#44 Assess that Learning-Make a change!

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?

afl

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.

Leah in action using her AFL target sheets
Leah in action using her AFL target sheets

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.

This is an example of completed target sheets
This is an example of completed target sheets

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.

completed Blue Sticker
completed Blue Sticker

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 telling us about his famous AFL strategies
Ben telling us about his famous AFL strategies

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.

key word tennis
key word 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!

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?

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!

afl 6

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.

Staff Training: Focus 1 Pose Pause Pounce Bounce

Chris instructing his leading ladies (& Jez) on the task ahead
Chris instructing his leading ladies (& Jez) on the task ahead

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Well what a great start to the whole staff training this year! The Staff videos really sum up how brilliant and passionate we all are. The focus of this session was to ensure that our questioning matched our passion, and I can assure you by the end of the training session- I definitely felt like it did!

The first focus this year was Pose Pause Pounce Bounce

pppb

The benefits in using this technique are extensive, but here is to list but a few:

  • All learners get a chance to answer.
  • Learners can see how others are thinking.
  • Teachers gain information about thinking and learning.
  • Learners have time to consider their answers.
  • Learners have time to discuss and follow up on their answers.
  • Learners feel safe to answer.
  • Questions stimulate more questions.
  • Questions stimulate thinking.
Our video is available in the T&|L shared area- have a nosey you might spy yourself!
Our video is available in the T&|L shared area- have a nosey you might spy yourself!

Chloe kindly offered to be our first model teacher and welcomed us into her classroom with 10fl. Her use of PPPB was exquisite and highlighted to staff the importance of this tool in our classrooms!

chloe English
Staff have received a link to the video on Youtube.

After Chloe had modelled to us all, the whole staff body, had a go at a bit of role Play- and I think we found some new actors at the same time!

Sophia got stuck right in and couldn't wait to get on practising!
Sophia got stuck right in and couldn’t wait to get on practising.
Moncef grilling Sajida and putting the group to the test!
Moncef grilling Sajida and putting the group to the test!

The real proof was in the pudding!

It was so excellent to see staff practising how to use PPPB and learning about the life of a Viking at the same time! We got staff up to perform and everyone was really enthusiastic and keen to show what they had learned- this is exactly the enthusiasm we want our pupils have!

If every staff meeting is as energised and positive as the first- our CPD is going to go through the roof this year- taking our results with it! I cannot wait to watch us all grow and develop together.

Remember to trial the PPPB strategies in the log and we will all gather again on November 4th!

#43 Westfield Well-Being: Taking care of each other

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it’s the little things that brighten our day…
staff outings
Dream Team at the staff social

well being at work

Socialising and taking care of ourselves is not something teachers are very good at doing. We tend to neglect ourselves; even though we preach to our pupils about looking after themselves, going to bed early and eating proper, nutritious meals- so why can’t we look after number 1?

Here at Westfield, we recognise the importance of looking after our well-being and are trying hard this year to improve our work-life balance. We are trying to make work a more social and enjoyable space, and organise more events on the outside- to create many memories and good time so we can remember who we are outside of the classroom!

The Christmas Party!

The first exciting event we have planned on the calender is the infamous Westfield Christmas Party on a party boat, on the 4th December.

boat cruise        dancing

The Christmas Party is the perfect excuse to let your hair down and dance the night away. It is an opportunity for colleagues to share in the success of their past school year and bring in the new year with new goals and positivity for the future.

Friday socials!

Every Friday, lots of Westfield staff head down to the moon under the water in Watford, to have a bite to eat and a drink to celebrate the weekend. After working such long ,arduous hours throughout the week, it is a lovely opportunity to unwind and catch up.

moon under water  moon

Free Tea & Coffee

free tea coffee

Now that the cold, dark winter mornings are upon, us we decided it was our job to make sure the day got off to a slightly warmer start. We have put tea, coffee and hot chocolate in the staff room for all staff to use whenever they feel like a brew. It is also a great chance for staff to catch up and have a natter over a warm cuppa! So head down to the staff room and give your morning a little boost!

Friday Fry up!

friday fry up

What better way to start you Friday buzz than with a full, hearty breakfast! Our amazing canteen staff have kindly arranged for us to fill our boots every Friday morning with a range of fantastic breakfast offers! £3.30 for a full fry and a cup of coffee! what a bargain, and a great way to kick off that Friday feeling 🙂 Head to the sixth form centre from 7:15am to catch up and discuss your weekend plans!

friday feeling

Free Gym Membership

free membership

Yep, that’s right a free gym membership. Gym memberships, on average cost £30 a month, that’s a whopping £360 a year saving!! We have a fantastic network of gym instructors who work alongside us every day to provide us with a great gym programme. We have free access to gym classes and can use the personal trainers for no additional costs! win win!!

Every Tuesday spin class will be for teachers only and will begin at 3:45-4.45pm- a great way to socialise and burn a few pounds at the same time!

spin  spin 1

Staff Football

Every few weeks our male staff members don their kit and dust off their boots to assert their dominance and male pride and play a bit of football (or try)! It is a great way to blow off steam and have a laugh- ask Chris Chalk or any of the dream team for information on the next match! Ladies, it would be lovely to see you cheer them on at the side line!

football

Toiletries in the bathrooms

We spend more hours in school, than we do in the comfort of our own home. So why shouldn’t we have access to the basics like deodorant, body spray, headache tablets etc? Here at Westfield we want you to feel as comfortable as you would be at home. We want you to remain fit and healthy and happy in your workplace and we believe it is the little things that will make this happen.

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for those essential moments…

little things

We have lots of exciting ideas in the pipeline and hope that more staff contribute to the well being group, to make it an exciting, vibrant and enjoyable place to work!

If you have any ideas on how we can develop the well- being at Westfield, please come along to the next meeting and share your fantastic ideas!

team work