On 25th November Downe House  hosted another great evening where teachers from all sectors got together to share great practice.  The programme was rich and varied in ideas from questioning techniques to talking assessment via leadership ideas and tiger teachers.  It was a great evening.

Slides from the evening’s event can be seen by clicking on the image below:EduDH15

Look out for future events:

#downemandarin – Spring Term

#TMFestDH – Summer Term



On Wednesday 17th June a group of MFL teachers got together @DowneHouse1 to connect, share ideas and learn from each other.  As I said on the night, if there was ever any doubt that Modern Language Teachers are passionate about what they do then this TeachMeet proved otherwise.  There were about 60 linguists (and representatives from other subject areas) from all sectors and all stages of education.  There was a real buzz and four days on that buzz is still there for me and the colleagues in my department.

Our CPD kicked off in style with Mark Anderson @ictevangelist providing our keynote.  Mark judged our needs perfectly and talked to us about the power of TeachMeets and sharing ideas.  Mark told us that ‘languages are a force for good’ and none of us would disagree with that.  Mark took us through some tools that we can use to develop language skills.  Tools such as Ivona.com text to speech tool, Tellagami for motivating students to speak, Post-it Plus app which has many uses not least  assessing learning.  (Read more about this app here).

@GemmaLaundon summed up the Keynote as follows:

https://twitter.com/GemmaLaundon/status/611214013997953024 I could not agree more!

However, the TeachMeet did not end there.  We were treated to a number of excellent presentations.  Jane Bradbury showed us the wonderful La Maison Claire Fontaine which looks like a fantastic place to experience French in situ.  Cheng-Han Wu (@wu_lao_shi) treated us to a two minute presentation entitled More of the Same vs Higher Order Thinking Skills.  It’s amazing what can be achieved in such a short time.   Cheng’s message was powerful and pushed home the importance of practice.

Mary Wood, @stbarts3, who wowed us all last year with some of her classroom teaching ideas and her use of memrise.com, came back to tell us about new features on this language learning website.  Setting up a department area seems like a good plan and one that we will be following through.

Then @basnettj shared her love of @GetKahoot.  It did not take long for the audience to pick up the benefits of this tool.  Before long there was a good bit of competition going on and colleagues could see that not only does this online tool bring an element of fun and competition to the class it also provides some excellent feedback. You can read more about GetKahoot here.

The perennial problem for language teachers is getting students to speak spontaneously.  Fortunately, Ali Quick, @MFLmissquick, had a few ideas to combat this issue.    Ali’s De Bono’s thinking hats and her lovely colourful mats were an instant hit.

The first half was rounded off by a virtual presentation.  Unable to make it in time from the Isle of Man Rachel Smith kindly recorded a video for us on sketchnoting.  @lancslassrach is a keen sketchnoter herself making great use of Paper by Fifty Three. Sketchnoting with classes is not something that many of us had considered but Rachel’s presentation certainly gave us all some food for thought.

Philip Montague, @get_sme,  from Microsoft,  got the second half off to an amazing start.  He spoke to us about Digital Foreign Exchange and enlisted the help of his son via Skype.  We all know the power of minecraft but seeing a young boy picking up a few words in a foreign language whilst working his way through a minecraft maze was pretty special and certainly drove home an important message for us all.    There are so many ways that this tool could be successfully exploited for use in MFL.

We then heard from @this_islanguage, @befluentBFIN, @leVocab and @vocabexpress all took a couple of minutes to talk about the opportunities provided by their online language learning tools. If you do not know them then do check them out!

Gemma Laundon, @GemmaLaundon spoke to us all about spontaneous writing activities.  Getting students to write spontaneously is always quite tricky and Gemma reminded us of some good games we could play.  Consequences definitely seems a good one to get them writing.


We were then really grateful to Anna Comas-Quinn, @AComasQuinn from the OU for sharing her knowledge and expertise on Open Educational Resources and Creative Commons. Teach Meets are all about sharing great ideas so it seems right that Anna talked to us about sharing resources.

The evening drew to a close with three great presentations.  The first from Kirsty de Groot, @phrancophilly  talked us through some fabulous ideas for the MFL classroom for use with all age groups even.  Google classroom and Edmodo are just some of the tools Kirsty mentioned.  Clearly her students are really well prepared for secondary school.

https://twitter.com/GemmaLaundon/status/611238611091095554 Kirsty’s ‘sell a teacher on ebay’ idea went down a treat.

Next up was Joe Dale, @joedale is a master at using technology in the MFL classroom and thus it was no surprise that he created a personalised talking photo story right there at our TeachMeet.  The audience were duly impressed with his brilliant Book Creator photo stories and his ideas about sharing them using Padlet.

Our evening was rounded off in style by Crista Hazell, @CristaHazell.  Crista reminded us of the need for creativity in MFL so that we can enable pupils to access the language they are being taught.

https://twitter.com/leVocab/status/611242308470734848 Crista gave us so much to think about and consider our minds were buzzing with ideas.  She talked about keeping the sparkle in our students’ eyes and gave us ideas on how to achieve this.  Crista managed to put a sparkle in our eyes too! https://twitter.com/wu_lao_shi/status/611245740053168129

The enthusiasm from Crista and all the presenters was infectious.  We proved that MFL Rocks (and so do MFL Teachers!).

We can not wait for our next MFL TeachMeet  -#DHLang15 – and have decided to break up the long wait with a multi-discipline TeachMeet in November.   If you would like to sign up for #EduDH15 you can do so by clicking on #EduDH15

We look forward to seeing you.

You can access the presentations here: Cheng-Han Wu: MOTS & HOTS Ali Quick: Be spontaneous! Rachel Smith: Sketchnoting Gemma Laundon: Spontaneous writing skills Anna Comas-Quinn: Open content and pedagogy Crista Hazell: Creativity in MFL

#DHTM ~ what to do with one iPad or tablet in class

As ever life at school remains busy however this did not stop a good number of interested colleagues coming along to enjoy the last staff Teach Meet of the term.  I think the subject matter had something to do with this as many of us really want to be able to make the most of our iPads in class and are aware that there are many tools that can help us enhance what we are doing with our pupils.

So, first up was TodaysMeet  which the MFL department had discovered at their excellent start of term INSET given by @joedale.  As the website says Todays Meet :

“gives everyone a voice”

With our virtual room duly set up we were all able to see how easy it is to post a question and for someone else in the room to respond (thus leaving the teacher free to continue teaching). With exam season upon us and revision sessions going on TodaysMeet seems like an ideal digital tool to use.  Furthermore a room can stay open for as long or as short a period as necessary so the questions can, if you wish, keep coming even when the lesson is over.  What an excellent tool to encourage collaborative learning amongst pupils and to help students to revise.  So, although not an iPad tool (although it is possible to access the site on your tablet browser, of course) this seems like too good a tool to ignore.

With our room set up the meeting then moved swiftly on to a bona fide iPad or tablet tool.  is a tool that our Teach Meets have explored before.  However, given the focus of this meeting we had to revisit it.  This is such an easy tool to use and is so effective in providing instant feedback on pupil progress using just one iPad and a few cards with QR codes on them.  It is such a simple idea but is so effective.   For more information on this tool read this blog post here.

Finally, we looked at the Post it Plus app which is only available at the moment on iPad. IN my view, this is its only limitation.  Never again will you have to wonder what to do with all those post-it notes your pupils used at the end of the lesson. Of course, before post-it plus, we simply read through the post-its to gain an idea of what our pupils had understood in the lesson.  With the app you simply take a photo and save the post its for use again and again.  You can rearrange the post-its, add more post-its, annotate them, organise them by category and collaborate with others.  If you wanted to demonstrate to your class how much had been achieved over the course of a topic you could combine two sets of post-it notes (saved on boards) and see easily what progress (or not) has been made.  Export the board and save as a powerpoint, pdf or excel.  Here’s one I made earlier:

post it notes

As you can see one of these notes was annotated and all the notes in fact from this board were examined in class in the next lesson so that the pupils could discuss errors made and accurate usage.  To ead more about this versatile and incredibly useful tool click here.

So three very easy tools were examined this time and colleagues have gone on straight away to make use of some of these in their lessons.

Which tools have we overlooked – please let us know.  Do you use any of these tools?  If so, let us know in the comment box below.  We would love to hear how you use them.

#DHTM ~ Feedback

Even though we were all heavily involved in report writing there was still a good appetite for sharing and learning from each other.    The classroom was full of colleagues keen to share ideas and pick up some new ideas and look at the ways we could raise attainment through feedback.

We started with an idea written on the whiteboard.

Assessment: The bridge between teaching and learning. Dylan William

This quote is, of course, well known in the educational world as it comes from Dylan William author of the excellent Inside the Black Box and Embedded Formative Assessment.  Dylan Williams, the Emeritus Professor of Educational Assessment at the Institute of Education is certainly well qualified to oversee, via his quote, the proceedings on this dark Wednesday evening when many of us were worrying about completing reports.   The quote was there to focus our minds and remind us of the point of feedback and it certainly got us off to a good start.

Then @basnettj got the ball rolling focusing on:

DIRT – Dedicated Improvement and Reflection Time.

Google this and you will find lots of literature on it, but @learningspy‘s blog post on the subject is as good as any.   The idea is that when you return work to your students they do not simply slip the file paper into their folders or their exercise book into their bag. They read through the comments and they act upon them.  In this case, work is returned where common mistakes were highlighted but, crucially, not corrected.  On the students’ work are comments to guide them perhaps to some previous notes or to help them reach the right answer by themselves. For example,

What is missing here?  Have you checked the rules on this grammar point? Could you improve this with some more attention on agreements?

Then the key is to leave students time to correct  their errors, enter into a dialogue with their peers or with you, the teacher, so that they can think through their errors and learn where they went wrong.  This proper engagement in where they have gone wrong will lead to greater understanding of their errors.  The onus is firmly on the students to look carefully at their errors and work out where they went wrong so that they do not make the same mistakes again.  The goal is to make the students own their learning.

Naturally, keys and codes can be provided to guide students in their learning.  Corrections can be completed in another colour so that it is clear to both teacher and learner that some thinking has gone on.  If the work needs completely rethinking and rewriting then ask students to do this on different colour paper.  These strategies provide simple ways students can refer back to the learning process and reflect on their mistakes.

Next up was Ian Vallance who always has plenty of ideas on this subject.  He got us all thinking with the following quote.


Ian suggested that this quote should go up in every classroom in the school.  It would certainly make the students think independently.  And on that point, we were reminded by @shampoozil and @downetobusiness to employ the following:



Another step to take before offering feedback is to get the students to read through their work and check that they have achieved a list of requirements on a check list.

mark grid 1

As can be seen in the checklist above pupils have a set of criteria to check through before submitting their work.  They can then ask a critical friend to check through their work before revisiting what they have done and having one final, meaningful and guided look through their work.

There were so many great ideas discussed in such a short space of time. What is written here is just a little taster of what was discussed.  There is undoubtedly room for more discussion on this important topic and we are looking forward to our next teach meet so that we can delve deeper into how to raise attainment through feedback.

#DHTM – Easy Tech Tools

The first Teach Meet of the term was well attended by teachers keen to see what technology could do for their lessons.  The goal was to keep it simple and look at tools that were easily accessible by all.

First up was @plickers which is an excellent assessment tool that helps teachers gauge how well their students have understood the work covered.  It enables teachers to plan the next steps with an accurate knowledge of the levels their students have attained.  A quick demonstration was given and it was clear to everyone that this is a tool that should be explored more.  It does require one iPad per classroom.  For more information on how to set up your class using plickers click here.

For those who do not have access to an iPad another option  is @GetKahoot .

This is an excellent online tool for use in a language lab or students can get the student version of the tool (kahoot.it) on their lap top. This tool allows you to assess your students’ knowledge in much the same way as plickers with four possible answers to choose from. The difference with this tool is that once the four choices are displayed for all to see on the screen there is a limit on the amount of time that students have to answer the question. The background music adds to the intensity and the leader board posted on screen after each round brings an element of competition to this assessment tool. GetKahoot also saves the data about students’ responses in the same way as Plickers. So another tool that is definitely worth exploring.

Next under the spotlight was linoit. Linoit is just one of a number of online walls or pin-boards where students can collaborate and share ideas. Some of the others are linoit – “colourful collaboration” or padlet – “the easiest way to share and collaborate in the world”. It is easy to set up and you can invite your students to join in advance. Once you have started a sharing wall and set it up with your students you really can take it anywhere; grammar work, diagrams, feedback about a particular topic in biology, character analyses for a set text, or, as the example here, research about a particular, French comedian.


Once students start adding their thoughts, ideas, answers and so on the path is set for peer assessment, critical checks by critical friends and your feedback and advice.

Talking about giving advice @shampoozil then talked about how she uses podcasts to give advice on how to answer exam questions effectively. Setting up such a podcast is so easy and requires only the ability to record on a mobile phone or computer and the recording is then very easily
accessible by all students. The obvious advantage of recording such guidelines in this way is that students can access the information at their own pace and can access it as many times as they wish. Lesson time can then be freed up for dealing with individual questions and issues. Using podcasts or voice annotated feedback is certainly an area that needs further investigation and with such apps as educreations and notability oral feedback should become increasingly easy.

The final tool to come under scrutiny was shared by @DiEvans18. She talked to us all about memrise an online site and app @memrise that provides a fun way to learn new vocabulary. This tool has a place not just in the language classroom but in many areas across the school curriculum. @DiEvans18 uses it in her Business Studies classroom. This is a flexible tool that allows teachers to input key vocabulary or lets you choose from a bank of vocabulary that is already there. As a teacher it is possible to follow your students progress and, of course, for students they can create their own lists of vocabulary.

As ever, lots of great ideas were shared at this Teach Meet and I am sure that this will be the first of many more great Teach Meets this year. I hope to see you there.

If you have experience of the tools talked about here (or similar ones) then please let us know in the comment box below. We look forward to hearing from you.

# Hashtag chats

This summer there has been time for reading and relaxing as well as a bit of preparation, of course. One thing I have been able to do is get involved a bit more with some online chats on twitter.

I have made no secret of the fact that I enjoy using twitter. In twitter terms my birthday was June 14th 2013 thanks to @mflandbeyond who introduced me to twitter and to its many benefits.

As I have become more confident with twitter I have discovered how useful it is to me as a teacher. I realise that I can develop (‘grow’ is the term, but it sounds odd to me) my personal learning network. Or, rather, my #PLN.

At this point you may have two questions for me. What’s the point of a PLN and what’s with the ‘#’?

The # (hashtag) is like a bookmark or an index. It allows you to put all thoughts on the same topic in one place. If you are searching for a particular topic you can use the # to find a string of tweets on it. For example:

If you click on #PLN you will be taken to all the related tweets that pertain to personal learning networks. If you have a look at the list you will also begin to understand the point of a PLN.  Here are a couple of responses on twitter about the meaning of #PLN.



As a language teacher I am particularly keen to use #mfltwitterati, and #langchat . I am able to see all tweets that include #mfltwitterati and gain ideas from these tweets or see questions from other teachers that I may be able to answer. In the world of twitter, sharing and collaborating are key; they are, by far, the best reason to tweet. So if I create something that may be useful to others I share it. If I have an idea and want to know if others have tried it already, I ask the great online staffroom to hear about their experiences.

What else can hashtags do?

Hashtags also allow for synchronous online chats. I am not about to go through all the chats that take place on a regular basis on twitter (you can find a list here) but I will expand a little more. Towards the end of the summer term I started getting involved in some online chats. #ukedchat was a hashtag that I had seen over the year and indeed I used it whenever I wanted to share or seek advice. However, one Thursday evening at 8pm I found myself involved in a chat with other teachers. There were, over the course of the hour, a number of questions to consider and my online colleagues from far and wide (overseas as well) all threw in their thoughts. Colleagues from all sectors and ages discussed the topic under consideration and a conversation ensued, new links were made (remember the #PLN?) followers gained and new people followed. Each week there is a different topic and sometimes the chats are subject specific. This list will give more detail.

Other chats I have enjoyed these last few months have been:

#nt2t – (New teacher to twitter based in USA) Saturday at 2pm
#satchat – (Saturday chat) 12.30pm.
#edchat – Tuesday 5pm (based in USA). The chat is based on the second placed vote from a poll posted on the Sunday morning. If you want to get involved in the first placed question then this takes place at 12am!
#AussieEd – Sunday 11.30am
#ukedchat – (UK educational chat) Thursday 8-9pm
#bfc530 – (Breakfast Club) Everyday 10.30am. This is a breakfast chat that takes place at 5.30am in the States and lasts 30 minutes.
#sltchat – (SLT chat based in UK) Sunday 8 – 8.30pm for middle managers and SLT or anyone interested in leadership.

All the times mentioned are GMT.

I just pop in and out of chats as I am able to and pick up lines of enquiry or discussion threads that interest me. I pick out good ideas and add them to my favourites list so that I can explore these ideas later in a less pressured environment. It is through these chats that I stay up to date with modern teaching practices and hope to develop as a teacher.

It has been fantastic to connect with like minded teachers all around the world.  Now term has started again I will have to limit my chats to one a week but I will certainly still be able to call on my growing #PLN for advice and support at any time of the day or night.

If you follow any twitter chats then let me know in the comment box below.  I would welcome your thoughts.

#DHMFLTeachMeet. 26.6.14

Well, the build up was good and there was great anticipation leading up to our first ever Teach Meet for teachers from beyond Downe House. When the day itself finally dawned and language teachers from far and wide descended upon us the meeting did not disappoint. There was a real buzz around the room as excited teachers from KS3 to University Level touched base and chatted about language teaching.

Finally the show got going for real. Not that a room full of linguists needed any convincing about the power of language but we started with a video clip from comedian Paul Whitehouse’s football manager which demonstrated just why we need to learn foreign languages.

Then we got going for real. Justin from @vocabexpress talked us through his fabulous  website which immediately impressed with its easy to use and engaging set up.  There are so many different ways to acquire vocab these days and the tools available on vocab express make the learning process so enjoyable and motivating.

George from @this_islanguage then demonstrated some of the authentic videos and the associated games, and online comprehension quizzes that come with them.  The sheer variety of activities that come with each video is amazing and provides for most needs.  The audience were duly impressed and signed up for the prizes offered by these two sponsors.

First up after the sponsors was @enzadipotenza from @UniRdg_ModLang who talked through the great work going on at Reading University’s MFL department.  We heard about students teaching students and the peer learning element of the OpAL programme which is providing open access to languages for all students.  You can read more about the programme here.

There were so many great ideas shared it was hard to keep up.  Here is an overview of the other topics discussed.

1) the lovely, supportive @candidagould talked about her new take on lesson starters and improving confidence in writing which has been a real hit with her pupils (and with the TeachMeet who could not wait to ask more questions over wine and snacks).

2) @cristahazell always has lots of great ideas and this time focused on how to get our pupils to speak more, to engage and to lose the fear factor.  You could well imagine that her pupils flourish under her care.


3) The fabulous Mary Wood from St Barts showed us her hugely entertaining and worthwhile flashcard game which is excellent for vocab revision. The audience enjoyed the idea and the presentation.

4) Mary Wood also talked us through using memrise which has a bank of vocabulary available and if you can not find what you are looking for you can add your own resources.

5) @basnettj continued the theme of overcoming fear in speaking a foreign language. Her approach was through technology and the use of the avatar.

6) @BGrammaire wowed us all with her grammar songs.  What a great idea to reinforce grammar through song.

@BGrammaire in action

7) Ali Quick from Isambard Community School in Swindon shared some fantastic extension activities with us.  Her challenge box activity impressed us all.  Here’s a sample of some of the cards:

extension tasksIn all, a fantastic evening.  The atmosphere in the room as language teachers from all sectors and all key stages got together and talked about what they loved doing was not to be missed.  You could feel the positivity in the air and it was so good to share ideas and collaborate with like minded colleagues.  Thank you to all my colleagues who came along to listen and support and thank you to those of you who presented.  The evening could not have happened without you.  This was Inset made by MFL teachers for MFL teachers.

So, DHMFLTeachMeet 2014 is over.  Roll on DHMFLTeachMeet 2015.


#DHTM – Thinking for themselves

Although staff are all knee-deep in exam marking, invigilation, report writing and teaching we still managed to meet to discuss our thoughts and ideas on how we get the students to think for themselves.

First up, @shampoozil talked us through how important it is to share the assessment criteria with the pupils.   The process provides the pupils with clear steps to get from basic level to exceptional.  It may sound simple but it is effective and the steps, if clearly defined, provide a marking structure for the teacher too.

geog assessment criteriaSharing the assessment criteria helps to keep the pupils on task and really makes them think about how to peer assess with greater insight and thus provide feedback that is meaningful and helpful.

self and feed

The whole process helps the pupils to recognise different levels of work and enables them to produce work that goes beyond the relational and access those higher order thinking skills that will help them get the top marks.  The 2 stars and a wish image clearly highlights how thinking in this way can link into Solo taxonomy.

On the theme of SOLO taxonomy this structure for guiding pupils in writing literature essays was also suggested.  The idea is that pupils move up from the bottom and go beyond simply listing and identifying characters and consider how they can express more than an analysis of minor characters.  The top level considers how students might be encouraged to think beyond the analysis.

solo - etranger

Next up @DiEvans18 talked about how she uses twitter to share links with students and then get them to explain a resource with their peers.  This really tests their ability to internalise information and recreate using their own words – not an easy task.

Finally, we were all bowled over by the website www.101qs.com. In essence a maths website set up by mathematicians where pictures and videos are shared.  The point of the picture or the video – to get you to think “what’s the first question that comes into your mind?”.  The video plays twice and it is then possible to submit your question (or the question suggested by your class) and see what questions other people have thought of.  It really gets you thinking.  Have a go yourself…

What’s the first question that comes into your mind?


Suggested question "how much bigger is this pool table than a normal one?"

#DHTM ~ Classroom moments

So a great crowd came along today to talk about some fantastic ideas. There is definitely some good, creative activities going on around the school.  The best thing about sharing our ideas was how each idea spawned another and everyone felt able to add their thoughts.

Inner Circle/Outer Circle: Half the pupils sit (or stand) in a circle facing the other half who are in the outer circle.  Each pair has a card with a question with the answer on the back.  The inner circle ask the question to their partner in the outer circle.  The game then moves on with each circle taking one step to their right, thus in opposite directions and picking up a new card with a new question for a new partner.  At the end of the session pupils can work on any of the areas where they struggled.

Variations (and there were many! Here are a couple):

Repeated Questions: In a circle the first pupil reads out a question and the next person the answer, this process is repeated until eventually there is no need to read the answer as it has become ingrained.  By this point the next question can be brought out and the process can be repeated and gather speed as it progresses.

Find your partner Q & A: Each pupil has a card with either a question or answer on it, moving round the room they have to find their partner. 

Hexagons: Thanks to Jo Clarke @shampoozil for sharing this idea. Essentially, Jo showed us the hexagons she uses.  It is an idea that easily transferable across year groups and subjects.  The set that Jo brought this time had different key terms relating to a geography topic.  The idea is to arrange the hexagons to analyse links and relationships between different ideas. Having tackled this we then checked out what the other groups did which in itself was a useful exercise as it was clear that this could open yet more discussion.   Why did we link the way we did?  What was the connection? And so on.

Hexagons are a great way to revise and can be used as a type of mind mapping activity, they are perfect for differentiation and for enabling students to think more deeply and further their understanding.  To find out more about hexagons check out Pam Hook Solo Hexagons  and if you would like to make some of your own you can use Pam Hook @arti_choke‘s Hexagon Generator

Take it further: The pupils could be charged with creating their own hexagons and can work in pairs or groups or individually.  If you want to involve technology in the process you can use Triptico – Inspiring Imaginative Teachers to create what is called a Think/Link. Here’s an example of one:

think link perfect tense

These links can be moved around on screen and then reset.  As with the paper version pupils can create their own.  An added advantage with these is that pupil can classify each hexagon if they wish by changing the colour.  This online version also allows you to add some notes/clues/extension questions if you wish.  If you have any questions on this computer based tool then David Riley @David_Triptico is always happy to help.

In the meantime, I am grateful to Jo for sharing these edible hexagons on twitter….

Educreations: an example of  flipping the classroom from the maths department.  Educreations is web-based and is available as an app as well.  With a video in place and clear instructions for pupils to follow there was ample time to help the weakest and enable those that can to move on still further.  Questioning in class revealed the extent of what had (or had not been absorbed).

Take it further: import the video into Nearpod and set questions that check for understanding and give you immediate feedback on your pupils.  Another option is to look at Educanon ( @educanon123) which looks like a tool worth exploring.


 Connect Four: Back to plain old paper for the final activity based on a child’s game that you  might remember. Here’s a picture to jog your memory: 


And here’s the paper version.  In this case, each square has a sentence with a mistake in it.  Pupils work in threes, two to play the game and the third player to check for mistakes from the players.

connect 4 errors

I’m thinking that there might be an electronic version of this idea.  Have asked @David_Triptico to see what magic he can come up with.

So, all those ideas in just about 25 minutes.  The tea, sandwiches and cake were good too. In all it was time well spent.


#DHTM ~ 4 Plenaries


So, what have I learnt this week?  Ideally, I should take just a couple of minutes to write  a few lines to sum up for you.  However, there were such a lot of good ideas that it is going to take more than just a couple of lines.  So here goes…in brief…

Best mistake?: We started with this very easy plenary.  Ask your pupils what is the best mistake they have made today and what did they learn from it? 

Tabou: With a partner or in a group of three or four play tabou.  For example if the focus has been on learning about the Great Fire of London give a description of it without mentioning the name of the event itself.

One thing you learnt: As pupils leave the class they must say one thing they learnt in the lesson.  In languages this works particularly well because you can get the pupils to formulate sentences with their new vocabulary or grammar. 

Post it note: This is one that I picked up on the twittersphere.  post itCreate some  categories or questions and display them on the board. Give pupils 2 – 7 minutes depending on your time limitations and ask them to respond to as many of the questions as possible or to supply as many key words as possible for each category.   They should write their answers on a post it note.  The winner is the person with the most correct post it notes placed on the board.  Colour post it notes are quite helpful here to highlight who has been doing the writing.  Don’t forget to get your pupils to write their name or initials at the top of the page.

Teaching Channel.org :This is an excellent website which allows you to select your specific areas of interest and your subject area.  You do need to subscribe but this takes seconds and once a week they send you ideas for your selected areas.  The ideas are handily explained via short videos.  You just need about two minutes a week… The idea that we watched was…

Stop Light Note: On the wall or board place a set of three circles (green, amber, red – hence the Stop Light Note title).  As pupils leave they should put a post it note on the green circle explaining what they learnt that day, on the amber a note that explains what they would still like to know and finally on the red circle a note which highlights what stopped them from learning.    There will be some  ready made Stop Light Notes (circles) coming soon courtesy of @vallance_ian

Answer the question: This one does what it says on the tin.  Pupils are not allowed to leave until they have answered the question.  Go further? ~ Split the class in two; questions or answers.  Those who have been allotted questions must create a question to ask a pupil in the other half of the class.  Naturally, the questions must relate to the topic of the lesson.

hindsight_poster1Hindsight board: Pupils must supply the lesson objectives to put on the board at the end of the lesson hence summing up what had been covered in the lesson.  Go further?  ~ Extra questions could be asked.  For example, is there anything else we should do on this topic for tomorrow?  Did we miss anything?  How do we build on this next time?

Odd one out/missing word: Each pupil has a short quiz on their desk to answer asking them to fill in the missing word(s) and find the odd one out.  This is particularly useful if you only have one lesson a week and time is of the essence. 

Get Kahoot : This is one we have come across before however it is worth a second look.  It is a fabulous online quiz that the pupils love and is a great way to test what they have learnt. It has the added benefit of giving you detailed feedback about your pupils’ achievements in the quiz.  Pupils need access to a tablet device or a computer to play this game.  If technology is not an option good old Show Me Boardsare also very popular and successful in providing a quick assessment of what has been attained.

Play your cards right: Provide pupils with four answers – each one on a separate card.  Ask some questions where the answer is on one of the four cards that the pupils have in their hands.  Pupils must hold up the right answer.  

Blockbusters: That well known popular quiz from the 80s.  Templates for this are readily available and the questions can be as complex or as simple as you wish. 

Jenga: Although this could be a bit time consuming it is a great game to play in the middle of a double before moving on to build on the knowledge acquired in the first lesson.  Write definitions or key terms and words on each jenga block.  Play the game of jenga in the normal way but blocks are only allowed to be re-placed when the term has been explained or defined.   Go further? ~ Get pupils to write the key terms on as many jenga blocks as possible in the last two minutes of the lesson.

Ok, so not very brief but hopefully very useful.  Do you have any more that we can add to this collection?  Let me know by leaving your response below.