I used a slow writing exercise developed by a colleague called ‘The Hand’ where pupils had to begin by describing a hand in detail and then slowly ‘zoom out’ to include the rest of the person and the room. The starter question ‘What can you tell about a person just from their hands’ helped to get the class thinking.
The peer assessment also went well as I asked pupils to put a box around the best paragraph and explain their choice and then give a target for the piece overall.
I also managed to use a teacher hack by helping allocate voluntary roles within the department through a couple of emails and discussions instead of through meeting time.
On the subject of teacher hacks, we have also allocated an office as a silent working area.