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December Blog 2023

As we approach the end of another long winter term, it is a good time to reflect on the successes within our classrooms during 2023 and consider what we need to do as a staff to improve as we dive into 2024. We all know this will be an inspection year, but that is something teachers do not need to worry about, as we know our high standards will shine through for any team that visits us. A couple of Heads of Subject have asked me to write down some key things we would expect to see in every lesson, and what the expectations are of our teachers, so everyone is on the same page. Below is a summary of all our policies in a handy guide.

  1. Feedback and marking

HOS would expect to see the students given feedback every two weeks in core lessons, and 3 weeks in foundation lessons. This would be at least one piece of student work marked, with formative feedback to help the student improve that piece of work. This could be done either on itslearning or in books. We would then expect the student to respond and the teacher to check this. No need to mark that response, just acknowledge with tick or como’s. In the books, the teacher marks in green and students respond in red. There is a need to mark for literacy when you do this, so please refer to Katy King’s emails on this- I got my TA to help me with this, which works well.

We are pushing the idea of ‘live marking’, where you will give students instant feedback in class, and they do their response at that time. Plan approximately 15 minutes of independent time where students can work without you, and you go around and mark some books and get them to respond straight away. This means that you don’t have to take any books home with you! The books or itslearning plans should have a clear footprint in of teacher feedback and how this has led to progress. No need to stamp ‘verbal feedback’ in books, we know you do that all the time!!

  1. Planning

We expect all planning to be done on itslearning and plans to be made live for the students to access. We would expect teachers to show the plans to the students during the lesson and teach from itslearning, bringing up any documents needed. This will build up good habits for teachers and students in the consolidation of Blended learning. All departments have their plans now on itslearning, which are sequenced and built around MTP’s and then components of learning. All components should be based around a ‘Big Question’, which students should be checked on at the end. Teachers should have considered the key knowledge and skills needed and what vocab is vital to teach to the students to help with their understanding. Activities should be planned out to support all learners, with consideration on how to extend and support where needed. Homework should be planned in at regular intervals and checked/rewarded and teachers should reflect on their learning at regular intervals (Progress partner meetings as a minimum). We should plan regular assessments to check on learning, and then consider how our plans should reflect this in future. We would expect at least one homework and one assessment in each half-term to be reflected in the assessment record on itslearning. I know many of you do far more as this really helps build up a picture of how that student is making progress.

  1. Teaching 

We have the ‘Excellence as standard in the Crookhorn classroom’ guide, which is our absolute bible when it comes to what pedagogy is expected in the classroom. Here are the biggest vitals as a quick reminder;

  • Welcome at door-check uniform and make sure the start of lesson is ordered. Have the ‘Do Now’ task ready for them, whilst you take the register. This could be a quick retrieval activity from previous learning. It should be an independent task to keep them quiet. Great to do on Mini whiteboards (MWB) so you can see what they are doing.
  • Go through Big Question for this component of learning- and how they will develop their knowledge to answer this over a learning period. Explain how their learning will be checked at end of lesson. Consider things such as exit tickets or a task to show they have worked towards this outcome.
  • Get as much data as possible from students when it comes to checking what they have learnt. If they are asking questions, or checking they have understood something, there is no point going to hands up and then checking one person’s understanding. Again, things like MWB will give you the whole classes understanding quickly, or live marking will give you a greater understanding whilst they are working on a small task.  There is no need for students to be shouting out at you so make sure this is not tolerated.
  • Consider using ‘Think, Pair, Share’ when it comes to checking understanding. Get students to write one or two bullet points on MWB, then share with their partner and discuss who has a stronger answer, then get them to hold up boards, so you can see which partners have answers you want the whole class to hear and discuss.
  • Use of the visualiser is really powerful, and a great way for you to model. Also, a great way to share students work, and get them to consider ways to improve etc. The ‘I do, we do, you do’ model should be standard practice.
  • Encourage discussion where possible, following the Crookhorn rules for discussion.
  • Move around the room as much as possible, place yourself where needed and be full of positive praise for students when you can be.
  • Have your green pen in your hand when moving, get into the habit of giving live feedback with students in the moment.
  • Consider live differentiation in every lesson- and how this can be done. Start with CFU, and plan how to differentiate from there. If certain students don’t get a task, consider moving them onto a table and then working with them whilst others are working on a greater depth task. If this is not possible to move students, then choose these students for live marking immediately, and give them extra pointers to help them. Extra support such as them using BYOT to check their itslearning plans, use of exercise books and resources on itslearning or access textbooks/help sheets that you have pre-planned will help.

I hope this ‘quick guide’ helps remind you of the key expectations of what high quality teaching looks like at Crookhorn, but if you have any questions please do ask your HOS, coach or myself.