Curriculum

Using a shared mathematics curriculum across a teaching school alliance

Here is a post written by our mathematics subject leader, Mrs Katy Paternoster explaining how a curriculum is being used to help raise achievement across the primary schools in the Tendring Teaching School Alliance (TTSA).

‘January 2015 has been very exciting for me as a mathematics leader; we have taken our first few steps towards the majority of the local primary schools using the same maths curriculum which will run from year 1 to year 11.  This will potentially enable us as local teachers to collaborate, support and encourage each other and work together using the same curriculum framework.  Possibly the most exciting aspect for me is that the vast majority of our year 6s in the Tendring area will move up to a secondary school that uses the same framework, allowing for a much smoother and seamless transition from KS2 to KS3 maths.

During January, 8 of the 11 primary schools within the Tendring Teaching School Alliance met together to discuss the feasibility of using a common maths curriculum.  The Academies Enterprise Trust mathematics team has put together a curriculum that uses the new National Curriculum objectives and gives more detail and support.  This curriculum runs from year 1 to year 11 and is currently used at Hamford, Langar and TTC.  It is the intention that Rolph, Weeley, Wix & Wrabness, Frinton, Walton, Kirby and Engaines will soon be using this curriculum framework by Easter 2015.’

Please post your experiences and ideas below, as well as ask any questions for the rest of this community to help with.

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Categories: Curriculum, Maths, Teaching and Learning | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

You Can Learn Anything

Check out this video from the Khan Academy highlighting why it is crucial for educators to develop growth mindsets in the children they teach.  We used it to inspire and develop growth mindsets in our staff on training days and the children during assembly.  Enjoy.

Categories: Brain, Curriculum, Mindset, Teaching and Learning | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Assessment: from government led to student led

The aim of this post is to challenge and provoke thinking about what quality assessment really looks like.  Currently, there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding assessment in education and it has always been a highly charged and debated topic among academics and teachers.  This post should help identify the limitations of levels and, hence, why they have been removed from the new curriculum.  Furthermore, the power of student led assessment and critiquing will be highlighted and why this needs to be developed across far more schools in England.

One of the biggest changes in the new National Curriculum is the removal of levels and what this means for future assessment.  Watch Tim Oates, chair of the expert panel which informed the review of the national curriculum 2010 to 2013, talk about the purpose of changes to assessment in the new curriculum and rationale behind moving away from levels.

Although having been teaching and researching passionately for many years, Ron Berger’s outstanding findings on student led assessment has only recently become more widespread as a result of his video entitled ‘Austin’s butterfly’.  It does not matter if you have seen this video before, as it inspires every time. Watch and wonder.

The video illustrates the power of Assessment for Learning (AfL), specifically feedback and the use of success criteria (although Ron uses the term ‘critique’ to include all the elements of effective AfL).  Furthermore, Ron’s most recent book entitled ‘Leaders of their own learning: Transforming schools through student-engaged assessment’ is an excellent read and another investment worth making.

Amazon.co.uk describes the book as follows: ‘From Expeditionary Learning Schools comes a proven approach to student assessment Leaders of Their Own Learning offers a new way of thinking about assessment based on the celebrated work of Expeditionary Learning Schools across the country. Student–Engaged Assessment is not a single practice but an approach to teaching and learning that equips and compels students to understand goals for their learning and growth, track their progress toward those goals, and take responsibility for reaching them. This requires a set of interrelated strategies and structures and a whole–school culture in which students are given the respect and responsibility to be meaningfully engaged in their own learning. It includes everything teachers and school leaders need to implement a successful Student–Engaged Assessment system in their schools.  It outlines the practices that will engage students in making academic progress, improve achievement, and involve families and communities in the life of the school.

Assessment continues to be an ongoing struggle for many teachers, often causing much anxiety.  With the theory and rationale behind the abolition of levels explained by Tim Oates and the inspiring work of Ron Berger and his colleagues, it is an exciting time to be a teacher and be able to develop a child-engaged assessment system that is grounded in the principles of AfL and tailored to the school, children and teacher’s setting.

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What’s the purpose of education?

Have a look at one of the videos we used to inspire our new curriculum at Hamford Primary Academy.  No more words needed.  Enjoy.

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The Educators

Just in case you’re not a regular BBC radio 4 listener, The Educators is an excellent series currently running at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesdays.  Sarah Montague interviews leading figures from education in half hour episodes.  We are currently up to episode 6 of 8 and links to them can be found below:

Episode 1: Ken Robinson

Sarah Montague asks Sir Ken Robinson why he thinks schools are a barrier to creativity.

Episode 2: John Hattie

Sarah Montague asks what really makes a difference to a child’s ability.

Episode 3: Tony Little

The headmaster of Eton College talks to Sarah Montague about his formula for success.

Episode 4: Daisy Christodoulou

Teacher and writer Daisy Christodoulou thinks children are being taught the wrong things.

Episode 5: Paul Howard-Jones

Do we become more effective learners when there’s a chance of winning something?

Episode 6: Sugata Mitra

Prof Sugata Mitra explains why children need more freedom to teach one another.

Please post any thoughts in response to listening to any of the episodes.

Categories: Curriculum, Teaching and Learning | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Genius Hour update!

Further to my post ‘What would be your Genius Hour?’ on June 3, 2014, here is a website link to the UKEdChat discussion on Genius Hour.  The session set out to explore the following:

  1. How do you currently integrate students interests in the classroom through learning experiences?
  2. What is the benefit of pursuing student passions, interests and talents in the classroom?
  3. How did you hear about the concept of Genius Hour?
  4. What problems do you think you might encounter while implementing Genius Hour?
  5. Share one thing that you have learnt about Genius Hour this evening.

Further to the excellent ideas raised during the discussion, UKEdChat also provided some very useful website links to help support the implementation of Genius Hour:

http://www.geniushour.com/

http://www.livebinders.com/play/play?id=829279

http://geniushour.wikispaces.com/

http://hmsdelaney.weebly.com/

http://hughtheteacher.wordpress.com/2013/03/24/genius-hour-manifesto/

http://www.mathematicshed.com/genius-hour

Please post any of your own ideas and experiences below.

Categories: Curriculum, Genius Hour, Teaching and Learning | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Jumpstart! Grammar: Games and activities for ages 6 – 14

Here is the excellent partnership of Pie Corbett and Julia Strong’s latest offering in their crusade to develop the quality of children’s writing: Jumpstart! Grammar: Games and activities for ages 6 – 14.  Like Pie Corbett’s other Jumpstart game books: Literacy and Storymaking, this is another practical and easy to use text packed full of fun and engaging ideas to develop children’s grammar across the primary school and beyond.

Front Cover

Here is an overview of the book courtesy of Amazon.co.uk:

‘This collection of simple to use, multi-sensory games and activities will jumpstart pupils’ understanding of grammar in action. If you are one of the thousands of teachers who feels insecure about how to teach grammar engagingly, and perhaps also lack confidence in your own grammatical knowledge, then this is also the perfect book for you.

Fun games will focus first on helping children hear the difference various types of grammar can make followed by activities to help them understand what different effects you can create with grammar, rather than dwelling on arid naming of parts. Technical terms will only be introduced once the children have established what the various features can do, with a particular focus on those terms that really help children discuss what makes language coherent and effective. By the time the children are asked to use the terminology, they will have a real grasp of what it’s good for.

It will prepare children for any grammar tests on the horizon in an engaging way so that they love playing with words and spinning sentences to make ideas dance. And, of course, they will be able to name the parts if that is what is required.

Jumpstart Grammar will celebrate the joys of language, and coherent expression; of finding just the right words or phrases to express what you want to say.’

An investment definitely worth making!

Categories: Curriculum, English, Teaching and Learning | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What would be your Genius Hour?

Through the power of Twitter, the concept of Genius Hour has been spreading across the hyperspace education world.  The Genius Hour website states:

‘During genius hour students of all levels are empowered to explore their own passions. Discover how to transform your classroom into a place where students want to come in and learn.’

Watch the video below to see what it is all about and consider how Genius Hour could work at Hamford.

 

To find out more, click on the web link here.  What would be your Genius Hour?  How would you implement it in your class?

 

Categories: Curriculum, Genius Hour | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Creating Hamford’s new curriculum

In light of the new National Curriculum rolling out in September, we are already thinking about making our own version that is more fit for purpose for the children of Hamford.  Be inspired by watching Richard Gerver.

If you could create your own school, what do you think the children should learn?  How should they learn it?

How would you make school like Disneyland (like Richard Gerver set out to do)?

 

How can we provide a curriculum that motivates and engages every child every day and puts them at the centre?

How can we build children’s learning power, so they become more resilient, resourceful and reflective?

How can we raise children’s aspirations for what their future might hold?

How do we instill a love of learning that prepares them for life?

Please post your thoughts below.

Categories: Curriculum | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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