Mrs Humanities

Because I'm married to the job.


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Announcement: UK Blog Awards 2019 Finalist

Hello all,

I just wanted to take a moment to say THANK YOU for voting for my blog, MrsHumanities.com in the UK Blog Awards.

I’m super stoked to share with you that I’ve just got the email to say my blog is one of 8 finalists in the Education category. What a super start to 2019.

This will be my third time as a finalist, to be able to say that means so much to me as it means that others read and benefit from what I write and share.

I started blogging when I was super lonely in a department of 1, I wanted to share and talk about teaching and learning, about Geography and History. But blogging has taken me way beyond that. It’s developed my passion for everything education, it’s allowed me to help and support others and it’s opened doors and provided experienced far beyond what I thought it could do.

Thank you for the continued support, it means the world to me.

Best wishes for 2019.

Mrs Humanities


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Mrs Humanities shares… 10 useful blog posts about feedback

When I first started writing about marking and feedback back in February 2015, it was an issue for many but it was barely on the radar of bloggers and #EduTwitter.

It was a period of research for me and often the main resources I would come across were academic papers or books by the likes of John Hattie, Dylan Williams, Helen Timperley and Doug Lemov. There were a few blog posts I came across such as David Didau, Ross McGill, Geoff Patty and Joe Kirby but on the whole it was barely discussed online. I found myself digging really deep to find relevant (and free) resources to guide and support my practice.

Now though if you look up marking, feedback or even ‘feedback not marking’ in Google now there are a huge number of relevant hits (including mine).

feedback not marking google search

One of the biggest influences on the discussion came after the publication of the Department for Education’s ‘Reducing teacher workload: Marking Policy Review Group report‘ in March 2016 which put marking (and feedback) in the spot light. This along with the evidence provided by the Education Endowment Foundation’s from their work looking into the value of marking and feedback on student progress, it has grown into a regular topic of discussion and more so a movement of change.

I thought I would share a few that I’ve come across that I have found useful for sharing with colleagues within my school and further afield this year.

  1. Marking and feedback are not the same from David Didau. Starting with the basics, this post simply outlines the distinct difference between feedback and marking. Too often the two are seen as a single entity when in fact feedback is so much more than marking. They can often be seen as synonymous when in fact they are distinctly different and must be treated as so. Michael Tidd says similar here.
  2. A policy for feedback, not marking from Michael Tidd
    This post looks at moving from a marking policy to a feedback policy from a Primary perspective with the provision of the policy at the end of the post. Useful for schools taking a whole school approach toward feedback rather than marking.

  3. Insights into assessment from ‘what does this look like in the classroom from Research Schools Network
    This post provides a snapshot into what feedback looks like in the classroom taken from ‘What Does This Look Like In The classroom?: Bridging the Gap Between Research and Practice’ by Carl Hendrick and Robin Macpherson. If you’ve read the book, it’s an insightful read but if you haven’t time for the whole thing this post is a useful summary.

  4. Marking and Feedback recommended reads from Mr Barton MathsThis post effectively recommends a variety of research papers on the topic. Mr Barton highlights his takeaways from each one to give the reader useful insight into whether or not the pursue the article.
  5. Live Marking: Feedback in Lessons from Ross McGill (Teacher Toolkit)
    A 4 minute read on the value and use of live-marking. A useful post for evidencing the value of verbal feedback and how to apply.

  6. Whole Class Feedback & Crib Sheet Handout from Mr Thornton TeachA very short post but it’s the resource that’s useful. In this post Mr Thornton shares a handout he produced for a session entitled ‘How we can use crib sheets to improve marking and develop better feedback’.
  7. Giving feedback the ‘Michaela’ way from Reading all the BooksIn this post the author discusses how they started to implement a no-marking approach. A useful post for anyone new to the idea of feedback not marking. Here’s an additional post from Doug Lemov on feedback at the Michaela school.
  8. No Written Marking. Job Done. from Andrew PercivalThere were parts of this post I highly agreed with, others that I weren’t too keen on such as ticking each piece of work to show it has been checked. Why? Anyway, I think it’s a useful post to support the moving away from written marking and focusing on feedback.
  9. Designing a Feedback (not Marking) Policy from Jemma SherwoodThis post outlines the move from marking to feedback within Maths. I shared this post to highlight the use of Exit Tickets. Personally though I would say these are most effective for Maths and lessons without the subjective nature of assessment, so I tend to use exit tickets for very specific content e.g. names of processes, facts and stats associated with case studies, definitions of key terms etc.
  10. Do You Understand Your Mock Exams? from DI thought this one was an interesting an interesting post about the value of mock exams. For many secondary teachers, mock exams create a HUGE amount of marking but also provide valuable insight into student’s understanding and application of knowledge. But to what extent are they really useful? The argument at the end is rather interesting.

And finally…

Feedback (and marking) links

Just a useful post from NDHS Blog Spot of lots of useful links on Feedback (and marking).

I hope you find this post useful.

Here are some of my other posts on #feedbackNOTmarking

Moving from marking to feedback

Workload reduction

Strategies

If you’re looking for other ideas check out the hashtag (#FeedbackNOTmarking) on twitter for a wide range of ideas for providing effective feedback.

Best wishes,


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Mrs Humanities shares… 10 Tweachers to follow in 2019

The great thing about twitter is it has opened my mind, inspired my teaching and introduced me to hundreds of fantastic people, many of whom I would call friends.

The following are some people I would recommend following this year if you don’t already. In no particular order then…

1 // Adrian Bethune. Tweets as @AdrianBethune

Adrian is the author of ‘Wellbeing In The Primary Classroom’, Primary Teacher and creator of teachappy.co.uk. 

I first met Adrian at the Festival of Education, we were both on the Education Support Partnership panel as part of the discussion on wellbeing in schools. We later met again at Pedagoo Hampshire. He’s an inspiring, down to earth person so go follow.

2 // Sarah Larsen. Tweets as@sarahlarsen74 

Sarah has been an influencer in the #feedbackNOTmarking movement. After having taken ideas to her senior leadership team, she’s been able to influence change in her school to reduce workload and improve feedback.

Part-time teacher, full-time mum. Go follow her.

3 // 𝓝𝓲𝓸𝓶𝓲 𝓒𝓡. Tweets as@NiomiColleen

Niomi has so much positivity to share. A new mum and Primary school teacher, I’m sure there will be lots of interesting perspectives coming from her this year especially once she’s back from maternity leave. Until then, adore the many baby photos.

4 // Kim Constable. Tweets as@HecticTeacher

Kim is a wellbeing warrior, cat lover and all round goody. I’ve met Kim a number of times over the course of the last few years and she’s as lovely in person as she is online. If you teach Sociology or PSHE, well your in for a treat; her website HecticTeacher.com has a huge array of resources. Additionally Kim shares resources and ideas relevant for any classroom.

5 // Fearghal O’Nuallain. tweets as@Re_Ferg

Teacher, Geographer and Adventurer. What more could you ask for. You may not get much in the way of teaching resources from him but you get a hell of a lot of inspirational photos, stories and links. I love the break Fearghal creates in my twitter feed from all the ‘Edu debate’. Much appreciation.

6 // Tom Rogers. Tweets as@RogersHistory

History teacher, Tes columnist and Founder of @tmhistoryicons. Tom is a top bloke and one I’m proud to call a friend and colleague. We may not work together in the same school or even country but being part of the #TMIcons team is fantastic. Tom has helped me to open many doors, the first of which was overcoming my lack of confidence and presenting in front of a room full of history teachers at TMHistoryIcons way back in March 2016.

If you follow Tom on Twitter you’ll find lots of tweets saying the things so many of us are thinking but daren’t say aloud. Tom says it for us, we all need people like him fighting for our profession.

7 // Kathryn. Tweets as@Arithmaticks 

Kathryn will be leading #TMMathsIcons, the first #TMIcons event for Maths Teachers. How cool is that? I’m sure there will lots of inspiration posts over the coming year from her.

8 // Natalie Scott. Tweets as@nataliehscott 

Natalie has been quiet throughout 2018, she’s been through some hellish experiences over the course of the last year but she’s back and excited for 2019. Who knows what 2019 will bring for her, but I she’ll be sharing lots of educational inspiration over the coming year. Check out her heart felt blog post on the WomenEd blog here.

9 // Patrick Ottley-O’Connor. Tweets as@ottleyoconnor

Patrick is a leader with heart. He cares about his staff and students, he creates change and posts plenty of positivity. If you enjoy travelling, bonus! He’s guaranteed to inspire with his holiday snaps. Enjoy!

10 // Martyn Reah. Tweets as@MartynReah

If you’re not already following Martyn, why ever not? At times a man of few words, but his enthusiasm and positive nature is contagious. It’s been an absolute pleasure meeting Martyn and becoming part of the #Teacher5aday movement. Without him and it, I probably wouldn’t have made it through the academic year 2014-15. He’s one to follow for wellbeing advice, ideas and inspiration.

Okay that’s my top 10 to follow at the start of 2019. Check them all out on twitter. Many of them have blogs too so be sure to take a read.

A few honourable mentions

Stephen Schwab. Tweets as @schwabs52
Marcus Cherrill. Tweets as @ICanTeach_uk
Kristian Still. Tweets as @KristianStill



Best wishes for 2019.


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Mrs Humanities shares… the 10 most viewed posts of 2018

2018 was quite an incredible year for me, it went from being offered a book deal to appearing on BBC Breakfast. In 2016, when I went through depression and a breakdown, I could barely envisage a future in teaching, to be able to use the experience to help others has been life changing for me. But I’m not here to talk about that but you can read more in my review of 2018 here.

What I am sharing in this post are the top 5 most viewed posts of 2018. They were bloomin’ popular. So here goes…

1 // Resource – GCSE Case Study and Exam Question Revision Booklet

In this post I shared a revision booklet to facilitate student independence in the revision process. Designed for AQA Geography but easily adaptable for other specifications.

The booklet provided students with a list of case studies, templates to summarise the case studies and exam questions to apply the content. With over 5,000 downloads of the booklet, I hope it’s helped students (and teachers) across the country.

2 // Resource – How to Revise in Geography

Creeping in just behind was the ‘How to Revise in Geography’ guide. Inspired by Greg Thornton’s post on How do we revise for history? which I recommended in my post on Mrs Humanities shares… 5 Epic History Revision Resources I decided to make a resource for my Geography students. It clearly hasn’t just been of benefit to my students, with almost 5,000 downloads of the document I’m hoping it’s been of help to many young people beyond my own classroom and school.

3 // Mrs Humanities shares… 10 Great Geography Revision Resources

I’m starting to see a theme now. Clearly revision has been on the minds of many this year. Perhaps it’s the pressure of accountability measures, maybe the tougher nature of the new 9-1 exams or maybe teachers just want to improve their student’s approach to revision, either way most popular post number 3 was another revision one. This time I shared and highlighted the work of a range of Geography teachers from the Twittersphere including
@teachgeogblog , @Jennnnnn_x , @InternetGeog , @GeoNewbz  and other. Many of these I have made use of in my own classroom.

4 // Zombie Apocalypse Atlas and Map Skills SoW

This one is always a popular post. In it I have shared resources to the scheme of work I produced to develop and embed atlas and map skills through the scenario of a zombie apocalypse. I’ve taught it a couple of times and every time it has been loved by the students.

I’ve seen it (via twitter and emails) used in classrooms across the world, which is incredible. It’s been adapted into other languages (Welsh and Chinese) and has been download over 40,000 times since I first published it back in Autumn 2015.

5 // Resource – Differentiation Strategies CPD

Next up was a resource I produced to support teacher training on differentiation. The presentation provides a variety of tried and tested strategies for differentiation and scaffolding to support and challenge students. You can even download the ready-to-go PowerPoint presentation.

6 // Mrs Humanities shares… 5 Whole Class Feedback Examples

Unsurprisingly the next few most read posts of 2018 are associated with feedback and marking. In this one, I shared 5 examples of whole class feedback to support teachers, departments and schools making the move from marking to feedback.

7 // My Marking and Feedback Toolkit

Since publishing this post in January 2017, it’s been a popular one. In this post I share the strategies that make up my marking and feedback toolkit. I tried and tested a range of strategies over a couple of years to find what worked best for me, my style of teaching and most importantly my students. In that time I changed schools and had to start again with the narrowing down process but it didn’t take me long to find what worked. This post goes on to highlight those 5 strategies.

8 // Mrs Humanities shares… 6 Epic History Revision Resources

Back to revision again, this one shared 6 epic resources for revision in History. I no longer teach history but I do like to keep up with pedagogical developments and resource sharing just in case I ever return to it. This post needs up-dating as I’ve seen many more fantastic resources since I first posted it, that will happen in due course I promise.*

*but please don’t hold me accountable if I do completely forget 🙂

9 // Marking, feedback and DIRT

This is one of my first posts on marking and feedback from way back in June 2015. The area of interest has come along way since then, but it’s a great post for those new to the profession or those being introduced to the idea of #feedbackNOTmarking.

In the post I share a range of strategies I’d tried in order to improve feedback but reduce workload. These then made up part of a CPD session for new and current staff at the school I was working at. The post also provides a downloadable resource with all the strategies included.

10 // Mrs Humanities shares… 10 fantastic displays for the Humanities

The final most popular post of the 10 was this one where I shared 10 fantastic display ideas for Humanities. The post shared 10 great examples of displays I’d come across on Twitter from the likes of @mrsrgeog @sehartsmith @MrJPteach  @EduCaiti and several more.

And that sums up this post on the 10 most popular posts of 2018. Hope you’ve found something of use and inspiration this year. Thank you for the continued support throughout 2018.

Best wishes for 2019.


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Resource – GCSE Revision G.Y.M

This is a project I’ve been meaning to do for a while now to support revision and recall inspired by Jen Monk’s ‘Geog your memory’ resource.

The idea is that through the use of a mail merge you create a variety of ‘geog your memory’ resources which can be used at the end or throughout the course.

It’s nothing fancy but super easy to do.

First create your template in word.

Next create your spreadsheet and collate your questions in whatever order suits you and your needs. I’ve done it mixed to support revision with my year 11 class. I’ve used the sample paper questions and created some of my own to test student knowledge and recall.

Next is the mail merge. These are super easy once you get the hang of it.

Here’s a step by step guide.

Step 1 – Data Source

Open up your template in word. Go to the ‘Mailings’ tab and click on the ‘Start Mail Merge’ icon. Select ‘Normal Word Document’. Then go to ‘Select Recipients’ as shown below. Select the option ‘Use an Existing List’. This will open up a the ‘Select data source’ window. Just find your excel spreadsheet in your files and select OK.

Step 2 – Inserting your data

Next you want to add the data to your mail merge. Place your cursor where you want to insert information. You can see I’ve clicked in the first definition box. Once your cursor is placed, click on the ‘Insert Merge Field’. Then from the dropdown list select the data option you want to insert.

Insert the fields into the remainder of your document.

Step 3 – Finish and Merge

Once your data fields are inserted into the template document you’ll want to merge the data into the file. Click on the ‘Finish & Merge’ icon. From the drop down menu select ‘Edit Individual Documents’.

When the pop-up opens, select ‘All’ and press OK.

This will open up a new document with all of your data inserted into several versions of the original template.

And there you have it, a whole selection of ‘Geog your memory’ sheets for students.

If you don’t want to make your own, guess what I made some for you to download and amend. Download the Word Template, the Excel Spreadsheet of questions for AQA Geography and the document with 30+ GYM sheets ready-to-go by clicking the button below.

Hope you find the resources and tutorial useful.


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Mrs Humanities reviews…2018, a year of being braver

Oh my, what a year it has been. It’s been a year of being out of my comfort zone, a year of taking action and a year of raising my voice on matters that mean a lot to me.

When I first found the courage to acknowledge and share my experience of a work-related breakdown, I did so to help others. I never thought it would lead to the opportunities I’ve experienced throughout this year.

It has been a whirlwind of excitement and nerves.

January

The year started with the news that I was a finalist in the UK Blog Awards for the 2nd year, this was shortly followed by an offer from Routledge Education to write a book; after being invited to write a proposal in Summer 2017, my proposal was given the go ahead. What a crazy but exciting start.

January ended with another visit to Canterbury Christchurch University to present at the Beyond Levels Conference. Loved it again.

February

After Beyond Levels came Southern Rocks hosted by Kristian Still and David Rogers. This was a really enjoyable event, took plenty away and inspired a number of others to look into feedback rather than marking through my presentation.

February continued with my birthday but more importantly the 2nd birthday of Teacher5aday Buddy Box. This gave myself and a few other buddy box participants the perfect excuse to meet up over pizza.

March

Next up one of the highlights of my year, TMHistoryIcons. The last few years I’ve been the token Geographer that’s allowed to present. Additionally it will always hold a place in my heart for being the first teach meet I presented at.

Whilst I may no longer teach History, I still love to keep up with the world of History teaching just in case I head back in that direction. It also helped that for the academic year 2017 – 2018, the NQT I was mentored was a History teacher.

I’m gutted I can’t go this year, partly due to its location and partly because I’ve volunteered my services closer to home. I will miss my annual dose of TMHistoryIcons and more importantly Tom Rogers.

April

This month I flew by. I also flew on a plane, this is a big thing for me as I hate flying. I’ve only ever flown once before and that was to and from Iceland for school trip.

This time it was to the Bay of Naples. I loved it there. The history, the geography. I was in my element. But I hated the flying part. That alone makes me feel like I was 10% braver.

April ended with the UK Blog Awards. Myself and Bethan (History NQT) had a blast. I caught up with Ross McGill (Teacher Toolkit) which left Bethan and I both feeling a little star struck. Whilst I may not of won, the evening was so much fun (again).

May

May was spent preparing for the upcoming GCSEs. My class had been awesome, they helped me to love teaching again, I started teaching them in the September after my breakdown, their enthusiasm and humour was contagious. I was going to really miss them, so I made them little GCSE survival packs which they loved.


When they sat their first Geography exam, I overheard some of them on the way in wishing each luck and telling each other to do Miss Hewett proud (and they really did).

They don’t know it yet but I’ve dedicated my book to them as a way of saying thank you.

This month I also spoke to a journalist from the Guardian about burnout in teaching and my experience. You can read the article here.

June

What a month June was. It started with taking part in a panel discussion on teacher wellbeing at the Festival of Education with Julian Stanley (Ed Support), Vic Goddard and Adrian Bethune. It was nerve wracking but an awesome experience I’d love to take part in again. It was disappointing though that a panel on a topic of such importance was hidden away from the main area which meant despite eventually having a standing room only audience, many people missed the beginning as they walked to distance to get there. Hopefully if Ed Support are invited again this year, the event organisers place them more centrally.

This was followed by an overnight stay in Rugby for ResearchEd. What a beautiful school that was. The event was really interesting with lots of ideas to take away and thoughts to consider and digest. I also presented as part of the Humanities strand on moving from marking to feedback.

Here’s a little clip from the day

Next up was my favourite event of them all, TMGeographyIcons. I’m probably a bit biased there though as I am the lead organiser. The event was a huge success thanks to the help of Jenn and Gemma. It would not have been the event it was without their help and support.

The day brought together over 100 Geography teachers from across the UK to share and discuss. Our keynote speaker Alan Parkinson was fantastic and each presenter brought something for others to take-away. Really looking forward to the 2019 event. Gemma and I have some very exciting plans so watch out for further details in the new year.

For now you can find all the presentations from the 2018 event here.

June ended with the Teachwell Fest at Vic Goddard’s school, Passmores Academy. It was an event that was different to all others I’ve experienced.

I decided I would share my experience from breakdown which turned out to me quite an emotional rollercoaster. It was the first time I’d ever discussed my experiences with an audience. It was small but supportive.

It was difficult talking about my journey but I needed to do it. I’m glad I did it as it has put me in a much better position to be able to help others.

July

July was a quiet month. Apart from book writing, it was month for relaxing when not in work.

August

The summer disappeared very quickly. It started with some filming with the Education Support Partnership and was followed by a few days away touring the battle fields of France and Belgium with the husband and his nephew.

The remainder of the summer holidays evolved around writing ‘Making it as a Teacher’. Whilst I’d written bout 20,000 words between January and July, I wrote over 40,000 in just 4 weeks. I was amazed by my capabilities. It was a challenging process, very different to writing blog posts but I massively enjoyed it.

September

September has been characterised by an annual trip to Hampshire for Pedagoo for the last few years. It has always been a pleasure to attend, see people and to say hello (and thank you) to the inspiration that is Martyn Reah.  

Pedagoo Hampshire was the first time I presented on the topic of feedback and sparked my engagement in the movement. This year I returned and shared my experience of breakdown again. I spoke to a number of people at the event and the feedback was humbling. I just hope it inspired them to go away and make a change.

October

Another quiet month spent finishing off the book. Oh wait, that’s a lie.

I was invited to speak on BBC Breakfast about teacher wellbeing, workload and mental health. What an experience that was. I was on TV talking about mental health and teaching!!!

November

I sent off my book manuscript before the deadline. Will update you when I have a publication date.

December

I’m hibernating.

And that’s the end…

A lot has happened this that I’m extremely proud of. A lot of things that I would never have had the opportunity to do if a) I hadn’t gone through a breakdown, b) if I hadn’t spoke out about my experiences. Despite the hard times, I am very grateful for the person it has made me and the opportunities it has opened up.

However, the thing I think I’m most proud of is being able to be there for others, to be able to be someone that others can turn to for advice, guidance or a rant, someone that shows it doesn’t have to be the end of a career in teaching.

If you ever need to talk to someone about workload, your mental health or just need a friend. Please feel free to get in touch with me, Ed Support or someone else supporting #Talk2MeMH.

Hope you have a great end to 2018.

Best wishes,

Victoria


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Mrs Humanities shares… Simulation Games for Geography

I was recently searching for GIS resources when I came across an old document I had about the use of simulation games in Geography. I haven’t used them for a long while (since my PGCE) so thought I’d take a look at what is out there now and share some useful ones with you. 

Disaster Master

Suitable for Key Stage 2 and 3.

Each disaster starts with a comic strip style introduction before a question is asked and a decision is to be made. Depending on the option chosen, students earn points. 

The game takes students through a range of scenarios and solutions, giving them insight into the hazard and management. 

Stop Disasters

Suitable for Key Stage 3 and 4.

This game is provided by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction. Through a range of scenarios and levels students develop an understanding of the risks posed by natural hazards.

Students can choose between tsunamis, hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes and floods. 

Once a hazard has been selected players can choose a scenario from numerous regions of the world allowing students to compare countries of different stages of development. 

The game then takes the player through a scenario in which they have to respond through careful planning and preparation. With limited funds students have to consider how to spend the money effectively. 

2050 Energy Calculator

Suitable for Key Stage 4 and 5.

This is an interactive game created by the Department for Energy and Climate Change that allows students to explore scenarios to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions. 

Students explore supply and demand as well as energy security, air quality and costs in this simulation. It provides effective insight into future energy challenges. 

FloodSim

Suitable for Key Stage 3 and 4.

This simulation aims to raise awareness of the issues surrounding flood policy and management. During the game students are put in control of flood policy in the UK for three years. They must decide on how much money to spend on defenses, where to build houses and how to keep the public informed all whilst remaining in budget. 

They are required to weigh up the pros and cons of flood management against the potential impacts. 

Climate Bathtub Simulation 

Suitable for Key Stage 3, 4 and 5.

A very simple interactive simulation game, the climate bathtub simulation teaches several principles regarding the dynamics of the global carbon cycle and climate change. It helps students to understand how changes in carbon dioxide emissions will affect levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Energy Saving Game

Suitable for Key Stage 2

In this game students explore the home for potential energy efficiency improvements and answer quiz questions to lower a house’s energy use.

Other games I’ve not tried

Fate of the World  – Climate Change Simulation

ElectroCity – Urban Management Game

Eco – Decision making game 

EarthGames


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Mrs Humanities shares… Education Room 101

After speaking to the lovely Kate Jones (@87History) I was inspired to write a Room 101 post. I’m sure many of you will remember the show; celebrities get to banish their pet hates to room 101.

Definitely can be applied to education. So here’s 5 things I would add.

1) Marking Policies.

There are the ridiculous, the absurd and the downright extensive. Triple marking, a myriad of colours, extensive dialogue… the lists go on. Marking needs to be meaningful, manageable and motivating. In fact, the focus should move away from marking and promote feedback in all its forms. #feedbackNOTmarking

2) Fieldtrips

I know, I know… fieldtrips are fantastic for students. They develop skills, confidence and application of knowledge. But… they are so stressful and time consuming. They literally induce panic in me, even when I’m not the trip leader the stress and anxiety is unbearable.
I guess this one should really say paperwork for fieldtrips as actually I love seeing students in a completely different setting. I love seeing them apply what they learn in the classroom. I love seeing them work together, challenge each other and support one another. Could we do them without all the paper work and responsibility? If we could I and many others like me would find them far less anxiety inducing. 

3) The trad vs. prog debate.

Most teachers don’t even know the debate exists. It’s pretty isolated to the EduTwittersphere. Why do we have to pick a side? Can’t we all just do what works for us, our students and our context? What works for one person, won’t for another. Let’s agree to disagree. Easy really.

4) Teacher Guilt

Teacher guilt, it’s inevitable. Whether it’s a permanent reminder of the career you have chosen or something that comes and goes through the school year (lucky you if you’re the latter), teacher guilt is experienced by everyone at some point. Teacher guilt is exhausting. If you allow it to start, it can take over every waking minute. You have to block it out. Making the effort to give yourself a break from the list of things that you could always be doing is hard. It takes willpower but in the end your students will benefit more from a healthy, happy teacher than a burnout, unenthusiastic one. You have to be the best you can be for your students and yourself. Take time for you and lock the teacher guilt away. 

5) Wellbeing days/CPD

Wellbeing, it’s a focus for many of us. I’ve heard from numerous leaders that if you improve the wellbeing of your staff and the rest looks after it self… or something like that. That’s great but do we really need ‘wellbeing’ activities forced upon us? Why waste an hour after school or a whole CPD on it? I just don’t understand it, yet I keep hearing of more and more events like this. Make those days or meeting productive time for staff to get the things done that they need to rather than forcing them into activities that should improve their wellbeing without the time to get the important things done. 

If you want to improve the wellbeing of your staff it starts with workload, simple as. Remove the unnecessary admin and record keeping. Reduce the data drops. Amend the reporting policy. Give autonomy to departments. Create a centralised reward and sanction system. Minimise workload so teachers can focus on what’s important, the teaching, that’s how you improve staff wellbeing. 

 

What would you put into Room 101? 

 


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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


2 Comments

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.