What Worked Well Today

I had my first meeting with my NQT which went well due to a good attitude from both of us and the high quality training yesterday.

I had a good DIRT session with one of my year eight classes. Each pupil had a key paragraph to rewrite with targets. The pupils wrote the redrafted paragraph in purple pen.

My other year eight class was in the library. I ran a short ‘book buzz’ activity; pupils had to write down three books that they love and why on a post it note, then find two other recommendations from other people in the class.

My year eleven lesson did not go very well unfortunately, however I think I dealt with behaviour issues effectively. I need to make sure I always plan really tight lessons with my set two year eleven.

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NQT Mentor Training

I was really impressed with the training I was involved in today with a colleague, run by Keith Field:


The training encompassed the legal framework, the role of a mentor, how to conduct meetings, the standards file and all the key paper work.

Although I don’t now consider myself to be an expert, I feel more confident in supporting my NQT and ensuring that they not only improve their practice but also have an excellent evidence file.

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What Went Well Today

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.

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What Went Well Today

I only taught one lesson today as pupils started late. I had a year eight class at the end of the day.

The beginning of the lesson went well as I had a clear seating plan and two tasks to complete (completing the front of exercise books and a post it question; is war necessary?) I also played ‘war, what is it good for?’ which added lightness to the discussion.

A discussion of key words (symbolism, connotation, representation) was also constructive.

I also made a point of displaying SIMS when recording positive behaviour.

A good lesson, however I should have involved more pupils in the plenary.

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Personal reflection


The pupils in my classes need me to be rested and calm and collected so that they get the best from me. Therefore, I need to ensure that I sleep well, read for pleasure, exercise and manage my workload.

Behaviour management

This has always been the weakest area of my practice and I will be making a concerted effort to improve this. I will be taking the following steps:

Higher initial expectations of behaviour in the classroom

A calm and consistent response to disruptive behaviour

Use of SIMS to record sanctions

The biggest challenges for me will be to instil higher expectations in my middle ability Year Eleven class and to ensure that I stick to the above routines with them and with my incoming middle ability Year Ten Class.

Marking and Feedback

I am determined that my marking has as much impact as possible. I do not want pupils just to glance at their book simply to check it has been marked. I will therefore ensure that I am consistent with the following:

Pupils instructed to leave significant space for feedback underneath their work

legible, specific, differentiated marking – so that pupils can read and understand both WWW and EBI.

Directed Improvement and Reflection Time – I didn’t carry this through last year and I think it is crucial – this can be done with purple pen

Peer Assessment – This will be modelled multiple times and will firstly involve highlighting the best line/paragraph in a piece of work and the line/paragraph that needs most improvement, progressing to pupils using specific success criteria in the same way that I would.

Lesson planning

With every lesson I need to ask:

What do I want the class to have learned by the end of this lesson?
(learning objectives/outcomes/learning arrow/all/most/some)

How can I connect the lesson to previous learning?  (starter/key words)

How will I check their understanding?  (mini plenary/plenary)

What are the needs of specific learners in the class and how can I meet them?
(PP/SEN/G&T/what I have learned about them)

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Inspired by #CulturalLibertarian

We are rapidly forgetting that we are all human beings. All of us. I am a human being. I know I am a Lower middle class white man from England with an easy life,  but why should that ‘privilege’ prevent me from feeling empathy? From commenting on the experiences of others?
It seems as though we no longer seek to argue principles or ideologies, but fight battles over a person’s individual choices and identity. Our private bodies, thoughts and choices have become a public battleground.
I don’t care if you are a man or a woman.
I don’t care if you are fat or thin. I don’t care about what colour you are or what country you are from. I don’t care if you were brought up in an atheist or religious household. So long as it is with a consenting adult I don’t care what you do in the bedroom.
I care about what you think. What do you think? What do you believe? What do you want to do with your life?
Thinking this way frees you to argue and even fight against the oppression and persecution of human beings, no matter where it is happening and whatever the justification. It also frees you to recognise the suffering and struggle of human beings from any background, even if you could never fully stand in their shoes. What do you think?

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Realising that my last post was dreadfully dry I am hoping this helps. Our department has come up with several methods to teach analytical paragraphs.
For a long time it was PETER: Point Evidence Technique Explain Reader Response.
A colleague came up with the Shrek method, layers of meaning like an onion.
I developed a ‘taxonomy’ of analysis, the bottom of the triangle being a simple explanation upwards.
Another colleague used the ‘left hand’ clip to develop Sherlocking.
Our fantastic NQT developed SWAT or Single Word And Technique.
I thought to combine these latter two and developed the theme of ‘interrogating’ a text.

Maybe one of these methods will help your classes.

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