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Education Reading Group – 31st March 2017

This week we looked at readings from the following books, all based around the theme of ‘Praise’:

  • Visible Learning and the Science of How We Learn by Hattie and Yates (2014)
  • Learning Teaching. Becoming and Inspirational Teacher by Boyd, Hymer and Lockney (2015)
  • Why Don’t Students Like School by Willingham (2009)

This is a theme that we had touched on in previous lunchtime meetings but never really had the opportunity to fully explore. A number of interesting points and questions came out today:

Reading Comprehension by Jo Russell

Reading comprehension is a skill which underpins access to the curriculum in all subjects.  By the time students are of secondary age it seems reasonable to expect that they can read and make sense of text.  However, this may not be the case for all students.  Some students may have obvious difficulties accessing text because of phonological difficulties resulting in dyslexia.  Other students, however, may have reading comprehension difficulties which are less obvious to spot.  Specific difficulties in reading comprehension occur when a student has adequate decoding skills, so they can read all the words in the text, but they have difficulty in understanding the content of the text. 

Education Reading Group - February 2017

Embedding Formative Assessment: Practical Techniques for K-12 Classrooms by Dylan Wiliam and Siobhan Leahy

Lunchtime today saw the third meeting this academic year of the Education Reading Group. This time we were reading an extract from a chapter of Embedding Formative Assessment by Dylan Wiliam and Siobhan Leahy entitled ‘Providing feedback that moves learning forward’.

The chapter itself focuses on the effects of different kinds of feedback on student achievement and suggests a number of strategies that teachers can use to maximise the power of the feedback they provide.

Google Expedition

I am quite happy to admit that I am a bit of a techno-phobe. I am not a natural at blended learning and I really need to be convinced by the usefulness of an app before it becomes an embedded part of my classroom. I still think sugar paper rocks and I make no apologies for this!

So, when my name appeared on the timetable for a Google expedition session, I was certainly intrigued but mainly a bit worried about what it would entail. It was going to take me very firmly out of my comfort zone.

So, what is Google Expedition? According to Google:

Thoughts about #All or Nothing Week by Nicola Gunton

This week was an opportunity for us, as teachers, to take a risk in the way we teach. An opportunity for us to explore ideas and take some to the extreme.

No talking

No whiteboard, no projector! #AllOrNothing Week by Alice Constable

At the Sandringham conference at the start of term, I attended a lecture from Nick Rose about memory and the student’s ability to process, organise and use information to help them make the most out of their classroom time. As a classroom teacher, thinking about multiple things at once, it is easy to forget that students, as do we all, have a limited working memory. Rose suggested that part of the problem that students face within lessons is that they are overstimulated; with too many resources and places to find gather information needed to complete their tasks, their ability to hold instructions and remember lesson content becomes limited.

Keep quiet Mr Davis! - #allornothing

Following on from Conference, I took great inspiration from Amy Stothard’s session about ‘Flow Theory’ and the strategies demonstrated and discussed about helping students to achieve a state of ‘flow’ in lessons.  This area struck a chord with me as I have had a feeling for a while that I know the main reason why I feel my lessons can lack flow at times; it’s me!

Reflections on a paperless lesson.

I am buzzing – I’ve just come out of my paperless ‘all tech’ lesson with year 9, and it was amazing! It ran far smoother than I expected, with only minor technical issues. I’d definitely recommend trying it out!

All or Nothing Week – Literacy

Inspired by Matt Macguire (@MacGrammar) and a continuing and genuine desire to support my A Level Sociology students with improving their writing, I decided to focus on literacy for #AllOrNothing week. In preparation, I trawled through the many and varied literacy Teaching Tips and resources on Sandagogy (all of which can be found here, read (skimmed and scanned!) The Secret of Literacy by David Didau and made a shortlist of techniques and ideas I wanted to try out this week:

All or Nothing Theme Week: all technology - Nearpod, Google docs and Google classroom.

I have been looking forward to this year’s theme week: All or Nothing – to me it is a great opportunity to consider the benefits and pitfalls of a paperless classroom. There are obvious potential benefits to this system – reduced waste (worksheets, exercise books, pens and pencils); reduction in lost work (lost exercise books; work can be saved immediately to the cloud); reduced time for the teacher chasing marking – all work would be submitted immediately on google drive/classroom, and similarly documents would be visible to the teacher even as a work in progress, potentially leading to much more timely feedback.

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