Literacy Logons 1

Some desktop background designs to promote literacy that I’ve been working on.  Our students get one of these displayed when logging on to the school computers.


We have moved!

Due to a large and tricky malware attack, I’ve shifted over to this blog.  Not sure whether I’m going to find time to fix the original site or if this will become a permanent home, but for now, welcome along!



Low Effort High Impact

Originally posted in November 2011.

This post is inspired by something that happened during a recent #ukedchat discussion on Twitter about effective teaching & learning strategies.

I posted the following suggestion:

“What Went Well & Even Better If (WWW & EBI) for feedback.”

@jamieportman commented that the strategy was:

“Low energy & high impact”.

I really like that phrase, and it made me remember some of the fantastic, simple T&L strategies that I’ve observed or been told about when running INSET. So here they are:

1. WWW & EBI

The only golden rule is that there must be more WWWs than EBIs (I try to use a 3:1 ratio). Infinitely flexible. Use it to diagnostically mark. Get learners peer assessing. Focus it on criteria (levels, aesthetics, user friendliness, spelling and grammar). If you’re feeling brave, use it for learners to evaluate your lesson – you get great customer feedback and they think about learning, delivery and format, win!

2. Wait Time

I knew that wait time was important, but then this research landed in my inbox via @thatiangilbert. Some of the more startling points made are:

  • The average wait-time teachers allow after posing a question is one second or less.
  • Students whom teachers perceive as slow or poor learners are given less wait-time than those teachers view as more capable.
  • There seems to be no wait-time threshold for higher cognitive questions; students seem to become more and more engaged and perform better and better the longer the teacher is willing to wait.

Read the whole article, it’s fascinating.

3. Post It/Sticky Notes

My room is normally covered in them. Ask a question and get 30, 40, 50, 60 answers instead of one. Use them for rank/prioritise exercises, sequencing, mini plenary learning summaries (‘three key learning points form the last 20 minutes’…..). Ideas are malleable, opinions can be changed without crossing out and learning is transferrable, colour coded (if you’re cunning), and interactive.

I even nicked a great idea from @jamieportman again and used them for ‘what do you expect of Mr Colley?’ as an introduction to lesson one and our classroom conduct agreement. Here’s what I got back!

4. Get Up, Stand Up

Instead of hands up, get your learners to stand up and move to one side of the room or another depending on what they think the answer to a question is. Fact or opinion? Past or present tense? Masculine or feminine? etc etc. For questions that require deeper thinking, allow answers along a confidence line from certain to uncertain.

The confidence line works well to assess learners’ convictions about their own learning too – try it with your lesson objectives at the beginning, middle & end of a lesson to get a visual indicator of perceived progress. It makes learners feel good too!