Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Effective Meetings

Notes from the great discussion in our CPD session today:

Running Effective Meetings
Leading a Learning Community
To be outstanding in the category of leadership and management:
“All leaders, including governors, are highly ambitious and lead by example.” (New Ofsted framework)
Three key ideas
• What do you want to achieve
• Time and planning
• Encourage participation
What do you want to achieve?
• To be effective, decide what you want to achieve, plan for it.
• To be effective, ensure the venue is correct, plan for it.
• To be effective, consider how much time each item will take, plan for it.
Encourage participation
You want people to feel they have had a worthwhile experience. Worthwhile experiences come from everyone having a part to play.
Ways to encourage participation …
Results of group discussion:
• Feedback on paired observations and learning walks
• Share activities that have worked for individuals
• Sharing good practice
• Sharing resources e.g. websites
• Make sure everyone contributes
• Give some ‘quiet time’ or ‘break out’ time to carry out activities and come back
• Share positive feedback
• Try to avoid too much info giving – find other ways but build trust that people will read!
• Try to avoid too much ‘telling what to do’
• Have a feel good factor
• Know what your desired outcome is
• Have some meetings with just one or two agenda items – make them reflective, not action packed
• Try ways of developing collaborative work, collaborative decision making (Fronter forums e.g.)
• Keep focused
• Reflect back what people say to them
• Have group aims
• Make it interactive
Finally – make sure everyone knows the:
• Rationale
• Impact

Sunday, November 27, 2011

personal learning plans

I guess we all, as teachers, try out ideas, find they work, use them for a while and then forget about them. One such idea for me is based on some commercial schemes but I used it to good effect about fifteen years ago, before school VLE/MLE systems were much in vogue, and before many other great bits of software. I'm thinking of trying it again and blending some of the newer ideas in.

It's not earth shattering. It involves designing individual plans for each student with some paired and group work, some individual work, a 'game', a test etc. I usually find about five tasks is good. Obviously it works best with small groups but it can be managed with larger groups if you have your sets of resources clearly labelled and organised so that students can find things and replace them easily (they do this all the time at primary school but we forget this and they lose the skills concerned at secondary if we are not careful). Unlike commercial schemes (which I have nothing against), I like to keep the whole class on one topic or theme so that I can do some class teaching or small group teaching if appropriate. It can be linked to levels/criteria for improvement and so on. I like to start with something which checks prior learning. Lesson starters and plenaries can easily be whole class and can use extended dialogue and assessment for learning techniques.

Here's an example of a task sheet which I am going to use over the next fortnight with my year 11 C/D class.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

learning and progress evaluation

one alternative to 'watching the teacher' in lesson observation, based largely on student feedback

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

How we try to 'do' professional development

I thought it was about time to ask what people think of our teacher professional development programme. We want to move away from homogenous PD and believe it should be from Beginning Teachers (pre-service) to headship! It takes several forms (and it's for teachers and all support staff):

+ staff can apply for any short external PD they've noticed and, if their line manager approves it and not too many folks are out of school, they get the course paid for
+ there is a weekly in house programme (15:30 - 16:30) on generic issues such as 'use your voice', multimedia, behaviour, ICT/VLE .... these are for anyone and 14 of them with a reflective essay/short literature review leads to a qualification accredited by the College of Teachers
+ teachers can apply to become Chartered London Teachers - professional reflections from these are shared on our VLE
+just starting a paired coaching/mentoring programme (has been running a few weeks)
+ after tonight's #eltchat on Twitter, I am going to have an open house session for anyone to present or lead a learning convrsation on a topic of their choice - tea/coffee provided, will ask if I can video and podcast on our school VLE, would also like to share with other schools via Skype
+ a series of whole staff days and twilight sessions - some with outside speakers
+ NQTs engage in action research and share with staff - often leading to changes in school policy

All of this is linked to staff meetings with their line managers and also to lesson observations - these have a twist as our current pro forma is designed to measure the impact of the lesson on the students, rather than observing 'what the teacher does'.

Please do comment - would love to hear what happens at your school and whether or not you could help us improve more. We are having a celebration of teachers and support staff who have gained qualifications this past twelve months, at the end of November.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

dialogic teaching

This is just an over excited note --- must think more about it, any comments would help please!

Have been wondering how to get the idea of dialogic teaching ino Key Stage 4 Maths lessons (ages 14-16). I have started to use video podcasts made by the students and also collaborative documenst on our school VLE. How could I begin to develop extended dialogue between students? Maybe I need to start with me and one student --- BUT what are the other students doing whilst this is happening? They need a directed task.

Enter @KnikiDavies on Twitter and her blog post http://thinkteaching.wordpress.com/2010/10/01/maths-groups-enriching-learning/

She outlines the following roles for students:
Facilitator – makes sure everyone is on task. Keeps things moving.

Understanding co-ordinator – checks everyone understands what is going on. Asks questions to make sure everyone is clear about the methods used.

Resource manager – responsible for fetching equipment and asking questions of the teacher. Nothing is provided to the children – if they think they need whiteboards, calculators, compasses, cubes, they have to get them!

Reporter/Recorder - keeps track of the group’s thinking and working out and feeds back at the end.

Yes, definitely some ideas for me here...... thanks Mrs Davies!

also ref Robin Alexander 'Towards Dialogic Teaching' 2004

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Creative Maths Classrooms

This is a slightly different kind of post. Prompted by this week's #ukedchat on Twitter, I wanted to ask if anyone would like to post their ideas specifically about Creative Maths Clasrooms here or on Twitter (maybe you could send them to me @Janshs and use the hashtag #creativemathsclassrooms ?). I don't intend to collate them or anything, well not at the moment anyway. I just thought it might be a fun thing for Maths colleagues to share.

Maybe you could also post good websites/resources/people to follow on Twitter?

So here goes with a few things that I like to do whenever I can.

Learning Journals
I try to set aside time in lessons to get students to note down the things they've learned at how they are going to remember them. I give them a lot of guidance to start with, less as we go on, and also refer to it frequently. I have noticed that those who really get into it tend to exceed their target grades but of course this may just be because they are 'good' students in other ways as well!

Neuroscience in the classroom
Based on a Teachers' TV idea I saw ages ago. Present information but emphasise the students should not write anything down at this stage. Have a break doing something weird like balancing ping pong balls on their noses, go outside and see how many times you can pat a tennis ball back and forth in a minutes, build a tower of playing cards. Then present info again and get them to do learning journal or similar. Another break then a short test. Great for revising before exams.

Works for almost every subject I should think. Get students to tell a partner everything the lnow about, say, angle facts. Then they join with another pair and so on.

Maths hat
Write a number or keyword on the board. A volunteer does not see it but asks class yes no questions u ntil they get it.

A volunteer (it can be you) answers any questions on a given topic. They can 'pass'.

Using video
In pairs, one interviews the other on a certain topic. Play back to class. Great for revsions. Or try acting out - this went really well with my Year 11s on vectors, and Pythagoras - which had an accompanying rap - it's in this blog somewhere - do a search if you feel like it.

Use Voki or BrainPop from the internet.

Make lots of use of mind maps at start of a topic to see what they already know, add to it during the topic.

Story boards
A great homewor as well: students make comic strips about a certain topic.

Make use of the display in your room as a teaching aid.

Wordsearches with clues rather than just 'find the word' - great for lesson startrs, topic starters, revsion, homework

OK that's just what I've come up with for starters...

How about you?

Friday, May 28, 2010

We are the ones we've been waiting for

Had a great Year 10 lesson today based on the Hopi Elders prophecy:

You have been telling people that this is the Eleventh Hour, now you
must go back and tell the people that this is the Hour. And there are
things to be considered. . . .

Where are you living?
What are you doing?
What are your relationships?
Are you in right relation?
Where is your water?

Know your garden.
It is time to speak your truth.
Create your community.
Be good to each other.
And do not look outside yourself for your leader.

Then he clasped his hands together, smiled, and said, "This could be a
good time! There is a river flowing now very fast. It is so great and
swift that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold on
to the shore. They will feel they are being torn apart and will suffer
greatly. Know the river has its destination. The elders say we must let
go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes
open, and our heads above the water.

And I say, see who is in there with you and celebrate. At this time in
history, we are to take nothing personally, least of all ourselves. For
the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey come to a halt.

The time of the one wolf is over. Gather yourselves!
Banish the word 'struggle' from your attitude and your vocabulary. All
that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.

We are the ones we've been waiting for.


I asked the students to search for this an also for the speech by Barack Obama in Febuary 2008 (before he became president): http://www.barackobama.com/2008/02/05/remarks_of_senator_barack_obam_46.php as well as for Puttnam's video based on the same phrase: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VRi8_fXz1D8

They then had to write 500 words about what this meant to them and pick one or more of these ideas about how we should take opportunities to improve the world instead of moaning about it.

The responses were great and varied - from Lance Armstrong to the Welfare State to Hero Within .... I was very impressed with the work.