Monthly Archives: October 2013

Using social media to enhance learning – CPD


social media cpd

We looked at two specific social media tools and how to use them in the classroom.

1. is an online workspace which looks like a real pinboard and allows students to share their ideas or peer-assess each other using virtual post-it notes! Students can post text, attach word/ppt/pdf files, post images and embed videos. This could be used to collate revision tips, brainstorm ideas and the best thing is that you can’t loose any ideas and review them later. Examples can be found here: (holidays) or here: (Y9 film review)

social media 2 cpd

2. allows to creating little “speaking” avatars which gives your more reluctant speakers a platform and a voice! Great for speaking and listening tasks. Students could create a voki for homework, email you the link and you/the whole class can then listen to their work. An example can be found here:

social media 3 cpd

Let me know if you’d like to use these or any other social media tools in your lessons and I’d be more than happy to support you!


social media cpd


A Guide to Working with Education Assistants


How can you make the best use of an Education Assistant?

Education Assistants can undertake a variety of roles in your classroom.  Education Assistants are there to support the learning of the whole class, and will remain with the allocated class during each lesson, unless prior arrangements and / or need dictates additional responsibilities during that lesson.

Education Assistants can assist with:

  • Students of all abilities
  • Preparation of learning materials (e.g. paper, ingredients, DVD,   games,  research…)
  • Reading and explaining tasks (individually or to the class)
  • Helping students organise their work (including recording)
  • Extra help to students in class under your direction (even in a different room, but still under the teacher’s supervision)
  • Taking notes for students and recording homework
  • Acting as a student – teacher link
  • Supporting Educational Visits and practical activities outside the  usual curriculum delivery (with prior notice)
  • Differentiating worksheets
  • Work with small groups or taking a lead on certain elements of the lessons,   i.e. the starter
  • Suggest strategies to help specific students and liaise with teaching staff to improve access and participation
  • Making resources – games and worksheets
  • Supporting the physical and personal needs of students
  • Supporting the preparation towards controlled assessments and coursework
  • Mounting work for wall displays and developing the learning environment
  • Use their strengths to contribute to lessons
  • The Behaviour Management of students in partnership with the   teacher in accordance with the school’s Rewards and Sanctions Policy

It is up to you how best you use an Education Assistant to support students in your lessons.  It is important to remember that the Education Assistant will have experience with the students and their views should be sought when planning and organising lessons and prior to progress reviews.

The best lessons observed were where the teacher and Education Assistant were of equal status in the eyes of the students.

Making time for a joint discussion to ensure that Education Assistants are aware of learning aims and specific outcomes, allows learning to be judged as ‘outstanding’; a partnership ensures best possible opportunities for quality learning for all.


A Guide to Working with Education Assistants 11 12



G&T Events – Update


Year 10 G&T Trip to Cambridge 
4 Year 10 students went on a one day residential visit to Clare College, Cambridge. We stayed in Halls of Residence, got to sample University life, have a tour of the town by punt and got to look around all the University buildings.



Key Stage 4 G&T Conference and Parents Evening

Over 50 students in Key Stage 4 were involved in an exciting off timetable day on Monday 30th September for our G&T Conference. Students enjoyed meeting successful women from around the community and interviewing them about what has helped them achieve, they then spent time in workshops looking at how to get A* grades in English, Maths and Science, Relaxation techniques and toured our new 6th form block. This was followed up by a parents’ evening on Wednesday 2nd October where parents and students came to chat to teachers about what being G&T at Key Stage 4 means and future steps for their daughters.


Focus Groups 2013-2014



FROG in room 52 8th October at 3.30pm – please bring your laptop along

Our Learning Environment in room 45 15th October at 3.30pm

Literacy in the Library 15th October at 3.30pm

PSHE in room 21 15th October at 3.30pm

G&T in room 20 15th October at 3.30pm

Inclusion in PLC 17th October at 3.30pm

Engagement vs Passivity in room 15 19th November at 3.30PM

Get involved!

Visual Approaches to Evidence-Based Teaching – CPD


Last week’s CPD raised a lot of interesting questions about pupils’ learning & thinking and certainly encouraged me to look at teaching from a different perspective. Here are a few of the “gems” from the session…

1. Evidence-based teaching

As there is a wealth of rigorous research and evidence on what works best in the classroom, let’s use it!

Top proven methods to impact on achievement:
– Similarities and differences (tasks that require students to compare and contrast)
– Graphic representations (drawings, illustrations and annotated diagrams)
– Note-making (personal and organised notes)
– Manipulatives (students manipulate pre-printed cards to represent their ideas)
What do they all have in common? They are VISUAL!

2. Visual tools

We can only take in so much information which is why visuals are superior to text in communicating concisely and clearly key messages. In these circumstances visual representation is thought to aid understanding and memory because it better fits with the brains method of processing information than standard note-taking, as the brain stores information in patterns and associations, not linearly.

Some ideas:
– Make the learning visible
– Use graphic organisers to help students organise their thoughts, make personal sense of the new information and to stimulate the mind to make associations (Venn diagrams or charts to compare and classify items, fishbone diagrams to see that there may be many causes leading to one effect, mindmaps, spider diagrams etc)
– Use teacher-prepared notes
– Encourage students to summarise (they can put what is essential in their own words)
– Incorporate words and images using symbols to represent relationships
– Use physical models and physical movement to represent information

graphic organisers
3. Teaching HOW2s to improve T&L

These are visuals that describe the step-by-step processes of high quality teaching techniques. Through images and very few words they explain expert teaching and show you exactly how to conduct some activities and be a better teacher. You can access some free ones on the website

Strategies to get the best out of our EAL students – CPD


To complement this CPD, have a look at Gererd Dixie’s Top tips for teaching EAL students (from The Ultimate Teaching Manual):

Make sure that you carry out some basic research into the cultural and personal backgrounds of the EAL pupils in your classes.

Ensure that these pupils are comfortable in the classroom. Have them seated in front of you so that they can easily access pictures and texts and where it is easier for you to make regular eye contact with them.

Ensure that you start each lesson by explaining the key vocabulary being used. Make sure you provide your EAL pupils with a visual version of the glossary of terms to put into their books.

As far as possible, allow each EAL pupil to sit next to a reliable pupil who can act as a translator.

Identify any cultural content that may be unfamiliar to your EAL pupils and be prepared to explain this, perhaps drawing parallels with other cultures.

Make sure that you repeat and summarize instructions and requests, but be very careful not to vary your language too much when you repeat yourself as this might result in the pupil spending unnecessary time working out if there are any differences between the two messages. Moderate your speed of delivery to meet the needs of these pupils.

Wherever possible give practical demonstrations to your EAL pupils. Supporting your words with actions is a highly effective way of conveying a message to them. However, you do need to be highly sensitive to the fact that body language and gestures vary in meaning between cultures. In many cultures children are taught to avoid making eye contact with their elders. A thumbs up gesture in Britain, for example, symbolizes encouragement. In Bangladesh it is the equivalent of the two-finger sign.

If you are a teacher of English, use dual textbooks where possible.

If there is a bilingual teacher in the school who can help you, get them to produce worksheets in the pupil’s own language.

Do not over-correct the mistakes of your EAL pupils as this will soon cause them to become demotivated. Have a specific focus when assessing pupils’ work and when setting targets.

When you are correcting the written work of your EAL pupil, use the same colour as the pupil has used.

Encourage risk-taking within a safe and secure environment. Create a can-do culture within the classroom and have high expectations of your EAL pupils. Expect them to succeed.

When providing work for EAL pupils make sure that you differentiate. For example, single-word answers are acceptable from a pupil who is new to English but, with increasing experience, pupils must be encouraged to expand their answers and use full sentences.

Find opportunities to use role play and drama.

Make use of writing frames but only if pupils have had the opportunity to talk through their work prior to the written task.

For further ideas, check the EAL Toolkit in the N Drive!

EAL -classroom support

T&L Hubs 2013-2014 – Differentiation


Last Monday saw the launch of our whole school focus on differentiation. Hopefully the session will have given you some ideas on how you can tweak what you already do to ensure high impact and maximum progress for all students.

If you have already taken part in WOW week, it would be great to hear from you. Leave a comment to share your experience! If you haven’t, don’t miss out on this great opportunity and contact your buddy now!

wow week

Catering for all abilities

Tips by Mike Gershon

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For more resources, check the N Drive!

cards which teaching methods differentiate well

T&L Hub Meeting 1 Differentiation