Dixons Allerton Academy

Teaching and Learning Bulletin

Our weekly bulletin...

Each week, the Learning Team will circulate a bulletin covering all things Teaching and Learning at the Academy. Principally, the purpose of the bulletin is to keep all staff updated in terms of all the T&L news at DAA, as well as key events for your diaries connected with T&L.

Don't forget the T&L Breakfast.... WEDNESDAY MORNING in the 6th form hub

Week 8 Focus: Better Peer Assessment

What's in it for me?

  • 'Responding to feedback' ought to mean not just yours!
  • Should hugely reduce your own marking load
  • Being able to critique and offer kind, specific and helpful feedback to others is a crucial social skill

The Peer Production Line

If you have a lengthier piece of work that you know students will be completing in a lesson, you can fairly easily pre-empt the aspects of quality that you'll be searching for. Based on these aspects, create 'checklists' and sit, say, 5-10 students in a line.

Books are then passed through the line, as the students pass the books along, they can comment on the aspects of the work that they have been assigned. You could use sentence stems to help them on the checklists.

To mis things up, you can also rotate the students on the production line every 10 books or so.

DIY Learning Wall

Recycled from an earlier bulletin- this works well as a means of embedding peer assessment into your lessons. At all times, you have a ready made set of appropriate sentence stems in order to promote quality peer assessment.

Encourage a bit of light hearted theft

Give each pupil a sheet with the sentence stems such as the following, before asking students to quietly circulate the room and browse their classmates' work silently:

If I could steal one sentence from a piece of work around the room it would be '____________'

Person's work: ______

The reason why I'm stealing it is ______________

As well as completing these stems, students should also underline/highlight the sentence that has been stolen and explain why in the other student's book.

Anthony Agony Section...

This week, a member of staff asked the following question:

Whenever I do group work with my class, I struggle to keep some students on task. How can I avoid this and ensure all students are involved?

This is a common issue when doing group work and sometimes is a result of not structuring group work with as much precision as you might plan other tasks. Often, getting students to work in groups is about establishing routines, roles and expectations.

Firstly begin with a statement of intent or ‘way of working’ and get the students to think about what makes a good / poor group member. This way, you can easily challenge students to be a ‘better group member’ and refer back to their recognition of the ways of working. Refer to the ways of working and refresh students’ memories of this before embarking upon group work.

Secondly, consider giving students a role within the group. This can be decision maker, note-taker, idea-maker or any variety of roles that suits your task. Ensure that they have resources or tasks to complete in order to fulfil their role within the group and complete the task successfully. For more advanced versions of this look into Kagan structures and cooperative learning!

Alternatively, build up to group work by giving students the time to gather their thoughts and make notes before they form groups – this sometimes helps the shy students or those who do not think on their feet as effectively as others the space to build confidence and ideas.

Finally, go back to your seating plan. Who might work well together? Who will motivate others? Who will keep discussions focussed in a group that has the potential to go off task? Your observations of classroom behaviour are vital here and can be used to get the most out of group work.

I hope this helps!

To ask a question, cry for help or to get further information on any aspect of Teaching and Learning, ask Anthony at askant@dixonsaa.com – all emails will be confidential and no names will be used!


Every week, our Captured nominees will appear here. Captured will focus on Teaching and Learning positives and will be something we share with you every week in the bulletin. Staff will be nominated by SLT; however, recommendations from DOLs and colleagues from across the Academy will also be included – just pass on the details to a member of SLT! Each time that someone is nominated, they will go into a raffle to win a Teaching and Learning text and a special additional prize. Therefore, the more times you are ‘captured’ doing something good in relation to Teaching and Learning, the more often you’ll be in the raffle. The raffle will be drawn every half term.

This week’s nominations are:

Vicci O’Connell – nominated by Chris Currie for her excellent leadership of learning in Nursery

Maria Penney – nominated by Danny Carr for a fantastic example of SMSC with her nurture group – a lovely idea which was executed superbly.

Further reading...

The Learning Team

Danny Carr (AHT)

Andy Sammons

Kiran Ali

Emma Butterworth

Carolyn Shaw

Dates for your diary...

Taxonomy of Errors for Leaner (not Meaner!) Feedback

Thursday, Nov. 28th 2013 at 3:30-5pm


Hosted by ASA/DCR, this workshop will demonstrate a new method of feeding back to your classes to make life easier and more efficient for your own teaching, and, more importantly, enhance the independence of your students in terms of acting on feedback and moving forward.