What will make a difference for student achievement?


effective teaching.png***Click here for details of the above strategies as a pdf file

The below information is how I am currently trying to implement the above strategies: 

Formative Assessment 



Ask students to reflect: I often get students to reflect, through identifying a warm comment (what they did well) and a cool comment (what they can work on for next time).Resource: warm and cool comment posters


Exit card: students write one thing they have learned and one question they still have on a post-it.


Hand signals: Students indicate their level of understanding with a hand signal such as thumbs up, middle or down. Alternatively, students could give a score out of 5 fingers. This strategy allows the teacher to check for understanding within a large group. I often ask a question such as “Do you think you could explain to a student in Miss Smith’s room, the key stages in the frog’s life-cycle?” Students show their answer with a hand signal.

Whiteboards: Whiteboards are simultaneously held up by all students in class to indicate their response to a question or problem presented by the teacher. The teacher can easily note the responses of individual students while teaching the whole group.

Use of exemplars: Students use a post-it to indicate, on a continuum of examples, their self-assessment of the standard of their work.


Reference: https://www.teachthought.com/pedagogy/20-simple-assessment-strategies-can-use-every-day/


Teaching and Learning process- Literacy 

Gradual Release of Responsibility

Picture 31
Pearson and Gallagher, 1993

Literacy scaffolding, gradual release of responsibility 

  1. Explore: In pairs, students look at examples of the text type to identify language and organisational features. Students share what they found.
  2. Explicit Teaching: Explicit teaching of text type features, through identifying them on the Interactive White Board with students.
  3. Students deconstruct/ reconstruct: Students cut-out and re-arrange a text and use coloured pencils to underline language features.
  4. Teaching of language features and grammar
  5. Shared writing: Students and the teacher engage in join construction, to create a text.
    • ‘Build the field’: Watch YouTube clips, engage in hands on activities, and discussions. Identify key words, for a class word wall.
    • Shared planning 
    • Shared writing using the plan, word walls and visual stimulus.
  6. Independent writing: I give students a checklist which is stuck at the top of their page and we read it together. This is so students have a clear understanding of what is expected. Students go through the processes of  building their background knowledge, planning and writing.
  7. Students then self-reflect. After students have finished their independent writing, we go through the checklist and students identify whether or not they have met the criteria. Students then write a ‘cool’ and a ‘warm’ comment. Click here for resources and cool and warm comments.
  8. Students read and reflect on the ‘cool’ and ‘warm’ comments that the teacher has written on their work. Students need to share with their partner what they did well and what they are going to improve on for next time (this is to make sure students actually read the comments). I then ask some students to share with the whole class- I have been surprised that students are unembarrassed about sharing their ‘cool’ comment.
  9. Students then repeat the steps of: independent writing, student self reflection and read and reflect, to create another piece of writing of the same text type, improving on their first text. Students use a new topic, but the same text type.


Teaching and Learning process- Mathematics  

  1. Formative Assessment 
  2. Students identify patterns and make connections: A new concept is introduced by students working through a task/problem, making connections and identifying patterns. This is done collaboratively with a partner. Students then share what they found, with the rest of the class.
  3. Explicit teaching 
  4. Practise applying skills to solve non-routine problems. Students should not just learn a process by rote, but should understand the concepts involved. These experiences are a mix of collaborative learning and independent work.
  5. Formative assessment 
  6. Teaching and learning experiences based on needs identified in formative assessment

During this process, learning involves:

  • Hands on experiences: All start with manipulates/physical resources, but can chose not to use them.


  • Differentiation: For all independent work, there is an ‘enabling task’ which is a simplified version of the main task for those students who are finding the concepts difficult to understand. Also, there is an extension tasks which students can get, when they have finished.
  • Reasoning: Students must show reasoning skills and “Prove it”. This involves explaining the process they have used and how they know the answer is correct.


Other mathematics learning:

  • Fluency: In addition, to the learning of new concepts, students also have weekly fluency, game-based lessons.


  • Assessment: On-going summative assessment, one lesson each week students work on an unfamiliar problem/task, which requires reasoning and problem solving skills. This shows the development of their reasoning and problem solving skills.
Summative Assessment, with questions that allow students to show reasoning skills.


Teaching and Learning process- STEM 

engineering process.png

Students engage in two types of lessons:

STEM in action: in these lessons students are applying their understandings from the discipline areas, while working through the engineering design process.

STEM enabling: discipline lessons for mathematics, science or technology, where students develop the necessary skills and knowledge which they will need for their STEM project/task.

Click here for more resources for ‘getting started with STEM’.



Collaborative Learning

  • Develop agreed expectations for collaborative learning
  • Explicit teaching of communication (verbal and non-verbal) skills and active listening.
  • Positive education learning experiences regarding ‘bucket filling’, kindness, appreciating other’s strengths. Learning includes fitness/game based learning and team challenges.  (Click here for resources) .
  • Discussing what is ‘fair’, before each collaborative learning experience
  • Regular collaborative learning experiences in all subject areas



Skills and dispositions for learning

Carol Dweck 

the-growth-mindset-i-can-get-smarterJo Boaler website about having a Growth mindset in Maths  https://www.youcubed.org/resource/growth-mindset/

Developing dispositions for learning:


  • Explicit teaching of skills, which are then practised during ‘team challenges’ or fitness games. I recommend not just doing this as a once-off lesson, but have this as an ongoing social/emotional development lesson in your timetable. Click here for examples of team challenges.
  • Create an illustration of the Learning Pit
  • Constantly reference attitude/mindset in all lessons.
  • Students reflect on their attitude/mindset at the end of the lesson. This could be a written reflection or verbal.
  • Praise what you value… positive attitude and statements that reflect a growth mindset, rather than achievement. Reference: https://www.mindsetworks.com/science/Impact


  • Watch a video or read a book and identify the attitudes/mindsets of the characters;  students write their own motivational speech; write a letter to the person or character.
“Rosie Revere, Engineer” by Andrea Beaty 

More information about Growth Mindset: https://www.mindsetworks.com/science/Impact

Student reflection/metacognition 

Cool and Warm comments: peer and self assessment 

  • Self Assess: At the end of a piece of work, before I provide written feedback, students write a cool or warm comment for themselves. A warm comment is what they have done well and a cool comment is what they need to improve on for next time. When marking, this gives me and idea of whether students are aware of how their work could be improved and provides students the opportunity to reflect and think critically about the success criteria.
  • Peer Assess: At the end of a formative piece of work, students might read their work to a peer, who provides a cool or warm comment verbally.
  • I will then call on some students to share.
    • “Who can tell me a warm comment they gave to their partner?”
    • “Who can share their cool comment for what they will improve on next time?” I never get students to share a cool comment for a peer in front of the class, as I don’t want them to be embarrassed. Students are always willing to share self-assessment for how they will improve (cool comment).


Resource: Cool and warm comment display

Metacognition: Purposefully thinking about one’s own thinking strategies  (Source: Centre for innovation and excellence in learning. )

  • Students set goals and identify strategies that will help them to reach their goal.
  • Discuss and practise using ‘self-help’ or independent learning strategies. ie. If you are ‘stuck’, what can you do?


  • Provide opportunities for students to share strategies they used
  • Teacher modelling of metacognition strategies
  • Use of checklists and rubrics


Engaging Learning Experiences


  • Hands-on learning experiences


  • Integration of ICT
  • Use of ‘hook’ or ‘stimulus’, to get students interest. For example…

Is the below image ‘art’?


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