Mrs Humanities

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Mrs Humanities shares… 5 note taking strategies

mrs humanities shares

One of my aims for the coming September is to start the school year with my sixth form students looking at different approaches to note taking.

At present my common experience is that students write down the majority of the information on the board whilst adding a few additional notes from our verbal discussion. Not that there is anything wrong with this but I feel confident I can help them to create better notes and use class time more effectively.

Therefore I’ve been doing some research in note taking strategies and thought I’d share a few with you. All of these I will be exploring with my year 12 students in September before helping them to choose a suitable approach.

1 // Cornell method

The page is split into 3 sections, prompts, notes and summary.


Prompts – key terminology from the lesson, questions, dates, names etc. that can be reviewed at a later date

Notes – main notes are taken here

Summary – students review the notes and resources after the lesson and summarise. Key points are highlighted ready for revision.

cornell example

2 // Outline method

With this method, students indent their notes with each step becoming more specific. They can split the page into three columns like so.


General information – brief, concise notes on the general content of the lesson

Specifics – concise notes on the specifics of the lesson

Details and examples – facts, stats and specifics to be included here along with any examples or comparisons given

The end product may look something like this…

indent example

or this…

indent 2.png

3 // Highlight and annotate

Before the lesson students will print off the PowerPoint slides or download the PowerPoint to their personal device if they use one. Then quite simply, rather than trying to copy down notes from the board and resources that are provided in advance, students simply listen and annotate them. All too often I find students copying down information that I’ve already provided them with online in advance of the lesson, therefore more time can be spent of using lesson time to deepen their knowledge and understanding through higher thinking tasks, debate and discussion.


4 // Flow based method

The flow based method requires students to write down the main ideas rather than paragraphs and sentences, similar to mind-mapping. Once initial notes are written down, students connect ideas, concepts and specifics by drawing connecting arrows to associated content, key terms and diagrams. This method forces students to consider the inter-connectivity of what they are learning and bring in knowledge from outside the lesson. This form of note-taking is very personal and demonstrates the students flow of thinking.

flow example

This method can easily be turned into a visual format as well.

5 // During-After method

The during-after method involves students splitting the page into two columns like so.


During – students take notes on the content.

After – students write questions either during or after the lesson to test their understanding of the content after the lesson.

DA example

Final Thoughts

For me the key point of these methods will be that students review their notes after the lesson in some way; whether it be summarising, self-testing or simply reviewing their notes. It’s vital that students use and return to their notes regularly.

Hope you’ve grabbed an idea or two. Feel free to provide further suggestions in the comments.



Mrs Humanities shares… Subject Specific Teacher Facebook Groups

mrs humanities shares

It was pointed out to me after sharing my last Mrs Humanities shares… post on History Revision Resources that many people share their resources via Facebook groups now instead of other online platforms yet I still speak to people who are completely unaware of this.

In order to inform those that might be interested I’ve collated the variety of Facebook teaching groups in this post to help you find them easily. I imagine this is not an exhaustive list so if you know of others please let me know.


General Geography

// National Geography Department

// UK Geography teachers resource sharing


Geography GCSE

// AQA GCSE Geography Teachers Group

// Edexcel Geography B (9-1) Community

// Edexcel GCSE Geography A Teacher Network

// Eduqas geography spec B

// OCR A GCSE Geography

// OCR B GCSE Geography Teachers’ Group

// WJEC and WJEC Eduqas GCSE Geography A Teacher Network

// WJEC Geography Teachers

// Edexcel iGCSE Geography

Geography A-Level and IB

// AQA A Level Geography Teachers Group

// OCR Geography AS/A Level Teachers

// Edexcel A Level Geography Teachers Group

// IB DP Geography Teachers Support Group


General History

// History Teachers and Those Interested in History Education UK

History GCSE

// Edexcel GCSE History 2016 support group

// Edexcel GCSE History

// New AQA GCSE History 2016

// WJEC/Eduqas GCSE History

// OCR GCSE History A 9-11 support group

// IGCSE History Teachers: Support Group

History A-Level and IB

// Teachers of AQA A level History

// OCR A-Level History support group

// Edexcel A Level History support group

// IBDP History Teachers: Support Group


General Religious Studies

// Save RE – The Subject Community for RE Professionals

// RE Teachers Forum

Religious Studies GCSE

// AQA GCSE Religious Studies – Christianity & Islam (Teachers only)

// AQA GCSE Religious Studies – Teachers & Resources

// Edexcel Religious Studies GCSE

// GCSE Hinduism – Religious Studies – RE/RS Teachers Group

// OCR Gcse Religious Studies First Teach 2016

Religious Studies A-Level

// AQA A-Level Religious Studies 2016

// Edexcel Religious Studies A Level (For Teachers Only)

// Eduqas A-Level Religious Studies Teachers

// OCR A Level Religious Studies H173 and H573 for professionals

// KS5 Buddhism Teachers (AS/A2 Religious Studies)


General Citizenship

// Teachers of Secondary PSHE & Citizenship

Citizenship GCSE

// Edexcel GCSE Citizenship Studies


// PSHE, Collective Worship, RE & Citizenship teacher forum

// PSHE & Careers Teachers Centre

// MYP Individuals and Societies: Teachers’ Support Group

I hope this helps you to connect, share and inspire.

Mrs Humanities

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Mrs Humanities shares… 5 simple homework strategies

mrs humanities shares

I hate to say it but on many occasions I have set homework just for the sake of it. All of my schools have had a homework policy of sorts i.e. students must receive so many minutes of homework a week. But if students are going to spend 7 hours in school and then complete homework as well it must be worthwhile.

This year I’ve been trying to improve the homework I set to limit the stress experienced by my students. These are some of the techniques I’m using.

1 // Finishing Classwork

It really is that simple. I want my students to have a full set of notes or the ability to be able to complete a task to the best of their ability. To ensure this I regularly set them homework to complete the task or tasks they’ve been undertaking in class. For those that finish in the lesson, there are stretch and challenge tasks to push them further or they spend time reviewing their work and applying it to an offered exam question.

The benefit of this is that my students work hard in lesson, but they know that if they’ve not had time to fully complete something or have needed help and guidance in the lesson and have been delayed in completing their work, they have the time to get it finished.

finishing classwork

2 // Exam Style Questions

Mainly used with exam classes, but occasionally with Key Stage 3. The use of exam style questions for homework is that they encourage students to review their notes and apply their understanding.

We regularly go through exam answer structure for 6 and 9 mark questions, plan the answer and discuss the content. Setting questions for homework then leaves students to apply their learning independently, the use of mark schemes in the hand in lesson then allows for students to self or peer assess before submitting. In order to assess students understanding I also set shorter exam style questions for homework to ensure they regularly apply their learning and develop their exam technique.


3 // Learning Journals

This is a technique I recently introduced with Key Stage 3 so currently still in the trial stage. The concept is that students will reflect, summarise and explore the topic. I’ve set out the end of topic assessed piece of work with the students already so they are aware of the purpose of the learning journal and have allowed them to take whichever route they wish with it. Here’s an example of the instructions I’ve given.

learning journal

At parent’s evening I share the idea with parent’s and they loved the concept. I explained that students weren’t prescribed in the format in which they wish to present their learning journal it can be anything from recording their learning, questions and feelings on the topic in the back of their books to something a bit more creative such as a scrapbook or mood board. They only need to spend 20 minutes on it a week, but should use it to direct their interest into the final assessed piece of work.
Learning Journals

4 // Summary Picture

I don’t set this homework too often but I do find it effective as an insight into my learners understanding and thoughts on a topic. It is quite simple, after a lesson or series of lessons students have to find, take or draw a picture that summarises what they’ve learnt, the answer to a question or how they’ve felt about the topic of study. For example when studying global issues I ask students to find a picture that represents how they feel at the end of the topic about the issues facing our planet and society, they have to write a justification to support the image and we share these with the class. Some bring in images that represent doom and gloom whilst others have brought in images that represent hope and solutions. It’s always insightful to hear their thoughts, opinions and probably more so the justifications for their pictures.

summary picture

Alternatively you can ask students to reflect on their learning journey and bring a picture in that represents that.

5 // Self-Marking Quiz

Now these can take a little time to set up, but once done you can use them time and time again. There are numerous platforms that you can use such as:
SAM Learning
Google forms
Show My Homework

These are great as they assess students understanding of the knowledge and provides them with immediate feedback. As their teacher you can then look at their scores, their errors and plan appropriately before the lesson to cover misconceptions.

Self marking quizzes


What homework strategies do you use regularly?

Feel free to share them in the comments.

Mrs Humanities

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MrsHumanities shares… The Top 10 Posts of 2017

I’m in that reflective mode, considering my experiences and challenges of 2017 that have made me a better person, teacher and friend.

But instead of boring you with my adventures through this year I thought you might like to be directed to the most popular posts on this year. I guess it’s the kind of post that shouts ‘here are all the best in posts in one place’.

#1 My Marking and Feedback Toolkit

This post explore the tools and techniques I use regularly that make up my marking and feedback toolkit. The techniques are tried and tested in my classroom and have taken me several years to reduce down to the most effective strategies. It took a lot of exploration and trial and error to work out what works best for me and my students and this post essentially summaries my go-to strategies.

#2 Zombie Apocalypse Atlas and Map Skills SoW

This post provides what it says on the tin – a full scheme of work on map and atlas skills that are developed through the story of the spread of a zombie apocalypse. The resources have been downloaded far and wide and have even been translated into Welsh.

#3 #Teacher5aday Wellbeing Buddy Box

Since starting #Teacher5adayBuddyBox in February 2016, it has grown and grown. There are now over 1,300 participants, a number of schools have set up their own internal schemes and Surprise September has been a hit this year and last.

This post tells you more about the scheme and how you can get involved; although we do now have a designated site over at so pop over and take a look if you haven’t already.

#4 Resource – Filling the Gaps Ks3 to GCSE

In this post I’ve shared a scheme of work which helps to fill the gaps in student knowledge before they embark on GCSE Geography. In order to create the scheme of work and resources I carefully looked at the GCSE specifications and considered what the foundation knowledge would be in order for my students at the time to be ‘GCSE ready’ and set about creating lessons that would help to close the gaps before the end of year 9. I left that school at the end of the year so overall I’ve little idea how well it worked, but at the time it was doing the trick.

#5 Marking, feedback and DIRT

Despite being quite an old post from June 2015, it’s still a hit with visitors. In this post I’ve explored a variety of marking, feedback and DIRT strategies that I shared in a CPD session. The post provides 15 different strategies for providing feedback and DIRT; all of which I have tested, reflected on and kept or scrapped. It was through all the trial and error that I’ve been able to create what makes my M&F toolkit (see post #1).

#6 Resource: Feedforward Book Look Record

This is a nice simple post that shares the simplest of resources – the Feedforward Book Look Record – as the name might suggest, it’s used for feeding back to my students after I’ve taken a look through their books. The post goes onto explain the record sheet is used and provides a link for you to download it.

#7 Resource – GCSE Structure Sheet

One of my most recent posts, this post shares my GCSE structure sheet to support students in writing answers to 9 mark questions. Although suited to the AQA GCSE Geography specification, I imagine it has some use for other specifications. I’ve provided both a word and PDF version to allow for teachers to edit to suit their course and students.

#8 50 T&L Secret Mission Cards

If I’m honest this is one of my favourite resources, which I’ve never actually used myself. I created these for my last school to develop the CPD programme but then proceeded to leave before the next September came around. However I know they have been a hit in other schools, having received lots of feedback on them. I love that others have gone away and taken the idea and turned it into something that suits there context. Actually I’d love to do a post on the ways they’ve been used and adapted by others – so if you’ve used them get in touch. 

#9 Mrs Humanities shares… 10 Geography Teachers to follow on Twitter.

In this post I simple shared 10 great geography teachers worth following on Twitter. Simple.

#10 Resource – SpACE Peer Assessment

When writing this post I was surprised to find that this post was slightly more popular than the ‘Resource – ACE Peer Assessment‘ one. Either way I’m pleased they are both being explored. The ACE and SpACE peer assessment technique has become one of my go-to strategies making up my M&F toolkit (see #1). It is now embedded with my classes and better still I’m seeing it being used by others in the school. The students have really benefited from it and many have said they find it useful which personally I think is great. I’ve also seen it used in other schools thanks to Twitter and seeing the variety of ways it has been implemented has been great and good for my own practice.

I hope this round-up gives you something new to take away or even just reminds you of something you may have forgotten.

Thanks for all the support this year, hope I’ve been able to inspire you in some way.

Have a great 2018.

Best wishes.

Mrs Humanities



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Mrs Humanities shares… T&L accounts to follow on Twitter

mrs humanities shares

This week I thought I’d share awesome twitter accounts for general Teaching and Learning inspiration.

So in no particular order… (although obviously I’ll start with mine)

Magpied Pedagogy


Magpied Pedagogy simply collates the amazing practice shared on twitter. The twitter account simply tweets the posts from the webpage – – where you will find over 750 ideas collated from across twitter.


#PedagooFriday is probably one of those tags I find most inspiration from. If you’ve not come across Pedagoo Friday before you’re seriously missing out. I won’t lie, when I’m collating tweets to embed into MagpiedPedagogy it’s one of the first hashtags I seek out; there’s a huge array of ideas and subjects covered by it.

Pedagoo is a community of teachers learning through sharing classroom practice, you can join in at  or through the previously mentioned weekly hashtag: 

Pete Sanderson & Lesson Toolbox


Collator of great ideas shared under the hashtag  

Pete shares ideas from far and wide. If you ever need a sprinkle of inspiration check out the Lesson Toolbox twitter feed or his site –


Try This Teaching


Created by  | Try This Teaching shares and promotes a toolkit of T&L ideas based on the site  

Outstanding Teaching


Affiliated with Andy Griffith & Mark Burns, the Creators of the Outstanding Teaching Intervention and the authors of Engaging Learners and Teaching Backwards, this twitter feed regularly shares tips, ideas and good practice from classrooms across the UK as well as links to research and publications.

Isabella Wallace


Now technically it’s not Isabella that I’m recommending here, but more the pedagogical hashtag she created – . If you’ve not heard of the concept of Poundland Pedagogy, then let me briefly explain it to you. Quite simply it’s the idea that cheap products from shops such as Poundland and PoundStretchers can be used to enhance teaching and student engagement through creative and innovative approaches.

There are a huge range of ideas to be found under the hashtag and I highly recommend taking a look.