Mrs Humanities

Because I'm married to the job.


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Outline of Revision Workshop

Last week a couple of colleagues and I delivered a workshop to parents on revision and retrieval practice. When I shared the following tweet, there were a number of requests to share the presentation. Unfortunately since the presentation and workshop are not my sole work, I’m unable to distribute it. Instead below you will find an outline of what was covered. 

Introduction

First we started with an introduction into the long term need to review and recall information. We explained how teachers will naturally and continuously refer to prior content and learning, encouraging students to create links between what they know and what they need to know.  Also explaining deliberate practice and retrieval although without those terms. 

Next we gave a bit of theory. I explained the forgetting curve and the importance of reviewing notes on a regular basis. 

I then went on to discuss the work of Graham Nuthall and long-term memory as well as the necessity for deliberate practice. 

After a bit on theory, we turned to the 4 stages of revision. 

  • Stage 1  Developing & maintaining a positive mental attitude
  • Stage 2 Getting organised
  • Stage 3 Little and often
  • Stage 4 Review and revise

Stage 1  Developing & maintaining a positive mental attitude

Firstly we discussed the impacts of exam stress nationally on student mental and physical health with evidence from research carried out by the NSPCC. This was followed by a series of quotes from our own students of the pressures and stresses they feel associated with exams and assessments. These quotes were really powerful to explore the wide range of pressures students endure and a reminder of what it is like in their shoes. 

This was followed by exploration of the following: 
– Healthy Balance, this outlined ways to keep a healthy balance in terms of diet, work-life balance and physical health
– Mindfulness, this outlined how and when to apply mindfulness practices
– Workspace, this outlined how to set up a suitable workspace for students
– Reduced distraction, this outlined ways to reduce distractions through preparation, phone blocking apps and the impact of music
– Support and guidance, this outlined places parents and students can go for advice on revision, mental health and exam stress

Stage 2 – Getting Organised

In this section we outlined ways parents could help students to organise themselves in preparation to revise. 

We encoruaged that students do the following to help themselves to prepare

  • Identify subjects and topics to revise for
  • Carry out self-assessment of the topic content and identify missing areas of knowledge
  • Gather notes, revision resources and equipment
  • Create a revision timetable
  • Interleave and chunk revision by distributing the topics from within each subject into blocks to make the memory work harder

Stage 3 – Little and Often

In this section we offered a wide array of strategies students may wish to try and use as they prepare for exams. To start with our main advice was students should try to make their revision a long term process that is regular and spaced out, they could break it down into chunks of time or subjects or topics. They should identify key areas to focus their revision by RAG/confidence rating the specification content and after that it’s a case of practicing and applying what they know to exam style questions. 

Some of the suggested strategies included:

Stage 4 – Review

The final stage involved discussing how students should review their revision notes regularly and make use of them through application to other strategies such as the self-testing and flashcards. 

We also demonstrated how students may wish to use the Leitner system to review and self-test and reiterated the importance of deliberate practice. 

Hope this helps you to prepare something similar to help your students with the revision process. 

Other useful blog posts of mine

Resource – How to Revise in Geography
Resource – Learning to Revise Guide for KS3

Mrs Humanities shares… 6 Epic History Revision Resources
Mrs Humanities shares… 10 Great Geography Revision Resources

Resource – IBDP Geography Case Study Revision Booklets
Resource – GCSE Case Study and Exam Question Revision Booklet
Resource – AQA Revision Booklet adaption by @MrTomlinsonGeog


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Resource – Learning to Revise Guide for KS3

Recently I’ve been doing a lot of work on revision and recall; primarily this arose from a number of concerns students expressed last year about not knowing how to revise. 

To support my students,  in February 2018 I was inspired to create a ‘How to Revise in Geography‘ booklet for Key Stage 4 and 5 students. I have two versions of the booklet one suited to AQA GSCE Geographers and another for IBDP Geographers. 

Last year I also covered a few different revision techniques with my form group to help them prepare for assessments. However I didn’t think to make them a ‘how to revise’ guide until more recently. 

I was spurred on a when a colleague mentioned that another might be in contact soon to discuss revision support for Key Stage 3. Consequently I figured a booklet for Key Stage 3 might be of use. 

The terminology is similar but less technical and it has far fewer strategies than in my GCSE and IB version but I hope it will be just as useful for suggesting suitable strategies for Key Stage 3. 

Click the download button to get an editable copy.

Hope you can make use of it with your students. 


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A Kind Request – Please vote for Mrs Humanities in the UK Blog Awards

I’m super excited to be nominated for the UK Blog Awards for the third time. In order to make it through the finals, I need a little help from you lovely readers.
If you wouldn’t mind from now (14th November) until the 21st December could you please take a moment or two to vote for Mrs Humanities. The entry is under my ‘real’ name Victoria Hewett.
To vote simply click here, find my name (Victoria Hewett / Mrs Humanities) and click on the red heart. If you like you can read my entry information by clicking on the “i“.
*Please note, there is only one vote per person per category, so pick me (please) 🙂
UK Blog Awards #UKBA19 #UKBlogChat #UKBlogAwards #MrsHumanities

A massive thank you from me in advance!

Mrs Humanities


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Resource – Welcome to GCSE Geography

Yesterday I shared this post on twitter and since then I’ve had a number of requests for a copy of the document.

I’ve amended it slightly to make it more generic and adaptable for other schools to make use of.

welcome to GCSE Geograpy #AQAGeography

You can download a copy by clicking the button below.

download here

Don’t forget I’ve also uploaded a range of revision materials for students and teachers to make use of.

Resource – How to Revise in Geography
Resource – Assessment for Learning Booklet AQA Geography
Resource – GCSE Case Study and Exam Question Revision Booklet
Resource – AQA Revision Booklet adaption by @MrTomlinsonGeog

Hope you can make use of this resource and the others.

Best wishes,

Mrs Humanities

 


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Resource – Engaging with Research Action Planning Sheet

engage with research (1)Recently I put a shout out to see if anyone had an action plan template to support teachers to engage with research. After having little luck I decided to make my own.

sheet.JPG

To start with the user should consider what they want to achieve exactly to develop the ‘big picture’. Next link that to the school or subject development plan.

Baseline indicators are anything that would provide a base line to measure from such as student starting points, progress data, attitude to learning scores/grades or confidence levels. Anything that helps the user to measure success or impact.

The measures of success are simply what the user will measure afterwards to demonstrate an impact.

This is followed by identifying areas of further investigation such as theories, case studies or ideas. This section encourages the user to consider who may be able to help them find out more and the variety of sources that could be used.

The final section is the research journey an outline of what will be implemented, tested and how it will be carried out before an outline of the expected results.

Here’s mine for my PD research this year:

Example.JPG

If you’d like a copy click the download button below.

download here

 

Hope you can make use of it.

Mrs Humanities

 

 

 

 


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Mrs Humanities shares… how I cut down my marking workload.

mrs humanities shares

If there is one thing that has had the biggest impact on my work-life balance it has to be assessment and marking. There was once a time when marking took me several hours an evening and several over the weekend. I had a marking timetable and felt I had to rigorously stick to it to ensure I ‘passed’ book scrutinises.  I’d worry if my books weren’t up-to-date yet also felt that marking has little impact on student progress.

Nowadays I spend a few hours a week out of directed time marking and assessing. No longer do I drag a bag of books home with me. No longer do I have a books and assessments piling up by the door over the holidays, calling and beckoning me to mark them instead of resting. Yet I see more progress taking place in my classroom than ever before. How? Well here’s my secret, I started to refuse. I rebelled. I researched. I implemented. Okay, there was more to it than that, here’s how…

  1. Adapt to School Policy
    My last school had a every 4 lessons policy; books required success comments and next steps to act on during directed improvement and reflection time. To start with they were written comments then I started to use a feedback grid instead – these consisted of a bank of comments in which I’d expect students to achieve, followed by a bank of comments that students may need to do to improve their work.
    GCSe exam questionHaving these in place helped me to live mark and ensure the feedback I’d given was evidenced to save having to write verbal feedback in books. I’d carry a highlighter and highlight the achieved criteria, would put a dot on the criteria to work on next. When I’d collect in the work, I’d already done half the marking and could simply finish it off and highlight one or two of the ‘next steps’ criteria for students to do during DIRT.
  2. Meticulously planned feedback
    Next step has been planning when and where to give feedback across the school year. My department and I have looked at the work we get students to complete and figured out how we can assess progress over time. We’ve introduced a spiralling curriculum in which skills and content repeat throughout topics allowing us to spread out formative and summative assessment. The provision of feedback has been carefully plotted to ensure students can act on it in a timely fashion but so they can also make use of it in the long term when they come back to similar skills or content.
    Assessment outline.png
  3. Less is more
    Alongside careful planning of feedback across the year, we’ve reduced what we mark to ensure that feedback is high quality and effective. For example at GCSE we give students 3 sets of exam style questions for each unit to assess their understanding of the content, we don’t mark their notes unless students ask. We use assessment for learning strategies in class to check understanding and to pick up on misconceptions along with verbal feedback. The exam style questions are roughly undertaken every 2-3 weeks. Despite not marking the classwork, I know where my students are through discussions, live marking and assessment for learning strategies.
    booklet pages
  4. Create a feedback-friendly classroom
    I’m a huge fan of feedback-friendly classrooms whereby teachers are not the only providers of feedback. I teach my students from day 1 how to feedback effectively. It takes times, scaffolding and persistence but it pays off.

    By the end of the year students are highly effective at self and peer-assessing. They do not take my place as the professional provider of feedback but they provide one another with feedback on their work and they have time to act on the feedback before they submit work. I feel it’s an important skill to teach to support students in becoming independent learners. More on peer assessment here.

  5. Feed-up, feedback and feedforward
    Feed up, might be better known as modelling expectations or to clarify the objective, before allowing students to engage with a task. Take feedback from students through assessment for learning and use it to forward plan. For this I quite like using the whole class feedback approach, I review all of the books without writing anything in them. Instead I go through the feedback with the class the next lesson. Feedforward Book Look Record
    I use the information I’ve gained from their work to then plan the following lesson or series of lessons to review ideas or misconceptions, to challenge and extend or change the course of the learning taking place.
  6. Live mark
    I love discussing work with students there and then in the classroom; the ability to identify successes with students and areas for improvement in the classroom is incredibly powerful. I carry a highlighter with me as much as possible and will highlight areas for improvement or put a dot in the margin to identify an area to review. I discuss progress with my students and encourage meta-cognitive questioning.
  7. Simplify feedback
    Make it simple. Use strategies such as marking codes, dot marking or comment banks to reduce your time spent writing feedback. More ideas here
  8. #FeedbackNOTmarking
    Since starting at this school in September 2016, I’ve strived to ensure marking and feedback is manageable, meaningful and motivating for myself, my team and my students. In doing so we’ve moved from marking to feedback as part of our departmental policy.

    For me, not having a set number of lessons in which marking has to take place has been freeing. I much prefer using the time I’d have once spent marking, planning lessons that actually lead to more progress. I use the feedback from student work and the discussions I have with them to integrate work that covers the targets I would have otherwise spent several hours writing into their books. Personally I prefer that to writing a comment that may never be acted on. More on the 3 pillars here.
    3 pillars of effective marking and feedback

At PedagooHampshire I was extremely surprised to hear of schools either still implementing excessive marking policies or even introducing them. I would have thought that with the Governments recent publication of the workload reduction toolkit along with all the reports on reducing teacher workload and evidence from the Education Endowment Foundation on feedback that there would be more schools moving away from such policies.

For more of my posts on #feedbackNOTmarking click here

Feel free to share any other ways you’ve reduced the workload associated with marking, feedback and assessment in your school.

Mrs Humanities

 


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Resource – Lagos Redevelopment DME

resourceA simple activity that stimulates students abilities to make informed decisions in preparation for AQA Paper 3. Students are given resources on the redevelopment of the waterfront of Lagos in order to make a decision on whether the waterfront redevelopment should take place. After discussion students answer the exam style question.

tasksources

There are a wide range of videos that could be shown to the class alongside the resources to develop their understanding of the redevelopment.

Some suggestions include

EKO ATLANTIC Lagos Nigeria. Whats Inside??

Residents of Nigeria’s floating slum thrive

Lagos: Evicted slum-dwellers demand right to return

Download the resources by clicking below.

download here

 

Mrs Humanities


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Mrs Humanities shares… 8 reasons why I love to teach.

After all my recent anxieties, the first day was fine. I’m sure tomorrow will be too, Wednesday the same…

Anyway, I’d like to share some positivity around teaching so here are a few reasons why I love teaching. Would love to hear your reasons, feel free to add them in the comments.

1 // Learning is awesome. Seeing my students engaged, enjoying their learning is a fabulous feeling. I love it when a class is fully engaged and I can step back and see the learning taking place.

2 // Planning learning is also awesome. It’s great sitting down and planning the process in which my students will participate to learn what they need to learn. It’s a beautiful moment when it all comes together and you know the kids will love it.

3 // Students teach me as much as I teach them. Whether it’s pedagogical, subject based or something a little more personal like something about them, I love that I learn from my students. One of my favourites is when students take our learning in a different direction due to their curiosity, it’s inevitable that I will learn something too.

4 // Students help me to forget my worries. Teaching takes me out of my mind, the best distraction possible. My students make me want to be happy, to want to be the best possible me. They deserve that so I strive for it. That includes taking charge of my wellbeing, to be the best teacher possible we need to be healthy, rested and present.

5 // Developing lifelong learners. Knowing that the skills, knowledge and understanding my students develop in my classroom they will take forward into their futures is empowering. I want them to be the best possible version of themselves now and in the future.

6 // Responsible citizens. In the last 7 years I’ve seen a huge shift in the attitude of young people. In general they are more politically engaged, more open-minded and more emphatic to the experiences of others. When the world is becoming increasing fractionned, the rise of the far-right is evident and leaders aren’t exactly the best, it’s a relief to see that young people want to see change. Our job is to empower then to engage and be work towards that change. I love it when students start to be the change they want to see.

7 // Teachers are great people. Generally speaking, most are caring, supportive and helpful. Sometimes that means we are taken advantage of but it also means there are some incredible people who’ll have your back.

8 // Teaching is like a jar of jelly beans. It’s fun, full of variety, colour and flavour. Every handful is different, so is every day in the classroom. Embrace it.

Why do you love teaching?


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Starting the conversation… #PedagooHampshire2018

PedagooHampshire2018

This week I’ve had to take some time away from twitter. My anxiety surrounding returning to work has been growing and growing for the last 2 -3 weeks and reached an unbearable level at the beginning of this week.

You see recently I’ve been spontaneously emotional to the point that I’ve burst into tears twice just in the street with no obvious reason. I’ve had palpitations, restless night sleeps and hours of not doing anything because the anxiety I’m experiencing feels debilitating.

My anxieties aren’t so much about going back to school, I’m really looking forward to it but about whether I will be able to manage my mental health, wellbeing and work-life balance as well now that I’m not longer on medication.

As I pondered about the world, my thoughts turned to the anxiety and the causes. It’s partly the fact that I’m no longer of anti-depressant medication but also the fact that I surround myself in education for too much of the day. I realised I was spending 5 or 10 minutes here and there on Twitter reading notifications, browsing my twitter feed and following links to interesting articles and blogs. I was continuing to surround myself in education when what I really need is a break. As a result I decided to sign out of twitter on Tuesday 28th August and didn’t sign in again until Friday 31st August.

The break has helped, I’ve managed to put things into perspective and consequently I’ve also decided to no longer have twitter signed in on my phone to stop the incessant desire to check it.

You might be wondering the relevance of this; well on Saturday 15th September I will be attending and speaking at Pedagoo Hampshire for the 3rd time running.

My first session was on Less is More: Marking with a Purpose, my second Less is More: Strategies to Reduce Workload and this year I’m going to share something a little more personal, Less is More: A motto to live by.

In my session, I’ll be sharing my journey with mental health from breakdown to recovery and the 5 strategies I try to live by to maintain a work-life balance; it’ll be part self-help, part pedagogy.

The whole signing out of twitter isn’t one of the 5 strategies, so you’ll have to attend to find them out.

But what I want to share is how having gone through a breakdown as a result of work-related stress, I’ve developed the ability to see patterns, to identify characteristics and too hopefully take measures to step back and recoup. That there is importance in understanding yourself.

(Note: However I can only say this though because people remind me that I do, that I have done over the past two years and that even now that I have come off of medication I can and will).

The other thing I want to highlight is that its okay to not be okay. I have the knowledge now that if I need to there are people to help; I’ve opened up the dialogue and can continue it whenever I need. I can go back on medication if I need to. I can get through stress and anxiety; I’ve shown that already. Relapses are not a sign of weakness.

The reason I’ll be sharing my experience is because too many others are experiencing similar circumstances in the workplace; pressure, accountability and high levels of stress. But there are also those going through depression, stress, anxiety and other mental health issues as a consequence of work. But no matter your experiences with mental and physical health in schools, I want people to know they are not alone. That there is help and support available.

We can insist on change, we can implement change and we can create change in our schools.

I look forward to seeing familiar faces and meeting new ones in the Library at 11:15.

Until the 15th, best wishes for the new school year.

Mrs Humanities

p.s. For some reason I can’t get this to flow right, I hope it makes sense.


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The What if… of mental health.

It is the week before we go back to school. 5 weeks have passed. I’ve relaxed, rested and written the majority of a book.

I’ve also been off of anti-depressents now for 3 full weeks. By the end of July I’d made it down to 1 a week. End of June 2 a week. End of May 3 a week. You get the idea I’m sure. There were a few hiccups when I’d forgotten a dose and had a few side effects but on the whole it was a relatively okay process.

Anyway, the longer between doses the more my thoughts have invaded the space in my mind that has been clear for the last two years. My thoughts have turned back to sudden thoughts of possible dangers, thoughts of worst case scenarios and just general worries.

Now I’ve always suffered from some sort of anxiety or stress, uni was a particularly prominent time for instance but it wasn’t until I started taking anti-depressents that I realised just how much I worried about things.

When I started taking medication, I experienced for the first time in as long as I can remember what it felt like to just have a clear mind. To not be continuously worrying about this or that. To have a thought come into my mind and have the ability to decide whether to continue with it or shut it down. I felt like I’d become more productive and alot happier.

As I started to come off of the medication, I maintained the ability to abolish those thoughts that plagued me; to switch them off. But as the time has progressed and the level of medication in my system declined I’ve found my thoughts returning to old patterns. The school holidays have certainly not helped; no routine, time to think.

As we’ve gotten closer to the beginning of September the more I’ve started to worry about going back. Worrying about the anxiety returning. Worrying about managing my workload. Worrying that I won’t be the best teacher I can be for my students. Worrying about worrying.

It’s gotten so bad I’ve had to detach myself from all things education for a few days, including Twitter.

I’m not the only one to be experiencing such fears I’m sure but I feel like I made such headway in the last two years, I’ve implemented strategies that have reduced my workload. I’ve developed a system for working that works for me. I’ve learnt to put myself before my work and to look after my wellbeing so I can be on top form for my students.

Yet still the fear is there. What if I can’t cope. What if I fall back into old routines. What if I stop saying no. What if… I burnout and breakdown again?