Monday, 29 January 2018

#SRocks18 - Knowing Stuff [Preview]

On Saturday 3rd February, I will be leading a session at the first ever Southern Rocks. I attended Norther Rocks a few years ago and enjoyed my day. Lots of teacher presenting to other teachers. It was therefore a privilege to be asked to lead something this time around.

I described my session as:
How can you change things to ensure that your student's learning is relevant and engaging, yet underpinned by a knowledge-rich curriculum?
A look at tips and tools to do things a little differently, reducing workload and getting the best out of ALL your students.
However as I have been planning, re-planning, working and reworking, I thought I would share some of the things I will discuss and explain my thinking on:
  • Change? What/when/how/why?
  • What is the relationship of engagement, relevance and knowing stuff in the classroom?
  • The importance of knowing - what do we mean by knowing?
  • Implications, tips and advice (rooted in research) for:
    • Planning
    • Starters
    • Activities
    • Note Taking
    • Thinking Deeply
    • Assessment
    • Approaches to Exams
    • Homework
    • Lesson Resources
I am trying to focus on things that individual teachers can do, but departments or even whole schools may want to adopt.

Hopefully a few people will turn up. If not, I'll be playing Ben Folds Five:

Monday, 15 January 2018

Revision Guide Update: “Good things come to those who wait...”

I am currently working on the final edits, corrections and amendments to my GCSE revision guide. The whole team are really excited about the book as we feel it will give both teachers and students the best possible preparation for the upcoming GCSE exams.

If you haven't got the latest OUP mailing, read it <here>

A few things about the OUP book, that I feel makes it superior to any other books out there:
  1. The visual approach we take - tables, diagrams, illustrations - which will be appealing to all students. Not just bullet points.
  2. The structure – the Recap-Apply-Review method makes for effective revision - we have 3 key points for each spec point, plus further key information (not just everything abridged) with exam questions for reviewing knowledge and understanding.
  3. The high volume of exam practice questions – 330! Exam boards won’t endorse exam questions or answers, but we have worked as hard as possible with expert advice to ensure we have covered every aspect of the spec (inc B Describe Questions) without going beyond the spec.
  4. The detailed, skills-building techniques that allow students to practice stages of the larger tariff questions.
  5. Answers readily available in the book - many of which are written as model answers, as well as bullet pointed. Students can check themselves easily!
  6. All material specially written for this spec, not reused from other books.
  7. Sample answers with commentary
  8. 40% off if you order this term! 
The OUP revision guide is 6-8 weeks (approx) later than other books, but this time has been spent doing extra checks for accuracy and matching to the spec and ensuring everything is as useful, informative and useful to teachers and students.

Remember chapter 1 is already available <here> (which can obviously be shared with anxious students)

Any questions or concerns - or bulk order - feel free to drop Gina an email on:

I think it’s safe to say we all fully understand teachers concerns and frustrations about not having the book any earlier. However, I am still teaching the spec and revision has been going on since the start of Year 10 (see an overview of revision, written by me and published by OUP <here>) so the book will be the final resource they use. Many other RE teachers provide a revision guide as something for students to use independently. I am confident my revision guide will enable them to do just that:

From Save RE

“Good things come to those who wait...”