Monday, 29 February 2016

World Book Day - 3rd March 2016

  • Image result for world book day 2016Image result for world book day 2016
  • World Book Day is a celebration! It's a celebration of authors, illustrators, books and (most importantly) it's a celebration of reading. In fact, it's the biggest celebration of its kind, designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, and marked in over 100 countries all over the world.
  • Resources:
  • Early Years Foundation Stage
  • Primary
  • Secondary
  • Visual Literacy

    The Mathematical Shed has a series of Visual stimulus pictures. These are great for children to look at and talk about.


    Visual Stimulus Shed

    Big Talk and Talk for Writing

    Fantasy Pictures

    Springboard Stories

    Writing Stimulus

    Continuous provision - Developing Early Writing

    The development of students' writing skills is a complex business. Providing exciting, purposeful and developmentally appropriate writing opportunities is crucial in giving students a positive message about mark making. If your writing area provides students with a reason to write, and gives them access to the tools that are appropriate to their level of development, it will ensure that they experience success.

    Brilliant Ideas for your Writing Area

    Mark Making Matters

    Rote Learning: Good or Bad?

    What every teacher needs to know about… rote learning

    There is a great article about rote learning this week on David Daidu's Learning Spy blog this week, in which David looks in a measured way at when rote learning, much maligned as it has been in recent years, can in fact be effective. 

    Book Talk


    Reading and Talk

    If children’s main experience of stories is that they will be required to have an opinion or will be quizzed about the content, then we run the risk of putting children off reading. Positive reading involves becoming engaged in the story, as well as deepening understanding and appreciation through drama, art, music, dance, research and, of course, discussion, in which children talk their way towards deeper comprehension. Even as an adult, I find that I don’t really know about a book until I have talked about it. Talking one’s way into a deeper understanding is crucial for developing the ability critically to appreciate literature; answering comprehension questions may test understanding and challenge thinking but it is in the discussion that the ability to think critically can be developed. It is worth remembering that for some children comprehension does not magically develop on its own. It has to be taught, modelled by the teacher ‘thinking aloud’ and teasing at an issue. In particular, the sort of discussion in which the children have time to think collectively, tentatively proposing and reshaping their understanding, is essential for developing readers. 

    What is ‘book-talk’?

    ‘Book-talk’ is about the ability to talk about books, developing the confidence to offer ideas and then reshape them in the light of other contributions. It helps children to trust their own ideas and interpretations, to talk effectively about a book, deepening their understanding, shifting their ideas, thinking together as a group and moving comprehension forwards. 

    ‘Book-talk’ only works if the books have anything worth saying about them. The quality of the book determines the depth of discussion. It is important to accept all answers positively from as many children as possible. Indeed, I often say that ‘all comments are accepted’ – but that does not mean that all comments are necessarily sensible interpretations. Children can and should expect to change their minds in the light of what others say. Children are encouraged to raise questions as well as make points and suggestions. Children’s responses are nothing to do with guessing what the teacher has in mind. 

    The teacher acts as an interested listener. It helps to use a phrase such as ‘tell me about…’ to invite extended thinking. It also helps to use ‘mirroring’ to encourage further and deeper thinking, often drawing children back to the text or asking them to dig deeper. It helps if the children get into the habit of using tentative language, for example: 
    I’m not sure but… I was wondering whether… Perhaps… Does anyone else think that…? 

    Basic Questions 

    These can be used with any book to get interpretation started: 

    What sorts of things did you like or dislike? Was there anything that puzzled you? 

    Encourage children to raise questions. 

    General Questions

    Ask questions such as: 

    Have you read any other books like this? How did they compare? Which parts of the book stay in your mind most vividly? How did the main character change? What surprises are there in the book? 

    Special Questions 

    These are specific to the book being discussed and should help to deepen understanding. 

    For example, for Voices in the Park by Anthony Browne: 

    How long did it take the story to happen? Where did the story happen? Which character interested you most? Who was telling the story? Talk about the links between the story and the illustrations. 

    Book Talk Cards

    Book Talk Ideas

    100 Book Talk Ideas

    News for students - Guided Reading

    DOGO News has short format articles for students on current events, science, sports and more plus lots of pictures, videos and an interactive map!


    Image result for logo ipc

    5 Top Tips to Planning for National Curriculum Coverage

    In the video below, Sarah Brown, Head of the IPC, shares her top 5 tips for effective and efficient unit planning, including methods to ensure English National Curriculum coverage for schools following this curriculum in England and abroad.

    Tuesday, 23 February 2016

    Talk for Writing

    "There are only two things that I have come across in the last 35 years that have a dramatic effect on progress. The first is when teachers discover how to teach phonics effectively, as this liberates writing. The second is the process of “storymaking”, which involves moving from telling into writing, using shared writing. My experience is that most teachers do not use shared writing and therefore do not teach writing." Pie Corbett

    Talk for Writing, developed by Pie Corbett and supported by Julia Strong, is a powerful classroom tool because it is based on the guiding principles of how children learn. Talk for Writing enables children to imitate the key language orally they need for a particular topic before they try reading and analysing it. Through fun activities that help them rehearse the words and structures of the language they need, followed by shared writing to show them how to craft their writing, children are helped to write in the same style. Pie Corbett has an amazing Facebook page that is full of his latest ideas and work in schools.

    Talk for Writing website

    Talk for Writing - Warming up the Word

    Warming up the word games work on the same principle as the practise that musicians or sports people put in daily in order to play at their peak

    These games can be used as part of literacy sessions or can be played in a spare 5 minutes are specifically developed to make some of the skills of writing explicit.  The essential idea is to play the game again and again so that the children become ‘fluent’ at it and really develop the skills that lie behind it.

    Free resources:

    Interesting ways to use technology in the classroom

    Tom Barrett has a great resource on his Educational Technology website called the “Interesting Ways” series. In this series he has asked teachers to work collaboratively to share the wisdom of their collective classroom practices. This method of sharing is called “crowdsourcing”, where he asks teachers to share ideas, or “interesting ways”, of approaching a topic or methodology in the classroom. 

    These ideas are all put together in shared Google Docs and are available to peruse or to add to. They are a rich source of knowledge and ideas and are well put together by classroom practitioners. As mainly teachers have added the ideas, they are generally “tried and tested” in the classroom, so you know that they are ideas that work. 

    The site is well worth a visit if you are looking for inspirational ideas for using technology in the classroom:

    20 ways to use a tablet in the classroom

    iPads are a hugely versatile tool when it comes to educating and supporting students' learning. Here are some of the best apps and features you can make use of in the classroom – some of which you have to pay for and others that are free.

    20 ways to use a tablet in the classroom

    Musical Links Investigation

    In October of last year I had the opportunity of taking part in an online workshop supported by Staff Development. The workshop was focused on one of the IB Music course components, the 'Musical Links Investigation', which requires a music student to examine one or more musical pieces from different cultures, regions and eras, seeking similarities and contrasts between them. The final work is a text that may be presented in any multimedia format, where the evidence found is indicated and discussed. 
    In one of the modules of the course, the participants, which comprised music teachers from all over the world, were invited to upload works written under their supervision, to be used by all participants as references and sources to debate.
    Last week I was contacted by the workshop leader, Ms. Mary Jo West, who requested our authorisation to use one of the student's works that I uploaded in that opportunity as a consulting source linked to an e-book she is writing, which will be published by Oxford Press. 
    The serious and meaningful tutoring done in the Music Department has been testified by a sequence of outstanding GCSE and IB results achieved by some of our students in the last years. However, having a student's work used as a consulting example in an e-book published by an editing company such as Oxford cannot go unnoticed, as an everyday fact. 
    Besides thanking Staff Development Department for having provided me this opportunity for professional growth, I would like to congratulate the author of this work, our ex-student Gabriel Cohen, who submitted his MLI back in 2011, and who has just graduated in Berklee College of Music, Boston, USA, for what I believe to be an outstanding acknowledgement.

    Julio Costa

    Head of Senior Music - Urca

    Extra Curricular Music Coordinator

    Primary Teaching Resources

    Free teaching and classroom resources for primary and secondary school teachers.


    Teacher's Pet


    Instant Display

    Paper Zip

    Mrs Pancake

    Foreign Languages

    GCSE results: fall in numbers taking foreign languages 'a cause for concern'

    Language dictionaries on a shelf

    Number of students taking German at GCSE fell to its lowest ever level this year, while the number studying French also saw a steep decline.

    Why has there been a drop in students taking language GCSEs? Teachers' views

    GCSE results 2015: Pass rate rises but A* grades dip

    Tuesday, 16 February 2016

    Welcome Back

    Dear Colleagues,

    I hope that you found this year's Inset inspiring and useful from the choices of Talk for Writing, Behaviour Management and the Role of the Tutor, the Duke of Edinburgh's Award and ISAMs. I shall soon send out a short survey to you and hope that you will provide feedback. Have a great term ahead! 


    Following the Talk for Writing training, we would like to offer any interested teachers support with unit planning and ideas at these times: 

    Botafogo: Mondays, 15:15 - 16:15

    Barra: Tuesdays, 15:15 - 16:15

    Please contact Anna and/or Craig beforehand to book a time and date. 

    Over the coming weeks, please keep an eye out for lots of Talk for Writing resources! 

    Working Walls

    The term ‘working walls’ is used to describe displays that support the attainment of curricular targets and students' learning during specific units of work. The content of a working wall should change regularly to support learning and teaching as it develops in the classroom. The ultimate aim is for students to access prior learning, make links to what they already know and apply this to future learning. A working wall enables students to refer to concepts and resources, supporting them to become more secure and independent learners. It is the public display of the learning process. It is important for long term learning objectives and short term intentions to be displayed on the working wall. When success criteria are appropriate, they are developed with the students and clearly displayed on the wall, demonstrating to students how they will be able to achieve the agreed learning intention. 

    Creating effective working walls
    Working walls display those concepts, ideas, conclusions, strategies and findings that have been captured to support further learning. Captured work can be referred to over a period of time and built upon at a later date. Work captured in this way does not necessarily need to be neat or rewritten: part of how students will use this information later rests upon  how they have visually recorded  it in their minds at the time of composition, so to rewrite in a different format or in different colours or font may detract from the purpose. Key vocabulary for the learning can also be displayed on the working wall whilst mind mapping, modelled examples, re-drafting and students’ examples can also be regular features.  

    By building up the learning over time and adding to a working wall, students and teachers have access to the learning through a sequence which becomes known by all; it becomes transparent how one lesson builds upon another and leads ultimately to the final outcome. When students understand the pathway they are taking, they are empowered as learners and are better equipped to make links between concepts and to apply the knowledge and skills they have to other areas.

    Working walls are effective in:

    •          supporting curricular targets
    •          sharing objectives and reviewing learning
    •          capturing visual prompts and interactive resources
    •          promoting key vocabulary

    Resources and inspiration:

    Icebreakers to get to know your students

    Conversation activities.:

    Diamond 9 Game

    In this strategy, students (paired or grouped) are given an envelope containing a set of statements (usually nine). These statements can also be facts or anecdotes that represent a variety of concepts, opinions and perspectives. Each statement is titled or numbered for easy reference.

    Students are instructed to rank each statement and arrange them in a diamond formation. The criterion for ranking can be simple and general like “importance, relevance, significance” or can be detailed and content specific.

    Students must place the statement with the highest priority at the top of the formation and the least important statement at the bottom. The second, third and fourth row consists of statements that are ranked with descending priority, with each row having two, three and two statements respectively.

    After completing the task, each group is asked to explain their choice of ranking.

    More Icebreaker games

    Form Tutor Tips

    10 Great Form Tutor Tips by @Teacher Toolkit

    10 Great Form Tutor Tips:

    1. Great form tutors spend time observing and listening. Any experienced form tutor, head of year or senior teacher will tell you that the greatest significance, or influence a form tutor could have, is to invest a great deal of time and energy on building relationships. Over a significant period of time, you will not be able to rely solely on your own discipline skills as a classroom teacher. For example, you are a secondary school teacher and you have a form class over the course of a child’s time at school. That’s a full 5 years! You will have many ups and downs together. At times, you will see them more often than your own family members(!) so it is vital to invest in building relationships so that you can pull out the ‘joker card’ when you need. This may be to save them from exclusion; a last minute reference request, or going off track when the exam season reaches fever pitch! Having some kind of banter or interaction with your students, you will probably pick up on any current issues.
    2. Great form tutors are regimented. Any tutor new or old, experienced or not, will soon realise that routines are key to maintain discipline, relationships and sustain high standards. A sure-sign to see what a tutor class is typically like, is to observe how they behave when the form tutor steps out of the room, or on days when the tutor is absent from school. If tutees within the group respond to your instructions first time (as a cover teacher), or remind you that on Tuesdays that they always complete silent reading instead of what you’ve asked them to do, then you know that you’re working with a great form tutor. It’s clear that the hard work has been invested by the tutor, and over a longer period of time, today or any other day you can reap the rewards of your labour.
    3. Great form tutors are the link between home and school. They will help them deal with various problems, including missing PE kits, late homework, detention disputes, lost locker keys, mobiles phones or letters from parents. More importantly, they may often be the first port of call for any Child Protection issues. Sometimes, needing to lend out equipment such as pens and pencils (and maybe even money).
    4. Great form tutors connect the student with school staff and with other students. This is often under-estimate in day-to-day registration. I’ve seen countless tutor groups wallowing for 20-30 minutes everyday because tutor time has been left to rot, with no concrete activity or planning involved on the part of the year group or the tutor. Great tutors are checking that planners are completed and signed. They are often holding a tutor group discussion of some kind or processing and recording your students’ awards, detentions, homework and general problems. The energetic tutor will be often seen meeting to mentor or coach one or several tutees’ about their school work and progress throughout the school, dealing with a student’s academic life in some way via a letter or a phone-call home, a simple email, text or note in the planner. Whatever the case, the small detail makes all the difference.
    5. Great form tutors monitor academic and personal progress of the students in their tutor group or form. Great tutors will help students organise themselves for whole-school events. Running, or being involved in, some kind of activity, assembly, tutor programme, or whatever is on that day! They may even help their tutees take part in a chosen charity event, often sacrificing themselves to do something embarrassing for Children in Need, or Red Nose Day!
    6. Great form tutors provide relevant information to other staff about their tutees. They provide important announcements in staff briefing, place a piece of work up on the staff room wall, or share a piece of information about the child, whether a bereavement or an academic celebration. Great tutors make all staff aware.
    7. Great form tutors co-ordinate the way the school can meet their students’ needs. They are active in their year teams and contribute to whole-school pastoral planning. They are involved in the small detail, feeding back on school planner updates, annual activities and resources that can have an impact on other tutors in all year groups.
    8. Great form tutors are human. They share the occasional story with their tutees to allow children to gain an insight into their own life. Tutors use real stories to motivate, to sadden and to raise awareness when each child encounters a particular milestone or conversation throughout school.
    9. Great form tutors have great relationships with every member of the family. They go the extra mile in supporting families and their children throughout school, so much so, that in a difficult situation, the most irate parents are putty in their hands. They break down barriers and follow up, every single action.
    10. Great form tutors have their safeguarding radar on everyday. They notice any change on appearance, behaviour or attitude. They keep an eye out for anyone who seems upset, especially quiet – or indeed noisy – and notify the right people at the right time.

    Six basic steps to becoming a brilliant form tutor

    The role of the form tutor – the importance of WHY