A teaching and learning inventory

I, We, You

Recently I shared one of my approaches to guided practice/modelling, using the I, We. You backwards fading approach.

This example was from a Y11 lesson covering the 8 Mark Source Utility question in the early stages of student practice, when are ‘novices’

The sheet involves:

  • Using a worked example (which I ‘live’ wrote under the visualiser and magically it was on their sheet) and we annotate, discuss and highlight
  • Joint construction, student and teacher led collaboration to write a further paragraph
  • Completion of example, students complete a partially written example
  • Independent, students complete their own answer using the worked examples to support

Attached ppt.

This work is a continuation from my Chartered College, Chartered Teacher Programme research project, where I looked at the use of Sweller’s Worked Example effect, Cognitive Load Theory and the use I, We, You as an instructional model.

There’s a lot of evidence behind using worked examples, reducing cognitive load and the like, and I’ve spent a few years providing worked examples, silent modelling and completion examples but my first experience into I, We, You came through reading a blog series by English teacher Tom Needham ( – this is a seriously awesome series and encouraged me to trial in history.

Tom’s model combines so much goodness it’s clear to see why I love it.

It also sits so well with Rosenshine’s principles, and huge thanks to Tom Sherrington for his book on it’s practical application. I’ve just let a copy to our new trainee, getting them informed from early.

This was my first effort, based on a 12 mark question and since it has evolved into the example above!

I’ve already begun to roll this out across a number of lesson (enquiry in history) rather than individual lessons, and have trialled it in my first workbook – which I’ll blog about soon!

A summary of my research project in poster form is below, if you want the PDF do let me know. If you’ve not joined the Chartered College why not? Also if you want an excellent CPD course which hugely improves you as a evidence informed teacher, please do look at signing up

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How do we revise for history?

A combination of using Twitter & working at a Research School, I have the wonderful opportunity to read and engage in the latest evidence and research based practice but often during readings, conferences and discussions I wonder how can I translate this practice into meaning methods and resources for my students.

One of these issues is independent revision and a lack of student confidence/knowledge of what to do. I often hear ‘I just read my notes sir’ or ‘I don’t know how to revise sir’, even in the last week before Y11 examinations. This sorely needed fixing.

Luckily, the recent move towards evidence based practice has allowed me to really focus on methods to help my students that have proven success, I must nod to the Learning Scientists, Alex Quigley, Oliver Caviglioi, Sandringham Research, Impact Wales and various others for research, explanation and inspiration. Our school are great at introducing a range of revision techniques and methods that are beneficial, with revision evenings led by @lizzyfrancis and Breakfast Jam CPD sessions whilst  Science have recently introduced the Cornell Method and my lovely colleague @missbkearns has been doing some great research on retrieval practice.

Despite this, I still felt I needed to create something history specific that linked to these tools within my subjects’ context, hence the ‘How do we revise for history’ sheet below which outlines methods with clear ‘how to use in history’ sections, linking to the knowledge and skills GCSE students need.


Free PDF copy attached here: How Do We Revise for History

Editable copy here: Tes

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Marking Crib Sheet & Whole Class Feedback

Recently, I have been looking at our departments marking procedures and how best to be effective markers (obviously reducing workload is key!).

I designed this crib sheet as a way to provide quicker feedback to the whole classroom rather than writing comments in each book, so reducing marking time from 2-3 hours per class to less than an hour. Now I actually really do miss writing comments, leaving questions and the other bits in their books but it really wasn’t a workload issue I could continue with (especially as I have my first child on the way!).

Therefore the crib sheet allows me to go through each students’ book and I make comments on the whole class sheet using the sections below.


The benefits are that it gives me a snapshot of the whole class’s progress, allows me to ‘fine tune’ my lesson planning and it also gives activities and tasks for students to complete within DIRT the next lesson.



Using this I do the following which we complete in lessons for 20-25 minutes, you can also get a feel of what it looks like in students books. Students’ are given an A5 copy to stick in under the title of ‘DIRT’ and using a red pen they review their SPaG, answer questions I have created from reading their books, finish any work or complete an extension activity. We always finish with a spelling test to hammer home those misspelt key words.

dirt-1    dirt-2dirt-3  dirt-4

Pupils books look something like this – we do this every 2 weeks or so.


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Now, that does not mean I use this for assessments – my focus is on providing more detailed and worthwhile assessment feedback, with this being reserved for standard lessons etc. For more on what I’m trying in assessments, check out the rest of my blog.

Need to convince SLT or others, or want a handy guide on how it works?

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Attached is ppt. resource

Marking Crib Sheet ppt.    Marking Crib Sheet V2


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Parental Engagement in Y11

Having trialled a version of a ‘How to support your child through Y11’ handout to give out at parents evening, I’ve continued it again this year with some additions. I’ve always thought about improving parental engagement and it is something my school does across KS3/4, especially in supporting revision and preparation for GCSE’s. This handout is something that we hope will give our parents some guidance and understanding of their child’s year ahead and they they can support them.  It includes examination information, key dates for 2018/9, revision information and communication opportunities.

Having read an article about the power of parental engagement and its impact on progress (Can’t remember where though!), I had a look at the EEF, who are producing a report in Winter 2018 (EFF Guidance Reports), and one of their earliest suggestions is ‘offering advice on improving the home learning environment’. This is something our school has been doing through Revision Evenings for Y11 Parents/Carers, and our weekly Y11 Bulletin kindly compiled by our Head of Year @MissZEvans. This information, alongside consistent feedback on our students progress, both formally and informally, we hope will really help our students & parents alike.

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Therefore this sheet will be provided with our history bundle at Parents Evening, including our homemade revision guides, mock exam guidance and our ‘how to revise in history’ sheet (How do we revise for history?).

Revision handout here:Y11 Parents Evening Handout 2018

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Breakfast Jam – Visualisers in the classroom

Today I had the opportunity to present at our in-school CPD sessions called Breakfast Jams on how I have been using visualisers throughout the history classroom & my thoughts going forwards. I must say a big thanks to Susan Strachan @susanSenglish and those at Michaela for the inspiration to these uses.

I LOVE my visualiser at the moment & hope to continue finding new methods to use within the class.

PPT attached at the bottom:

V 1v 2v 3V 4v 5v 6v 7v 8v 9v 10v 11v 12v 13


`Breakfast Jam Visualisers

Whole Class Feedback & Crib Sheet Handout

As part of our first Meols Cop High Research Conference I finally had the balls to speak about the Crib Sheet & whole class feedback after a 18 months of refining it.

Below is the handout I produced to accompany my session, hope it can be useful in helping clear up how it works or if you need to persuade or explain to others 🙂

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Copy available on dropbox to download, link below

Full Cycle – Saying goodbye to Year 11

As we near the completion of another school year, I find myself at the end of my first ‘full cycle’ – taking a class of students through from Year 9 to 11 where they have sat their final two exams in History. For some, this is the end of their History education, for others this is a stepping stone into further education.

I still remember my first day as an NQT and meeting this class the first time, them not knowing me and me not knowing them and attempting to carve a relationship through our love of history. I remember the advice given to me by mentors, well wishers and anyone else I spoke to in panic in the final weeks of my summer, telling me, “No smiling until Christmas” and “Show them who’s in charge from day one.” With these words ringing in my ears, this was exactly how I treated Year 9 that first day and for the first few weeks. Obviously, being a new teacher and new to the school, they pushed the boundaries and I pushed back. I still remember the arguments over writing in silence and their note taking speed, a student eating so many marshmallows she could not respond to my questions and the what felt like constant seating re-arrangements to keep on top of chatter. I’m sure they thought I was horrible, this was later confirmed on innumerable occasions; “Sir, I still remember that time you screamed at us for just turning around.” However, I can truthfully say in hindsight that the advice was invaluable. Whilst being unsuccessful in holding out on the smile until Christmas (I probably lasted one lesson at most), the clear expectations from day one set me up for even better classroom management, building relationship with the students.

Having taught for nearly three years now, I have met plenty of classes and I can not say I have found one that I ‘clicked’ with, like this particular class. For roughly 100 lessons, we discussed history, politics, current affairs, favourite crisp flavours and hiphop music. Whilst they had to listen incessantly to me talking about either my wedding, my honeymoon or most recently my daughter. I must have laughed every lesson (they certainly did not at my Dad jokes) and they certainly kept me in my place with critique of my lessons, online ‘teacher group chat’ ( AKA Twitter) and even my style/accent. I suppose you would call it ‘banter’. I know parents at parents evening called it that, but it worked for us. From Year 9 onwards, I rarely had to raise my voice or use the behaviour system (bar the odd occasions with orange peel, mobile phones or my whiteboard clicker). We formed a mutual understanding that worked for us. Perhaps it was the conversations in class or the chats in the corridor, pep talks at break or advice after the lesson that made us work so well. I hope deep down they knew I cared, both how they did in history and also about their wellbeing. It was not all laughs and jokes, this relationship and close understanding helped me understand the gaps in their knowledge, their strengths and weaknesses and build bridges to find a way to developing better historians.

I’ve seen a lot of discussion about behaviour management this past year and for me, it is the relationships I build with students that underpins everything in my classroom.

This is not to say the past three years were not tough at times. For example, confusion over Hitler’s rise to Chancellor and Dictator, difficulties differentiating between the Abyssinian and Manchurian Crises, Diem Bien Phu and even on the day of the final exam some could not remember how to answer the American 10 mark question. There were also moments where I made mistakes such as attempting to introduce revision files in Y10 and my disastrous first efforts at “pick your own group” groupwork (rookie error, I know). As they learnt from me, I did from them and I’m a better teacher for it. 

I will be finishing my third year, looking forwards to results proud of the fact that our  revision attendance was the highest we ever had, proud that 4-5 students ‘turned it around’ in Year 11, proud that many have been inspired to take history at college, proud known ‘write off’ students engaged and loved history, proud they took on anything I threw at them and proud how they took to interleaving revision and the fortnightly exams I enforced in Year 11. 

As I drove home on Friday night after Prom, the realisation dawned on me that our time was up. I should really thank these students, for giving me a chance from day one,  for teaching me as much as I taught them and for affirming to me that at 30 years old, I have finally found the career for me. I will I’m sure remember this year group fondly, and I’d like to think they’ll remember me, if only for the stripey socks!

So, here’s to my first full cycle, and onto the next…



Knowledge Organiser Breakfast Jam

Another ‘Breakfast Jam’ that I presented in was our ongoing use of Knowledge Organisers in history. Below are the slides used in the reflections and discussions of our trial so far.


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Breakfast Jam Knowledge Organisers


Marking Crib Sheet Breakfast Jam

Last week I presented at a school ‘Breakfast Jam’ (T&L sharing sessions) on my findings so far after using the marking crib sheet and using verbal feedback for coming up to one year.

Below is the ppt. slides on what I presented , we discussed and my thoughts.

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Assessment Crib Sheets

Following on from the marking crib sheet, I have begun to use an amended version for assessments, the Assessment Crib Sheet. Whilst this is still in the development phase (as to what needs to be included), I thought I would share the progress of this. 


It is very similar to the marking crib sheet but lends a greater focus to assessments and the feedback that I give in the lesson after. I must acknowledge the following other historians who have been working on their own versions and providing detailed class feedback after assessments (@bennewmark and @kenradical). 

The sheet is rather self-explanatory but I thought I would clarify the WAGOLL moments, which is simply students’ work which I photograph or type up as examples of great work. These are then shared with the class and they are annotated/picked apart to identify why there are so good. Also – the WWW and EBI code section is to be used for my/student tracking of the skills in history – the most common two codes informs me of progress and targets for the next lessons – I will be blogging about this soon 🙂

Where this sheet differs from my other crib sheet is that this sheet is solely for the teachers use and is not shared with students.  I do create an assessment feedback PowerPoint that I spend an hour completing with students, which included verbal feedback, activities, redrafting, literacy checks and tracking, but the individual sheet goes into my planning document. This will be included in another post on assessments and feedback shortly.

Please seen example of one that I completed this morning whilst marking a the first Y7 assessment of the year and a blank template -> Free – Assessment Crib Sheet


Knowledge Organisers

So, a new focus for me and my department this year has been Knowledge Organisers.

I attended a seminar at the SHP conference this summer about knowledge and one of the parts they introduced was the use of Knowledge Organisers, it was something I was aware after reading the blog of @joe__kirby (Blog Post) but I didn’t have time to set up.

Very simply, these are documents which give the background and contextual knowledge to a set topic – the bare bones you could say. They are given one per topic, so our Y7 students receive a total of 6 a year.

The example below, created for the Edexcel British Medicine Through Time topic, contains all the basic informations students should know about Medieval Medicine. This includes key dates in a timeline, second order concepts and key word – you could obviously include important people and statistics. Each fact is numbered, so that students can be given specific sections to revise for their homework.


We give students certain numbers to learn, e.g 1-10 for a weekly test. They are given one physical copy as an example and the remainder are put on Show My Homework so they can access a digital copy. The tests given to students are based on the KO, this could include recalling dates, spelling key words, describing key terms or any way of applying their understanding. Results are tracked and graded (BSG), if they get below half it is a fail.


Eventually as part of our assessment, students are asked 10-15 questions from across the whole KO as a memory activity.

The aim of Knowledge Organisers is simply to improve student retention of key information, develop revision skills and as a result improve their application of knowledge within their written assessments.

Please find attached example of our medieval medicine knowledge organiser.


Assessment Feedback Sheet V2

Having used assessment feedback sheets last year in conjunction with my code marking, I thought it was time for a rework after some inspiration from @geographia I made some improvements.

Please example and explanations

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Please find free copy of resource below:

Assessment Feedback Sheet

DIY Visual Hexagons

I really love @Jivespins’s Visual Hexagon idea, and having seen someone else drawing on blank hexagons I thought about trying DIY visuals hexagons with classes.

Very simply, pupils design their own visual hexagons and then annotate/link to explain the topic or question. As seen below, these are examples that I trialled with bottom set year 8 today and they really enjoyed it and were able to explain multiple causes of the population growth.

Processed with MOLDIV
Processed with MOLDIV

With two pupils for challenge, I got each pupils to first draw their pictures to represent the population growth in the IR, and then asked them to swap and use the pictures to explain their own understanding.

I will be doing again tomorrow with 8 set 2, and asking the to peer work and then draw links and explain in red pen to show the multi-causality.

Please find attached resource:

DIY Visual Hexagons

Revision Bookmarks

As part of my revision packs for Y11, I created a version of the popular bookmark that contained simple exam question guidance and QR codes to relevant videos created by   .

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Simple printed and laminated – you may need to fiddle with or ask reprographics to get the two sides aligned as it can be tricky!

Please find attached resource for AQA Unit 2 Germany, Vietnam and Roaring Twenties topics:


Make or Bake Homework

Our NQT @ came up with this excellent project for our KS3 students; Make or Bake!

Simply, students are given the choice to make or bake a historical artefact based on a topic we have studied (the Romans and WW2 above), they also produce a guide/fact sheet to accompany why they have chosen to design their item.

A really easy, popular and enjoyable homework – we peer asses and get to each cake in the lesson the homework us due.

If you have a go, tweet me some pictures!

‘The basics’ sheets for revision

After inspiration from our geography department and the fantastic @Mawhinney, I decided to make these ‘basics’ sheets for Y11 for the final push in the day/morning of the exam. Handed them out Friday and the guys were receptive!

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Please find attached for AQA Unit 2 VIetnam, Hitler’s Germany and 1920’s America:

Unit 2 – The basics A4 Sheet

AQA Exam Sentence Starters Mat

Simple sentence starters to aid pupils answers for the AQA Modern World History B Unit 1 and Unit 2 exam questions – nice revision aid and for LA students.

Please find attached resource:

Exam Question Sentence Starters

AQA Sentence Starters AQA Sentence Starters 2

Peer Assessment Mats

asseStudents can often struggle with peer assessment, especially what to write rather than simplistic comments. I use this peer assessment mat alongside success criteria and scaffolding to allow pupils to develop their peer assessment skills. Laminated it can be given out and reused whenever

Peer Assessment Sheet

Please find attached double A5 sized template

Peer Assessment Sheet

Literacy – How do great historians write?

To improve literacy across the department, we began to use these sheets at the start of this year – student’s would stick these on the back of their exercise book and use during assessments/exams/planning to develop their extended writing pieces.

How do great historians write?

Pupils’ enjoy them and they are great at building confidence amongst the weaker students.

Please find attached resource:

GCSE Literacy Back Page



Peer Marking Stickers

I have a real love for stickers, an obsession you may call it, but I find them so useful for myself and the students.

One simple sticker I created was a peer marking sticker for GCSE questions. Where students highlight the key parts of the sticker that matches the answer they are assessing – for example with AQA Unit 2 6 mark questions where students are required to simple write 3 PEEL paragraphs in their explanation answer.

Sticker Marking 1

Pupils find it really easy to mark and it helps them to identify the key components to an answer.

Please find attached sticker template, you will need the 12 stickers per page template

6 Mark Question Sticker


Lucky Dip

A nice simple idea for revision – pupils enjoy/hate it as they could get a nightmare q.

Screen Shot 2016-05-15 at 20.39.28

This is an exam where I gave them 2 minutes to quickly plan and they would answer next lesson after homework revision.

Photo 12-05-2016, 10 07 10

Please find attached resources:

Lucky Dip Questions

Lucky Dip Sheet

Lucky Dip


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