Marginal Gains

In teachmeet tonight (Thurs 28th Feb 2013) I will be showing a video on Marginal Gains. The video shows Dave Brailsford – Head of GB Cycling and Team Sky and how they have used marginal gains to achieve success and to get the best out of their whole team. It really is amazing the difference a few minute changes can make to performance.

This can be applied easily within a class setting – that marginal gain could be as simple as getting one extra question right which moves a student from a D grade to a C. Quite simply a marginal gain is a small realistic target that a pupil or even a teacher can make.

See the link below that provides details on how a teacher is applying marginal gains in his classroom. Can you make some marginal gains with your students?


Engagement… in the classroom and not to be married!

So today my challenge was to present to the teaching staff of Wexham on Engagement…. the question is could I keep the staff engaged this morning!
I decided to create an acronym for the word ENGAGEMENT and came up with the following:
New Technology
Teachmeet (& Tea!)

The idea is that these are the tools we use to engage our students and by putting them in an acronym they should be easy to remember. Quite simply Enthuse your students – be positive, it will rub off on them. Navigate and guide them to their final destination / goal and promote independent learning – you can always try the 3 be 4 me concept. Be genuine -don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through! Always nice to greet your class as they come in one by one with a smile. Doing the smae old thing day in day out? Don’t! Be adventurous in the classroom and step outside of that comfort zone… I dare you!
Games can be so much fun when learning and can help pupils to retaim information – whether you are using a tried and tested game or you want to get creative and make your own. Excellence – surely this is something we should strive for all of the time and expect nothing less from our students. Look into my eyes………… mesmerise your students. If learning is fun they won’t want to look at their phones. Empowerment… well it is powerful. Can they be put in charge of their destiny? Can you promote independent thinkers! New technology is amazing! Ipads are such a great tool for teachers and students but it is key that you are confident, so get practicing! Finally teachmeet and tea – so geeking really is fun and a great way to get ideas from colleagues in a postive environment. Plus who wouldn’t turn down a nice cuppa and a fondant fancy (and yes the pink ones are my favourite!)
So get engaging people and lets also see how many educational acronyms we can make.

Get Twittering!

I just enjoyed a half hour Twitter chat with colleagues across the country about differentiation and setting.  Took away three great ideas.  Then I realised there was a science one going on at the same time #asechat.  PE, Maths and I am sure many others do the same.  Questions for discussion are posted in advanced then, best if all, the whole chat is digested in Storify for you to read at your leisure.  

Also check out and post to #pedagooFriday at they end of the week to share your teaching highlights!

Twitter = free, current, meaningful CPD not just celebrity stalking!

Thinking about SPAG

Back in Oz ‘spag’ simply meant yummy spaghetti, but it now has far more sinister, GCSE connotations.  As one of our pupils’ greatest weaknesses it is a major concern that spelling, punctuation and grammar will now be assessed on most extended examination responses.  I have tried the following approach, as described by Learning Spy, and it really does work.  Health warning: this works with more senior groups with whom you have a good relationship!

One of the ways I’ve found for getting the self assessment ball rolling is to insist that students proofread and edit their work before handing it in. If I find mistakes which they could, and should have spotted I give it back unmarked. Unmarked, but not unseen. I know what they’ve been up to and how much they’ve learnt. They simply proof read again, and again until it’s second nature. I think this sort of approach to basic literacy is going to become increasingly important within the new Ofsted framework and in light of the changes to GCSEs where 5% of marks will be based on spelling, punctuation and grammar.

Making peer assessment meaningful

imageI struggle with peer assessment.  I get the theory and can see that some students really enjoy it but often find that their feedback is, well, pointless!  In being really nice to each other they fail to aid progress.  More often than not I read their comments and end up marking it myself anyway.  So I have been reading up on approaches and think that this would suit Wexham learners.  What do you think?

Public Critique