Mrs Humanities

Because I'm married to the job


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Guest post from @ploguey – Differentiation ideas that work every time

guest post

I’m really excited to share with you the second in the series of guest posts on the site. I love how everyday differentiation has continued to change and develop since I wrote my last post on it some years ago.

If you have an idea or something to share, get in touch.

Hope you enjoy this one from Paul, @ploguey.

differentiation

It’s a feeling we all have very often. Your class is exiting the classroom door and you have that sinking feeling, and the thoughts begin to cross your mind:

  • I didn’t do enough differentiation in that lesson.
  • I didn’t do any differentiation in that lesson.
  • Students could have made more progress.
  • I was sure that they all would have got that done with no problems.

Scenarios like these really stress me out. It also means that I tend to try and overcompensate the next time I see that class, forcing hours of extra planning upon myself. Once, for a lesson observation, I differentiated for every single student in the class. Yes, you read that right. The lesson was a huge success; however, the main piece of feedback was that I need to focus on improving my work-life balance.

The best aspect of EduTwitter is the virtually unlimited access to teaching and learning styles from teachers all over the world and from other subjects. It’s been my absolute joy to try and test out strategies and make them work for my classes.

These are my favourite methods to use, as they are easy to plan, not time consuming, students enjoy using them and they are designed to support students to produce high-quality work. I have shared these ideas at our differentiation CPD recently.

Read, Edit, Improve

An idea I magpied from @JamieClarke85. This method is designed to support students in answering exam questions and builds upon the WABOLL method (What a Bad One Looks Like). Students are given a poor question response and annotate the mistakes and problems with the response. They then feedback and offer ways to improve the answer in the ‘edit’ section. Finally, they improve the exam question. It’s been highly successful in assisting lower ability students.  It’s one of my favourite methods because students end up practicing exam skills and doing exam questions without even realising it!read edit improve

@jennnnnn_x and @geographyhanna have done wonderful adaptions of this.

read edit improve 1read edit improve 2

Structure Strips

One of my newest methods and I love it how easy it is for students. We are following the new AQA 9-1 Spec and 9-mark questions are very tricky for students to manage.structure-strips.jpg

The structure strip breaks down the question into manageable paragraphs and supports students with the knowledge and skills necessary needed to be successful. Again, it’s been great in supporting my lower ability students in Year 10, but it’s also allowing my higher ability students to reach the top end of expected responses while they adapt to the new accepted writing style. Over time, I tend to take away the targeted questioning for the higher ability students to ensure they are being challenge.

Originally inspired from @_Jopayne and @MrsSpalding.

 

IDEAL analysis

My students love this one, particularly my Year 11s. A simple restructuring of a stimulus question by focusing on the five main geographical skills of interpretation: Identify, Describe, Explain, Analyse and Link. This allows students to build up their answers through probing.  I’ve seen Year 11 students writing this on their mock papers and using it to answers 6- and 8-mark questions.

IDEAL Analysis 1ideal-analysis-2.png

Chilli Challenges

Inspired from the easily recognised Nando’s menu, it offers students a choice of task that suits their understanding and ability. I have found that the ‘Red Hot’ challenge is by far the most popular one, so careful consideration is needed to be given to ensure that students are not pushing themselves too far and struggle as a result. Adaptions included differentiating by target grade, flight path etc.

Chilli Challenges

Thanks for reading.

Paul (@ploguey)


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Resource – ACE questioning display posters

A few months a go I shared a strategy I’ve been using for a while called ACE questioning 

ACE questioning differentiation

It’s working exceptionally well in my new school, however we have two week timetables and therefore some classes I only see every other week. To help students remember, I’ve created these simple posters as a reminder.

ACE questions.png

I’m going to be placing them in some old frames I have from Ikea and will hang next to my board.

Feel free to download the word or PDF versions and adjust to suit your needs.

Enjoy!

Mrs Humanities

 


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ACE Questioning

Looking for a way to differentiate and challenge without any significant need for resources?

Try out ACE questioning. A simple idea which can  have big results.

I use it several ways dependent on the class and learners ability range.

Basic concept

A = accept
C = challenge
E = extend

image

Approach 1

The teacher asks a student if they would like to accept, challenge or extend the answer of another student. The student decides and does one of the above, ensuring that if they accept they explain why.

Approach 2

The teacher asks selected students certain questions related to A, C or E.

e.g. do you accept what child A said, why/why not?

Approach 3

During peer assessment students state whether they accept the work as it is and explain why, challenge the answers given by asking them a question such as why do you think… or I actually think this… can you explain why   you’re right? Or they ask a question to extend the answer given.

Try it out and let me know how it goes.


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Getting GCSE ready

Personally I believe and teach in a way that key stage 3 is simply setting the foundations for key stage 4. You could essentially say I’ve planned a 5 year scheme of learning, where students revisit knowledge and skills via a variety of topics, believe it’s linked to spiraling (I’ve not researched it but someone mentioned it recently).

After looking at recent assessments and discussions with students I’ve completely scrapped the scheme of work I had in place for year 9 for term 5 and 6. Instead I’ve set about creating a scheme of work that gap fills to ensure all of my year 9’s are prepared for the next stage of their learning.

The scheme of work will revisit a lot of what we’ve covered in year 7 and 8 as well as what we’ve covered in year 9 so far.

Students will be issued with a learning ladder that clearly outlines what they need to be able to do for the different bands; Bronze, Silver and Gold. Students will have to demonstrate their understanding and mastery of the bronze before moving onto silver and/or gold.

Students will be guided as to which band they are aiming to master based upon targets, however as always I will encourage them all to aim for gold.

The learning ladder will look something like this….

learning ladder

The ladder starts with essential map and atlas skills which takes in some aspects of physical geography followed by essential human geography linked to skills such as description and explanation. The final part of the learning ladder focuses on the recall of key terminology; this section has been based upon my gap analysis of the work undertaken over time and is essentially the areas where misconceptions have arisen, challenges have been faced or just general forgetfulness has taken place over time.

I want to ensure that their prior learning is recapped and embedded before the summer holidays (and the 6-week brain drain takes place) to make it that little bit easier in September when they start the GCSE course.

It gives me the opportunity to fill any gaps in student knowledge, particularly as a number of new students have joined throughout the year and allows me to ensure students have a secure understanding of what I believe are the foundations needed for GCSE Geography.

My plan is to make it as independent as possible with the resources available for students to work through at their own pace, completing and revisiting as they feel fit.

I’d like to put all the resources such as helpful PowerPoints onto a website for students to access in class and at home but not entirely sure where to start seeing as WordPress is blocked on the school network. So any recommendations are greatly welcomed.

So there it is, my little gap filling idea.

Now onto the lesson planning….

If you do anything similar I’d love to hear about it.

 

 


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Developing Independent Learners – Help Yourself Display and Resource Station

DIRThelp yourself resource stationThis year I’m striving to make my learners more independent. Last year many were making excellent efforts and this year I want to push this even further.

I’ll be doing this in 3 ways

  1. Tabletop resources
  2. A ‘Help Yourself’ resource station
  3. Personal Interest Projects

In this post I’m going to share my ‘Help Yourself’ resource station.

The idea behind it is that learners use the resources to help themselves to learn and progress.

I’ve created two areas, one for key stage 4 and the other for key stage 3.

The first, the KS4 area, consists of a noticeboard for GCSE Geography students.

This board contains past papers, exam questions and information sheets for Unit 1 and Unit 2 of the course for learners to access freely. Then there are topic specific help sheets for the current area of study in the ‘Current Topic’ resource holder. Learners have already been directed to these when they were unsure of how to draw the diagrams to demonstrate river erosion processes and will be encouraged to continue to do so.

I’m slowly training them that this is where they go in the first instance if they need help, they then ask another student and if they are still unsure they can ask me; 2 lessons in and so far this seems to be working effectively. Hope it continues.

The display also includes a notice board for important announcements so that they’ve no excuse to forget important information such as exam dates or deadlines; an outline of what should be covered from their work booklets each lesson from now until their GCSE exams as well as a sheet that outlines all the places they can get help if they find themselves stuck. GCSE display

My final addition to the board is a progress to target reward board. Next week I will ask each student to give themselves a personal target grade influenced by their end of year target, each time they achieve that grade in an assessment or exam question they can date the reward chart. After 3 successes they receive a reward, each reward is of greater value than the last. It’s a male heavy GCSE class so I hope a little competition might be of encouragement to them. GCSE reward

The second, the KS3 area, consists of a resource station. In the resource station there are a variety of resources to support my learners. This includes key word sheets, literacy mats, topic mats, reference books, sentence starters, scaffolding support sheets, DIRT and Curriculum Link sheets as well as textbooks for student reference.

I’ve made a variety of resources over the last 3 years which end up stuffed in a cupboard, folder or filing cabinet after a couple of uses, despite all of them being designed  to support learners. The resource station gives learners access to these support devices when they need them.

help yourself resource station

I just need to add labels to each shelf to identify and to give a brief description of the resources available so learner’s can make decisions on which one’s would be of use to them.

Once complete I will share the resources that make up my resource station.

How do you encourage independence?

Mrs Humanities