Brookfield Community School (BCS) Sharing Practice

Category Archives: Events

Effectively using data

With so much data available to teachers in schools, are we actually using it as effectively as we could?  Are we being reactive or proactive with data?  Are we simply ‘doing’ data or using it to improve the teaching and learning in classrooms?  In this INSET, teachers were showcased how to use data effectively in classrooms, how to collate data to improve your teaching, how to review data, how to use key materials like transitions matrices and how to share all of this with students.

Jack Wainwright – Question Level Analysis

5 steps to starting and using QLA.1. You need to have an assessment for the class that they will sit at the end of a unit or topic. Assessment should aim to cover as much content and as many skills as possible. An old exam paper or exam style questions would be perfect.
2. Identify the content of each question and any skill that is used. Place these as the headings in your spread sheet.
3. Input student names and additional details (target grade, prior attainment, FSM, PP, SEN etc.)
4. Mark assessment and input scores for each question onto the spread sheet. Use conditional formatting to help colour code the scores (Green for 75% etc.)
5. Analyse the data of your group and compare with that of parallel groups and above and below. Identify areas of weakness that can be addressed during a reteach period and in everyday teaching

Pete Jordan – Successful Pupil Progress Review Meetings (PPRMs)

Top 6 things to make a successful PPRM:

1. Preparation, Preparation, Preparation:
2. Have data analysed in advance.
3. Come with some discussion points in mind.
4. Come with ideas for reteach/what to do next in mind.
5. Keep focused! Don’t get bogged down with trivial points.
6. Agree concrete, time scaled action points



Stuart Parkes – Keeping class data simple

Developing a Growth Mindset Culture – Afternoon INSET

The work of Carol Dweck focusing on the mindset of students in the classroom is an extremely important area of research.  Helping students make the change from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset was the topic of discussion of our first afternoon INSET this year.  With contributions from John Fenlon, Jennifer Phillips, David Fawcett and our Head Girl Emily Tout, a number of ideas and strategies were shared to help create a Growth Mindset culture.

Emily Tout – Why Growth Mindset is important for students

In this session, Head girl Emily Tout explained why students should be aware of Growth Mindset and explained ways in which teachers could integrate it into classrooms.


Jennifer Phillips –  Growth Mindset and a ‘can do’ culture

In this session, Jennifer Phillips explained how she applies effective classroom strategies to promote independence and Growth Mindset in her classroom.  Here are some of the highlights:

Prove to the kids that they can do it; use specific examples whether in the past, verbally or retakes. Don’t just tell them, it is meaningless.

Praise process rather than outcome; they feel like they have achieved and it is the process that gets you there anyway.

Ensure that language is reinforcing the belief that they are in control, rather than being fixed; even when praising, avoid “you are great at that” change to praise specific effort and resilience to model for class and move away from “effort” being a tactful way of saying not good enough.

Always give an opportunity to improve and grow-DIRTY time and retaking assessments. they know clearly what they need to do and can see the effect.

Questions are just as important as answers, it is not always about getting it “right”.

Encourage a personal best and avoid comparing to others as this can dishearten and seem unachievable or lead to coasting

David Fawcett – Don’t just ‘do’ Growth Mindset

In this session, teacher David Fawcett explains why we shouldn’t just say we ‘do’ Growth Mindset.  It’s not about simply having an assembly or displaying a poster on your wall.  It is the constant things we do day in day out to promote a Growth Mindset that is important.  Here are some of the points raised:

Avoid seeing ‘Growth Mindset’ as the silver bullet of education.  Please don’t say you ‘do’ Growth Mindset otherwise it becomes an add on, fad or buzz word.  Instead build it as part of your everyday classroom culture.

Set challenge high so that learning is meaningful.  Avoid making tasks easier or assigning ‘all/must/some’ objectives as this limits challenge for all.

Model what excellent work looks like so students can aspire to achieve higher standards

Use self-reported grades with students so they begin to set themselves targets and evaluate their progress.

Encourage resilience/responsibility within learning through strategies such as 4B’s and stuck walls.  When a student says they ‘Can’t do this…..’, follow up with ‘yet!’.

Use DIRT time and critique so students can see how re-drafting, amendments and acting upon feedback improve work

Use a visualiser or images of students work so the class can collaboratively improve it.  Demonstrate how to make work better.

John Fenlon – Assessment and growth mindset

In this session, John Fenlon explains how to use assessments as a way to develop growth mindset, and make a shift away from the usual fixed mindset nature of them.  His tips for making this move are:
Change the experience of assessments ‘TOP 4 TIPS’:
Make them
More commonplace.
Low stakes
No grades
Students track scores.
Only progress matters – have they improved on last time?
Praise effort – not attainment.
Prove to students they are making progress:
Use the same questions over and over.
Reward progress with merits and shouting from the rooftops.
Distributed learning – use the same quiz 1 week, 1 month etc later

Stretching towards A*s – Afternoon INSET 4

Are we effectively stretching students to get A*/A’s?  Do we just focus on the more able?  Are we getting differentiation the wrong way round which makes tasks easier rather than making them think harder?  The afternoon INSET session on Wednesday 25th March focused on how we could apply simple yet effective strategies into our lessons.  It looked at how we can push all students to get A*/A’s, or at least help them aspire to get the highest grade possible.

Richard Charlesworth – A* to A (Focus the mind)

The following activities were all designed to develop consciously deeper thinking about a subject before writing about them with any authority.

Using functional English enables students to share conceptual understanding as a class. As a learning community they develop the terminology to understand and explain key terms in a way that they are all happy with. This is fundamental to deeper thinking and can impact upon reading and writing skills equally

Odd one out is a way of forcing students to evaluate and explain their thought process using contextual knowledge. Using a taxonomy approach enables students to engage where they feel capable with the task. However, the true A* student should be able to use their own contextual knowledge to recognise one or more possible odd one outs. The game can be played just as easily with dates or key terms. The ultimate goal is to generate discussions in class which encourage deeper thinking and the skills of evaluation.

Using hexagons or other shaped tiles to make connections is another way to achieve the goal of deeper thinking. The more associations that can be made then the more likely that an A/A* answer can be produced. The activity works best if the hexagons are cut up to allow movement. This way multiple associations can be established quickly and in a kinaesthetic way  the student can evaluate the strength or importance of those connections. This contributes to higher quality evaluation between factors or key concepts.

The final activity I presented once again concentrated upon the written skills of the student. By using sentence starters then it is possible to extend an already good piece of writing into an outstanding one. The example demonstrates this very well and there are suggestions about other options for starter sentences suitable for a number of subjects. As with all of the activities I have mentioned the best way to judge them is to give them a go with one of your classes. They are all engaging for the students and the results you get will pretty soon speak for themselves.


Raising academic standards (5 strategies) – David Fawcett

Subject Specific Sentence Starters – Use three word sentence starters with students when they are completing essays or long answer questions.  The use of well designed starters mean that students may be prompted, stretched or forced to think about possible themes to include in their writing.  The use of academic words in the starters also help students to continue writing in an academic manner.  Easy to think of but make sure they are rigorous!

The art of the sentence – Borrowed from Mark Millar and Doug Lemov, ask students to summarise or write a statement about a complex topic in one single sentence.  The process means that students have to think about how to communicate the complex idea in a clear and concise way.  They will also need to use technical language to minimise the word count and keep the sentences succinct.  Initially use a scaffold and then progress to get students comparing or evaluating topics when they become more confident in the strategy.

Model, model, model! – Show what great work looks like.  Show them past students examples.  Show them an answer that you came up with.  Take a photo of student work as it happens and project it on the screen.  As a class dissect and then develop the answer to make it better.  Show them the thought process and procedure.  Show them how to write to a high standard and the steps it takes to get there.

Literacy upgrade – When peer assessing or critiquing work, get students to apply a ‘literacy upgrade’ where they need to pick out words and improve the academic standard of them.  For instance, students make read the words “to work out” and upgrade it to “to calculate”.  Easy to do at any time in the lesson to improve students academic vocabulary.

Format Matters – Again borrowed from Doug Lemov.  Set high standards for the verbal answers that students give.  We are very critical in what they write, so make it clear that spoken answers need to be of the same high standard.  Help scaffold the process and set the expectation that what they say is as important as what they write.


Strategies to attain the highest grades – Helen Strutton

The top grades should be a natural consequence of an excellent education.

A range of strategies to ensure pupils are exam ready, independent and enthused. These ideas need to be embedded into lessons and schemes of work.


Writing to A* – Veronica Hein

I covered five top tips to sharpen students’ formal essay writing skills.  They were:
1 – 3rd Person
2 – Key vocabulary/phrasing
3 – Introductory and connecting sentences
4 – Nominalisation
5 – Proof reading for waffle and repetition
The presentation included examples of students’ work demonstrating weaknesses and then samples of how they are improved when the above are put in place.

Planning for memory & revision – Afternoon INSET 2

With the heightened focus on terminal tests and the exam season fast approaching, how do we help students best prepare for them?  Are there ways to manage the frenzy of the revision build up?  Can we make changes to the way we teach lessons so that we don’t need as much revision intervention?  Can we help students manage their revision more effectively so it becomes an independent process?  The afternoon INSET on Wednesday 26th November began to share some insight and generate discussion about how can we as teachers help plan for memory and improve revision with students.

[divider ]John Fenlon[/divider]

John Fenlon – Teaching students to write effective revision notes

Writing effective revision notes:
Revising is not the same as reading from a text book.
In order to make revision more effective you need to reduce the number of words you are reading and trying to remember.
Included are a number of strategies to help you do this when writing your own revision notes.
Once you have read something, you need to practice remembering it, not just re-read the same pages over and over again.

“Our students mistake reading for revision”

“Write less and make revision more effective”

“Number your revision notes in topics so you can say “What are the 8 things about Red Cloud’s War?”

“Use mnemonic’s as a starting point for retrieving revision information”

“Spend time in lessons teaching students how to create revision notes effectively”

“Get students to reflect on revision.  What works and what doesn’t?”

[divider ]Fran Bennett[/divider]

Fran Bennett – Planning memory into our curriculum

Slide 2 – Using the research of Bjork we have been looking into how to help information stick in students memory better.  In particular focusing on 3 main areas of testing, spacing and interleaving.  It is not the case if we don’t use it we lose it, it is just harder to find.

Slide 3 – Bjork talks about storage strength (how well learned something is) and retrieval strength (how accessible something is).  The better storage strength is the better retrieval strength is.  We are working on how we can develop storage strength.

Slides 4, 5 & 6 – we have looked into the fact that study followed by testing, testing and more testing has a greater benefit to information staying in the memory.  We have been doing multiple choice pre-tests at the start of every unit.  Multiple choice allow students to have a go at working out the answer even if they don’t know it and therefore start to make links before they study it further. We have also been doing fun, low stress tests at the start, middle or end of lessons.

Slides 7, 8 & 9 – examples of the types of fun, low key regular testing we have been using in the lesson to test the information learnt in the lesson or from previous topics.

Slide 10 – to help information stick in the memory we needed repeated practice planned out throughout the year.  The brain stores information much better the 2nd, 3rd, 4th time and therefore retrieval strength as well. Therefore you need to plan and space out re-visiting and testing the information.  Ideally increasing the length so the information is almost forgotten before you test it again.

Slides 11 & 12 – example of how we have planned out our schemes of work for Yr 10/11 including how we have planned out our testing.  For example we cover unit 1 then unit 2 etc and keep repeating spread out over a unit.

Slide 13 – Another way of testing information and reinforcing what has been previsouly covered is by interleaving topics especially user for higher order tasks.  Some examples of how we have created tasks interleaving two or more topic areas.  For example the first unit we taught was all about how factors such as age, gender etc can affect an individual’s ability in sport.  A couple of units later we talked about fitness so the task involved students taking the information they learnt about age, gender and using it to consider how this may affect an opponent’s fitness.

“Avoid the mad panic of revision season by building memory into our curriculum”

“Use pre tests at the start of every unit to begin the memory process”

“Study – Test – Test -Test is better for long term memory”

“Low risk, frequent, varying and fun – testing in lessons”

“Can we space out when we revisit/retrieve topics throughout the year”

[divider ]Mark Barrett[/divider]

Mark Barrett – Planning for memory and revision

I presented a session on memory strategies that are utilised in MFL teaching and discussed ways in which they could be translated to other curriculum areas. I also explained how students best retain information over time and how to make their learning more “memorable”. We looked at some memory statistics and thought about how that could impact on student concentration.

“Ebbinghaus curve shows that 80% of what is taught is lost in the first 24 hours”

“Chunking is a great way for splitting up complex topics”

“How do we use ‘remembering lyrics’ to our advantage in revision?”

“Journey method is good as it piggy backs onto existing memories”

[divider ]Amy Hunter & Fiona Sandford[/divider]

Amy Hunter & Fiona Sandford – Revision and terminal assessments

A copy of the full presentation can be found here: Revision and Terminal Assessments.

“Communication at home through the revision period is a great help”

“Present an overview of your curriculum on your school VLE so everyone knows what is going on”

“Flip learning? Can key materials be online (VLE) so students have a base level of background knowledge when they come to your lesson”

“Practice, practice, practice”

“Journey method – Teach students the technique so they see how it works. Use random words at first and then build in subject specific terminology”

“What is the fundamental piece of information in each topic to trigger memory?”

“Could co-ordinate topics as you go throughout the course. Add notes as you go throughout the year”

“Help students to organise their work so it is revision ready”