A teaching and learning inventory


April 2016

Pie Chart Analysis

This was one of those random ideas that came to me when I wasn’t working but it made me grab my laptop to create it. I wanted to find a way for pupils to visualise the importance of a range of things, and dividing space on a pie chart to signify this worked so well. Pupils use it to then explain the importance of the different parts in relation to the enquiry question.

See below results – I trialled two different styles of pie chart

See below instructions used with Y9.

Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 20.18.57

Please find attached resource.

Pie Chart Activity


My first use of the Solo Taxonomy when I was an NQT was finding a way to link it to hexagons for an observation – came up with this super cheesy ‘Are you a hex-pert’ activity (kids still laugh whenever I use it!).

Screen Shot 2016-04-16 at 11.36.35

I simply use it with visual hexagons to push students to develop their thinking and application of knowledge along the solo taxonomy route.

hexpert 3hexpert 2Hexpert 1

Pupils complete the task given, using success criteria and this is peer assessed using the hex-pert criteria. They grade the work using a B/S/G hexpert sticker and then improvements are made in red.

Screen Shot 2016-04-16 at 11.36.45

Please find attached ppt. slide and stickers (to be printed on 65 per sheet address labels)

Hex-Pert Hexpert Stickers

S.P.I.T Marking

Another peer assessment idea I trialled in my NQT year that I like to use to keep peer marking of assessments fresh.

SPIT Marking

Really simple idea: pupil’s assess using the S.P.I.T criteria; Spag, Positives, Improvements and Targets and mini post-its to peer assess exam questions/assessments.



Comic Strips

Another favourite activity of mine introduced by the excellent John Mitchell @jivespin.

Comic Strips created using Halftone 2 can provide a great way to consolidate learning, explain impact/causation/consequence or simple to provide a revision resource.

Comic Strip 3


A really simple plenary that allows pupils to visually highlight their learning/progress.

Etch a Sketch 1    Etch a Sketch 2

Attached resource:

Etch a Sketch

ABC Feedback

A great activity that can be used throughout the lesson in a variety of formats. I always tell my students that great historians can agree/disagree and argue a point regardless of their own personal thoughts. Secondly, I like to use this at KS3 to develop student’s agree/disagree skills for GCSE questions – embedding lower down really helps by Y9.

ABC Feedback 1

Simply, students are asked to ABC a peer’s judgement – this can be verbally or written out. They must agree, build upon or challenge the opinion that has been given. I especially like using this with judgement lines as a plenary.

ABC Feedback 2  ABC Feedback 3

Please find attached ppt. slide

ABC Feedback Plenary


Tetris Quiz

A really simple starter/plenary/AfL or revision.

Pupils create a quiz using questions, pictures etc in each of the Tetris blocks

Tetris Quiz 1

Please find attached resource

Tetris Quiz

Significance Hexagons

Developing pupils’ skills in the key concepts (causation, change & continuity, significance etc.) was something that was drilled into me during my PGCE at Edge Hill and it is something I love to teach still. Luckily, there is a wide variety of frameworks out there, especially in Teaching History, which prove essential in teaching these concepts.

For some reason, I particularly enjoy teaching significance and with the current love-in with hexagons, I create Significance Hexagons.Using the G.R.E.A.T criteria by Rob Phillips, pupils use sources and information to complete the hexagon with evidence from each to answer the question ‘How significant was D-Day?’. This was used as preparation for an assessment the next lesson.

Significance Hexagon 2

See attached example for D-Day

D-Day Hexagon

What’s Missing?

In my never-ending quest to try peer assessment and critique ideas, I decided to trial ‘What’s Missing’. The aim is for my GCSE pupils to work on developing model answers through improving their peers’ exam question answers.

A rather simple idea, where pupils answer an exam question and leave 5/6 lines between each paragraph so that their partner can add improvements to effectively level up the paragraph. Another way is to answer question on A4 paper and cut it out and stick into books to improve.

This has been beneficial to many of my students as it pushes them to re-read their notes and find ways to improve an answer, regardless whether it has achieved a U or A*.

Attached is resource ppt.

Whats Missing


Switch It! 

A further peer assessment activity I use with GCSE pupils is ‘Switch It! It works perfectly with smaller 4 mark questions which pupils often fail to get full marks on due to a lack of subject knowledge.

The activity is rather simple as you can see from the picture above -pupils sit opposite each other, answer one of the questions and then switch the sheet around to peer assess and add improvements. This is then photocopied so each pupil has a copy.

Attached is ppt. and worksheet example.

Switch It      Switch It Worksheet


Significance Circles

We’ve been working on ways to improve our GCSE pupil’s evaluation on the bigger AQA exam questions, 10 and 12 markers which ask pupils to assess the importance of one event in relation to another or overall topic. For example, what was the most significant reason that Hitler was allowed to become dictator in 1934, or how was the most significant method that the Nazis used to control Germany.

Working on this skill really helps to push pupils’ marks up towards L3/L4 answers and the activity Significance Circles allows pupils to work on this skills, whilst ranking importance compared to other factors.

Significance Circles 2

The activity is very simple as you can see above, pupils choose a size of circle in relation to its importance and then write their explanation why it is so significant. To push this to another level you can draw/explain links between the different circles.

This is an excellent resource for revision and any lesson across KS3/KS4

Having shared this on twitter i’ve seen some excellent results so far from @CHShistory, @historicalsandoand @kneller88 – great work!

Attached resource

Significant Circles



Tarsia Wars

Tarsias have been used for years but they were firstly introduced to me by a colleague @mrhynesgeog when I was an NQT. They have become a great go to revision activity and can be used for a number of different ways

With Tarsia Wars, I use it as a competitive way to recap a topic in revision – students simply sort the cut up Tarsia pieces into either a shape or hexagon shape. The Tarsia itself contains a range questions, quotes, statistics, sentences and pictures which need to be matched up to form the shape.

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 12.18.38

The tarsia then can be used for a number of things:

  • Card Sort (categorisation e.g positives and negatives of the economic boom)
  • Essay Planning (used to answer a gcse question)
  • Revision

Tarsia Wars

Display – Polaroid Moments

A really simple way to reward and recognise excellent work within the classroom.

When marking or walking around the class, I take photos of top work and stick a polaroid moment sticker into their book. The work is then put onto the washing line across my class to show off – they love it!

Create a Tarsia

Another great use of a Tarsia is for students to make their own for revision and to test their peers and themselves. We often do this throughout the year and students’ put them into their revision folders.

Create a Tarsia

Do not get students to write questions on the outer edges, or they wont match!

Please find attached Tarsia template – print on A3. Use 2 to create a hexagon shape.

Tarsia Template A3


Explode a Question 

A exam question planning sheet to aid pupils in their revision.

  • Pupils highlight the key words in the question
  • Plan their answer around the question
  • Fill the SPaG Bomb with any key words they will use

Attached planning sheet:

Explode a Question

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.


Photo 16-11-2016, 09 21 12.jpg

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?

Screen Shot 2017-09-10 at 09.21.02 Screen Shot 2017-09-10 at 09.21.16

Attached is ppt. resource

Marking Crib Sheet ppt.    Marking Crib Sheet V2


Featured post

Iceberg Analysis

Recently I have been teaching the Collapse of Peace topic to my Y10 and we have been discussing the implications of the crises of the late 1930s such as the Sudetenland and Munich Conference. For a while I have been trying to remember an article from Teaching History about using geographical examples as a way to develop pupils’ thinking about causation, impact etc. and I remember I had seen Iceberg analysis before on Twitter.Iceberg Analysis 2 Iceberg Analysis

Therefore I created this resource for my class to look at the implications of the Sudeten Crisis and the Munich Conference. We discussed and analysed a number of sources that looked at what the public saw as a result of the crisis and what were the deeper implications of Munich.

Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 20.57.02

This could be used for a variety of activities; source analysis, cost/benefit, short/long term impacts, judging significance and even revision.

Find attached iceberg worksheet

Munich Iceberg

Visual Timelines

As part of revision for GCSE, I came across this fantastic idea by , who uses pictures/sources for pupils to make a visual timeline of a topic or key event. Not only do they look fantastic, but importantly the chance to sequence events from a topic really helps them to consolidate their understanding.

I like the use of visual timelines for my AQA GCSE revision as I can use it to not only develop students chronological understanding of the topic but also key exam skills. I often ask pupils to use the left side of the page to ‘describe’ the event and the right side to ‘evaluate’ the importance of the event in relation to a question. These are key skills required across both Unit 1 and Unit 2 – I especially push the description of events for Unit 1 as they can be used as 4 mark questions in the paper.

For example, the Night of the Long Knives. Left side they describe the events briefly and on the right they explain how important this event was in allowing Hitler to become the Dictator of Germany.

Attached are 2 resources: Hitler Dictator Visual Timeline and Vietnam War Visual Timeline

Hitler Dictator Visual Timeline

Vietnam War Visual Timeline


5 a Day

This is one of my favourite and most used starters, originally created by two maths colleagues at my school (@missfilson and @MissBKearns). It is used to recap the previous lesson or to interleave revision on subject knowledge from previous topics.

Pupils are given pre written questions about a number of different topics or specific to a certain topic, for example women in Nazi Germany, which they answer on wipeboards or in the back of their books.

Another variation introduced is the DIY 5 a Day where pupils create their own questions on a set topic and then test each other on these.

A really fantastic way to embed subject knowledge through low stakes testing – I use it every lesson for Y11 revision across a wide range of topics.

Attached is ppt. resource

DIY 5-a-Day

Revision o’ Clock 

One of my favourite (and pupils’) revision activities that I use across KS3/KS4.
Shout-out to @teachgeogblog for the original idea.

Revision o ClockRevision o Clock 3Revision o Clock 2

Simply put, student’s revise 12 different topics in 3-4 minute time periods.
You can choose the topics or ask pupils to suggest ones they would like to revise.
They then have to fill each section with information, key words or pictures to represent what they can remember. Pupil’s like the challenge of picture section or key words, which is particularly useful at GCSE.

Attached below Revision o Clock template

Revision o Clock Template





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