Month: January 2016

The ‘Show Sentence’

Interesting model of how to fine tune pupils’ writing to add style and precision, informed by knowledge of the context in which the text being analysed was produced…

Tabula Rasa

The Michaela approach to writing about literature involves building up sentences by combining pupils’ knowledge of poetic, theatrical and rhetorical techniques with memorised quotations, memorised facts and academic vocabulary. Through lots of guidance, we are able to elicit some pretty good sentences from the class, before letting them loose to write their own. I call this a ‘Show Sentence’. I do these pretty much every lesson so they get plenty of writing practice.

Below is a demonstration of this approach in action in a lesson. To provide a context, this would take place after they have read, discussed and annotated the text, and have memorised key quotations. I would most likely be scribbling this on the whiteboard as they go.

Year 8 (lowest set) Lesson: Shakespeare’s Macbeth

Teacher: “Fair is…?”

Pupils [chanting in unison]: “…foul and foul is fair: hover through fog and filthy air.”

Teacher: Super! Which techniques does…

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Making Marking Meaningful Pt II

Thought-provoking and practical advice on effective and efficient marking, from Cottenham VC. (Part 2)

CPDL @ Cottenham Village College

In the previous post on Making Marking Meaningful, we shared various practices, inspired by others, that have helped improve marking and feedback at CVC. The focus was on making marking more efficient and effective at the same time. As a result of the work we decided a new policy was needed that better reflected the principles and practices that were being developed. We decided that this policy was not to be a set of fixed practices that everyone must follow, but rather a set of key principles that would guide practice in each department. This would give each subject the opportunity to develop practices that would be best suited to learning in their subject, whilst maintaining consistency regarding the overall purpose of marking and feedback. The draft policy states:

“Marking, feedback and pupil response – A Policy

Marking pupils’ work sits within the wider context of assessment policy and practice that is…

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Making Marking Meaningful Pt I

Thought-provoking and practical advice on effective and efficient marking, from Cottenham VC.

CPDL @ Cottenham Village College

So, you teach English. It’s 7pm. The planning is done. However, in front of you sits a pile of 32 Y10 books, each with an essay on Romeo and Juliet, and a bottle of wine. Question: which should you open first? How can you ensure that you are ‘marking regularly’ in a way that means you can have a healthy work-life balance and that the marking makes an impact on pupils’ learning? Teachers across the country face the same pressure with regards to marking and workload and, in response, there are some very thought-provoking blogs and resources created by teachers designed to make marking both more manageable and more effective. You may not agree with all they say, but they’ll make you think about your practice.

One blog that you should certainly read, offering a very particular view on marking and feedback, is by David Didau, ‘The Learning Spy’ (www.learningspy.co.uk

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Unforgettable Teaching at Sawston VC

Thanks to Cottenham VC for this helpful summary and outside perspective, regarding our Unforgettable Teaching conference…

CPDL @ Cottenham Village College

In October, four CVC teachers attended an excellent CPDL event at Sawston Village College, which focused on memory and how we help pupils to improve their recall. The timing was perfect in the context of curriculum changes and the increased emphasis on terminal exams and the event posed the question, ‘how can we teach in ways that help pupils to remember?’ and drew on the work of cognitive scientists as well as practice at SVC to explore how memory works and how we can provide ‘unforgettable teaching’.

Source: Unforgettable Teaching: how can we teach in ways that help pupils to remember?

The above link takes you to SVC’s blog on the event, as well as the resources that each speaker kindly shared. Below is a brief summary from CVC staff who attended the sessions:

1. Keynote talk: Professor Sue Gathercole, Director of the Medical Research Council’s Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, explained…

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