Mrs Humanities

Because I'm married to the job


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Resource – DIRT Sheets

updated DIRT sheets

Recently I shared a tweet with a link to my DIRT sheets and realised the link I’d added had been for the wrong set. I then noticed how my DIRT sheets were shared in several different posts and were a challenge to find. So to clear things up a bit and to make my resources easier to access I thought I’d put them all into one post for you to access and download from.

I’ve a variety of DIRT sheets which are used during Directed Improvement and Reflection Time for students to write their improved answers.

These are the first versions I created back in 2015, these can be found in the first generation folder here .

DIRT Sheets

Then I made these which allowed students to identify their area of focus and I could identify whether they had met the target or whether there was room for improvement.
DIRT Template

This led me to create subject specific versions which are associated with levels and can be found in the second generation folder here

Finally I created some associated with grades, which can be found here.

You can access all of my DIRT sheets here. Feel free to download them and use as you will.

Hope you find them of use.

Mrs Humanities


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Mrs Humanities shares… 5 Whole Class Feedback Examples

mrs humanities shares

The time was September 2016, I shared a version of a Marking Crib Sheet from @MrThorntonTeach at Pedagoo Hampshire 2016 and since then I’ve been seeing whole class feedback every where. It even forms part of my Marking and Feedback Toolkit.

Now I’d say it’s nothing new, teachers and educators from across the world have been doing it for years. Marking work, then telling students what they could have done to make it better, where they went wrong, what misconceptions came up etc.etc. it just didn’t have an ‘official’ name. I remember RAG rating students work on a separate piece of paper during my NQT year, I’d have 3 columns and i’d write their initials under the relevant column so I knew who I needed to invest time in during the next lesson or would need to check their books at the end of the lesson to see how they’d done. Nowadays people are using crib sheets, whole class feedback, book look records or whatever other name they been given to record and SHARE such information with students.

Here are some examples I’ve seen that maybe of inspiration to you.

1 //  Mr Thornton Teach

The original example I first shared at Pedagoo Hampshire 2016. When I told people how book looks had cut down my marking time and gave me more of a work/life balance it was like a revelation for many. Pleased to see Greg’s post has gone far and wide influencing educators across the country.

2 // @TGEngTandL

I really liked how this example had an exemplar of good practice included along side the feedback to help students to develop their own work. A useful ad developmental strategy.

3 // @Greg_Parekh 

This one I feel is good for younger students or when you are first developing the strategy with students in the sense that it directs students towards the comments and questions that apply to them; Scaffolding them in the initial stages of identifying relevant feedback and how they can improve. I’ve done this through simple codes in their books before which relate to the next steps comment on the sheet. Once students become better at identifying what is relevant to them, I take the codes or direction way.

4 // @matthewmoor3 

This example works alongside a marking code system and has been used to mark an assessed piece of work. Matthew used the codes on the assessed work to identify to students what they needed to do to improve in order to provide students with precise targets whilst the ‘warm, hot and super scorching’ tasks give students choice in how to act on feedback.

5 // @ScienceLP

The simple and effective style. Easy for everyday use to check progress and understanding before using to plan subsequent lessons. Easy.

Now the key point to remember with whole class feedback is that the aim is too reduce the time spent marking but ensuring that students receive high quality feedback that enables them to progress. Scaffolding the technique is important at first but once students are confident it can be taken that away so that you encourage students to reflect and determine their own improvement actions. Again takes some support and scaffolding but eventually students can master it becoming drivers of their own progress (oh but then it’s the end of the year and the training starts all over again in September).

In addition to the provision of feedback, these sheets provide an excellent basis for planning. Sometimes I just use the book look sheets to formatively assess a class, so I know where to go next lesson. Often misconceptions influence my starter and RAG rating student understanding helps to identify where the direct support, where to scaffold or differentiate.

Hope these have inspired you to give #WholeClassFeedback a try.

Mrs Humanities


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Mrs Humanities shares… 5 wellbeing strategies

mrs humanities shares

Wellbeing is being flung around from here to there these days…. and about time to be honest. However, my concern is that too often schools are merely paying lip service to staff wellbeing and not embedding it into the ethos and foundations of the school.

Here are 5 things I feel help to embed staff wellbeing…

1// Thank yous.
It doesn’t take much to sincerely say thank you. It doesn’t need to be a public affair (in fact it’s the little thank yous that I always find have the most impact), but it does have to be meaningful and sincere. A note card or post it note with those little words can make all the difference to somebodies day, being recognised for the hardwork and commitment they make to the school and the lives of their students. It doesn’t take much to show a sincere thanks.

2// Acts of kindness from Senior Leadership
Every now and then surprise staff with an act of kindness; leave surprise cakes or fruit in the staff room, take cups of tea to Middle Leadership meetings, provide snacks for twilight meetings. Anything that’s not forced and is supplementary to anything that insists participation by all staff like whole-staff wellbeing days… get rid of them. They’d rather have the time to do work so they can enjoy the weekend with family and friends.

3// Shout out boards
A little something I really like to see in schools is a shout out board, where staff can share the great things they’ve seen going on in the school. I’ve seen shout out boards have a range of focusses such as

  • T&L focused – ideas seen, magpied strategies, inspiration from further afield etc.
  • Wellbeing focussed – motivational quotes, thank you messages etc.

or just a mix of this and that worth shouting about. Personally I think making it anonymous makes it even more rewarding but that’s just my opinion.

4// Leaving early
Encouraging all staff to leave early at least once a week, but it mustn’t be made compulsory. Just that SLT should lead by example and shout about making sure one day a week you leave earlier than you do on other days, just half an hour can make a big difference. That could be half an hour for making a cake, spending time with your kids or other family members, going to an exercise class maybe even just half an hour more of reading. As long as that gained time is spent on you, just once a week.

5// School social activities
What about activities in school for staff, run by staff. Maybe an after school exercise class, termly quiz night, a morning yoga sessions, morning meditation? Although not all staff want to socialise with their colleagues, I think it’s nice to have the opportunity. When I started at my current school last September, I was thrilled to find they did several exercise classes after school. It meant I quickly got to know people and was made to feel welcomed and comfortable. The sessions were free, run for by staff for staff and we all donated money to a cause close to the heart of the teacher running it. As soon as my wedding is out of the way, I’ll be back to them this year.

What does your school do to embed and promote staff wellbeing?

Share your thoughts and ideas.

And don’t forget to check out Teacher5aday and Teacher5adayBuddyBox for more inspiration.

Mrs Humanities

 

 

 


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Stop. Peer assess. Progress. 

stop peer assess progressHow often do you carry out peer assessment at the end of a task? I know I used to do it a lot in the past, I’d get students to read each other’s work, write a WWW and EBI comment or a kind, specific and helpful comment depending on the school system and then that would be the end of it.

Then when I started using DIRT in lessons, I might have got students to re-write a piece of their work or write an additional piece in action of the peer feedback.

Then I eventually realised, why I am getting them to peer assess at the end when if they were to carry out peer assessment part-way through a task that would give them time to act on the feedback there and then.

I first did this some time ago now in my last school, it was just before we had Ofsted in so that would have been about May 2015. In fact I did it during the observation lesson, students had been working on the Spanish Armada double lesson; at the end of the lesson they peer assessed each other on their chosen criteria. The next lesson they continued with the activity and made improvements as they produced new work – for instance if a student had wanted their use of PEE paragraphs assessed and in particular their use of evidence from the sources, their peer assessed how effectively they’d been applying evidence and how they could improve, when they continued the work the next day each time the student included new evidence they’d write it in pink to demonstrate the progress they were making in their use of evidence in their PEE paragraphs.

These days I rarely use peer assessment solely at the end of a piece of work, instead I apply it within activities to give students the opportunity to assess progress, make improvements and access inspiration to develop their own work.

Recently when I’ve mentioned the power of peer assessment in my classroom I’ve had a lot of backlash from other teachers on twitter, particularly when I’ve shared the ACE and SpACE peer assessment techniques. People arguing that we are expecting novices to assess novices. Now I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t expect my students to ever give a summative grade or level without assessing it myself as well, they are learning.

I might however ask them to predict the level or grade they think a finished piece of work might achieve using success criteria or a mark scheme and justify why in order to help them to understand what is being assessed but I never take it as the final grade. It’s merely an opportunity for students to engage with assessment criteria; in my opinion if they understand the assessment criteria when they sit an assessment whether it be a formative piece, a summative or external exam then they can apply it better? No?

I know my learner’s are not experts, but I’m training them to be. I’m facilitating their learning and that means both subject content, life long learning skills and their understanding of assessment criteria in order to maximise their potential in their GCSEs or other exams.

The opportunity to peer assess isn’t just about the outcome (grade, marks, levels etc) but the process. Students see other work whether it be good or bad practice; reflection upon what they see allows them to improve their own work. It’s an opportunity for idea sharing and to be inspired. A time to reflect on one’s own strengths and weaknesses. A time to consider successes and areas for improvement. An opportunity to gain feedback before submitting work as complete to the teacher. Personally peer assessment is more than that, it’s a learning experience.STOP PEER ASSESS PROGRESS

Yes, peer assessment does reduce my workload slightly. In the sense that it means students receive feedback there and then and the opportunity to act on it in a timely manner rather than days or weeks later. I mark their work, I assess their work. But I often found that marking work at the end or part way through myself meant a delay between producing the work and them receiving feedback on it, further more it meant a lag time between production and opportunity to act on the feedback.

I personally want my students to access timely feedback, verbal works but I can’t get around a whole class of 28-32 students in the time available so peer assessment helps students to access this feedback. Yes it takes training from day one, yes it takes time and yes it requires scaffolding but eventually students get it. They become confident in their ability to self and peer assess, they learn exam techniques throughout their years in secondary education and not just in the ‘exam’ years. Give stop, assess and progress and go in your classroom (but be consistent and persistent with it, it takes time to master).

How do you use peer assessment in your classroom? Do you agree with me? Disagree (polite debate welcomed)?

Mrs Humanities

 


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#TMHistoryIcons Presentation 2017


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#TMRochdale Presentation


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Resource – Request to Retest

Ever marked a set of tests and been somewhat disappointed by the results.

Students like grades. There’s a sense of fulfillment when you’ve done well. A twinge of regret when you don’t and a fleeting moment of “I should have…”. But in the end it’s the grade that students look at first, your guidance and advice is always second, if they read it at all.

Personally I’m from the no grades kind of mindset, I just want to give feedback that enables learners to act on it and go for ‘gold’ as I used to say in my last school. Where feedback guides and supports all students to the top grades not just those targeted the A*.

As a result of the new kind of students I’m teaching I decided that it would be appropriate to give them the opportunity to improve their test scores now and then; To give them the opportunity to act on feedback now instead of months down the line; To allow them the opportunity to revise and embed what they’ve learnt; for some to go away and take things more seriously.

But I wanted the opportunity to be taken responsibly. I want my students to see it as a privilege and opportunity to improve and not that the first time is just a ‘trail-run’.  I want them to take ownership over their progress and to recongnise that grit and hardwork are vital for success and not just rely on their natural talent.

david mcwane poem.png

In order to do this I’ve created a ‘Request to Retest’ form. In order for students to take the retest request seriously, they’ll need to have their parents/guardians support and will need to think very carefully about their reason and will need to be honest e.g. I didn’t take the test seriously.

After my original idea, I decided I would also put a reflection on the request sheet, for students to reflect upon their improvements and what they did to improve their grade.

request-to-retest

If you’d like a copy of it, you download it here.

Already however I’m thinking of rephrasing it to ‘request to reassess’ as I actually don’t like tests. Luckily I don’t do them often 🙂

Hope you can find it useful.

Mrs Humanities


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Resource – ACE Peer Assessment

As I’ve spoken about already in my last few posts is the role of peer assessment in my classroom. This is something I particularly focus on with sixth form.

I want them to understand mark schemes and understand the exam style questions.

In order to help with this I’ve introduced with them ACE peer assessment.

Quite simply students swap their essays or answers to past paper questions and carry out the following using the mark schemes:

They tick if they accept what is written, they place a small triangle next to a point if they wish to challenge something, then pose a question at the end of the piece of work and finally place an asterisk next to anything they think needs extending in order to get full marks.

ACE peer assessment.png

Students do not give each grades, only how many marks they think have been achieved before improvements are made.

Students are then given time to make improvements to their work based upon the feedback provided by their peers.

I then check and give an overall mark for their work after improvements. However I keep a record of before and after improvements to demonstrate the progress being made following feedback.

Here’s a word and PDF version of the display posters I’ve created so I don’t have to keep writing it on the board.

What do you think of ACE peer assessment? Something you could use?

Mrs Humanities

 

 

3 pillars of effective marking


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3 Pillars of Effective Marking (& Feedback)

During my presentation at PedagooHampshire16 in September, I mentioned the 3 pillars of effective marking that came out of the Eliminating unnecessary workload around marking from the Independent Teacher Workload Review Group report.

They were meaningful, manageable and motivating. I thought I’d write a post on my interpretation and approach to these 3 pillars and how I therefore make marking work for me.

3-pillars

Meaningful

I believe that for feedback to be meaningful it needs to be suitable for the age group, needs provide students with something to act upon and given within a suitable time frame.

Therefore I find it hard to encourage teachers to mark after a set period of time, the sooner a student receives feedback on their work the sooner they can respond to it effectively. Leaving work 4 lessons or so before it is marked quite simply gives students time to forget. Now I’m not saying mark every piece of work after every lesson, no way, but choose pieces of work that you want students to have time to improve on before it is given summative feedback. This could be an extended piece of writing, an assessment or DME for instance; something that can generally be done over two or more lessons.

In order to make this manageable for myself I’ve used feedback grids in the past, whereby I’ve given feedback in lessons to as many as possible through verbal discussion and highlighting achieved criteria on the grid and identifying what I’d like students to focus on for the remainder of the lesson to improve their work. Thus leaving me with fewer books to check at the end of the lesson. I’ve then used 20 minutes or so before my next lesson with the students to finish marking any books I didn’t get to see in the lesson. I then used the criteria to give whole class feedback and individual in the next lesson before students went onto make improvements to their work.

Nowadays I’m making use of the Feedback-Feedforward approach and have been using Feedforward Book Look Record Sheets – quite simply I have looked through books, noted down any reoccurring misconceptions  and areas for improvement and feeding back to students at the start of the next lesson. I’ve quite simply been putting a code in students books and they have then written the corresponding comment in their books and responded to it. Thus ensuring they are reacting to feedback immediately rather than weeks or even months later in some cases I’ve seen.

One strategy I use in class to make marking meaningful is the use of peer-assessment within lessons, ensuring students time to act upon it there and then, therefore don’t leave peer assessment until the end of a task or end of a lesson. Get students into the routine of checking each others work as they do it, start by providing meaningful suggestions on the board and as students become more confident in what it is they should be looking for remove the scaffold and allow them to write their own constructive feedback.

 

Manageable

I’m a strong believer that we as teachers should not have to mark everything in a students book, by that I mean glance over it in lessons and maybe out of lessons as well but don’t sit down and give feedback on all of the work. Carry a pen around the class with you, use marking codes as you glance at students work or use dot marking e.g. put a dot in the margin where you see a SPaG error. If a student wants a particular piece of work checked encourage them to highlight the work by putting a box around it.

I actively encourage teachers not to mark every piece of work, glance at it, note any misconceptions and plan following lessons to deal with any arising issues. Adapting planning in my view is far more effective than taking books home to mark, spending several hours marking them and creating a ‘visual’ dialogue between student and teacher.

Motivating

This one is probably where I fall down. I don’t provide ‘well done, you’re work is great’ kind of comments, my comments are very much about the achievements and ways to improve for example ‘you have effectively backed your explanation up with an example from the  text’, ‘next try to annotate your diagrams to demonstrate you understand them’.

In my NQT year I was told by a parent I need to be more positive about the accomplishments of his daughter, a few messages of well done, a sticker or smiley face here or there, would make his daughter work harder for me. So I started doing it for her, no surprise she was still poorly behaved and made little effort. And any way Ofsted praised my marking in both inspections I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing so…. I’ve not changed.

I’d rather give the well done, excellent effort etc. as verbal praise. In particular I find that using students work as examples for the rest and asking students what they think has been done effectively has far greater impact than me writing a well done message in their book.

Or if the student is perhaps quiet or doesn’t accept praise well, I will say to them one-to-one how I like that they’ve done this or that in their work and they’re putting in significant effort. However I will always then give suggestions for how to improve because there is always room for improvement.

And anyway I use loads of peer assessment, using the Kind, Helpful and Specific approach thus students receive some lovely comments from their peers in class. They are always forthcoming with praise, but are also kindly constructive with how the work could be improved. From experience I find students are more motivated when their peers are assessing their work, often apologising if their handwriting isn’t their neatest or they’ve made a number of spelling mistakes (why do they never do that for me? ).

Something I’ve recently introduced as a way of providing feedback is the use of a feedforward book look record sheet. As a check a set of books, I’ve been writing down reoccurring misconceptions, SPaG errors and next steps. The only thing I’ve done is books is double tick for successes and codes that relate to next steps, SPaG and/or misconceptions. I then simply scan the sheet and project onto my whiteboard.

I verbally go through the feedback and students write down the corresponding comments to their next steps and misconceptions. They then have 5-10 minutes depending on the work to be done to make improvements to SPaG and to react to the next steps.

In the praise section I identify what double ticks or single ticks represent in the students books and students work out what is relevant to them. I also include any exceptional performance in the task e.g. full marks, significant effort, major improvements. It’s motivating for students to see their name in this section I think.

In the Assessment of Understanding I put students initials using a RAG system. Any students in the red section are my main concerns, so I will check their responses to feedback first, amber next and so on. I’ve told students that this is nothing to worry about, but it means that I know who to check in with first of all. I think however over time this will motivate students to push themselves out of the red and amber sections and into the green. I am wary this could upset students however, so I don’t focus on it in my verbal feedback, I zoom in on the bits I’m discussing so most of my time is spent looking at the Praise, Misconceptions, SPaG and Next Steps sections of the sheet. If I find this to be demotivating at all, I will blank RAG section of the sheet out when I show the class.

 

Well I hope this gives you some ideas and something to think about.

 

Mrs Humanities

 

 


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My Marking Saviour – The Marking and 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