Mrs Humanities

Because I'm married to the job.


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A to (almost) Z of Feedback NOT Marking

All marking is feedback, but not all feedback is marking. Simple.

Build a toolkit of feedback strategies – as you develop the art of feedback, try lots of strategies to find what works for you, your students and your school.


Children need to understand the value of feedback to be able to make use of it effectively and to understand when and how they might receive it.

Don’t expect changing from marking to feedback to be easy, it requires…
Education – educate the school community on how feedback is provided so students and parents understand that written marking isn’t the only way to receive feedback

Errors – exposure to errors in a safe environment is beneficial, celebrate mistakes with students and explore how to correct them. I like to give ‘risk-taker’ commendations for those that share their errors with the class, promoting a sense of achievement in despite of the error. Additionally it builds resilience and works on the concept of growth mindset.

Feedup-feedback-feedforward cycles have changed the way I lesson plan, read more on these here.

Give no marking a try for a week or two or potentially longer, to help you to review the other ways in which you provide feedback to students. Make a conscious effort to look for the impact of different feedback strategies.

Hightlighters – so many uses for highlighters in the provision of feedback, you can use them during live marking, use them identify where work needs review, use them to highlight achieved success criteria or what to do next, use them for dot marking, highlight and improve or whatever else.

Introduce strategies to students. Explain to your students the why and how of each strategy you implement with them to enable them to understand the reasoning behind it and how it will benefit them.

Jot down notes as you assess work to feed-forward into your short, medium and long-term planning.

Knowledge, understanding and application (skills) – effective assessment ought to develop all these elements over time. I find it hard when teachers set targets for students that are only knowledge specific to the current piece of content or topic.

Live feedback, also known as live marking. Simple really, assess and feedback there and then in the lesson. More reading on live feedback here.

Model and scaffold effective feedback to students to help them to peer assess effectively. I start the school year with a few simple tasks that can easily be peer assessed, we peer assess as a class, in small groups and individually until independent. I will start off by providing relevant feedback comments/targets that students can select from and ask them to justify why they selected that comment/target. By Christmas the majority of students can carry out effective peer assessment with limited scaffolding.

Next steps – I find that using next steps promotes high expectations, even when work is complete and the student successful there’s always next steps that can be made to further develop knowledge and application. I praise successes but unless it’s a summative assessment students know to expect to be asked to do something else to their work to make it even better.

Outcomes – always keep these in mind. What do you want students to achieve in the long, medium and short term? How will feedback help students to achieve these outcomes?

Peer assessment can be powerful – creating a feedback friendly classroom is no easy feat. it requires teaching, training and persistence to get students to feedback effectively. The use of ACE and SpACE peer assessment has supported the development of effective peer-to-peer feedback in my classroom.

ACE Peer assessment

Quality over quantity – to reduce the amount of formative and summative assessment and thus quantity of targets students are asked to work on, in my department at KS3 we give assess two formative pieces of work and a summative. The formative tasks students receive constructive feedback on which allow them to create transferable targets that can be applied both in the summative task and the future learning. The summative task provides students with targets the next unit and future learning. At KS4 and 5, we assess 2-3 sets of past paper questions and a test for each topic. Feedback from the PPQs is given via feedback codes and share through whole class feedback, written marking is carried out and whole class feedback takes place on summative tests. Students annotate their work as whole class feedback is provided – making amendments there and then. Students set themselves transferable targets in response.

Research and reading – there’s lots of research and evidence out there on the role and value of feedback in the classroom. Here’s a few pieces to start you off:

The Power of Feedback, John Hattie
Visible Learning: Feedback, John Hattie & Shirley Clarke
Feedback, Education Endowment Foundation

Transferable targets – from my experience to date I feel transferable targets are the most valuable. Ask questions to help students to gain the correct answers but targets require a transferable element to them so there is the opportunity to act on them on the short and medium term.

Statements or questions? When it comes to ‘next steps’ I’m not sure which works best in helping students to progress, a question that helps them to reframe their thinking or a statement that tells them exactly what they need to do. Most of the time I use a mix of both to draw knowledge and understanding out from them.

Throw away your verbal feedback stamps! You do not need to ‘prove’ you are feedback to students verbally. It will be obvious in their work.

Undervalued – we must move away from marking to feedback in our schools to reduce the burden of marking and increase the power of feedback in the classroom.

Verbal feedback is powerful. The power of verbal feedback often goes unseen, you may not see direct evidence of verbal feedback in books or classwork however if you talk to students they can explain how verbal feedback has helped them. It’s timely and can have immediate impact, don’t try evidencing it but instead work on embedding it.

Whole class feedback is nothing new, but how we approach it has changed. Many teachers now use crib sheets to guide the provision of whole class feedback. For more information and examples check out this post of examples.

X – not even going to try

You can’t evidence all feedback and nor should you have to. The evidence is in the progress made by students.

Z – again not going to try

Hope you enjoyed the post.

Best wishes,


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Resource – Department Handbook Template

After writing the post yesterday which gave an insight into my department handbook, I realised that although I couldn’t share OUR department handbook I could make a template for others to use as a starting point.

It’s just a template with some hints to help anyone creating their handbook to get started. Adapt and amend to suit your needs.

I’ve left my departmental feedback strategies in it just in case it can be of use.

To download a copy, click here.

If you have any questions, do get in contact.

Best wishes,


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Mrs Humanities shares… A peek inside my department handbook

Recently I’ve had a lot of requests for copies of my department handbook. Is there a sudden surge in people being asked to create them or is it just the time of year that people are updating those they already possess? Hrm?

Anyway, due to it being a school document that I have partly created during the school day I don’t feel I have the right to share it. Therefore instead, I will explain what mine consists of along with a few screenshots. I hope that helps those of you that are creating or updating yours, but please do not ask me for a copy as I will not be able to send it to you I’m afraid. However, I have created a template that you may wish to make use of, find it here.

Contents

  1. Academic Statement
  2. Department Vision
  3. Department Staffing – roles and responsibilities
  4. Teaching load – who’s teaching what
  5. Other responsibilities – e.g. extra-curricular, extended essays etc.
  6. Curriculum – break down of KS3 (MYP), KS4 (GCSE) and KS5 (IB)
  7. Assessed work expectations
  8. Lesson Observations – expectations and responsibilities
  9. Lesson Planning – expectations for teaching and learning over time
  10. Feedback and Assessment – expectations and strategies
  11. Student Assessment for Learning – outline of the AfL sheets we use with students
  12. Revision and Exams
  13. Reports
  14. Behaviour and rewards
  15. Trips and Fieldwork
  16. Day-to-Day housekeeping

I’ve learnt a thing or two this year which means I’ve put a bit more in, with the aim of making things explicitly clear to aid consistency and professional development.

Academic Statement and Department Vision

These two pieces layout the basis of what it means to teach our subject, the former, the academic statement, seeks to set out the role of Geography.

Why is it worth studying?
What value does it have?
What do we want students to take away from their geographical studies over the 3, 5 or 7 years in which they study it?

The latter, the department vision is then an outline of how we as a department are going to achieve the above and how our department fits into the whole school vision and development plan.

How will we make Geography a subject worth studying?
How will we demonstrate its value in the curriculum and beyond?
How will our department contribute to the whole school vision?
How will our department contribute to the school's development?

I believe this section needs the buy in of all staff. During my first year here, I sat down with those in my department to create both of these. I had my ideas, but I wanted to have their input too. Since then I’ve had a new member of staff join the department each year due to the progression of others and I’ve failed in creating the statement and vision collectively.

This September we’ve two new members of staff joining the department, meaning a fresh start really as the other remaining member of staff joined us this academic year. My plan for our CPD day in September then is to sit down together and create a new academic statement and department vision as a collective. I believe it’s important for everyone to feel they have a contribution to make to the success of the department and a say in how we do it. I want us all to be aiming for the same thing and to be able to see where we are going together collectively.

Additionally, I know my vision has changed since I started as subject leader 3 years ago. These statements need to reflect the developments in my geographical knowledge, practice and general pedagogy as well as whole school changes.

Department Staffing, Teaching Load and Other Responsibilities

What this section includes is quite self explanatory really.

The staffing table outlines the position each person plays in the department, the responsibilities of their role and their teaching load. This is to enable staff to seek support and guidance from the right people, it’s to help teachers collaborate across year groups and key stages and to allow staff to identify their strengths in the provision of other responsibilities e.g. trainee mentors, extra-curricular, field-trips etc.

Curriculum

This section breaks down the curriculum by key stage, providing vital information about the topics and specifications studied, the examinations undertaken and the options selected.

This section also refers the user to important documents such as the exam specifications, the programme of learning for each key stage and the assessment for learning booklets and documents.

Assessed work expectations

We don’t mark general classwork at GCSE and IB, just past paper questions which are undertaken throughout a topic. This equates to 1 set of PPQs every 2-3 weeks. This is how we assess student’s application of knowledge. In lessons we then use assessment for learning strategies to check for understanding.

For consistency, expectations for assessed work are set out explicitly in the handbook.

This year I’m introducing a change to our testing procedures. Rather than giving end of topic tests at the end topic, students will not sit the test for a minimum of 2 weeks after they have finished it. Although I am considering making it so that end of topic tests are done at the end of the next topic, however I’d like input from my ‘new’ department and line manager on this before any final decisions are made.

Lesson Observations

This section merely outlines what should and what doesn’t need to be provided for a formal or informal lesson observation in accordance with the whole school policy. It also directs staff to lesson observation documents such as the observation feedback form, 5 minute lesson plan etc.

Lesson Planning

Really this section should be called learning planning, but I don’t like how it sounds so I’ve stuck to lesson planning.

It is something I’ve added this year for consistency and is an outline of what should be evident in teaching and learning over time. It would not be expected to see evidence of all of this in a lesson observation, nor evident just in books.

Instead sources of evidence would include discussions with staff, classwork, homework, lesson resources, assessment for/of learning, data, conversations with students, collaborative planning, units of inquiry, etc.

Feedback and Assessment

This section discusses the importance of feedback and assessment for/of learning in all its forms. Here staff are referred to the Power of Feedback document for further reading for the logic and evidence for the strategies outlined.

This section then provides a range of feedback strategies that staff have the autonomy to mix and match providing that students receive regular feedback from the teacher or peers to enable them to develop and progress.

More on the strategies that make up our Feedback NOT Marking ‘policy’ here.

Student Assessment for Learning

In supporting our students to become independent learners, we use assessment for learning sheets at KS3 and booklets at KS4 & 5. These enable students to track their progress along with set and track their personal targets.

This section aids the teacher in explaining to students how to use their AfL documents.

The remainder of the handbook

The remaining sections are just basic details that outline where to go for information on and resources for revision, exams and reports

There’s a bit that outlines our departmental approach to rewards and behaviour. There’s an outline of responsibilities for trips and fieldwork and some general day-to-day information that maybe of interest to new members of staff.

I hope this is of use.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

Best wishes,


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Mrs Humanities shares… twitter highlights #5

Wow, what happened to that gained time after my GCSE and IB groups left? This term has been hectic so there’s been a lack of posts this month. But here’s a small one with my most recent twitter highlights. You’ll notice a bit of a theme with the geography highlights.

Hope you find something of use!

Geography

History

Other Subjects

Teaching and Learning

Wellbeing, workload and whatever else

And this one…. well it’s about me *chuckles*

Have a great week.

Best wishes,

My book ‘Making it as a Teacher’ is now released.Click the image to find out more about it.


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Mrs Humanities shares… twitter highlights #4

Wow, this term has started with chaos; stomach bug, camps, interdisciplinary activities and trips, end of year exams to mark…. as a result I’ve not posted a blog since the end of May. So I thought I’d start with Twitter Highlights number 4, I’ve added a few extra ones in since I’ve missed two weeks.

Hope you find something of use in the highlights below.

Geography

History

Other Subjects

Teaching and Learning

Wellbeing, workload and whatever else

And this one just made me chuckle

Have a great week.

Best wishes,

Not long until my book ‘Making it as a Teacher’ is released, so scared for the 28th May. Click the image to find out more or to pre-order it. Massive thanks in advance if you do!


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Mrs Humanities shares… Twitter Highlights #3

Geography

History

Other Subjects

Teaching and Learning

Wellbeing, workload and whatever else


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What to do when you burnout

At the start of this year’s Mental Health Awareness week, I wrote this post but I must admit I was weary of publishing it. I worried it might come across as being condescending since there’s plenty of information available on managing and recovering from burnout from professional organisations. But after mentioning it on twitter, the positive response encouraged me to put it out there because if it helps just one person, that makes it beneficial.

However, before I get started I do just want to say that I’ve written this as a result of my experience of burnout resulting from workplace stress, these steps are my perspective of what helps.


I’m not writing this with the expectation that many will reach burnout, but with the notion that some will. Teachers, school leaders and support staff shouldn’t be experiencing burnout as a result of work place stress (nor those in other professions) however it happens. Even when preventative measures are taken, sometimes our work and mind drive us to breaking point and we can’t keep going the way that we are.

So, what should you do when you reach that point? When you feel like you can no longer go on with the job you once loved? You’ve hit a brick wall and can’t keep going. Where do you go from there?

Stop

Firstly, you need to stop. You need to step away from the situation that has led you to this point and reduce the stress. This may involve speaking to your employer and temporarily reducing your timetable or responsibility, it may require a day or two off of work or it maybe that you need to speak to your GP and take a prolonged period of sick leave.

It can be hard to take that break whether it be for the rest of the week, the month or term but it’s a valuable process that will allow you to find your way again.

Reach out

Having been through burnout and knowing others that have experienced it too, I know it’s not easy to deal with on your own. There are so many questions and thoughts that go through your head – How will you overcome it? Are you making the right decisions? Do people know how your feeling? What will people think if you take time off?

There is plenty of support available, whether it be from loved ones or professionals. It can be hard to speak to those your love when you are struggling with your mental health and that’s okay. Reach out the others instead, organisations such as Mind, Ed Support or local counselling services can provide professional support or you can attempt to find others who will listen in an informal way.

For example there are people on twitter willing to chat and listen, not as a mental health professional but as a friend, with many of those listen having gone through their own experiences.  You can find them by searching for the hashtag #Talk2meMH.

The main thing to remember is that there are plenty of support services out there, whether you’re at crisis point or just need some one to talk to, make sure you reach out and get help as and when required.

Inform

This stage may come at different points for each individual, but I highly recommend informing your employer of your struggles. That way then they can take the necessary, reasonable measures to support you.

They may refer you to Occupational Health. Having experienced it myself, I can say it was far less scary than I imagined it would be. They simply ask you questions about your current situation, what it is that is affecting your ability to work, what you think might help etc. and then they write a report which is sent to your employer to help them to support you in the workplace.

Additionally by informing your employer, it also means that if you experience a mental health condition that does or is likely to last 12 months or more and you can demonstrate that your mental health is a disability you could be covered under the Equality Act 2010 against discrimination at work. More information can be found here.

Invest in you

Whilst you take a break no matter how long or short it maybe, take time to focus on you.

I recommend writing a list of the things that bring you happiness or calm. If you can, try to tick a few off each day. I could have easily stayed in bed when I took time off, whilst for the first few days I had no energy, binged on Netflix and ate whatever junk I had in the cupboards. I knew I had to make an effort to not dwell on things, even though it was so easy to do so. In realising that I made a concerted effort to go for a speed walk every day, I’d plug in my music, turn it up and walk as hastily as possibly. Not only did it get my heart pumping, it would leave me feel exhausted helping me to sleep.

Take time to do what you enjoy and don’t feel guilty about it (or at least try not too). Invest in your body and mind, because by doing so you’ll enable the recovery process.

Reassess

Whilst you take a step away or back from the situation, take time to reflect and reassess. Consider your situation, what do you enjoy about it? what do you find most stressful? Is it the job, TLR or the school?

You could merely take time to think and reflect or go a step further and jot down your thoughts and reflections. Do whatever works for you.

For me, my reassessment of the situation came from talking to the Education Support Partnerships helpline. During the first call the counsellor asked me to tell them about my current position, before encouraging me to consider what the issue was and what the solution could be. They helped me to assess the situation and make the decision to see my GP. From there I was able to reassess and consider what I wanted the result to be. Which leads me nicely on to the next stage.

Plan

Once you have reassessed, plan the next steps. What do you want the outcome to be? How will you achieve it? Whether it be a better work-life balance, reduced responsibility or a complete career change, have in mind what you want and consider the steps to get there.

It maybe difficult to determine and finding the confidence to then take that first step isn’t exactly easy but having that plan and aim insight does help.

For example, I debated with myself and my family a lot about whether I’d just hand my notice in and leave teaching or give one more school a try. After reassessment I decided I loved teaching and that it might not be the profession itself that was the problem. So after much encouragement I took the first step on my plan, which was apply for jobs at other schools. When I found a position I feared it maybe more of the same, but during the interview process my fears we eased and I’m still there now.  

Recovery

The final stage is recovery of course.

I will be honest and say that recovering from burnout is a journey, and it can be a long one. It takes time for your body and mind to recover from the physical and emotional exhaustion. There may be relapses where stress, anxiety or other mental challenges arise and get too much but you won’t ever be completely alone. You can and will overcome it.

It might require major changes in your life, but it is possible to recoup and recover.  If you want evidence, take a read of this piece I did for Ed Support – https://www.educationsupportpartnership.org.uk/blogs/5-breakthroughs-made-me-better-teacher


Final thoughts

Burnout is a natural response to repeated and continued stress, our tolerance levels vary and what stresses some of us, won’t stress others. It important to remember we are all different and manage stress in different ways. If you know someone that is experiencing or close to experiencing burnout, reach out to them, listen to them and support them as best you can. Reassure them that things can and do get better, it just takes time, help and a bit of patience.

I hope those of you that might find this relevant find it useful. Feel free to get in contact if you want to chat before reaching out to loved ones or professionals.

Best wishes,

If you enjoy reading my blog, you might be interested in my first book due for release 28th May. Click the image to find out more or to pre-order it. Massive thanks in advance if you do!

making it as a teacher victoria hewett


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Resource – IB Geography Inquiry Booklets Core Unit 2

After teaching the new specification in full, I could see the bigger picture a lot clearer. After reflection and much consideration I decided that I’d try to split the core into theory and then located inquiries. Last week I shared my booklets for Unit 1 – Changing Population, this week I’m sharing my booklets for Unit 2 – Global climate.

Similarly to the Changing Populations inquiry, the topic starts by covering the geographical theory and the more generalised impacts of climate change on the hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere, before moving on to look at the impacts and response from 3 located studies.

The booklets contains everything the students need – an outline of the course content covered, the statement of inquiry, list of key terminology, outline of geographical theory and activities to undertake along with videos, articles, case study templates, things to discuss, images etc.

Theory includes:

  • Layers of the atmosphere
  • The Global Energy Budget
  • Greenhouse Effect – Natural and Enhanced
  • Global Warming and Global Dimming
  • Planetary Albedo Effect
  • Sources of greenhouse gases
  • The history of climate change
  • Evidence of climate change

Before a look at some of the general impacts of climate change.

Example of Theory Pages

After the theory behind climate change, we begin to explore the impacts of climate change for 3 locations. Each located inquiry starts with a section on background information to provide students with insight into the development and demographics of the named country; providing students with a sense of place and ability to compare. Followed by exploration of the impacts of climate change for different societies within the 3 located studies.

The three located studies are:

  1. USA – focuses on southern states and indigenous communities of Alaska
  2. Maldives – focus on low-lying island communities
  3. Bangladesh – focus on low income communities

The located studies also explore the concept of risk and vulnerability, along with the responses to climate change both in terms of adaptation and mitigation.

Case Study: USA
Case Study: Maldives
Case Study: Bangladesh

The topic ends with one final inquiry into the responses to climate change from a governmental perspective.


ResourcesAnd now the part that is of most use to you. A link to the documents for download. Simply click here to download all the resources for IBDP19 Core Unit 2 – Global Climate.

Booklets for unit 3 are currently in progress and will be added to the site when complete.

Hope you can find the resources of use.

If you enjoy reading my blog, you might be interested in my first book due for release 28th May. Click the image to find out more or to pre-order it. Massive thanks in advance if you do!


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Mrs Humanities shares… twitter highlights #2

In the Easter break I thought it’d be a good idea to share some of the weekly highlights I come across on twitter each week. There’s so much great practice on there and whilst I try my best to collate some of it on Magpied Pedagogy, it’s too big a job for one person. So I thought why not share some of the highlights each week on my blog. It gets a pretty big reach and might encourage others to make use of the excellent CPD opportunity Twitter provides.

This here is the second of my twitter highlight posts.

Hope you find something of use in the highlights below.

Geography

History

Other Subjects

Teaching and Learning

Wellbeing, workload and whatever else

Have a great week.

Best wishes,

Not long until my book ‘Making it as a Teacher’ is released, so scared for the 28th May. Click the image to find out more or to pre-order it. Massive thanks in advance if you do!


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Resource – IB Geography Inquiry Booklets Core Unit 1

After teaching the new specification in full, I could see the bigger picture a lot clearer. After reflection and much consideration I decided that I’d try to split the core into theory and then located inquiries.

In January we started the first of the core topics – Unit 1 Changing Population. I started the topic by introducing the theory required on global trends, predictions and momentum, demographic transition, development indicators and dependency ratios.

We then moved onto our first case study, China. Through exploring China we covered the following course content

  • Demographic Transition
  • Population Problems
  • Population Policies
  • Urbanisation
  • Megacity growth
  • Forced migration and internal displacement
Booklet 1 – China

The booklets contains everything the students need – an outline of the course content covered, the statement of inquiry, list of key terminology, outline of geographical theory and activities to undertake along with videos, articles, case study templates, things to discuss, images etc.

Page 1 – Statement of Inquiry, Course Content and Geographical Terminology
Geographical Theory and Activities
Activities associated with theory

Each located inquiry starts with a section on background information to provide students with insight into the development and demographics of the named country; providing students with a sense of place and ability to compare.

From China and Singapore we moved onto demographic dividends, gender equality and anti-trafficking. Each starting in the same way, content covered, theory and then located examples.

We looked at South Korea as our located example for demographic dividend followed by gender equality in India and Syria for anti-trafficking.

Demographic Dividend Booklet
Gender Equality and Anti-Trafficking Booklet

Reflection

The students engaged well with the content and the booklets, my only issue with it was getting my head around how to teach using booklets instead of PowerPoint slides. It’s slightly harder as students work through the content at different paces and thus when there is something I wish to go through before they move on I have to stop the whole class to discuss it, to watch the videos etc. even if some haven’t finished the previous task. I have to consider how to get around this.

One of the main issues being that some students choose to use a digital device and thus have access to the booklet in the lesson, whilst others don’t so printing of the main resources (news articles etc.) has been required. It’s not an issue at all just that I need to remember to print off the articles and other vital resources.

Resources

And now the part that is of most use to you. A link to the documents for download. Simply click here to download all the resources for IBDP19 Core Unit 1 – Changing Population.

Climate Change is currently in progress and will be added to the site when complete.

Hope you can find the resources of use.

If you enjoy reading my blog, you might be interested in my first book due for release 28th May. Click the image to find out more or to pre-order it. Massive thanks in advance if you do!