Teaching and Learning Bulletin

Issue 10

This issue is all about creating opportunities for students to take responsibility for improving their own learning. Below are different ideas you can try out to make sure that students realise they need to step up and get involved!

Student Experts

This great idea comes from Sarah Kahan, Head of MFL at Elthorne Park.

Firstly the teacher marks a piece of work with highlighters for different aspects of the agreed success criteria. For example, in MFL, it might be connectives, specific vocabulary, use of different tenses etc. Admittedly, this can take a while but the hope is that effective modelling of this way of assessing work will lead to students being able to critique their own work or that of their peers using the same method.

Then students get their work back, look at the different highlighting, complete corrections and see what they needed to have done to improve their work.

To close the gap, the teacher then identifies particular students who exemplify excellent work of a particular aspect of the criteria and they become the designated teachers for the lesson.

The students are put into groups according to their target for improvement and the peer ‘teacher’ leads the learning. All students should finish the lesson with some clear examples of what they can add to their work to improve it.

Plenary Prefects

This idea comes from Shaun Allinson and is a great way to give particular students responsibility for monitoring the learning of the class.

When students enter the room, two students are given a card stating they are today's Plenary Prefects. Their job is to watch what happens during the lesson really closely and then think of a range of questions to ask students to monitor what progress they are making against the learning objective.

There are ways you could adapt this. For example, the students could be prefects for several lessons if you wanted to develop this idea further. Or you could push students to create other plenary activities such as Odd One Out, Jeopardy Quiz Show, or a Continuum Line.

To read the full post, go to http://classteaching.wordpress.com/2013/03/22/plenary-prefects/

Homework Generators

Homework is often a thorny issue with students; either they think they get too much, too little or it's just sooo boring!

To combat this issue and make students realise that learning outside of the classroom is important, you can assign a group of students to decide on homework activities for a topic.

If you have four or five students thinking about what homework to set, then the students will have a choice - and choice will most likely lead to an increase in quality of homework.

To ensure the homework activities are of an appropriate standard, each homework generator should have a clear remit. For example, different students could focus on activities that develop: creativity; enquiry; planning; using ICT; wider reading; or presenting. This will lead to a variety of homework being handed in over the course of the topic - much more interesting than reading 30 similar pieces of work!

Learning Spies

This idea comes from David Didau, a.k.a @LearningSpy. It's a great way for students to think closely about how they participate in lessons and the impact their participation has on their learning.

A student is allocated to a group for the whole lesson. It is their responsibility to make notes on what they see, what they hear and how the group interacts as a whole. The learning spies will do a much better job if they are given a specific proforma. This ensures when it's time for them to feedback to their groups and to update the teacher at different points during the lesson, there should be a consistent approach to feedback.

The learning spies' feedback helps the teacher to know where and how they should intervene to make sure groups are working effectively and learning from each other.

For more information on using learning spies, read the full post at http://learningspy.co.uk/2011/07/11/so-what-are-learning-spies/

Question Wall Monitors

A great way to encourage students to develop a more proactive attitude to learning is to create a Question Wall. All you need is a display board, a plastic wallet and lots of A6 size cards. Put the blank cards in the plastic wallet and pin it to the side of the display board.

In lessons, group students into Questioners and Responders. Early in the lesson, ask the Questioners to go to the board and pose a question about something related to what you've been studying. The only rule is the question cannot have a 'Yes' or 'No' answer.

Later in the lesson, ask the responders to go up to the board, take another card and respond to one of the questions on the board. They need to pin their card next to the original question.

Near the end of the lesson, the students all go to the wall and pick up their card. The questioners and responders sit with each other and discuss their thoughts in more detail.

Learning Journey Maps

Making learning journey maps is a great activity to do with students. It's even easier to do when students are familiar with SOLO taxonomy and the diffferent stages of knowledge development.

Give students the key learning question for the series of lessons. Ask them to think about all of the things they will have to say or do to prove to you that they have enough evidence to respond to the key learning question.

Get them to jot down all of their potential activities. Then they rank them in the order in which they will tackle them during the lessons. The most challenging activity should be the final part of their learning journey.

There's many different templates you could create. I like to use 'The Road Ahead' template below. Or you might want to check out the amazing learning journey in the form of a Tube map from @LeedsArtTeacher, which is posted on TES Resources.