Tuesday, 5 May 2015
Monday, 17 November 2014
What have we seen since the last meeting?
After 2 weeks of teachers seeing each other's lessons, it was interesting to see that Frog isn't everything to everyone and nor should it be. IT and Media tend to use FrogOS for all their resources: homework, classwork, coursework; resource sharing; and a place for work to be handed in (file drops).
Other subjects are using Frog more sparingly (so far) but definitely moving things forward:
Business Studies- sharing resources & information with students, place for work to be handed in.
Media- students are fully engaged with using Frog and do so in the lesson and from home. Apps, video, sound and interactive websites are being added are being added and all schemes of learning with resources have been set up.
ICT- Frog is fully embedded in all lessons from year 7-13. Students are clearly becoming more independent, with students collaborating and supporting each other more than used to happen before the use of Frog. Frog is another resource for information and support as is the teacher.
PE- have websites set up with chat rooms but not everyone is using it so far.
RE- want it to be a one-stop-shop for all of their revision resources to start with. This started with wanting to support a severely visually impaired student and provide all students with differentiated resources- this will start after the mock exams.
Languages- are using Frog for flipped learning, using tablets is not great
Most subjects are using Frog to set homework but this is only for students to see. It seems that most students expect their homework to be on Frog, but this is worth investigating perhaps via Baraza?
Barriers to using Frog:
- One of the main issues is getting all devices connected- Frog is not great on iPads at the moment as it's not optimized for mobile devices.When using mobile devices- don't use back button, wait for Frog to load, keep the device the same way up. Hopefully this will be improved by Frog soon.
- Some subjects are using Facebook and Twitter to share resources. This is not exactly a problem but does this dilute the impact of Frog?- or is this more realistic- that students will need to access numerous different types of software outside of school?
- Software updates and obsolescence have caused more work as have updates in curriculum from the DfE- time is needed to set up useful sites
- Some students may want to use other sites that they are more used to
- Some staff have not engaged with using Frog-through fear or lack of knowledge?
- Infrastructure problems- some times the school network cannot take so many students being online at the same time- this will be looked into ASAP
- Chrome does not always load links from Frog
- Time on training days & meetings- Technology is used most effectively is when there is ownership by staff and students- departments should create their own sites to get maximum use
- If only Frog is used for resource sharing then students have to use it!
- 6th form student helpers to help staff with training.
- Continue to raise the profile of Frog with the staff: the fact that developing resources on Frog is the same as developing a scheme of learning...but a bit more scary (for some) because it's in Frog!
- WAGOLL Wednesdays used - someone can demonstrate how to upload resources onto Frog- from a subject are other than IT. Videos like this also may help.
- Are we using Frog as a whole-school resource?
- Can we ensure equal access for all students on all devices? Business will look at setting up research into the use of iPads and Nexus tablets to see which works best with Frog. RE will start looking into setting up research into engaging boys and SEN students
- Can all students cope with the independence? Does using Frog improve independent learning and personalisation for all students? SEN/ most able?We need to ask the students!
- Are staff not using enough because of time? lack of knowledge? infrastructure?
- Do students struggle with using Frog? What about the content and how we present it?
- Do we have to use Frog?Why is Frog better than using anything else? Does it really help the students? Maths will look at setting up a class trial using Frog, using electronic devices but not Frog and then no 'smart learning' at all to compare the difference.
Links to learning apps that staff are currently using with Frog : padlet, quizlet, triptico, edmodo, socrative, Google docs, Khan Academy.
Most of these (if not all) can be embedded into Frog so that you do not need to come out of Frog to use them.
Monday, 15 September 2014
At Finham Park we try to 'keep the main thing, the main thing' , as Stephen Covey said, and for us that is of course teaching and learning. It is not always easy and we do not always succeed, but we try.
We are now in our 3rd year of using TaLK (teaching and learning communities) as a main driver for improving teaching and learning at Finham Park School. Despite my being the member of leadership team attached to the Yellow TaLK Group, I will often include whole- school ideas.
A brief history of TaLK
In Autumn 2012 TaLK was introduced with some key foci:
- put aside meeting times to only discuss T&L (teaching and learning)
- to improve our practice with regards to AfL (assessment for learning)
- to share best and next practice- to improve our current practice and to trial new ideas
- to develop a more open-door policy to our practice
Overall, these foci were achieved- staff generally felt positive about the meetings (lots of cake) and practice definitely moved forward. At our Annual Teaching and Learning Conference in the summer of 2013 staff shared their findings from the year. It was clear that staff had worked hard on improving their practice which was reflected in the increase in number of 'good' and 'outstanding' lesson observations, despite the bar being raised.
In year 2 (2013-14) TaLK morphed somewhat....and we made some mistakes:
- blogs became minute taking... and a bit dull!
- there were too many foci (with the main focus of personalisation), which led to fragmented outcomes
- we tried to achieve too much after each meeting
- some groups became frustrated as the outcomes were limited and/or unfinished
- ....and despite it still being a 'good thing' to talk about teaching and learning, we definitely felt an 'implementation dip' last year and outcomes were less clear.
New and improved.... TaLK 2014
So for 2014, we thought long and hard about what to do with TaLK. Strategic abandonment? Do something new? Or improve what we already had in place? We decided on the latter.
For 2014- 15 TaLK will be more robust: it will be a year-long action research project with the aim of improving practice in key areas from the school Strategic Plan; some new TaLK leaders have come on board; staff have chosen which area they were most interested in; and departments have been given more time to meet with some time put aside for 'Time to TaLK' so staff can share their research at department meetings (the aim of this is for further sharing and embedding of practice into schemes of learning and everyday teaching).
Our action research will be based on the following from NFER: www.nfer.ac.uk/ris
Action research in summary:
Action Research is a three‑step, spiral process of
Yellow TaLK group- 15th September 2014
The Yellow TaLK group will be looking at 'The impact of 21st Century teaching strategies'- in other words, how new technologies can improve teaching and learning for Finham Park students.
First of all we needed to clarify our research question. This took longer than we thought, and after some serious debates about the use of technology in schools (oh how we miss writing reports in pen and the smell of Tippex), we came up with what we think is a useful question- in bold (with a few additional sub-questions):
As FROG OS has been launched this September it is on the minds of many teachers, students and parents.
- How can we optimize teaching and learning through FrogOS?
- How do we feed this back to our Frog Leaders in the school?
- What are the issues and obstacles we face? Integration of different systems? Email? SIMS? Admin?
- Does it have a different impact on different cohorts?
- How confident are teachers in using FrogOS?
- Are teachers clear how FrogOS can be used to support teaching and learning?
- What areas of best practice in FrogOS do staff have they can share with colleagues?
I had already put on the whole-school calendar a 'TaLK observation fortnight' after the TaLK meeting, to ensure all staff are getting into lessons and seeing some good practice (not necessarily from our own TaLK group).
We decided that over the next fortnight, everyone would visit at least one member of staff to see Frog OS in action- this will be fed back at the next TaLK meeting next half term.
Wednesday, 4 June 2014
Monday, 17 March 2014
This got us thinking: Draw a 6 x 4 square rectangle on squared paper. Shade in 18 squares so that every row and column has an even number shaded in ....... we failed! Starters like this in any lesson can get students engaged, competitive, thinking.
Sharing our learning:
Getting started with SOLO
Two members of staff used hexagons (click here for more information on these). This was tried after a post test review to plug any gaps in knowledge or get over any misconceptions. The activity took 15 minutes- students had hexagons with key words on and they had to join them any way they wanted to, but had to give a reason for the links. Students could then take photos and tweet their links for future use. Feedback from the students was very interesting: they really enjoyed this task as they said it made them think, made them talk and was fun! They also said that they wanted to use the hexagons again but needed longer and for revision.
The students worked for 30 minutes on this, took the test and had achieved higher than with other tests.
This will be used again and has now become part of our classroom toolkit for good!
Another teacher uses SOLO red, amber, green- what students know, don't know and are unsure about. This then focuses students on where there are gaps in their learning.
As part of our focus on personalisation two members of the group have been using the software Classcharts to make CLIPS (classroom intervention plans- annotated seating plans). The staff using Classcharts CLIPS said that they are useful as one can build a profile of each group and it is easy to make new seating plans. However, as there is little room for text this can limit flexibility. Next week we will be looking at the use of PARS for seating plans with the idea that either system (whichever is best) will link with SIMS and so all the data we need will go straight onto seating plans.
Making 'Even better ifs' count!
One of the team has been trying to use CLIPS more effectively around the classroom and making better use of 'even better ifs'- Making the even better ifs count! Instead of students correcting all their work the teacher gives the students a brand new question. Sometimes it is during the lesson, sometimes after collecting books in (this is done weekly for year 11) and students will have different starters in books in the form of differentiated questioning. More marking is completed in lessons and ebis are directed to stretch students and improve misconceptions.
Another suggestion was to start each lesson on '8 questions'. Student know they have to get 6/8 questions right to achieve a grade C (75%). The areas they get wrong forms their revision for the week. If they get less than 6 correct they have to attend catch up class - this has already become routine..
All of us went away wanting to try new teaching to improve students' learning. The next step is to think about how we can make the new practice we've tried PERMANENT!
Wednesday, 5 February 2014
Today our TaLK group split. One group discussed getting started with SOLO taxonomy and planned some lessons This is part of a whole school strategic aim of improving differentiation and personalisation:
1. Science lesson- PART 1- looking back- review of a test- use the 5 minute test review (from twitter). Pair up students working at a similar level. Use of different coloured hexagons to analyse each question- green for things they've both understood; red for things that 1 or neither have understood and white for new learning. Use ipads/ phones, books, each other, teacher to add simple detail to hexagons of areas where they are not sure about answers- teacher to use planned questions to gauge understanding and stretch students' learning. Then link hexagons with main idea in the middle. Students take photos of hexagons and tweet (this class uses twitter to learn) or just tweet as they learn something new. We will not be using the SOLO symbols or vocabulary, but possibly levels a,b,c,d (or similar). Students will also try analysing questions to find out what style of question they are best at in a SOLO way, e.g. are they good at just giving simple answers? Can they apply their learning in novel questions? Do they need to know lots of facts to answer a question?
PART 2- looking forward to new topic to gauge what students know in order to plan future lessons- using hot maps. Students have a list of contents of the topic and write what they know well in the central box, and add more detail as they move further out. The teacher will then look at these to plan the topic- also seating plans, homeoworks, questions etc can be planned based on this
2. A PE teacher was struggling to get one student to understand bones, ligaments, tendons etc i.e. stuck at uni structural/ prestructural stage. We shared ideas to help plan this lesson e.g. dissecting a chicken (with help from biology teacher if needed); drawing around a body on the floor and label it, then take a photo with a phone; take a screenshot of BodyWorlds plasticised bodies and then label in a drawing app; have a fancy dress outfit (especially a tight one like superman) add Velcro to areas needed to label, and have labels with Velcro. Students work in groups to label....also bribery with sweets!
SOLO TaLKING- everything you need to get started!
In Summary the group are focusing on:
- SOLO taxonomy to deepen & personalise learning
- CLIPS & Classcharts to personalise learning and aid planning
- Flipping the classroom to improve application of knowledge and skills
- eating biscuits from the 80s.
Monday, 14 October 2013
Ideas for personalisation:
- use of SOLO taxonomy/ independent student choice over task
- use of 'CLIPs': classroom intervention plans (annotated seating plans with strategies)- clear interventions e.g. Who to question? Level of questioning? Knowledge of students
- 'bounce' answers to other students as part of pose, pause, pounce, bounce
- post-marking starter question: support to stretch & challenge
- target setting 3/4 levels of progress
- differentiated homework tasks- based on self evaluation confidence scores & also targeted by teacher
- flipping homework
- in class AfL
- hinge questions
- change of seating plans e.g. Group students according to ability in different lessons/ part of lesson/ where appropriate
- differentiated roles in teams
- students leading part of lesson
- reflection on learning e.g. Exit pass- students to have more input into personalisation for next lesson
This also will generate more independence and control over the lesson moving away from the teacher being the 'holder of knowledge'
Action research groups:
1. SOLO taxonomy
2. Flipping learning
3. Formative feedback