Building Word Confidence: Everyone read, say, understand, use, practise. — teacherhead

A very common phenomenon in many lessons is that students encounter new words. The way we approach this ought to be something teachers think about explicitly so that effective strategies are used. I’ve seen explicit vocabulary development done extremely well but, quite often, I find that it’s approached in a rather shallow manner: new words are […]

via Building Word Confidence: Everyone read, say, understand, use, practise. — teacherhead

Nominate a Spokesperson

Who might this be good for?

  • Quiet (shy) classes who are reluctant to answer questions in front of each other.
  • Classes who may have two or three pupils who always dominate Q&A sessions.

Why use it?

  • To increase verbal participation in your classes.
  • To increase talk for learning in your lessons.

What to do

At the start of each lesson speak to the 3 or 4 most confident pupils in your class and tell them that today they will need to nominate a spokesperson. Whenever you ask a question they will then need to tell their spokesperson the answer (or what they think is the answer) and the spokesperson will answer for them. As pupils get used to this you can increase the number of pupils who are involved and move on to encouraging the less confident to nominate people to be spokespeople for them.

Catherine Russell
Head of KS3 Science

Keywords homework

This post follows on from something I am trialling on keyword use in Year 11 biology. These are the homeworks I received from my mid-high ability Year 11 class which I set them on plant structures.

They had to include a diagram, write about their function, explain what adaptations they had to fulfill their function and then write a list of keywords that they thought would be relevant about that plant structure.

Here are two of the homeworks (after I had marked them) – a lot of time and care has been spent in completing this homework and you can see that it is a nice, compact revision tool for them. Also great for me when I was marking the homework as I could quickly see any misconceptions, push high ability pupils further and provide structures assistance for those who were struggling.

We will be writing exam answers using these homeworks on Thursday – I will update the blog when I have their responses. I’m looking forward to seeing what the quality of the exam style answers is like!

Mollie plant structures homeworkH Kuczynska
Teacher of Science
Assistant Head Teacher

A master plan for vocabulary teaching in the English curriculum — Reflecting English

A while back I stumbled across this awesome critical vocabulary document on the website of Yokohama International School. It was created by an English teacher called Liz Davies. I suggest you have a glance at it before reading the rest of this post. It is, I hope you will agree, an extraordinary piece of work. […]

via A master plan for vocabulary teaching in the English curriculum — Reflecting English


At Carlton le Willows Academy we are committed to enriching the whole student by not just demanding academic excellence, but also building character. During these Character Resilience and Wellbeing lessons (CRW) we teach the students a variety of skills and techniques to get them well prepared for when they leave school. This week, a representative from SharedEd came to deliver a session to year 9 students on FutureHack (future proofing careers).

Class 9XC5, during a Character Resilience and Wellbeing lesson, were discussing how Carlton le Willows students can be better prepared for a future which is likely to see half of jobs being automated. Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, IoT, Driverless Technology among other was mentioned that are likely to disrupt our world. How can young people be best prepared for these fundamental changes when they enter their careers in 5-10 years?

Mike Tomlinson
Head of Character Resilience and Wellbeing


Using keywords with konfidence…

The biggest challenge in biology is use of keywords. I wanted to increase the confidence with which my students selected and utilized keywords in order to encourage them to be independent learners.

We looked at four different plant structures (palisade mesophyll cells, root hair cells, xylem and phloem) and I asked the students to split an A3 sheet of paper into four, and draw a diagram for each structure, write about its function and describe how it was adapted to its function. This is all very standard fare and in itself is a useful revision tool for the students, but is limited to just that.

So, I asked the students to also write a list of keywords at the bottom of each quarter that they would absolutely, 100% have to use if they were asked an exam question on that topic. This was to be completed as homework, and the idea is for me to mark this work, and when I give them feedback, provide 4 exam style questions that they must answer and include all the keywords they themselves have selected for that structure.

This will ensure that they are using more keywords in their answers but will also hopefully highlight the relevance of the words and improve their choice of scientific terminology; if they have written a keyword which they can’t use, then why did they choose it?

I have included an image of what they should be producing (I made this – and yes, I love colouring in and yes, I know there is a spelling mistake!!) and will update the blog when they have handed in the work and I’ve had a look at their answers.

H Kuczynska
Teacher of Science
Assistant Head Teacher

A3 homework

Priority One: Improving the Quality of Teaching.  — teacherhead

The dominant issue in delivering a great education to all young people in a school or college is to ensure that they are being taught well, by someone with the confidence, knowledge and skills required, relevant to the school/college context, in every lesson. Recruiting, retaining and developing great teachers should be a total frontline priority. It already is […]

via Priority One: Improving the Quality of Teaching.  — teacherhead