Tag Archives: AifL

Effective classroom strategies for closing the gap

An interesting new report has been published by the Centre for Excellence and Outcomes in Children and Young People’s Services (C4EO) with the full title “Effective classroom strategies for closing the gap in educational achievement for children and young people living in poverty, including white working-class boys“.

The news release states:

Effective Classroom Strategies For Closing The Gap In Educational Achievement For Children And Young People Living In Poverty, Including White, Working Class Boys looked at the international research on “what works” in improving learning outcomes for children in poverty. The review focused on strategies and interventions to improve core literacy and numeracy across early-years, primary and secondary settings. It found that there are a number of approaches that can help. These include:

  • Improving the quality of teaching by coaching staff in specific teaching strategies;
  • Using evidence-based approaches, such as co-operative learning, structured and systematic approaches to teaching phonics and “learning to learn” strategies;
  • Whole-school improvement packages which address multiple elements of school provision; and
  • The use of well-specified, well-supported and well-implemented programmes incorporating extensive professional development.

Click here to download the full report.

Class Blogging

I noticed that the Primary 1 Blog at Gullane Primary School was very active at the minute so I decided to get in touch with their teacher Mr Dagger to find out why they blogged…

What have you been doing?
I’ve been writing a class blog about things we’ve been up to in Primary 1.

In what ways does this relate to Curriculum for Excellence?
I think that the blog allows the children to share their success in school at home. Also I feel it covers ‘I enjoy exploring and using technologies to communicate with others within and beyond my place of learning’ (TCH 0-04a) quite nicely!

What were the reasons for doing this?
It’s a way to communicate to parents what their children have been doing in school. By looking at the blog with their parents the children are able to talk about what they have been learning about in school. Sometimes I write the posts with the children, so they are keen to look at the pictures at home. The blog also links to the children’s learning logs, which they take home every Friday. I often comment that a piece of learning a child has written about can be found on the blog.

What has happened as a result?
I’ve had a lot of positive feedback from parents. They enjoy using the blog to stimulate discussion at home about what their children have been doing. The comments left are brilliant to share with the class, and allow me to assess what the children have remembered about activities we have undertaken. This encourages them to ask their parents to look at the blog again and leave more comments!

What would you do differently next time?
I think it’s an ongoing, evolving process. Last year I had a separate page called Onion’s Patch which I had big plans for, but never got round to getting it up and running properly. I think I am going to try again this session. Also the class have been writing notes for my dog to read ever since I posted a picture of him in the snow. I was thinking about posting pictures of him with their work – to encourage independent, spontaneous writing in class, and engage more reluctant writers.

Thanks to Mr Dagger for sharing!

If you haven’t got a blog going with your class, perhaps it’s something to think about? You can sign up to eduBuzz here.

If you’d like to share your interesting practice go ahead and download the form

Using Google Forms in the classroom

Many of us in East Lothian now have access to Google Apps through eduBuzz. This is such a powerful tool and people are thinking of more and more uses for it in education all the time.

Tom Barrett is harnessing the power of the crowd and the cloud to put together lots of examples of how Google Forms are being used in classrooms. This is changing all the time as people add to it, but at the time of posting this was up to 57!

Tom’s got lots more of these in his blog, click here to view them.

S1 Assessment Week

Many teachers in Scotland are giving a lot of thought to assessment at the minute. Stephanie Disbury is one of these teachers. She is a Maths Teacher in Thurso who is not only thinking about the nature of assessments she uses with her pupils, she is also sharing her thinking online on her blog.

In her most recent post, she shares her idea of an S1 Assessment Week which I felt was worth sharing here:

S1 Assessment Week

Like most of my colleagues, I have been thinking a lot about how assessment should be approached for CfE.

I am clear in my own mind about the difference between formative and summative assessment and how I should use both in classes to progress learning. The next logical step for me was to consider how to change the end of year test into a format that would allow pupils to show progression in the 4 capacities and still be manageable, tangible and valuable. It quickly became clear that no traditional style exam where pupils answered questions in writing and in silence was going to be enough. At the same time, this is a valid form of assessing skills and abilities and we shouldn’t forget that this method suits some pupils to a tee. So we need assessment that encompasses many different learning styles and should be more reflective of how we work and, indeed, learn in real life.

And so there became a prezi! Before you open it, please accept my apologies for the truly unnecessary movement – I got a bit carried away. Also, please understand that I see this as part of the assessment of a pupil over the course of the year, simply another tool in the box if you like and not as a new final exam.

Your comments, as always, would be more than welcome.

I’m sure you’ll agree that Stephanie has some fantastic ideas which are clearly underpinned by a lot of thinking.