Archive for April, 2013

A few months ago I engaged in a conversation on Twitter over measuring students progress from KS2 to KS3 and that the data that we were using was flawed as it was not really based on them from a practical point of view, (in particular PE in my case but this does apply across other subjects)

When measuring progress we were seeing big differences in targets and predicted and on analysis it was fairly obvious why.

Now there is a bigger issue here that I wont go into too much detail over but there is a view that in PE we should measure their practical ability??  Sport actually covers so much more than this, from leadership to healthy lifestyles.  Do these get graded?  Can you make progress in these areas?  Which ever way you look at this aspect it is clear that KS2 data does not reflect any of them so progress against it is always going to have questions against it.

The solution!!!!!

The idea that came up through conversation (and there are schools that currently do this)  is to assess in some form at the start of Y7 and to then set target grades based on that. In this way you have a better picture of the students that you have in Y7 and a clearer idea of what needs to be done in order to improve.

What I proposed for our department was to build in an induction programme that looks at the full range of activities in the curriculum as well as a full range of concepts and processes.  Over the first 6 sessions in PE all teaching staff in PE will moderate and look at the cohort we have and give an assessment based on the activities covered.  Though this is still going to be a fairly crude measure the hope is that it will be more accurate than the current model.

Hopefully in using this system we will be able to plan interventions better and highlight where we have issues as a department. This should work in all subjects that have a practical focus, in talking to other subjects such as Art and Drama it is clear that they have similar issues.

Thanks to all the PEgeeks that helped me with this vision, as always you continue to support and inspire.



Over the last few weeks of Y11 on my BTEC course I have been trying to think of every way possible to get them to really achieve their full potential.  They are on target to get their grades but want them to push themselves to see if they are capable of more (which I believe they all are)

My way of tracking progress is through a google spreadsheet, it helps keep track of grades and works out points and final grades for me automatically.  it also works well for the students as it is colour coded so at a glance they can see where they are in the course.

What occurred to me in one of my sessions was that you could see those that were doing well so why not put them in rank order, this way i could quickly see who needed intervention and prescribe it to them.  this was not meant to be shown to the students in this way but one student saw the list and commented on how it looked like a league table.  The conversation developed and he seemed really enthused to see what he could do to move up a place.  he then went off, did the work, got it checked by a peer and resubmitted to get a better grade.

I then thought to share it with the group.  It worked, we talked about it being the premier league table complete with Champions League spots, Europa League and the dreaded relegation zone.  It was all done a bit tongue in cheek so as not to alienate anyone but in fact those lower down really showed a more conscious effort to make changes and those at the top wanted to keep their position.

It has resulted in a massive surge in work getting finished and a focus on peer assessing before it gets to me so they do not waste an opportunity to move up the league.

I don’t think it would work for all students but with a sports group it hit the mark.Image

Recently the excellent Jon Tait @teamtait posted on twitter about a teaching and learning newsletter that he had created using Smore  This led to a lot of fellow tweachers looking to create a similar thing to help spread the message about teaching and learning to a greater audience.  Jon’s original post can be found here

I created my own in an effort to publicise some of the work I had been doing with iPads in the classroom but also to spread the message I was getting from twitter about loads of great ideas.  My first attempt is here

I started to then think about the application of this in students work.  Lots of teachmeets I have been to recently have had Digital Leaders focusing on death by powerpoint and it has got me thinking about ensuring I give students a range of ways to present work and be creative.

Smore is a really simple tool to use but allows the user to create nice leaflets with digital content quite easily.  The final product is very professional and should allow students to feel proud of what they have achieved.  It also has links to social networks which means that the work created can hit a much wider audience at the students choice.  I use it on my iPad and it is simple to create flyers.

Choosing a type

When you start a new flyer you get to choose a type.  This just gives you a template to follow to get you started.


Once selected you then just simply edit the existing text to create your flyer.

From a students point of view this should help get them started but for the more able or creative you can start to create the outline in your own style.  By clicking on the + icon you get a wealth of options to upload media, text or links to websites.


Uses in the classroom.

My intention is to start to share this with the students to give them a new tool to use in creating work.  In my BTEC class I will introduce it as a new tool for them to create their coursework.  As it is about creating flyers it is a relevant tool that can be used for promoting events or advertising products.

Students could use it to create revision guides for topics that they have covered and these could then be shared amongst the group.

Staff could create reading guides for different topics and again share them out so studnts have access to a wealth of reading.

English students could use it to do book reviews and include links to pictures or video to help others interpret the text.

Schools that have digital leaders in place could use this as a way of creating guides for others to use certain apps.

The caution as with all things is not to use it to death.  Where it works and has relevance it will have impact, over do it and its your new powerpoint.

If people have other applications for its use I would be really keen to hear about them.


Last year I decided to apply to become an Apple Distinguished Educator.  I felt that there was so much that could be done with devices in education and wanted to see how I could develop it further.

The process involved writing about what I had done in my own practice and how I had helped to develop others use of iPads and iPods in their classrooms.  It also involved creating a video that highlighted these things.  It was great just to do the application as it really highlighted what I had done behind the scenes, things that a lot of people are probably not aware of.  Here is a link to my video.

Last week I received an email from Apple saying that I was successful.  They selected 250 people from Asia, The Middle East and Europe so it was a great honour to be part of this.  I now travel to Ireland in the Summer to meet the other ADE’s and take part in a training and orientation session.

I now have access to a whole wealth of knowledge and great practice from ADE’s around the world and will be producing my own and collaborative work about how mobile devices can really be used to develop teaching and learning.

More information on the programme can be found by following the link below.

Curriculum for Wales Blog

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