Monthly Archives: March 2013

GCSE Art tracker wall

Here’s an awesome idea from Liejhe’s GCSE art class that brings AfL to life for students, keeps wall displays up-to-date, and interactive, and makes them relevant for your tracking and teaching. It is a great way to efficiently keep tabs on exactly where your students are within an extended project.

Liejhe has found that students often have problems planning their final GCSE piece.  The most common gaps in their sketchbooks tend to be evidence of this kind of planning and thinking.

So to bring this to life for the GCSE group, and help them understand the success criteria for each task along the way, the GCSE tracker wall was born. The aim is to show students, in a clear and accessible visual format, what each task could look like in a series of exemplars along the top of the wall. Underneath this there is a ‘star’ space for the students to respond. When they think they have completed this task they update the space with a post-it at the start of a lesson.

Liejhe can quickly see who’s on target or progressing well from a scan of the post-its, students become more accountable for their own progress, and everyone wants to avoid their name ending up on the ‘missing students’ list, who haven’t reported any progress.

The wall itself is a massive work of art, and lovely to look at!

Here’s a pic:

Art tracker wall

Questioning strategies – a resource pack

For the last fortnight, Monday afternoon T&L sessions have looked at questioning techniques. We’ve had carousels to share some great ideas for planning your own questioning, and encouraging students to question each other in different ways. This is just a quick post to share one of the resource packs from the session.

Questioning resource pack 1

It’s a scan of class resources, so apologies if its a bit grainy or difficult to read. Very happy to go through any of these you might be interested in.

Hope it’s useful.

T&L Agony Aunt!

Dear PA Agony aunt,

What other ways can I differentiate for a dyslexic student, other than using a computer?

Dear PA teacher,

Although the use of a word processor can be very beneficial for a dyslexic student, I understand that it may not always be practical for you in your lessons. Here are some other tips that you may find useful:

  • Check the student’s pen-picture. Every student will be affected by dyslexia differently, and these documents contain tailored advice for every student.
  • Check after every instruction that the student has understood what you have said. Ensure that it is part of your routine to go to that student at the beginning of each task.
  • Break words down into parts. Remember that keywords can be provided syllabically and provided as card sorts. This will help students to learn how to sequence words.
  • Use multiple visual and sensory props. Remember to include aspects of kinaesthetic learning.
  • Be patient and positive. You may not be the only one that is frustrated!

I hope that this helps!

There are new questions on the T&L board in the staff room, such as these. If you have a question for our agony aunt, or would like to suggest some helpful advice to this or other questions, please email Gemma Gordon, or post below.

Agony aunt Qs

T & L activity of the week – Thinking Hats.


This strategy is very useful for encouraging high level thinking and can be easily differentiated. It can be used as an activate or demonstrate task in which students are required to analyse a topic using different thinking skills.  

  • Allocate a hat to each student in the group (possibly allocating the white hat to the less able and the green hat to the more able).
  • Each student investigates a topic using their thinking hat.
  • Teach what they have found out using their hat to the rest of the group.
  • Consolidate the task by possibly completing a written summary for each hat.

April INSET – every teacher a teacher of literacy.

Socratic discussionSome amazing resources and ideas for developing both written and verbal literacy from Melissa and Amy, including brilliant templates for structuring a socratic discussion.

INSET Literacy April 2013

Self-assessment socratic stickers

Socratic circle cards

Prompts for a good discussion

Verbal literacy evaluation stickers

Grammar stickers

Verbal literacy evaluation sticker

T & L activity of the week – Human Continuum.


This strategy is useful for student-led AFL. It can be used as a connect activity, recapping prior learning, as a consolidate or as a method of formative assessment during the lesson. Human continuum is particularly useful as a preparatory task before individual written work as students are given the opportunity to discuss their learning with their peers in a structured format.  

  • Pose a statement or question.
  • Students decide whether they agree, disagree or are not sure and stand on the appropriate point on the line.
  • With other students at their point on the line, students construct reasons to support their position.
  • Each group explains their reason for their position on the line and attempts to convince those students who are not sure to move to their point on the line.

T & L activity of the week – What’s in the Bag?


This strategy is useful as an engaging connect that encourages high level thinking.

  • Give each group of students a bag containing a variety of objects that are connected to the topic of the lesson.
  • In groups, students work out how the objects are connected and what they have to do with the lesson topic.
  • Each group then feeds back to the class.