Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Gradual Release of Responsibility





Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development is a model that describes a problem solving strategy, supported by adult guidance, or in collaboration with more confident or able peers. Vygotsky argued that what children are capable of doing with the assistance of others is far more indicative of their mental development than what they would ever be capable of achieving on their own. Initially, both child and teacher struggle to understand each other within the zone. Knowledge is constructed jointly between the teacher and the child. Regardless of the number of times teachers describe the objective of the instruction,it is likely that the child will not fully understand it until s/he has learnt the specific skill, concept or strategy. The question for teachers, then, is how do we get there? Vygotsky advocated the gradual release of responsibility model as a means of achieving student understanding and taking them to a higher level of achievement.

Initially, the teacher assumes a high level of responsibility for modelling or explaining a concept in the learning. The teacher acts as the “expert other”, demonstrating the skill at a level slightly above students’ current level of understanding. The next stage is characterised by the teacher and students co-constructing the skill or concept; students receive the opportunity to practise the learning and receive constructive feedback from the teacher. Finally, students assume all, or almost all, the responsibility for the work. This is known as the gradual responsibility model and scaffolds the learning for students carefully. The hardest part for teachers is getting the level of challenge right so that it within but not beyond the reach of the students. Careful modelling, demonstrating high expectations, means that learning cannot be left to discovery; teachers need to structure learning at the right level, supporting students through conversations, modelling and active participation in the learning process.

Gradual Release of Responsibility articles and resources

Olympic Games

2016 Olympic Games in Rio



Educational teaching resources to compliment the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. 







Holiday Reading







The Guardian: Best books Summer 2016

8 Mystery and Suspense books to read this year 

Time: Best books of 2016 so far

Washington Post:Beach reads

Learning Technologies



Is It Time To Ban Computers From Classrooms?


Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Baby Karaoke






An interactive program that reminds you of the words and tune of popular children's songs and nursery rhymes.







Tuesday, 5 July 2016




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.


The Guardian: Good to great classrooms do...

Pinterest: Starters and Plenaries

Starters and Plenaries

Interactive Plenaries

The #1 New York Times bestselling phenomenon!
Poor Duncan just wants to colour. But when he opens his box of crayons, he finds only letters, all saying the same thing: His crayons have had enough! They quit! Beige Crayon is tired of playing second fiddle to Brown Crayon. Black wants to be used for more than just outlining. Blue needs a break from colouring all those bodies of water. And Orange and Yellow are no longer speaking—each believes he is the true colour of the sun.



What can Duncan possibly do to appease all of the crayons and get them back to doing what they do best?




An Educator's Guide to The Day the Crayons Quit

Oliver Jeffers




National Gallery - using paintings as a stimulus for storytelling








Use paintings as a stimulus for developing the literacy and performance skills. 

Out of Art into Storytelling developed both teachers' and students' skills as storytellers. They learned how to immerse themselves in a painting through guided looking, to unravel the stories within them through discussion and drama, and then to tell their own versions.

National Gallery

The Number 1 Reason for Poor Student Performance

Image result for poor student performance

The #1 Reason for Poor Student Performance



Free education related open online courses



Free education-related Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)


As part of their portfolio of online courses offered through Coursera, there are three education courses led by academics from the Institute of Education. Registration and participation in these online courses is free, with a small fee paid at the end of the course if you wish to receive a certificate from Coursera.  
Course start dates vary but for more information and to sign up for future sessions, please visit the following pages:

Physical Geography



Physical geography resources made by the community of teachers on TES