This week has been a busy week for Staff and their Professional development!
We started off the week with a super Butterfly session from Leah and Ben, where they shared their fantastic strategies to improve Assessment for Learning in the classroom.
Assessment for Learning is the process of seeking and interpreting evidence for use by learners and their teachers to decide where the learners are in their learning, where they need to go and how best to get there.
How many of us actually normally plan this into our lessons?
Leah, who is Head of Art talked to us about the various ways she and her team use AFL in a very hands on and reflective subject. She introduced the use of target setting sheets, so pupils can track their work, attitude to learning and then reflective on how much they achieved in each lesson. This technique enables pupils to have an onus for their own learning.
Its is vital that we are checking the learning and the progress of our pupils throughout a 60min lesson.
AFL is a perfect tool kit, which enables us to ensure pupils have grasped the learning and made the steps to fulfil their success criteria.
The Westfield way is important for consistency across our school. We ensure this consistency in AFL through the use of our Blue Sticker marking policy. Art have used this and also adapted it to ensure the best reflective feedback from students.
This form of assessment is without a doubt one of the most successful opportunities to assess pupils’ knowledge and understand how they know where they were successful and more importantly how they can improve!
Ben really got the staff going and got us really interactive with lots of fun and engaging on the spot AFL ideas.
The first which we all loved was Keyword Tennis.
The premise of this activity is very simple and takes absolutely no preparation! You use a key word from the lesson and success criteria and use it as a main body prep or a plenary- the class divides in to two and battles to come up with as many words, which are relevant to the learning direction. I have tried it out several times since, and the pupils really enjoy it and are extremely enthusiastic! It is definitely a winner in my eyes! 🙂
Boom Bop Bang!
The kids love making noise, right? So why not encourage noise with learning- surely has to equal a winning scenario? Ben uses this simple and fun strategy to encourage creative thinking and in-depth understanding of topics. He poses a question and gives the pupils an A or B scenario or a True or False. He then gets the pupils to bang a rhythm on their desks and raise a hand or finger with the correct answer. From this you can generate Discussion on pupils’ answers and have pupils expand and elaborate, or even better- design their own questions!
What’s in your Brain?
This is an excellent plenary used by Ben to get a really solid understanding of what the pupils have learned and understood in his lesson. This makes the pupils reflect on their knowledge and take ownership of their effort in lessons. You can follow this with a set of short questions (oral or written) or you can get pupils to generate their own to ask each other ‘what’s in your brain?’ Simple and perfectly effective!
Whatever little technique or strategy you use, anything that lets you easily access pupils progress in your lesson is an effective AFL tool. Keep rewording and reusing tried and tested techniques- but even more importantly experiment and take risks to ensure pupils are consonantly engaged and feeling motivated to take ownership of their learning.