Tag Archives: Blog

Turn Reading into Writing – Four Video Lessons⤴

from @ DF Scotland Teach

Here are four video lessons on turning Reading into Writing, which I have created for the children in my school as part of my CLoL project as well as to give colleagues a lesson for which they do not have to plan/prepare and record.  Feel free to use them with your learners or take ideas from them if you like.  Each is designed to be a stand alone lesson that can be adapted across different stages, differentiating by outcome/expectation and all are linked to CfE E&O’s with SC being drawn from benchmarks.

Whilst the videos vary in length, I would expect each lesson to take between 60-90 minutes for children to complete as they are asked to pause whilst doing different tasks.

 

CfE Early Level: Writing Stories with a Story Map

This is an Early Level – pre/new writer – lesson – which uses a ‘Story Map’ or ‘Text Map’ to explore reading and learning texts (see Pie Corbett’s Talk for Writing for more on this methodology).  In this lesson we take a simple story; learn it and then continue it.  Most suitable for advanced Early Years settings, P1 classes, and pre-writers in P2.  I wouldn’t recommend for older children regardless of ability as the content will feel very childish for them.

 

CfE First Level: Stories to Scripts

This is a First Level lesson which uses the same model text as in the previous lesson, however this time learns to up-level it, extend it and then convert it into a script which allows for much greater application of skills.  I would consider this mainly for on track/higher achieving P2 / lower ability P3.  I wouldn’t recommend for many in P4 as the following lesson, whilst much more advance, should still be accessible as all text is read.

 

CfE First Level: Script Writing

This is also a First Level lesson, although all of the skills and SC are transferrable to the similarly worded Second Level Outcomes, so would be suitable also for children just starting Second Level that may struggle with some aspects of the following lesson.  Aimed broadly at high achieving P3s, on-track/high achieving P4s and P5s who are not yet on track, with consideration for some just on track.  The content is not however too childish for P6 & P7 who require additional support, as, whilst the text is a traditional fairy tale, it is in such a way that children turn it into their own story and choose their own ending.

 

CfE Second Level: Script Writing

This is a second level lesson which is really applicable to all children working across the level as it can be easily differentiated by outcome.  It takes two texts and develops them as both stories and scripts with HOTS playing a key role.

 

Snow Day STEM⤴

from @ DF Scotland Teach

It’s snowing!  Love it or hate it, snow is an amazing tool for developing STEM skills, unlocking imagination and practising creativity.

My 13 Snow Day STEM Challenge cards are available as a single PDF download at TPT, or for free as JPG image files below.  Check out the very short video of these cards as well:

 

SNOW DAY STEM CARDS

 

Reflections on the SQA Technical Consultation⤴

from @ stuckwithphysics.co.uk

On Friday 14th August, the SQA announced its Arrangements for National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher courses in the 2020-21 session. This included links to the SQA's Technical Consultation on proposals for modifications to the assessment arrangements for the 2021 exam diet. The announcement also included links to a survey which closed for responses on Monday 24th August. The announcement stated that confirmed modifications would be published in the week beginning 31st August.

I responded to the survey both as a teacher and a parent, but didn't make any copies of my responses, so what follows is from memory.

I was not at all happy with the proposals for the sciences, which amounted to nothing other than a return to the shorter format examination papers of a few years ago. Having lost about a month of teaching time, simply taking 30 minutes out of the exam does nothing at all to help students or teachers. The notion that this reduces work for staff as they will be able to write shorter prelims is laughable. If anything this will create work as prelims will need to be rewritten to match the shortened format.
The failure to recognise that Covid-19 procedures in schools are making practical work exceptionally difficult to conduct, and the lack of a decision to remove the assignment components of science courses does nothing to reduce pressure on students or teachers. Such a decision might have freed up some time to allow courses to be better covered in the reduced time available.

Other options that might have been considered include -
+ reformatting exams to include a mix of mandatory and optional questions, allowing schools to decide which content to leave out in order to compensate for the time list under lockdown
+ delaying the exam diet until June to allow greater time to complete courses
+ specifying content in courses to be removed to allow the remaining content to be covered effectively

In other subjects proposed changes include removal of coursework components or sections of courses (reduced folio pieces and the removal of the speaking component in English), with no reduction in the examination duration.

Another major concern is about the worth of the consultation exercise at all. With SQA having made it very difficult to understand the related documentation - it is loaded with edu-jargon and emphatically not written for the lay reader - they made it very difficult for students or their parents to respond to the survey.

Whilst many teachers will have responded to the consultation, the limited time available between the release of the proposals on 14th August and the closure of the survey on 24th August will have limited the number and extent of responses.

The plan for SQA to confirm their finalised arrangements during the week beginning 31st August gives little cause to believe that much attention can or will be paid to the survey responses.

I sincerely hope that SQA will do the right thing, listening to teachers, students and parents, and come up with a fair and workable set of modifications.

Thoughts on Assessment (given all that’s been going on)⤴

from @ stuckwithphysics.co.uk

The recent issues surrounding assessment and certification both in Scotland and around the UK, have prompted a great deal of discussion.
With a recent increase in traffic to this blog, mainly to my previous posts on assessment, following a piece I had published in the Times Educational Supplement, I thought it'd be worth putting together an alternative model for assessment and certification.

I should stress that these ideas are not solely my own, they come from discussions with many of the great teachers I count myself lucky to know through Twitter, TeachMeet and Pedagoo, from visits to Canada and the USA, where I heard about systems very different to those here and from an overwhelming sense that what we are currently doing to assess and certificate the learners in our schools isn't good enough.

I'm not suggesting that we get rid of exams. They clearly have their place, but it shouldn't be the only method by which learners in our schools can demonstrate their skills and knowledge. Nor am I suggesting that everything should be internally assessed, this too has its flaws, not the least of which is workload for already time-poor teachers.

My suggested system has four main components -

1. All units at all levels should be assessed online via an eAssessment platform provided by SQA (this already exists in the form of SQA Solar). Unit assessments should be Pass/Fail, with each unit gaining SCQF points at the appropriate level. Students should attempt units when they are ready, and multiple attempts available to students to show they have achieved minimum level of competence (this could be time locked to prevent immediate retest, like the DVLA Driving theory test). This arrangement would need reliable ICT in schools, but if all schools are currently able to undertake the SNSA, then there is already existing capacity which can be built upon.

2. Coursework components should be elective and gain students additional SCQF points. This would avoid the significant burden of multiple assignments for students following more than one in science or social subjects course, allowing a single exemplification of generic skills within a subject area.

3. All terminal exams at all levels (including N4 if there is sufficient demand) should be elective, allowing students to gain additional SCQF points. This would allow flexible routes for students to bypass exams if not required for their chosen path. Students who require Higher passes, i.e. for university entry, are still able to meet these requirements.

4. All learners accumulate 'learner credits' via a unique online profile, which could be integrated into, or linked to their Glow account. This would allow all of a learner's achievements, not just SQA, but Prince's Trust Achieve, John Muir Award, Duke of Edinburgh Award, Saltire Award and any of a range of other awarding bodies included in the SCQF framework, to be recorded. Each achievement could be electronically 'tagged' with metadata to detail the knowledge, skills and experiences underlying the award (using Mozilla Open Badges or similar). These could be cross referenced with searchable index of skills & awards which could be used by employers, FE colleges and Universities to assist in candidate selection.

I don't pretend that my proposed model is perfect, I know it would take a great deal of investment, both in financial terms and in terms of time, to develop and bring about such a set of changes.

What I do know is that, given all that's been going on, we are long overdue for a serious discussion about how we assess and certificate our learners. Such a discussion cannot be left to those in the walled gardens of the SQA, Education Scotland and the Scottish Government - they're most of the reason that things are so greatly in need of reform.

Back to School – Engaging with the NEW NORMAL⤴

from @ Through The Windae

I presented my personal experiences of going back to school as part of a webinar organised by the University of Glasgow. Three key themes dominate my reflections: 1. plan for uncertainty 2. be collaborative and creative 3. be kind.

The post Back to School – Engaging with the NEW NORMAL appeared first on Through The Windae.

The BEST way to share video content with your learners⤴

from @ Mr Feist's Class

Sharing video content with learners can be tricky for a number of reasons – first, the files are often so big that they take up a lot of storage on your online learning platform (website/app/teams etc).  Moreover, if you are staring a recording of you reading a story, there are copyright issues that may affect it.  Also, you just might not want your video visible to the whole world.

The below video tutorial looks at the best way of hosting your videos privately and posing them to a specified group of people (e.g. your class)

I really hope it’s helpful.

I am starting to build and grow my YouTube channel with more regular content and would really appreciate a subscribe on the channel.  If you could ‘like’ any videos that you find helpful, it will help me tailor my videos to things that will help you.

Have a lovely long weekend,

Donald

Enhance Remote Learning with Kahoot⤴

from @ Mr Feist's Class

The media really is giving teachers a bashing just now during the COVID-19 lockdown, with many outlets saying that we are not doing anything.  I know that’s not true.  The amount of incredible online content and learning experiences that are being produced on a daily basis is incredible, and teachers have really risen to the challenge of keeping learners engaged online.

One way that can make this more simple and engaging for children is to use the free quiz app, Kahoot, to play quiizes and assign challenges for your learners – and the best thing is, you can share these quizzes on ANY platform that you are using to share learning – be it a school website, app, Microsoft Teams, Google Classrooms, Zoom etc.  However you are engaging your learners, Kahoot is free and readily available.

Here is a short video tutorial about how to get the most out of Kahoot and really engage your learners.

Take care and stay safe

Please do get in touch via Twitter if there are any tutorials that you’d ‘d like me to create or questions that I may be able to answer.

Donald

#STEAMSunday⤴

from @ Mr Feist's Class

STEAM Sunday is here!  Each week during lockdown, I will be posting a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Maths) challenge on Twitter with a solution video the following Saturday.

I’d love you to get involved in these challenges – adults and children alike – and send me your efforts on Twitter to @mrfeistsclass using the hashtag #STEAMSunday for a chance to be featured in the solution video.

Week 1 – The Magic Triangles

This week is a maths problem-solving challenge.  Check it out:

And here is the solution video:

Using Glow and Teams for Remote Learning⤴

from @ Mr Feist's Class

Glow is a really powerful platform for connected learning, however we still often don’t engage as well as we could – I myself am guilty of that.

With COVID-19, suddenly we have been forced to reconsider everything we know about delivering learning experiences and are turning to online platforms.

Many schools are considering using Teams (who aren’t already) after the holidays, but not all staff and pupils feel confident in using it.  I have, therefore, created tutorial videos for teachers and pupils on Twitter, and will share below so that they are all in one place.

Please take care and stay safe.

Donald

 

For Teachers

You will need a glow account in order to do this.

Sign into Glow at glow.rmunify.com and follow the below tutorial to add ‘Microsoft Teams’ to your launchpad, find your class’ login details (you will need to find a way to send these out to pupils) and set up your team.

The video also shows some of the features of Teams that you will be able to use to support children with their learning.

When changing passwords for the children, I would recommend using one password for everyone and ticking the box which allows them to change their password.  This is an excellent way to start a conversation about the importance of keeping passwords safe and secure.

If you forget to tick the box allowing pupils to change their password, don’t worry as I will cover how pupils can change their own password in my tutorial for them.

The official Glow quick-start guide can be found here

If any of your pupils do not have a Glow account, this needs to be set up on SEEMIS Click and Go.  Your school admin or SLT should be able to do this.

 

**still in development, more content coming soon**

HOTS Reading Cards – Part 1⤴

from @ Mr Feist's Class

Free resource at the bottom of the blog post (but lots of info about it in the post, so still worth a read!) I had hoped to complete all 50 cards before publishing, but with lots on at school and in my ‘other’ life, I’ve taken a slight pause on making the next 26!

 

Rationale

I set out to make reading cards, as I am always disappointed by the range of ‘non-babyish’ materials that are available to children who struggle with reading, or with engaging in reading.  However, I also feel passionately that continually having ‘different’ resources to work on in the class from peers can have an equal off-putting effect.  I’ve been reading a lot recently on effective differentiation, and so wanted to think about how a resource would be accessible enough to engage readers who struggle for all sorts of reasons, but provide enough challenge to push higher achieving children.  Effective questioning seemed to always be the solution.  Each resource uses HOTS questions to provide challenge accessible to all.  Having tested these resources in class with a range of learners, and from tester feedback, it has been interesting to note that there was a real equity amongst the majority of learners.  Children who often struggle with reading were able to attempt (and sometimes even overtook) other learners in the class.  I did support in reading through the text with some children, but then let them attempt the questions independently. I would especially like feedback on how effective this is in your class – do the texts work for the whole class?  What can I improve on and do better in the next 25?

For all of the cards, I have used the font Open Dyslexic, as, whilst it doesn’t help with comprehension, it does support learners (like me) for whom letters do sometimes enjoy mixing themselves up on the page – it won’t make a huge difference, but even the slightest change is a positive in my mind.  You can download the font for free here.

 

How the cards work

Truthfully, this is up to you.  I have not provided an answer sheet as many of the questions require a personal or creative response – but also, I think the power and challenge of the cards are the discussions that you and your learners can have.  Additionally, context and additional information are sometimes available in the questions rather than just the text (sometimes I have omitted any reference to child gender in the text, but have noted it in the cards).  This should provide opportunities for developed questions such as ‘ is this child a boy/girl’, can you find evidence in the text to support this (and hopefully, this can bring up discussions about gender bias also).  I also would hope that children can use them to make their own HOTS questions.

There is an info card about HOTS questions in case you are not familiar with them.  Interesting to note, some of my children questioned why the ‘what is ‘it” question in card 2 is a remembering – I had it as such because I felt the picture was part of the text – but one child said they thought it should be applying as they had to apply all of the context clues to visualise the monster (I’ve paraphrased here, clearly, as I can’t remember her exact words; but I was very impressed by the challenge of her thought) – hopefully this can be something that learners will start to develop and challenge ‘why’ questions are categorised as a way of developing their own thinking.

 

Thanks

There are many people to thank for their support in making these.  Firstly, to @STPBooks for providing two of the texts and images used in the cards.  Secondly, I am poor at proof-reading my own work (as you may be able to tell from my blog post…) so, I am very grateful to @KarenDScotland@vasilionka_lisa, @lovepookiecat@ScullionGreg@mamamialia and @LynnRichmond20, for proof-reading for me and for your incredibly detailed feedback: some were pages long and I so appreciate the time that you spent reading through them to help me.

 

Resources

Due to the size of the PDF, I have had to split these into separate cards – sorry, I know it’s a pain!

Info card

Cards 1-2

Cards 3-4

Cards 5-6

Cards 7-8

Cards 9-10

Cards 11-12

Cards 13-14

Cards 15-16

Cards 17-18

Cards 19-20

Cards 21-22

Cards 23-24