Mrs Humanities

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Mrs Humanities shares… 5 strategies for developing independent learners

mrs humanities shares

Are we doing too much for our learners? This question has plagued me a lot recently.

I’ve seen hundreds of fabulous resources that take the hard work out of learning for our students. That remove the responsibility from students to teacher. That take the independence from the learning process. That make them dependent on us, their teachers.

Now I’m sure many people will argue with me that it’s a result of increased scrutiny; the unrealistic performance management targets; the use of target grades etc. Which are all completely valid arguments and I agree, but it still scares me that so many teachers are doing so much for their students. Things that take away their students responsibility and independence in the learning process.

Things like case study guides with all of the content students need, completed knowledge organisers, again with all of the content students need. Completed exam questions, so students can learn to replicate. Revision booklets again with all of the content. It all worries me.

I’ve never hidden the fact that I facilitate learning, that my aim as a teacher is to make my students as independent as possible in my classroom and in their learning. That I want my students to leave school being able to learn for themselves; to be able to critically analyse and evaluate; to design and create; to research effectively; to be responsible for their own learning; to want to continue learning after compulsory education.

I’ve created numerous posts on developing independent learners such as these

Developing Independent Learners – Help Yourself Display and Resource Station

Developing Independent Learners – Seating Plans

Developing Independent Learners – Attempts at Flipped Learning

Developing Independent Learners

Developing Independent Learners – Independent Learning Projects

Developing Independence in the Humanities Classroom

Although my practices have evolved and changed over the last 4-5 years, developing independent learners is still at the core of my teaching.

Some ways I approach ‘developing independence’ are as follows

1 // ‘Help Yourself’ stations

I’m a big believer that students should learn to take responsibility for their progress and learning. That we should facilitate them in any way we can to help and support them but at the end of the day, we don’t sit their exams. That’s down to them.

Here’s some further reading from Tom Rogers if you’re interested

Anyway, whilst I do differentiate for students individual needs I also believe that students need to be able to identify when they need support and should develop the ability to be able to work out for themselves what that support looks like.

Therefore in my classrooms for the last 4 years, there have been a ‘help yourself’ areas or stations. This is an area where students can find resources that can support them in a variety of ways. For instance students can find sentence starter mats to help get them started with a variety of extended writing tasks, topic platemats/knowledge organisers that provide the key content of topics (see below for more details), blank maps, atlases, peer and self assessment sheets, note taking templates, timeline sheets and the list goes on. All of which students can help themselves to in order to help them with the tasks they are undertaking.

Initially I will direct students to particular support and overtime encourage them to help themselves to the resource they feel appropriate. Usually as students start to recognise their areas of ‘weakness’ they can independently select the appropriate support strategy.

Read more on ‘Help Yourself’ stations in my original post here.

2 // Project Breakdown

I start year 7 with a homework project that is broken up into smaller chunks, each with their own deadline. We cover map and atlas skills to ensure all students embark on the rest of their geographical learning with the basic skills required.

Student’s therefore complete a project as homework over the course of the first term on a European country of their choice. Each chunk of the project fits with the work covered in class allowing the students to demonstrate the skills and knowledge they developed in the lesson.

The breaking down of the project into chunks develops students time management skills and teaches them to break down a project over time to ensure they do not complete other projects just before the deadline.

Over time these breakdowns are removed so students can independently carry out projects without the haste of

3 // Blank or Basic Knowledge Organisers (AKA Placemats, Knowledge Mats etc.)

I’ve seen knowledge organisers with the entire topic on one sheet. All the content a student needs to know. It makes me question why the student needs to listen, to participate in the lesson, to do the tasks set by their teacher. If they have everything they need to know in front of them, surely it encourages students to ‘switch off’. Some may argue that students have KOs in order to then apply the knowledge, but I fear this reduces their ability to retrieve information.

I prefer to use KOs or placemats as they were originally intruduced to me to provide a basic outline of the content students generally struggle with.

For Geography for instance I often find students confuse the 3 tectonic plate boundaries and find it hard to visualise convection currents.

placemat.png

In History it tended to be the sequence of events, names and places.

placemat History.png

Therefore I created a basic visual summary for my students to collect if they so desired. These mats would consist again of the very basics to support my learners.

I also encourage students to create their own KOs at KS5 and hope to implement this into KS4 in due course. In order for my KS5 students to do this I’ve created KO sheets with blank boxes, except for a question or statement in which they respond to in order to collate the knowledge they need to demonstrate thus retrieving and revising the content for use later on.

KO ks5

KO ks5 2

4 // Revision

I refuse to give students the content they need to know in the form of a booklet or similar in order to revise from. Sorry, but they should get that from lessons, why else bother going to lessons if it’s not to learn the content?!

Instead for I provide a variety of resources to support my students.

To start with for each topic students receive an AfL grids with an outline of the topic content. At the start of the topic students self-assess their prior knowledge and then at the end their understanding of the topic in order to highlight the areas for future revision.

Then in regards to revision of the content I’ve created how to revise guides to help students to develop an ongoing approach to revision as well as teaching retrieval strategies and exam technique in class.

In addition I’ve created case study templates for students to complete to summarise the case studies and examples explored. To support revision these have been combined into a case study and exam question booklet so students can also apply the content to exam style questions.

gcse revision

All these strategies require my students to do the work and be responsible for their own learning and progress. I’ve provided the resources, taught the content and given them the support they need to succeed but it’s up to them to actually learn what they need to know for the exam.

5 // Inquiry/Enquiry based learning

At my school we have a real ethos for developing inquirers. I love that we do loads of inquiry based learning across the school. Students get to question, research and develop their curiosity throughout.

In KS3, at the start of each unit, my students write down questions. These questions influence my planning, the resources I use and the lesson objectives over the course of the topic. Students are the driving force of the lesson content. I teach the same year group the same topic to reach the same outcomes but the approach varies dependent on the class questions.

Now that I’m settled in my ‘new’ school for a full year, I’ve seen the progression students make through this approach. Enquiry truly develops their curiosity and interest; they constantly challenge me to further my subject knowledge and keep it up to date as their questions get us exploring aspects I’ve missed in the past or thought not relevant when planning schemes of work.

Through their questioning comes exploration, analysis and evaluation; deepening their understanding and I love it.

How do you develop independence in your learners? Feel free to leave a comment or get in touch.

Mrs Humanities


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Classroom Ideas – Information Collectors

I love using resources with students that encourage them to discover information for themselves. I regularly use information collectors with my classes right from from KS3 to KS5.

They are a simple concept, an A4 sheet laid out so that students can collect relevant information from the sources of information provided. Students are required to read the information, watch videos or carry out their own research to find the required knowledge.

Here are some examples…

info collector 3 gorges damks5china

Once students have had access to the resources for a desired time I get them to feedback by handing out whiteboard pens and having the students add information to a copy projected onto the whiteboard.

As students add to the whole class version we discuss additions and students add to their personal copies. These are then used in the creation of another piece of work such as an extended piece of writing, a project or an essay.

I encourage my older year groups to take a photo of the board and either print it out or use it to add detail to their notes.

Hope this gives you some inspiration.

Mrs Humanities

 


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Zombie Apocalypse Atlas and Map Skills SoW

I have a confession, I really like post-apocalyptic fiction.  Last year I wanted to take some of this enjoyment and create some tension and fun in the classroom.

I decided to make my favourite resource of all time, a geographical scheme of work based on the concept of a disease spreading around the world, through Europe and into the UK. I wanted to add a sense of excitement and tension through challenges that led to learning and the practice of key geographical skills.

I spent a number of hours last summer creating the perfect project and thoroughly enjoyed teaching it. Unfortunately my students at the time didn’t quite get my enthusiasm and eagerness, oh well.

Within this scheme of work is a booklet, as students work through the activities they have challenges to complete in order to find their way to safety.

They start with 12 hours (6 lessons), each mistake they make in the work costs them 1 day. Their challenge is to make it to the end with as many ‘days’ left as possible.

Front page.png

Ideally students work in groups to complete the challenges, sharing the workload and supporting one another through the tasks. Each mission is essentially a lesson depending on the ability of your students.

Missions look something like this…

Mission Objective 1 – Map Infected Cities across the World
Mission Objective 2 – Decode the message, find the identified locations
Mission Objective 3 – create a map to show the spread of the disease in the UK
Mission Objective 4 – Locate supplies and feed directions to the team on foot
Mission Objective 5 – Locate and Find Survivors
Mission Objective 6 – Locate to Safety

There’s plenty of room for extension for your more able students with Missions to Extend at the end and possibility for differentiation throughout.

extension.png

In addition each mission has success criteria and resources for self/peer assessment.

sc.png

answers.png

So I guess here’s the part you’re waiting for… the resources.

Yes… they’re coming.

You can find them here for free, all I ask is that you do not edit and share.

download here

Feedback is welcomed!!!

Hope you can make use of it.

Mrs Humanities

Creative Commons License
MrsHumanities Zombie Map and Atlas Skills by Victoria Hewett is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


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#TMHistoryIcons Presentation – Developing Independence in the Humanities Classroom

This is several months late, but here’s my presentation from #TMHistoryIcons.

DevelopingIndependenceFinal

In my presentation I outlined some of the ways I’ve been working on developing independence in my classroom.

Strategies I outlined included

Here’s a few of the slides.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It was an absolute pleasure to present amongst so many excellent practitioners, can’t wait until next year.

Any questions feel free to ask.

Mrs Humanities


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Developing Independent Learners – The ‘Help Yourself’ Resource Station  

help yourself resource stationThrough the course of the last academic year one of my aims was to develop more independence in my learners.

I tried several approaches which I’ve documented in other posts, including seating plans, GCSE help yourself display and attempts at flipped learning.

I’ve learnt so much from the process as have my students, particularly those in year 7 and 8.

The ‘Help Yourself’ Resource Station was probably the most successful approach.

What is it?

Quite simply the ‘Help Yourself’ Resource Station is a table and display board with resources that will support my students in their learning.

It includes a wide range of resources and templates that students can access freely to support their learning.

20160108_16202820160108_162033

What’s included?

The display board contained resources for each year group on the topic they were currently studying. These could have been in the form of information sheets, activities or worksheets.

In addition students had access to DIRT sheets and a support sheet for using historical sources and later the 5 Minute Help Yourself sheet.

At times, other useful information got added to the space on the board such as project sign up sheets and reminders.

The table contained a wide variety of relevant resources that students can help themselves to in order to scaffold and support their learning.

Resources included

-Literacy mats

literacy mat
– Timelines support sheets

timeline
-Note taking laminatenote taking laminate
-Key word lists

key word lists
-Topic support mats (placemats)

topic placemats

-Humanities Skills Mats such as the Using Sources Support Mat

skills mats.png

-Self and peer assessment sheets

self and peer assessment

-Templates and blank maps for classwork

templates

Along side the resources there were whiteboard pens and equipment available for students to access when required.

How is it used?

Once set up the resource station runs itself, you will need to monitor and replenish now and then but on the whole it’s pretty simple.

Students  collect the resources they need based on their own decisions or your guidance. At first it took some training but by the end of the year students were happily helping themselves to the required resources.

For example I had some students that needed spelling support, they’d help themselves at the start of the lesson to the key word list and their literacy marking would focus on the correct spelling of those key words. If they spelt the word incorrectly, they would use the key word list to find the correct spelling and write it out 3 times and within a sentence. at first it took some reminding but eventually they become independent in the approach (with fewer spelling mistakes).

Often main activities in my lesson have an opportunity for choice in presentation and format, the templates and blank maps work effectively for this allowing students to make their own decisions in how they present their work.

Success?

Personally I feel it’s enabled many of my students to become more independent in their learning, in particular the high and middle ability. I felt low ability students needed more encouragement to use the resources available to them but eventually some of them were accessing them without prompt.

If I were to change anything I’d add a challenge section with generic activities that could be applied to any topic.

The Resources

I’ve uploaded a load of the resources I’ve used here. Many of them I have not made from scratch and instead have used or amended resources I’ve collected over the years. If one of them is your, please let me know and I will add credit where credit it due.

If you have any questions about the ‘Help Yourself’ Resource Station, just ask.

Hope you’ve been inspired.

Mrs Humanities

 

 

 

 


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Developing Independent Learners – Attempts at Flipped Learning

During Term 3 and 4 of this year I attempted flipped learning with one of my year groups. I came to the decision to attempt it based on their feedback, however it didn’t work out as effectively as I’d hoped.

This post will outline my approach and top tips, success and failures could be a whole other post.

Approach

Pre-Learning/ Homework

For a unit of work on rivers I wanted a particular year group to take some independence in their learning. I set up week by week pre-learning activities on SAM learning*.

Each activity would introduce key concepts, processes and vocabulary – the activities were always supported by a video or web link that students could use for extra support. The weekly activities were based around reading some information or watching a video clip and then either answering some multiple choice questions or fill the blanks. .

The activity for the term was  to create a project on rivers – this could be in any chosen form such as booklets, posters, models with info sheets, videos, PowerPoints etc. Their creativity was their only limit. I really didn’t mind how they presented their understanding.

Classwork

In the first lesson students were given a prior knowledge entry ticket, they were introduced to the project and given task sheets. Everything was explained to them and an introduction to rivers was given.

task

Each week then had a different focus.

  • Week 1 – Planning and research
  • Week 2 – Features of a River Drainage Basin
  • Week 3 – River Processes (erosion and weathering)
  • Week 4 – River Processes (transportation and deposition)
  • Week 5 – River Landforms (waterfalls and gorges)
  • Week 6 – River Landforms (meanders and ox-bow lakes)

The pre-learning covered the topic for the following week

  • Week 1 – Features of a River Drainage Basin
  • Week 2 – River Processes (erosion and weathering)
  • Week 3 – River Processes (transportation and deposition)
  • Week 4 – River Landforms (waterfalls and gorges)
  • Week 5 – River Landforms (meanders and ox-bow lakes)
  • Week 6 – Revision

Students were given the learning matrix for the topic which outlined the success criteria and how they could work their way up each band.

matrix

It outlined the ‘Need to Know’ questions and the links to the assessment objectives as well as outlining what they needed to demonstrate in order achieve each bronze, silver or gold in the topic.

Each lesson students had access to a variety of resources including information sheets in the ‘Help Yourself’ station, textbooks, revision guides and their SAM learning work. On occasions students also had access to iPads.

Assessment of Learning

— Prior Knowledge Entry Ticket

At the start of the topic students were given a prior knowledge entry ticket that looked like this.

prior knowledge

Students simply ticked off what they thought they knew. This was rather interesting to identify their starting points and perceptions on what they thought they knew. For the first few lessons I would question students based on what they thought they already knew, later I would question them on what they identified as not understanding. Students came back to this in the final week and in a different colour ticked off what they knew again.

– – Entry Tickets

At the start of each lesson students were given a entry ticket on arrival, before getting on with their projects they had to complete and peer assess the entry ticket. If students struggled with any aspects or did not achieve 80% they would be invited (or instructed) to attend an in lesson (or sometimes out of lesson) tutorial to support their learning.

— RAG Rated SAM Learning Activities

Each week I could see a RAG rating of student understanding. If a student achieved less than 60% they would have a tutorial in the lesson whilst the rest of the class carried on with the activity.

— Learning Matrix

Once in lesson tutorials were undertaken and students felt confident to move on, I would spend time discussing the work and providing feedback to students on their progress to far. To do this we would first look at the need to know questions and students would identify which ones they felt they had addressed so far. Next we looked at the banded success criteria and again students would identify the criteria they felt they achieved so far, I would then look at their work and discuss it with them. Whilst i did this I would highlight the criteria they had achieved in yellow and if there was something I thought they could do to improve I would highlight the criteria in pink.

Students then had the opportunity to go away and try to achieve the highlighted criteria, later on they would get it checked and signed off by me.

Top Tips

  • Introduce pre-learning over time – don’t introduce it all at once, embed  pre-learning over time and slowly introduce the use of pre-learning into several lessons over the term. Once achieved then introduce it across the whole term.
  • Use entry or exit tickets – these were a fantastic way of assessing student understanding. They were simple in terms of what they assessed – recall of subject knowledge – but allowed for instant feedback on what students were understanding from the SAM learning activities,  tutorials and classwork.
  • Use an electronic system for pre-learning – having access to a system such as SAM Learning meant I could track who was actively accessing the resources at home, how many attempts they made at the activity and if they were making progress over time in the scores achieved.
  • Give it a go – although I will put my hands up and say it wasn’t a complete success this time, I discovered more about my students and their ability to work independently; there were those that really struggled and just couldn’t cope and those that thrived with the opportunity  whilst there were also a whole load in between.
  • Finally have a back up plan – if you find individuals or groups of learners are not able to access the learning in this manner (which you will) ensure you have a back up. I ended up with one class split into those that worked with me in the usual style whilst the rest of the class worked independently, checking in with me for support and feedback when necessary.

I will save my success and failures for another time.

If you were thinking of trying flipped learning, I hope this post has given you ideas.

Feel free to ask any questions.

Mrs Humanities

*Note: I am not affiliated with SAM Learning in anyway, I’ve not been paid or asked to promote them either. I’m just referring to them in reference to my experience. There are many other fantastic sites that provide a similar service or opportunities for flipped learning including Edmodo, Show my Homework and Google Classroom to name just a few.

 

 


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Need to Know Learning Matrix

learning matrixThis year grades 1-9 were  introduced into the tracking system for Key Stage 3. I struggled at first, in fact I still am, but the Need to Know Learning Matrix were my approach to tracking progress over the term for each of topics studied.

 

Not only does it allow me to track progress, outline Schemes of Work to the students and provide feedback, it encourages independent learning and reduces the time i spend marking and writing extensive feedback.

I started the year with simply listing need to know questions and success criteria but then realised that by coding the criteria I could provide quality feedback without the extensive write comments in the students books.

I simply use two different colour highlighters, fill in the key and highlight the coded success criteria. Firstly I highlight the criteria achieved in one colour, then highlight the criteria I would like the students to attempt in another; once this criteria has been achieved I simply tick it off.

matrix

I quickly l took to writing WWW and listing the criteria codes followed by the level up steps and the criteria codes I wanted the student to work on during DIRT. Sometimes I just write the criteria code with a tick to indicate it’s completion.

 

For lower ability students I may write questions to support them in achieving the coded criteria with a box to indicate the expected length of the answer.

level up2

If this has intrigued you can download my Need to Know Learning Matrix template here.

I’ve also uploaded a number of them on to TES, feel free to download and leave feedback.

Hope they’re of use.

 

Mrs Humanities

 


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Developing Independent Learners

Indpendence

This term I’ve been using independent learning projects with some of my classes in year 7 & 8.

At the start of the topic I discussed with the students the success criteria for the topic and asked them how they would like to go about carrying out the scheme of work.

We discussed several ways of working on this SoW

a) a menu – where students select ‘items’ from the menu to produce over the term to produce a piece of work that meets Bronze, Silver or Gold standard.

b) personal choice – where students could make their own decisions on how to present their work

c) guided – where the teacher provides suitable learning activities to meet the success criteria

Each class voted for b – personal choice.

We then discussed whether working in groups or individually would be better. All of year 8 decided on groups of no more than 3 so they can easily learn what others have discovered.

The majority of year 7 decided to go with groups, again of no more than 3, but a few wanted to work individually as they felt they would get distracted working in groups. Very mature of them to admit so I was happy for them to work alone.

We then had a planning lesson; focusing on how we would learn what we need to learn. We discussed approaches to research, presentation and feedback.

As guidance all students have a copy of the Need to Know Questions and topics success criteria  both in the front of their books and in their planners. Here’s the year 7 version.

learning matrix yr 7

 

In the initial lessons we discussed the meaning of the command words e.g. describe, identify, locate, define and what these might look like at Bronze, Silver and Gold standard.

Support

To support and direct students with their learning I’ve put resources in the ‘Help Yourself’ Resource Station for students to access. 20160108_162028The main purpose of these has been to support students when they just can’t quite find the answers they are looking for or need focus on what it is they need to do. I’ve a variety of resources to enable students to meet the success criteria from information sheets like this…

info sheets

…to worksheets/activities like these…

population densitypopulationfeatures.png

…all intended to help them to learn about an aspect of the topic that could then be applied to their project.

Students have been very good at using the resources to develop their understanding and then apply it to their chosen project format.

Homework

Students have set their own homework based upon their groups or individual progress. A few I’ve had to guide in the process but on the whole students have been self-motivated in and out of class.

Presentation of Work

Students opted for personal choice. This is enabled a variety of approaches to meeting the same success criteria. Some are making information booklets, others posters or PowerPoints. One group is demonstrating their learning as a blog another has created a Passport to Britain. The creative has been incredibly.

For example to meet the same objective one group have started to create a 3D relief salt dough map by interpreting a relief map from the Atlas.

relief(A work in progress, by the end of term this will have human and physical features located using cocktail sticks)

Whilst another group have traced a map of the British Isles and coloured in their relief map, they followed this by doing the same with population distribution so they could overlay and compare the two.

relief map

AFL

To check student progress throughout the lessons I have been having ‘progress’ chats with groups and/or individuals to check their understanding. During this process I tick off and highlight with them the criteria they have achieved and the criteria they need to focus on. I question them and challenge them to further progress on what they have learnt.

Having this time with students has enabled me to get to know more about how my students learn and what I can do to further support them on their journey to independence.

In addition to the chats they’ve done a few quick fire quizzes at the end of lessons and have completed exit tickets and entry tickets.

For example after the first week of lessons, students completed a simple exit ticket. I assessed their answers and those I felt hadn’t demonstrated enough progress were identified using traffic lights and answered the corresponding questions. This encouraged them to develop and level up the initial answers they’d put on the exit tickets in the previous lesson.

Then each lesson since they’ve then self-assessed their work and had discussions with me on the next steps to either reach gold or to securely meet the silver criteria outlined.

entry ticket week 2 yr 7.png

Differentiation

Students have either chosen the criteria they are aiming for based on their progress this year so far and their confidence in the task – most are aiming for gold. I’ve directed some to the criteria they should focus on however.

Some students I meet with at the start of the lesson and bullet point the criteria they need to focus on that lesson, some I will provide specific resources for to enable them to do so. The rest are either directed to resources or simply have mastered the independence and get one with it completely by themselves.

In year 8, groups have been awarding each other points for the following team work, leadership, creativity, out of a school work, self/peer assessment and personal effort.  They’ve been looking at the successes of others in their team and awarding one another what they see as suitable. It’s created a very collaborative environment with the icing on the cake being their explanations as to why the person deserves the points. Creates smiles all round.

points

Conclusion so far… 

These are my finding so far

  • Engagement across the board, students arrive eager and leave happy
  • A collaborative and supportive atmosphere is clear
  • My favourite phase has come to be… “Miss, did you know…” my year 8 students are frequently teaching me things about the adventurers and the explorers.
  • Students feel empowered in their learning
  • Opportunity to have conversations with students has enabled a greater understanding of how they learn best
  • Opportunity to share successes and excitement about the topic and their learning
  • Freedom to work at their own pace – some have spent more time on certain aspects whilst others have spent less
  • Consideration of what they already know has allowed for different starting points
  • Students are deepening what they already know
  • Marking and feedback has been on-going in lessons, students have accessed feedback immediately
  • I’ve been doing less ‘work’ in lessons and students have been doing more.

I can not wait to see the finished pieces and final projects.

Do you do anything similar? How could it be applied in your classroom.

Mrs Humanities

 

 

 


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Just an Idea – Student Conferences

Just an idea

Now this idea popped into my head a few months ago whilst I attended the Optimus Annual Gifted and Talented Conference back in October. It’s been on my mind this week so I thought I’d share it with you.

The idea is a student-led conference, a cross-over between TED talks and a TeachMeet I guess.

An opportunity to develop a love of learning and independence.

The concept

Students choose a topic of their choice related to the curriculum in which they study, skills they use  or could even be something of interest.

Students present a 3, 5 or 7 minute presentation on their topic of choice. Short, snappy and straight the point. Snack sized learning for their peers.

Just like in a TeachMeet, get students involved and interactive by ‘tweeting’ what they are learning, the ideas they come up with and how it links to their prior learning using a private school based social network/collaboration software (perhaps something like Edmodo, need to look into other options). Something safe, that students can contribute to but won’t accessible outside of the school setting.

Afterwards students, both presenters and learners, reflect on the process.

Why I like the idea?

Firstly students sharing their knowledge on a topic of their choosing I think is a sure fire way to start developing independent learning skills – there’s research skills, communication skills,  ICT skills, critical thinking, time management, responsibility and reflection, to be developed.

It engages them in the learning process; What do subjects do I enjoy? What do I find interesting? What do I want to learn more about?

Therefore developing curiosity; when students take an aspect of the curriculum they are interested in and have the opportunity to delve deeper into it they can become masters of this aspect of their learning encouraging them to go deeper in other areas.

In can encourage problem solving and critical thinking – what do I need to include? What is relevant? Do they already know something about this or does it need an introduction? What do I want to get across? How will I do it in such a small amount of time? How do I make this understandable? Just some of the questions they will need to consider.

How would it work?

It could be done as a whole school event, by individual year groups or by KS4/5 to lower year groups, perhaps to introduce topics from GCSE and A Level courses.

It could be students presenting to their peers, their parents or both.

It could be carried out periodically throughout the year, before option evenings or simply at the end of the year as a way of celebrating the learning that has taken place.

But the main idea is to develop a love of learning and independence in the learning process.

Opinions

What do you think? Could it work? Have you done anything similar?

Let me know what you think, feedback would be much appreciated.

Mrs Humanities


4 Comments

Developing Independent Learners – Seating Plans

This week I’ve tried out having KS3 create their own seating plan based upon their understanding of the work from the previous lesson.

I’ve split the room into 4 group tables, each with a different level of understanding identified. tables

I explained to my year 8’s that they would choose the table they were to sit on based upon their understanding of the work from the previous week.

superconfidentDescription – I have a thorough understanding of the work we covered last week and am happy to move on to the next aspect of the topic independently.

confidentDescription – I am confident in my understanding of the work we covered last week, I’m happy to move on but please check in with me during the lesson.

gettingthereDescription – I mostly understand the work from last week, but could I just spend some time going over it before I move on to this week’s work.

needhelp Description – I wasn’t in last week so I need to catch up on the work before I move on or I really didn’t understand what we covered and would like your help.

My learners decided upon where they should sit, during the lesson as their understanding developed they moved tables.

I’ll be encouraging the ‘Super Confident’ learners to support the ‘Getting there’ learners at the start of the lesson whilst I support those on the ‘Missed the lesson or Need Help’ table.

I’m trialing this approach with two classes, both year 8 whilst I also try two different approached to teaching the classes to develop independence in their learning.

Reflection Week 1 – So far so good. Most pupils were honest with their understanding of the previous lessons work, some I will direct next week to where I think they should be and they can then move up once I am confident in their understanding.

Mrs Humanities