Mrs Humanities

teacher . blogger . friend


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My Marking Saviour – The Feedback Grid

Marking and feedback gridsIn the last few months I have fallen in love with the humble marking grid. I first mentioned it in my post on reducing the marking workload and since then have found the time I spend giving feedback through marking has drastically reduced.

Marking grids take a little bit of time to set up – I’ve got it down to about 20 minutes now – but once they’re done you can use them every time you teach the topic.

I’ve made use of them in variety of ways from using them to assess a levelled piece of work…

levelled work feedback grid

… to mark assessments…Assessments marking grid

…as well as using them to make the GCSE mark schemes more student friendly to enable peer assessment.

GCSE graded work

I’ve also tried using them to mark work from several lessons. I simply identified the title of the lesson and used the levelled learning objectives from my PowerPoints/worksheets/lesson plans. Students were given 2-3 level up tasks to complete during a DIRT lesson.

Marking grid over several lessons

They been useful for providing success criteria as well as for peer and self assessment during and at the end of a piece of work.

They’ve also made giving feedback in lessons easier, I use a yellow highlighter when the criteria has been met, pink for improvements and orange if the criteria has been met after DIRT. In addition I highlight or circle in green if I’m giving verbal feedback on what to do next within the lesson.

After all that I’m now sharing my template for your marking pleasure, download it here or from TES.Marking grid template

Feel free to use it as you will, please leave a comment to let me know how it goes.

I hope it reduces your workload.

Mrs Humanities


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Resource – Directed Improvement and Reflection Time Sheets

After such a great response on twitter about my DIRT sheets, I decided to add a few more to the selection that I made available here.

ICT DIRT Sheet Music DIRT sheet PE DIRT sheetWhat do you think? Suitable colours? I couldn’t decide.

Feel free to use them.

Mrs Humanities


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Directed Improvement and Reflection Time Sheets

I’ve always felt marking to be an important yet time consuming aspect of the job. Throughout my NQT year I felt that my marking went unnoticed by the students most of the time; they just wanted to know what grade they got and didn’t take notice of the advice they were given. A  lot has changed since then and I’ve realised the power of meaningful feedback.

This year I’ve worked on engaging learners in the feedback process by developing meaningful self and peer assessment as well as incorporating Directed Improvement and Reflection Time into the planning of my schemes of work.

I feel if we spend the time marking, it might as well be beneficial and productive for the students; it should have an impact and encourage development of their work. Therefore a few months ago I set about creating some DIRT sheets, which I’ve used with my classes in a number of ways. For instance after GCSE students completed an exam question, they were given feedback and re-wrote their answer to the same question – it was quite clear when marking it the second time around that the feedback had been beneficial and they’d progress. Another way I’ve used them has been after KS3 pupils have created a piece of extended writing, pupils were given feedback and then had the choice to either improve their SPaG, to level up or to quite simply improve their answer.

Since creating my original DIRT sheets which have been used across the school, as well as my departmental DIRT display I’ve become more and more interested in marking and feedback. I was recently invited to take part in the work scrutiny which I found really insightful and have since been researching additional techniques.

Whilst I was thinking about and researching marking and feedback, I decided to make a few subject specific DIRT sheets for other staff to use.
English directed improvement and reflection time geography directed improvement and reflection time history directed improvement and reflection time maths directed improvement and reflection time science directed improvement and reflection time tech directed improvement and reflection time
French directed improvement and reflection time tech directed improvement and reflection time




Can you work out the subjects?

How to use

The idea is that once learners have read and taken on board the feedback in which they are given, they then improve or level up their work on a DIRT sheet.

I’ve found they help to make the improvements stand out in their books and for some reason they help to improve presentation, which is never a bad thing.

If you’d like to use my DIRT sheets, you can find them here. 

Feedback is always appreciated.

Mrs Humanities


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Reducing the Workload – Marking and Feedback Ideas

marking and feedbackFor a while I had been considering how to reduce the workload when it came to marking and providing detailed feedback to students on their successes and areas for improvement. I’ve toyed with a variety of ideas over the past two years of teaching; some of which have been more time consuming than expected whilst others were such a flop (I won’t even share those ones).

Current Context

My usual approach to marking is that I identify spelling mistakes of topical key words throughout each piece of work. I use codes for simple things like underlining, adding titles etc. and dots to identify where punctuation and grammatical errors are within extended writing tasks.

I will add comments throughout and provide 1 to 2 questions where I would expect a response to be made during Directed Improvement and Reflection Time (DIRT) as directed through school policy. However to be honest I’ve recently changed this technique as I’ve been faced with two issues. Firstly because books are marked every 4 lessons students have found it difficult to go back and answer questions or improve work from 3-4 lessons ago meaning I’ve had to explain what the task was again in order for them to improve it. Secondly I found that responses were short and lacked detail. I want DIRT to reflect improvements to work and to show progress, so towards the end of last term I decided to try a different approach – I now write several questions/comments or provide a ‘Level Up’ task, pupils then choose one piece of feedback to respond to and work on during DIRT. Sometimes in their books other times in a DIRT sheet This has encouraged a focus on a developing and truly improving work.

Marking is extremely time consuming and want to ensure it has impact on student progress, as I’m sure we all do.

Ideas

Here are a few examples of my efforts to reduce marking whilst retaining effective feedback.

1 // Simple method. Before marking, I’d write a general statement with options for the skills developed in the lesson. After reading the work, I’d simply cross-out the skills that were not applicable and any of the statement that did not apply to some individuals. I’d then write in their target level and highlight the statement/s the student needed to do to progress.

skills based feedback

2 // Another relatively a simple method, but slightly more time consuming.  Before marking I would look at what we covered and write a series of comments usually linked to the learning objectives of the lesson/s. After having read the work I’d use the traffic light system to demonstrate how well they achieved the objective/s i.e. green = met fully, amber = almost there,  red = not achieved. I’d then highlight the statement on how they could improve and progress.

marking and feedback

When I used approaches 1 and 2 it was in my previous school, I’d never even heard of DIRT at that point.  As a department we’d give pupils time to read feedback but if I’m honest little was done to act upon the advice and feedback given. Once a term I would get pupils to read through their feedback and write themselves 2-3 targets on how they could improve over the rest of the term but I felt marking had little impact. The SOW were very intensive and left little time for going back to previous classwork without it impacting upon assessments – if content wasn’t covered, they would have been unable to complete assessments in full. No fault of my previous HoD, she inherited them when she was flung into the role. However this time since I have control over the schemes of work, I’ve ensured that DIRT has been incorporated throughout each term.

3// My third attempt has been more recent was mainly created to support non-specialist staff in my department. However since they both teach split groups with me as the other teacher – I have been left to do the marking.

As you can see I suggested two approaches to my non-specialists. First approach involved the teacher writing the letter and number in the pupil’s book, then during DIRT or as a starter the relevant comments were displayed on the board. Pupils then wrote down the associated comments . The other option was that the teacher simply wrote the comments themselves which was more time consuming for them, but meant pupils could immediately act upon feedback when the time was given.

When I trialled the first approach it worked to some degree, however I felt it took up valuable time when pupils could have been responding to comments and improving their work.

marking code

4 //  My final and most recent approach was inspired by this twitter post from @fiona_616. 

Some kind of marking grid feedback-esk idea had crossed my mind in the past, I’ve used similar for self or peer assessment but I felt it would be too time consuming to create for teacher feedback plus I didn’t know where to start. After see this tweet I felt inspired to give it a go and guess what it was easy. Since I was often writing the same or very similar comments, it has worked out much easier to mark and provide feedback using marking grids.

Already I’ve used them to provide feedback on a variety of pieces of work.

I started with using the feedback grid to provide group feedback for a group project and presentations. Here I highlighted two stars and then one wish.

presentation feedback

Then I used the grid to provide feedback on a levelled task. Again I used the two stars and a wish technique.

Levelled Task feedback

And more recently I used them to provide detailed feedback on end of topic assessments. Here I simply highlighted all that applied in the successes and 2-3 areas for improvement.

assessment feedback LA assessment feedback

In the last week of term 3 my students received their assessments and feedback grids. We spent an entire lesson learning how to peer assess effectively and how to take on board the feedback that was given. It proved to be a very effective lesson.

Initially students started by reading their feedback, the successes highlighted in one colour and the areas for improvement highlighted in another. I highlighted the level they achieved overall, but for some omitted the non-applicable details of the criteria. I provided kind comments for most in the general comments box and for some gave them a question or task to level up on – not needed for the majority though.

Next students passed their assessment and feedback to a friend who then read it and in green pen they made comments on the skills achieved. They then read the feedback I’ve provided and we discussed it. Most felt the feedback was relevant, phew. They then spent time providing kind, specific and helpful comments in the students book.

Finally the work was returned to the student and they created a mind map on the skills they needed to develop or what they felt they needed to do to reach their target levels. I must admit that after the lesson I was humbled and impressed by their comments to one another, not only had they been specific and helpful, they were kind and respectful taking into consideration each others needs, abilities and feelings. They were demonstrating ownership of their progress and when some questioned what the level equates to in terms of GCSE grade they showed a desire to improve.

Here’s an example of a marking grid I have on display in the window (sorry for photo quality). The green pen are the students comments on the skills achieved in this piece of work by their peer.

Example

I’d definitely recommend using marking grids. Although it may appear like more work initially, once you fly through the sets of books it’s totally worth it.

Tomorrow my students are using them to peer assess homework. A winner if you ask me. homework feedback

Thanks for the inspiration Fiona Old.

Hope these ideas are of use.

Mrs Humanities

DIRT


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D.I.R.T Display

One approach to marking that my school is keen on is the provision of constructive feedback and Directed Improvement and Reflection Time (DIRT).

I’ve always marked in detail, but in my previous school a large number of students would fail to read it and act upon it; Therefore it often felt like a waste of my time spending 3-4 hours marking a set of 30-36 books a night for it not to be read.

I was pleased to find that my new school was keen to use DIRT as a means of engaging learners in their progress and demonstrating their achievements over time. Since I’m planning the Schemes of Work from scratch it means I can ensure there is time within them to carry out DIRT within lessons.

This is how it works in the Humanities Department…

Assessments take place in the 2-3 weeks before the end of term due to data submission. This usually gives us time for one DIRT session before assessments. Usually pupils respond to feedback in their books, set personal targets and consider what skills they need to focus on for the rest of the term based upon the progress displayed on their level ladders. Time well spent however it is the week after assessments when DIRT really comes into play within my department.

During this week pupils spend almost an entire lesson self-assessing, peer assessing and responding to feedback surrounding an individual piece of work from the term, whether it be the assessment they completed or classwork from a previous point. They look at how to improve work and do it.

It is becoming evident that after 2 terms of this they are now applying their skills in the rest of the Humanities lessons. Considering what they need to do to improve and how they can progress, the level ladders are no longer a sheet on the front of their books telling them what skills and knowledge they need to meet their target level this term. They are referring to them in lessons, asking what they need to do to improve their work and considering where they are on the ladder.

It’s pleasing to see, particularly with one of the hardest year 8 class. Getting them involved in DIRT has been a struggle, but we are getting there. At the end of last term we spent an entire lesson looking at peer assessing a piece of work from another group. They boxed text that met success criteria, they highlighted key words and then gave kind, specific and helpful feedback. This helped them to work out what they need to do to get out of the level 3-4 brackets and in to level 5. I hope they will apply it to their work this term.

D.I.R.T Sheets

After the previous two terms I felt that I needed something to do two things:-

Firstly I wanted pupil’s responses and improvements to be more than a line or two.
Secondly I wanted something to make the improvements pupils made to their work stand out.

…so I created and introduced these D.I.R.T sheets. 

DIRT SheetsDIRT sheet

I have to say I’ve been flabbergasted at the response from students and staff. They have made such a difference to the effort put into improving classwork during D.I.R.T during term 3.  A few misinterpreted the instructions and literally wrote what they needed to do to improve rather than doing it, but we can work on that.

Whilst after seeing my Levelling Up strategy my during a work scrutiny, my line manager asked me to share my D.I.R.T sheets and Level Up idea with staff. They’ve been very complimentary of it and I’ve even witnessed a number of teachers using it in their classrooms. It’s weird to see but great because as a school we have a consistent approach.

Levelling Up

I came up with the idea of “Levelling Up” over Christmas. Prior to that I had been writing questions in pupils books that would encourage them to work at their expected level for the current Progress Point if they weren’t doing so. I found however that pupils were not answering these questions in full sentences or to the best of their ability. So I decided to start using “Levelling Up”.

Last term in order to do this I looked at the level ladders and printed off a question or task that would help students meet their expected target grades. Based upon the work in their book I decided on an appropriate Level Up task and glued it in. Those that had one of these tasks or questions in their book had to work on it during the mid-term D.I.R.T session.

If pupils were meeting or exceeding their expected progress point grade then they had a choice of tasks such as improving their spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPaG) in a piece of work, generally just improving an answer they’ve written or they could choose a piece of criteria from their level ladder to level up further.

level up

D.I.R.T Display

I created a D.I.R.T display with two things in mind,

One – I want to show off excellent examples of the pupil’s work to demonstrate to the rest what I am looking for from self-assessment, peer-assessment and D.I.R.T.
Two – We are expecting the dreaded Ofsted any time soon, so I wanted to make it explicit to anyone that walks into the room that pupils respond and improve based upon feedback in my classroom. You know, just in case.

DIRT wall display peer assessment display

I created these pieces for display over the half term and have used them in a number of PowerPoints and resources I’ve created for next term. Once I am comfortable that the pupils understand their meanings and purpose within a lesson I’ll share them with other members of staff.

DIRTlevel upland based WWWEBI

Do you have D.I.R.T display? Would love to see it.

Hope this is of inspiration.

Mrs Humanities

plenary display board


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The Interactive Plenary Board

Plenary BoardAfter 3 weeks of working on it here and there since the beginning of term, the Interactive Plenary Board is finally complete.

I’m really pleased with the results plus the kids are enjoying it so far.

It built up slowly, going from this…
plenary display

to this…
finished extend assess reflect - plenary display board

I now have peer assessment guidance and have identified what WWW and EBI stands for as no matter how many times we do it somebody ALWAYS has to ask what it means. I’ve also printed off smaller versions of the tickets with WWW and EBI guidance on the back to support learners in writing appropriate feedback.

So far I’ve only really been able to use it with year 8 since year 7 are currently working on their Dangerous World project; they’ve been completing Exit Tickets each lesson to demonstrate their understanding so far.

Year 8 however are engaging with the activities and particularly like the social media based ‘Assess’ activities. Not sure if that is a good or bad thing however!

Since I only see my classes twice a week so far reminding them of the new procedures when they finish the main part of the lesson has been important. Encouraging them to choose a suitable task for the time left e.g if they’ve 10 minutes to go they should choose an ‘Extend’ task; whereas if they have 5 minutes they should pick an ‘Assess’ task or roll a plenary to decide on the plenary task. The ‘Reflect’ tasks I feel need more direction, so I’ll be the one to decide when they do these, once they have practised them a number of times they should hopefully be able to recognise how long they need and choose accordingly.

Under the roll a plenary board, there is a folder with additional activities such as key word and definition match up games and top trumps. These are for pupils to practice what they are learning, most of which have been created by the kids as part of their homework and sometimes classwork.

You can find out more about where some of the resources came from here and here.

Thanks for reading.

Mrs Humanities


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Update – Interactive Plenary Display

UPDATE 2 – Almost finished the interactive plenary display; KS3 have started using it and have really engaged with the choice available. They love it, particularly the social media options. Phew.

Almost there

How it works  – Once a pupil finishes their work and have completed any S&C tasks or available extensions they visit the board. There are a variety of choices for their next step. They can simple choose a task from the extend, assess or reflect choices or roll the dice to provide them with a plenary activity. So far pupils have only used the assess option or  the Roll a Plenary board.

Just need to print a A3 version of my peer assessment guidance and signs for WWW and EBI as depsite using it several times a term they still ask the dreaded question “what does WWW and EBI mean?” like seriously you do not remember?

UPDATE 1 – Today I finally managed to find the time to make a start on the interactive plenary display. You can read more about the idea here. I’ve decided to use an Extend, Assess and Reflect set up for the plenary display along with a roll a plenary board.

So far I’ve pinned plastic wallets to the display board like in the photo below, guess you could describe it as step like. Plenary display

I didn’t quite have the time today to sort and finish the display but under each heading there will be activities to extend students in their work and understanding, assess what they learnt and how they are progressing  and finally activities that encourage pupils to reflect on their learning journey.  In the wallet underneath the roll a plenary board will be a variety of top trumps created by my pupils to play with if there is time.

In the folders are a wide variety of plenary activities. Whilst I created a number of the print outs I also found and used these amazing resource from @misstait_85. How great are they?

Finally In the top right hand corner I will be adding a section on self and peer assessment to encourage positive and specific feedback from such assessment. Often it’s one or the other, they will get it by the end of the year I promise.

I can’t wait to start using this in class, had a little taster today when some pupils used the roll a plenary board and it actually engaged a usually rather disengaged student. Winner! Just hope it continues.

I will share the final results in due course until then have a good week.

Mrs Humanities


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Resource – Dangerous World (Natural Hazards and Disasters)

dangerous world project titleLast term year 7 thoroughly enjoyed the topic on the Romans and Pompeii. We investigated Roman life, their influence on the British Isles and the significance of the Mount Vesuvius eruption in 79AD.  They appeared to be very much enthralled by the dangers in our world. As a result I decided last term that continuing our study of Natural Hazards would be a good way to go. The next topic of study will be Dangerous World, an insight into a variety of natural hazards and disasters that have occurred the world over.

I wanted to put the learning into the pupils hands and I’ve decided to try out project based learning. Since this is rather new to me I felt some research needed be undertaken. Now I couldn’t find a great deal of resources or guidance that I felt was suitable but I found enough to make me realise we’re not quite ready for free reign yet; the students will need guidance and support to meet the objectives of the project. To achieve this I’ve created success criteria for each section of the project and each hazard.

Project Sections

  • Cause
  • Impacts
  • Response

Hazard Options

  • Earthquakes
  • Volcanoes
  • Tsunamis
  • Tornadoes
  • Hurricanes

Week 1 – We are going to start the Scheme of Work by looking at plate tectonics – we didn’t quite complete this last term due to time and Christmas events. Then the next lesson is entitled Hazards in the Movies! Can you guess what it’ll include? I’m looking forward to this lesson. The aim will be to introduce other natural hazards, look at movies based on real life natural disasters such as the Impossible and then map them using a key. Should be enjoyable I hope.

Then finally we get onto introducing the project work. I’ll be setting up the homework so that in each group the pupils research a particular aspect of the topic for the following week. That way then they should only spend 20-30 minutes on the homework as required for year 7 pupils. I’ve tried to make it self-explanatory, do you think they will understand?

natural hazards homework instructions

 

Week 2 – Pupils will start their Dangerous World Projects. I’ve created levelled success criteria to support the pupils in their project work like the one below. Once for each section of the project.  Despite having success criteria, the pupils can produce their project in whatever format they choose – poster, booklet, models, experiments, videos, PowerPoint, display board, a combination of methods…. the choice is theirs. Natural Hazards Success Critieriaimpacts success criteriaresponse success criteriaThe first table gives generic success criteria each group must achieve to reach their target levels. I’ve grouped students by their current and target level where possible, so for instance those working towards a level 6 are grouped together and have to aim for the level 6 project success criteria. Since each group will be working on a different natural hazard/disaster I’ve included some handy hints such as key words, guidance questions and extras they might wish to include.

The following lesson pupils will complete any outstanding work from the causes sections and move on to the impacts of the hazard/disaster.

Week 3 – For the following two lessons pupils will complete the impacts and start the response section, finishing off in the 2nd lesson. The idea with the response section is that they investigate the immediate response to the disaster and also how we respond to deal with future events through prediction and preparation. I will be providing resources to help with this section.

Week 4 – And then it’s time for the pupil presentations. Since we have to have assessments marked and input by the last week of term, I’ve plotted to have the assessments completed in the 4th week of this 6 week term to reduce the burden I have on the last weekend (as marking 12 classes of assessments is HARD). In lesson 7 pupils will have time to prepare their resources, projects and presentation speeches then 2-3 groups will present, the following lesson the remainder of the class will present their work.

Assessment for Learning

My plan is that pupils will be assessed throughout the project. In order to do this after each section pupils will individually complete an exit ticket to demonstrate what they have learnt about the causes, impacts and response to their given hazard. These will be collated in their book and assessed. This will make up approximately 40% of the overall assessment.

exit ticket

The remainder of the assessment will be on verbal discussion with pupils each lesson (10%), contribution to the physical project (30%) and their verbal contribution to the project (20%). Luckily classes are a maximum of 20 pupils so this will be manageable. I’m in the process of creating an assessment matrix to tick off when I see or hear students achieving particular skills, knowledge and understanding. It’s an experiment which I hope will be successful, we have to take risks at times.

Update: I will probably use something like this Project Management Log to ensure the pupils record their contribution and roles in the research and project.

Week 5 – Following on from the project and assessment pupils will be designing a response system to a natural hazard of their choosing, this could be anything from an education scheme to a technological idea. The idea is they take what they have learnt about the cause, impacts and responses to natural disasters and use it to create their own solutions to reduce the impact. For lower ability pupils they will be guided in their solutions e.g. design and make an earthquake proof building for testing in class

Alterations

I am sure there are many other ways in which you could carry out this task. For instance you may wish to give pupils time in class to find the information required for their project rather than for homework. You may even wish to adapt the levels to suit your schools style of assessment.

For my lower ability set I will be providing ‘information’ sheets within lessons for them to use instead of having them rely on research. Their homework will be slightly different in that it will be research but it will be more specific such as it will require them to watch videos, find pictures or find facts to use in their projects.

And finally my resources

Feel free to use and adapt them to meet your needs*

Cause Success Criteria Impact Success Criteria Response Success Criteria

Exit Ticket

Project Homework

*Please leave feedback if you use my resources, I like to know if they were successful and how to improve them. Thanks.

Mrs Humanities


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Resources – Chronology and Timelines

Chronology challengeBeing in the position where I have to write all of my own schemes of work for our current cohort of years 7, 8, 10 and 11 I decided that the best place to start for the new years 7’s was to introduce (and recap for a small minority) the skills needed within Humanities.

 

I firstly carried out a baseline test to establish their skills and abilities. The results were interesting. None of the pupils had a grasp of both Geography and History, most fell to one or the other. I was shocked however at the number of children that do not know the continents or even any of the western European  countries. They will by the time I finish with them…

One of the first skills I’m teaching the years 7’s is Time and Chronology.

I have two lessons on this. We started the lesson off with each pupil being given a card with the time of the day. They had just 3 minutes to organise themselves into order, from the earliest time to the latest.  This got them active and engaged, especially when I told the second set how quickly the first set had managed it…. competition created.

Chronology CardsAfter the success of the first task and some discussion of chronology  they tried to put the reign of several Kings and Queens in order. A little AFL and a smiley face followed. We then looked at the difference and meaning of BC and AD. One question that pops up usually is ‘What if your not religious?’. I hate this one, it’s tricky to explain since time is such an abstract concept, helping the pupils to understand that Science and Geology tell us that the earth is approximately 4.6 billion years old whilst Christian beliefs are that it’s between 4000-8000 years old…. let alone all the other ideas from other creation stories. I quickly brush over this one and tell them to research it and tell me what they find out.  Chronology

 

To finish the lesson I set them what I think is a nice little chronology challenge. The class were split into groups of 10 and each group nominated a ‘leader’. They were given a challenge pack and they then competed against each other to create a giant timeline. The sense of competition was fierce, each team checking over at the progress of the others. I was amazed at the speed of set 1, both teams completed it in under 3 mins. Success!

 

Chronology Challenge

Chronology PP

 

 

Here’s a copy of my Chronology Challenge for you to try along with a PowerPoint

Please leave feedback if you download or use them, I love to know how they go and will respond to comments.

Enjoy!

Mrs Humanities