Another week of collecting snapshots of great and/or developing practice – our ‘bright spots’. A shorter post than my last collection, but that doesn’t mean the examples are any less brilliant!
A really simple but effective idea in a Y10 English lesson critiquing source analyses on Monday: using ‘live’ extracts of student work as a co-constructed WAGOLL. The teacher made sure that at least one aspect of each student’s writing got some public praise, and used probing questions to deepen understanding of why each extract had been singled out.
Another of our English staff is finding a ‘descriptive narrative’ approach to rewarding positive behaviour useful in a challenging Y9 class: “That’s worth a VIVO Ryan, because it showed respect when you volunteered to hand out the books”. The same colleague also uses a ‘magic square’ on the board – a 2×2 grid which begins empty and fills up with names of pupils offering quality contributions in class discussions. When full, successive contributors choose whose name they will replace – great for classes with a competitive streak!
On Tuesday I discussed with one of our NQTs @tomodowduk his plans for next Wednesday’s 15-Minute Forum. He’s very keen on leading some work to introduce Lesson Study across the Academy, and has even launched his own teaser campaign(!) Exciting stuff.
Wednesday I formally observed our Vice-principal and saw a true master of questioning at work. Knowing just when to question more deeply to promote thinking and when to provide enough prompting in order to move the lesson on more quickly is one of those skills that is difficult to teach but so easy to recognise when it’s done well. I also covered half a lesson for a colleague in science @little_mrs_b so that she could observe another colleague. I truly believe that peer observations and shared dialogue around teaching and learning is one of the most effective ways to develop the whole Academy’s practice, and – diary permitting – it’s only right for me to enable that where I can.
I rounded off the week by dropping in to lessons in PE where two colleagues were leading an active exam revision session in the gym, where students were moving between different stations set up around the perimeter and completing a different revision activity at each (I hope Mr Cameron’s SOLO revision booklet will be ready for a blog post of its own very soon too!); drama, where one of our ITT trainees used music, text and artefacts to great effect so that within the first ten minutes of the lesson Y10 had produced some powerful and emotionally-charged moments of theatre based on the Hillsborough disaster; and finally more science where Miss Razzaq is trialling the EEF’s Let’s Think Secondary Science approach with Y7 pupils to explore classifications of fish (my favourite was the pair who told me they’d grouped their cards into “all the ones that are in Finding Nemo, and all the ones that aren’t”). Miss Razzaq also has a dead simple classroom management technique to avoid whole-class discussions getting out of hand – if you’re holding the yellow ball, it’s your turn to speak (teacher included). Seemed to be working really well.
Here’s looking forward to another great week at Wellacre!