Assembly: Concentration

Teaching: Leading Learning

This assembly owes much to a presentation on the brain given by Bradley from Inner Drive (@Inner_Drive) at #GrowEx last year, and this excellent TED talk by Peter Doolittle (@pdoopdoo) on working memory shared by Huntington Learning Hub (@HuntingtonLHub). It’s well worth a watch:

The PowerPoint slides are shared at the bottom of this post.

We start with a test of working memory (see the video for this test). I am going to ask you to remember five words just by holding them in your mind. Here are the five words:

  1. Tree
  2. Motorway
  3. Mirror
  4. Saturn
  5. Electrode

Whilst you are remembering those five words, I am going to set you three challenges.

  1. What is 23 x 8?
  2. On your left hand, use your thumb to count your fingers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, then back again 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.
  3. Now in your head…

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Ideas for Teaching Better. All In One Place.

teacherhead

Screen shot 2015-05-29 at 15.00.47 So many ideas to share!

Most of the blogs I write that get a good response are the ones about teaching.  Thankfully.  I’d write a book but a) it takes too much time b) the money is terrible and c) I’d just be repeating everything I’ve already written here.  It would be called ‘Into the Rainforest of Teaching and Learning’. I like the organic metaphor because it captures something of the mystery, complexity and beauty of teaching well.   This post is my very lazy outline for that book; another way of bringing some ideas together in one place.

Rainforest Thinking 

From Plantation Thinking to Rainforest Thinking:  it's quite a journey From Plantation Thinking to Rainforest Thinking: it’s quite a journey

I like the idea that learning is ‘lush, diverse, unpredictable, evolving, daunting, exciting’. This is my underlying philosophy for teaching better: rainforest thinking.

Great Lessons

great lessons pic

Although I’d change a few things, I’m still very happy with this series as a way…

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Want to share knowledge organisers?

Othmar's Trombone

One of the many powerful things to come out of the brilliant team at the Michaela Community School in North London is the use of knowledge organisers to specify what core knowledge is to be taught in a scheme of work. If you don’t know what these are, before you go any further you should read MCS Assistant Head Joe Kirby‘s blogpost explaining why and how they use them:

Knowledge Organisers

Brilliant, eh? I recently nicked this idea from the MCS crew and shared one of these for one of the texts on the new English GCSE (Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde) and it got a lot of interest. In fact, pretty soon a lot of people were sharing their knowledge organisers for other texts on the new GCSE and there was talk of collecting them somewhere.

Knowledge organisers are used across all subjects at MCS, so rather than…

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10 Research Based Principles of Instruction for Teachers

Belmont Teach

I recently read an American Educator article from 2012 by Barak Rosenshine that set out 10 principles of instruction informed by research, with subsequent suggestions for implementing them in the classroom. It was also one of the articles cited in the “What makes great teaching? Review of the underpinning research” by Rob Coe et al and provided further elaboration on one of their six components of great teaching thought to have strong evidence of impact on student outcomes, i.e. quality of instruction.

Here’s my summary of the key messages from each of the 10 principles.

1: Begin with a short review of prior learning

Time-for-Review

Students in experimental classes where daily review was used had higher achievement scores. A 5-8 minute review of prior learning was said to strengthen connections between material learned and improve recall so that it became effortless and automatic, thus freeing up working memory.

Daily review could…

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Knowledge organisers in science

Class Teaching

A few weeks ago I read this post by Joe Kirby on Knowledge Organisers.  It made a great deal of sense to me for 3 main reasons:

1.  It reminded me of how I learnt to spell – I’d learn the words, cover them up, write them out and then check my spellings.  This process was then repeated – and it worked.

2.  Students having to think about and recall knowledge, is going to make them remember it.  To quote Daniel Willingham:

willingham quote3. I teach science – a subject that requires students to be able to recall a great deal of knowledge.  What’s the point of teaching them how to structure a 6 mark extended writing answer, if they haven’t got the knowledge in the first place?  It’s like asking a builder to build a wall, without any bricks.

Knowledge organisers seemed to address all three of these points. …

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Making Every Lesson Count

Class Teaching

MELCcover

Last July, Andy Tharby and I set upon a project. We wanted to write an accessible, readable book for classroom teachers, whatever their subject. We wanted to cut through the myths that surround education to focus on some core principles for teaching and learning that could be adapted to fit a range of teaching contexts. We wanted the book to be founded on strong evidence yet to not lose sight of the wisdom of experienced teachers.

And so Making every lesson count was conceived. The book looks at the practical ways ordinary teachers can foster a spirit of excellence and growth through everyday classroom practice. We have been helped along the way by many others from the edu-Twitter world – Dan Brinton, Pete Jones and Chris Hildrew have all written about how they have put the principles to work in their schools. Our friend Jason Ramasami has brilliantly brought…

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R.E.A.L. Projects – The Beginning

Belmont Teach

This post was written by Laura Jackson, our Project Based Learning Lead.

There is a shared folder in My Drive which makes my heart flip every time I look at it…..

REAL projects folder

Rewind almost 18 months and I had just finished reading Ron Berger’s “An Ethic of Excellence” closely followed by  “Leaders of their Own Learning”. The message that stuck with me and I think of several times per day, every day and often quote is:

“It’s not a quick fix, it’s a way of life”.

Ethic of excellence, Berger

Leaders of their own learning

The Dream

In June 2014 I was extremely fortunate to visit the annual Festival of Learning at Cramlington Learning Village and saw some of the R.E.A.L. Projects that the students had been working on in their “Project Fortnight”. The quality of these projects, coupled together with the articulate young people who had been working on them, left me leaving Cramlington wishing we…

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