May 2018 anewhoffod youtube gas pedal


There is no doubt the embedding of short, concise quotations throughout literature responses supports pupils to hit Band 5. A member of #teamenglish did a study of her own responses last year and found that the more quotations embedded, the higher the overall level.

This has been a significant barrier for us. Pupils knowing and retaining key quotations that they can interleave throughout their answers has been a great concern. With six weeks to go until the exams and my confidence in pupils’ knowledge of the texts waning, I decided to turn to Quizlet to aid quotation retention and, boy, am I glad I did.

Quizlet is an online flashcard tool. Costing only £35 for the teacher version for a year, this is an absolute steal. Pupils set their own accounts up and request to join your class. There is also a mobile app which a significant number of my pupils downloaded on to their phones for testing on the go.

Creating a study set is easy. Identify the text you want pupils to learn quotations for and choose your key quotations. Then divide your flashcard into two: the first half of the quotation on one side and the second half of the quotation on the other side.

This blog is a thank you to Iain Kemp – a Teach First participant who joined us this year. At the start of the academic year, Iain and I were sat down having our mentor meeting when we got on to the topic of vocabulary. Both Iain and I shared the viewpoint that pupils within our academy were word poor and we were keen to address this. I asked Iain to go away and read Isabella Beck’s ‘Bringing Words to Life’ and come back with a strategy for improving our pupils’ vocabulary. And he did. Not only did he read Isabella Beck’s book but he also researched vocabulary instruction through blogs and other research papers.

A few months down the road, I was having a conversation with Iain and we were talking about the success of the vocabulary instruction at the start of every lesson. I expressed to Iain my uncertainty about the impact it was having. Were the words featuring, as a result, in pupils’ responses and were they retaining these words over a longer period of time?

I asked Iain to share the work he had done with the department. In the meeting, Iain shared sentences that pupils had used within their most recent assessment where the vocabulary from the Do it now tasks had been embedded in their written responses. Some of our lowest attaining pupils were embedding the vocabulary throughout. Success! Iain also provided the results of his testing of these words showing that all pupils were developing their understanding and use of these key words.

Alongside this, the department are currently reading ‘Closing the Vocabulary Gap’ and we are incredibly focused, as we move in to term 6 and ‘gained time’ that we really work on identifying our 300-400 words that we want our pupils to be exposed to over the year. Our new Medium-Term-Plan structure enables clarity with regard to these words.

The subject terminology will be addressed in a strategy developed by Michaela where by pupils at the start of the lesson offer a definition of the key word in a very quick and rapid-fire way. Something we did at the start of the year but have lost along the way.