Thursday, 16 January 2014

TeachTweet #6 (16/01/14): Critique and Perfection

Photo from 

My interest in Ron Berger came initially from a friend who I went to university with, Richie Gale. He tweeted me asking if I had read 'An Ethic of Excellence', to which I had to reply no. I hate to admit it (as I consider myself a reasonably intelligent kind of guy), but I don't get much chance to read... I struggle in the evenings as my eyes get too tired, due to their slight independence, which leaves weekends and holidays. I have lots of non-school books I still want to read, particularly by favourite author John Steinbeck. As such education books have to be REALLY good to get my attention.

Berger is simply captivating. His ideas of critique and working towards high achievement and excellence are incredibly appealing. He effortlessly 'sells' his belief in producing master craftsman in his classroom. A big question of mine has become, how can I do that?

My third TeachTweet presentation is here:

“Anything short of excellence would be intolerable.”  (Ron Berger)

I've blogged about some of the ideas featured in this video, read <here>. Lot's of my students have seen the video of Austin's Butterfly featured in that blog post; why not share with your students? I'd really love to hear your ideas about how you can bring Berger into your classroom...
Find out more:

Why not join in the next TeachTweet? All the information is <here>

My other TeachTweet presentations:
"Dazzle Us!" Our Family Learning Project. See the video here.
No YOU mark your A-Level essay! - See the video here

Saturday, 11 January 2014

OFSTED Feedback

Just before Christmas, I had a bit of a rant on here. It's probably worth reading that post first, or this will seem a little abrupt and even a little odd... <A Visit from OFSTED>

And so after emailing a few weeks before Christmas, my feedback finally arrived. The one I was most interested in was where I only got 'Good':

Hi-Res image found <here>

From what I read of this:
1) She didn't like the fact I told them what the Messiah was - a key bit of completly new knowledge that they needed to do the activities for the rest of the lesson
2) She didn't think it was 'challenge' enough to get the G&T students to go around explaining the complex ideas of the fulfilment of the Messianic prophecies to other students. 

My first observation I was told "everything about the lesson was Outstanding":

Hi-Res image found <here>

This is rather brief, and doesn't really suggest my teaching was Outstanding... ah well! 

If anyone can explain a little more about what exactly is 'going on' in these, I'd be very grateful.

The system for getting observation notes does at least work, plus they are posted by Special Delivery. Every teacher who is observed should request them, would be interesting to see what happens to OFSTED then...

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Marking 'Swap Shop'

What best marking practice can we easily share? I'm helping run an INSET on Monday about marking and I'm running a 'Marking Swap Shop'. My idea is that staff will bring ideas, assessment sheets, marking codes, AfL ideas along and leave on my 'Swap Shop' table, and then take away other ideas.

Our recent Open Door Week was a great success but one thing people often commented on was types and styles of marking. OFSTED's area for improvement was also marking.

Essentially the point about our INSET is looking at how we can make marking a little easier, quicker and ultimately more useful to the student without overburdening colleagues. No one wants to be told to do 'more' and staff can take criticism of their marking (which takes them hours) quite badly.

My request... Do you have any good ideas that I can bring to the table? Any simple strategies, easy techniques? Worksheets? Assessments? 

If so please tweet to @iTeachRE or email to TalkingDonkeyRE [at]  

I'll later blog about all the ideas we get! Many many thanks in advance.