Daily review activities

While completing the “Science of Learning” course from the National STEM Centre on FutureLearn, one of the activities was to share ideas for daily review (one of the 10 Principles of Instruction).

Here it is:

Made with Padlet

Someone on there mentioned “challenge grids” so I followed the link, loved them, and made a template (based on one made by @ICTevangelist) which I’ve saved here:

Challenge grid template on Dropbox

Some of these links can also be found in my “Shortcuts” page: is.gd/memorybank


My educational values

  1. Everyone has the right to their own ambitions
  2. Nobody has the right to define anyone else’s level of ability
  3. Everyone deserves dignity, respect and space to express themselves
  4. A teacher’s job is to teach as effectively as they can
  5. A student’s job is to learn as much as they can
  6. Hard work and grit are to be celebrated
  7. No one should be lazy or rude
  8. Language is powerful and creates our world
  9. There is only one Earth, and we all live on it. Respect it
  10. Think for yourself

If I am to maintain my integrity in my work life, my actions need to match my values.

This is a first attempt at putting those values into language and I hope to refine them and most importantly to act in line with them, without worrying about who might be upset!

Putting a Contract out on Teachers

Sometimes I think about moving to London. Then I read something like this, think about the walk from my door along the Cornish coast path, and come to my senses.

Also: brilliant idea about a structure for teacher’s contracted hours that puts them in control of their flexibility.

Disappointed Idealist

This is going to be about workload, and in particular, Russell Hobby’s piece about whether teacher contracts and fewer holidays might solve the workload problem. I thought this was an appropriate issue on which to return to the keyboard, not least because the reason I haven’t blogged for a while is largely due to the fact that, this year, I broke myself on the workload wheel.

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GCSE science revision – ideas

As those exams begin to loom large, here are some ideas on how to support students to develop the skill of active revision.

Ian, a science teacher (in a mystery location!) has shared his ideas for all to see; I particularly like his mneumonic “MORSE” and his ideas on how to get best use out of past papers (see below)

  • M neumonics
  • O rganisation
  • R ehearsal / Repetition
  • S implification / Summarising
  • E xtension

For all of the AQA GCSE science units, there are learning checklists saved in the cloud – on Dropbox (No log in required – you can share these links with students for home access. Note that Dropbox is often filtered by school servers, but I can assure you these are accessible from home or on mobile devices)


Ian’s blog about revision is here: GCSE Science Revision – Teaching of Science, and the page where he described some different ways of using exam papers is here.

He and others have also put together some excellent revision booklets, for students to complete. These can also be found via the link above, or directly via is.gd/AQAsciencerevision

And if that wasn’t enough, he’s also made a lesson activity to support students’ skill in answering 6 mark questions. He has blogged a lesson plan, and this is the PowerPoint he uses for it, which can be adapted with different questions.

What a generous fellow he is.

Replacing national curriculum levels

Very useful summary of, and links to, various ideas on how to grasp the opportunity offered by the disappearance of ‘levels’ from the National Curriculum

The Wing to Heaven

Life beyond levels? Life after levels? Life without levels?  Lots of teachers, senior leaders and academics have come up with some interesting ideas for what should replace national curriculum levels. Here’s a summary of some of those ideas.

  • Michael Fordham is a former history teacher and now works at Cambridge’s education department. He has written three articles which put forward a possible system for assessing history – one, two, three.
  • Alison Peacock is the head of Wroxham Primary School, who moved away from levels a while ago. In this post she expresses a worry that any list of aims she writes up will become APP under another name.
  • Alison Peacock was also a part of the NAHT commission who recently released a report on this.
  • The NAHT report attracted quite a few comments.  I’m in broad agreement with David Thomas’s post here, particularly the point he…

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Books: “Flow” by Csikszentmihalyi (1990)

The book Flow

“Flow: the psychology of optimal experience”


Harper Perennial Modern Classics, paperback, published 2008 in New York

When I read it

Summer 2009, quite a lot of it in Bristol where I was beginning my SASP course (science additional specialism programme – gaining an official second specialism in chemistry after teaching A level chemistry for 4 years!) Continue reading “Books: “Flow” by Csikszentmihalyi (1990)”

Consultations on new science GCSEs

[I will update this blog post as I spend more time studying the documents, gathering colleagues’ views and drafting a response.]

1. DfE consultation on the content of the new GCSEs

Here are the proposed subject content and assessment objectives for sciences

Here is the main consultation document

And here is the response form, or you can respond online (registration required)

Here is the main page on gov.uk about this consultation

This consultation closes on 20th August 2013

2. Ofqual consultation on GCSE reform

Here is the consultation document in pdf format

Here is Ofqual’s page about this consultation – there are a number of reports related to the consultation (on GCSE reform, gradingtiering and controlled assessment). You can respond by emailing an amended Word document of the consultation document to consultations@ofqual.gov.uk, or respond online here.

This consultation closes on 3rd September 2013

There’s only one F in Ofsted

Alternatives to Ofsted?

Or just tweaks?

Or scrap it?

You decide.

kevenbartle's Blog

Imagine if the teaching profession en masse were given a magic lamp with their very own genie in it, and that every teacher were given a vote on a collective three wishes. There would, I think, be two certainties and one highly contested third wish. The certainties would be that something pretty awful would befall our stunningly belligerent Secretary of State (imagine something like the fates of Saint Sebastian and Rasputin with turbo boosters on and you’ll get the idea) and that Ofsted would mysteriously disappear never to be seen again.

It’s this last point I want to dwell on in this post: what would we do if Ofsted were to disappear overnight? How would that leave us as a profession and would we really not miss them at all? My instinct is that we need them more than we think we do, at least for now, and that the…

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Raising The Bar.

My favourite line:

“Raising the bar is primarily a question of effective pedagogy. Within that one word ‘pedagogy’ I would pack in everything we do in the classroom: explaining, asking questions, giving feedback and maintaining a strongly positive work ethic”



From my perspective, a number of recent discussions and policy initiatives have missed the target when it comes to tackling the issue of educational under-performance in our schools. Even where I agree with the diagnosis, the prescribed medicine doesn’t seem to match.  At classroom level, where it counts, there are a number of reasons why ‘raising the bar’ might appear to be required in some lessons in some schools:

The curriculum standards are too limiting: this could be the curriculum framework determined by an exam board or the National Curriculum.  I find the ‘dumbing down’ argument extremely simplistic and partial but there are certainly situations where we could be raising the bar. As an example, when I worked in Jakarta, the top maths students in Y6 took the KS3 SATs paper and many scored L7. We think it’s bold to have a L6 paper but this material…

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