is tricky. Instant acknowledgement and reinforcement is a useful lever as the child considers your proposal for change: ‘Thank you for putting (...er throwing…) the paintbrush down (we will deal with the multicoloured splash-back on Charlene’s shirt later). That’s a good decision. I know that you can move quickly to our next job.’

Brian Blessed Booming

The sharp change in direction that some teachers initiate when castigating children for their behaviour often provokes an emotional response. As a mild rebuke this can be useful, but go too far and the shock of the shout can create tears that cloud the issue. It is easy to waste a great deal of time waiting for the tantrum to subside. As children get older they start to recognise your anger and can feel resentment for the attack rather than responsibility for the behaviour. If you are prone to moments of ‘Brian Blessed Booming’ it is worth considering the effect of your behaviour on the children who are sitting quietly and getting on. They thrive in a safe and predictable environment. A five second shout for one child comes and goes. For other children it can disturb for longer and leave them working with ‘one eye open’.

If everything else in the child’s life is inconsistent, then the consistency you provide every day is vital. For many children having a ‘normal’ day at school provides the counter balance for an unpredictable home life. There will be children who need to be given more time to accept change; children who need to be warned early; children who need to start braking and turning well before the others. Subtle, agreed signals mean that you can do this privately and selectively. You differentiate your support in behaviour just as you differentiate support for learning. Taking care over transitions does not mean everyone will suddenly welcome change. It does mean that children can adjust to a new activity feeling safer, better prepared and more in control.

Whistle while you work

I have a collection of animal call whistles that are excellent for building transition routines. The owl whistle for ‘still and silent’, the duck call for ‘one minute peer assessment,’ the crow call for ‘changing activity’ and quail call for ‘lining up’ (see acmewhistles.co.uk). The children enjoy the challenge of remembering actions that relate to the different sounds and you appear to be a modern day Mary Poppins to the amazement of colleagues. Of course, if your routines are relayed non-verbally you spend less time nagging children and more time teaching. You also save your voice for more important conversations. In time, the children will be able to create their own routines and can be left in charge of signalling change to their peers. Everything becomes a little more predictable. Routine but never dull.

Establish a routine

How to make change consistent and predictable…

• Run through the routine before each change of activity and ask the children to repeat back the expectations

• Give regular time checks or use a mechanism for the children to take responsibility for deadlines/changes in task

• Make transition times (first thing in the morning, after break, returning from assembly, etc) utterly predictable and routine. “We cannot deal with breaktime problems in learning time.” “You know the routine for silent reading.”

• Cushion those who resist change with small compromises over groupings, seat, partner, etc.

• Deal with poor behaviour with the same unemotional, almost mechanical response. Be predictably over-enthusiastic about good behaviour!

• Use a visual timetable to map the main activities of the day with all children

About the author

Paul Dix is a leading voice in behaviour management in the UK and internationally. A National Training Award winner, he is a member of the Restraint Accreditation Board and has presented evidence to the Education Select Committee on behaviour.

Plenary idea

An idea for plenaries shared by Class 4,  Botafogo

Google Classroom

60 Smarter Ways To Use Google Classroom

Many thanks to Adrian Jarratt for sharing this resources via Google Classroom.