Archive for the ‘OTP’ Category

The Outstanding Teacher Programme – Session Two

June 1, 2013 Leave a comment

Challenge and Engagement

Task One – Teaching Crossword

What are the following answers to the clues:

Measuring Learning (10)

Appropriate Speed (4)

Thinking Time (10)

Probing Understanding (11)

Stretching the Pupils (9)

Pupil Involvement (10)

What are we going to learn? (10)

Preparation (8)

Variety Of Tasks, Resources and Support (15)

A range of styles (7)

Important Terms Displayed For Pupils (8)

Demonstrating a Task (9)

Deconstructing A Skill and Telling Pupils (10)

Checking Understanding (7)

An Activity To Begin The Lesson (7)

A Skill For Life (8)

Task 2 – Extension Task

Try it the other way round. Take the answers. Can you come up with clues?

Assessment, Challenge, Differentiation, Engagement, Explaining, Keywords, Modelling, Objectives, Pace, Planning, Plenary, Questioning, Reflection, Starter, Thinking, Variety

Task 3 – Reflection

How has your practice changed since Session 1?

I spoke to my partner about how I had been especially focussed on Deepening Thinking. I had used Diamond 9’s and Learning Cycles in lessons with pupils, developed an Independent Learners pitstop, created a Behaviour for Learning pit stop by pupils for pupils and had been thinking a lot more about LEARNING rather than DOING.

I had also become less complacent in lessons and I was grabbing the opportunity to pack as much learning into the time I had with pupils as I could. Not at the expense of quality mind.

What new learning have you discovered? How would you use this as an outstanding practitioner?
Engagement Engagement in learning vs Being Busy Step back in lessons and observe. Reflect. Change if necessary.
Challenge Are all pupils challenged at all times? Challenge can be deepening of thinking on the same topic. Diamond 9’sLearning cycles.

Extension tasks?

Differentiation StimuliConversation – does it “just happen”? can it “just happen”? should it be left to “just happen”? Plan for different stimuli for differentiated starting points
Plenary/Starter Use the same activity at the start and end and review initial findings to show progress. Link to Learning to learn.Changing initial response can show progress.

Task 4 – Challenge and Engagement Audit


Take a phrase from the audit and place it where you would put it on the graph for your practice. Explain to the other’s in the group as to why.

We only got through 2.

Do you consider learning styles when planning schemes of work and individual lessons?

Do you think the students see what they have achieved and measure their progress lesson by lesson?

Task 5 – Lesson Observations – What Went Well / Even Better If

Think of an observation/observations you have had. What was good about them? How could they be improved? From these summations what would we say is Best Practice for a lesson observation?

We came up with:

WWW – SMART Targets in feedback,Specific feedback, Feedback that helps you to reflect on your practice, Feedback that helps you move forward

EBI – Consistency of feedback over time, CPD offered around feedback topics, Observer returning to see progress at a later date, Sharing of good practice from lesson observations in general.

Best Practice – A discussion of ideas to develop reflection and improvement, following the spirit of outstanding practice rather than doing it to the letter (for example, AfL to show you can AfL is different to doing AfL to provide a meaningful and useful measure of progress, learning and understanding). Feedback and support around making activities more independent.

Task 6 – Lesson Observation

Groups went off to see a lesson. Were asked to pick out parts of the lesson they thought went well and elements they thought could be improved. Groups would then return discuss their WWW/EBI’s and recreate part of the lesson and make it outstanding for a presentation later in the day


The lesson we observed seemed to come in 2 parts. The teacher got pupils to ask questions about pictures placed on the board, find a best question and then the class answered each tables best question.

WWW – engaging and doable starter. Created a give it a go attitude. Tasks were not right/wrong tasks therefore created an atmosphere where there was no fear of failure. Pupils took risks. Routines were clearly evident. Minimal teacher input as pupils wrote on white boards and discussed questions written on white boards to pick their best question. The starter set up the theme of the entire lesson.

EBI – Explicit links to prior learning could help reinforce the previous lesson/learning. Starter responses produced differentiation by outcome and this could easily be adapted to use different stimuli or adapt the use of the one stimuli. We felt the questions written throughout the lesson were well informed by pupils using the question matrix above however could also be improved by using the question matrix. Answers for each tables “best question” could have been delivered by a large sheet of paper on carousel around the room rather than Teacher led Q and A, this would give the whole class a voice and improve engagement in learning.

Task 7 – The Presentation

I found this easier than last time. It was certainly less stressful waiting and watching others doing theres. We also seemed to have our presentation ready to go a lot quicker than last week. I suppose that’s progress for you!

Other groups EBI’s included:

Improve Interactivity (pupils reformatting one style of text as another)

Collaboration (pupils could help pick up each others misconceptions. Working in isolation while sometimes beneficial can reinforce misconception)

Deepen Thinking (can pupils communicate their learning to you verbally straight after finishing writing a piece of work?)

Clearer Success Criteria (what four things will you do today to show learning)

Having a Literacy Success Criteria (just one mind)

How can you Improve a Lack of Passengers in a group?

Task 8 – Next Steps For You

I am using the energy from today’s session to recreate and reproduce a slightly adapted version of my active engagement toolkit to include resources aimed at deepening thinking. More on this story later!

Task 9 – Next Steps For Your School

This is a blog post in itself surely? I have some thoughts. I have quite some ideas actually. I shall share these. Just not quite now…

…To Be Continued…

Categories: OTP

The Outstanding Teacher Programme – Session 1

May 19, 2013 2 comments

What does an outstanding teacher look like?

Last Monday was my first day on the “Outstanding Teacher Programme” (OTP).

Task 1 – I challenge you to sit and list four or five one word qualities that demonstrate what an outstanding teacher looks like.

If you were to do this now you may end up with some similar responses to our post it note filled learning wall. Do outstanding teachers look happy? Stressed? Tired? Exhausted? Approachable? Are they Resourceful? Hard Working? Passionate? Motivational? Inspirational?


Task 2 – Are any one of these things singularly outstanding?

Are a collection of these outstanding? What does outstanding mean anyway? Whose definition of outstanding are we going by here? Is it defined just by lesson observations? Ofsted? Curriculum Leaders? Senior Team? Ourselves? The pupils?

Task 3 – Prepare an engaging and informative presentation introducing your group to the cohort.

Being creative with strangers was a harder balance than I thought it would be. Being a pupil in a group trying to communicate my idea’s clearly enough so others could see them and think they were as good as I did was challenging. Should I push my idea forward? I believed in it, but that doesn’t mean it was the best idea. Plus there was the added challenge of getting to know the people well enough to try and add a little humour for it to be engaging. A quiz type idea? A game?

We opted for a series of mini games. Guess the name. Guess the years teaching. Where in the country were we from? 2 truths and a lie and a pin the tech lesson on the teacher. Post it’s prepared and ready for presenting.


Task 4 – Excitement / Concerns.

I was excited to speaking to colleagues about teaching and learning without someone saying “I just throw out a text book.” I was excited to not have to defend my excitement.

My concerns were based over whether the benefits of being on the programme would be drowned out back at school. Schools are busy. FACT.

Task 5 – The presentation

We did not go first. Relief.

We did not go second. Still busy going over post it notes and whispering – so quite happy.

We did not go third. Someone did a bit of our idea and did it better.

We did not go fourth. Everyone is really good. Ours is rubbish. We’re trying to fit too much in. This is going to be a disaster and people will laugh at me.

We went fifth. I spoke over a team mate stealing their section as I was so worried about time (life lesson alert). We had to skip a bit out as we were running out of time. Where did the time go. Can’t breath. Relief it’s over. It was rubbish though, bless the rest of the room for sticking with us.

Another group went sixth. They were better than us too. Our feedback is sat on the desk but we’re not allowed to read it yet, I’m cringing inside already.

BREAK – read feedback.

Feedback REALLY positive. They loved the different activities and found it memorable. They remembered the information about the group members and found the humour within the presentation a real strength. WOW. Shocked.

Task 6 – Ofsted vs Outstanding

We took the criteria and highlighted common words and ideas that were present in the outstanding descriptors.


We then looked up and saw the following acronym on the white board.

D – Deepening Thinking

R – Role modelling learning

I – Impact on progress

C – Challenging Expectations

E – Engaging in Learning.

Was there a difference? 20 minutes later in content – NO. In usefulness – YES. Ofsted’s criteria didn’t come out too well from the conversation. DR ICE did.

Task 7











Can you find a link between any two of these?

Can you write a definition of each one in 30 seconds? Can you write how it benefits your pupils in 20 seconds? Can you write what an outstanding version of each word looks like in a lesson in 20 seconds. No me neither – but I had a good go at it.

Task 8 – Challenge, Starters/Plenaries, Assessment, Differentiation Engagement Presentations.

New groups. New people. New Topic. Plan. I don’t want differentiation, don’t want differentiation. Random choices don’t give us differentiation.

Our group were given differentiation.

We all spoke over what it was for us, in our classroom. We discussed ways we did it well or wanted to improve. We discussed brilliant examples we’d seen and examples we’d personally avoid. The result was the melon of differentiation. As named by my Deputy Head who saw the picture the day after I returned from the OTP. We had a diagram. A definition and interactive activities planned. We were on to a winner.

Task 9 – The presentations

First up was assessment.

How much time do you think you spend assessing pupils? (we said 55%)

How much of that time spent assessing do you find useful? (we said 60%)

What would you say? What’s the right answer? Is there an ideal percentage to aim for?

This presentation was brilliant, thought provoking and fitted within 5 minutes. I became nervous.

Second up was starters and plenaries.

There were 4 sheets of paper with a question on. Each group was given 30 seconds to discuss and write an answer and then the paper was swapped. Slowly 4 levels of discussion were built up as each new questions arrived and you added to it or challenged what was already written down.

This was very clever, a brilliant idea to steal for the classroom and fitted within 5 minutes. I became terrified.

Third up was challenge

Modelling, Independence, Classroom Climate, Risk, Questioning, Tasks, Assessment, Creativity, and pick one of your own (we did perseverance)

Arrange them into a diamond 9. Most important and the top least at the bottom.IMG_4207

This presentation was massively challenging as we all had different answers in our group. When a representative from another group came to explain what they had we all agreed, disagreed and then a greed again. In conclusion – we decided it changed for each group depending on the variables at play in the room at the time. Darn it – this one was amazing too. Now full of doubt over the diagram about differentiation which I think will take too much time to explain, give away the answers and not lead to any discussion or engaging activity but rather passivity from our audience.

Fourth – us – Differentiation

We presented a definition. A thought provoking question: Is differentiation doing the same task differently or different tasks?

We presented our diagram and briefly explained it.IMG_4208

We then asked for our audience to just asterisk anything they hadn’t heard of before. We then described a couple of things that had been asterisked. Then each group added some of their own ideas onto the diagram. Finally groups came up with one thing they would change about the diagram.

Finish. Practically traumatised from time limits, general feeling of inadequacy and worried about judgement from others. I have to say I feel much more in touch with the nerves of my year 7’s who sing in front of each other in small groups. Man they’re heroes this is rough stuff to be doing day in day out.

Feedback – QFF – Questions Favourite Feeling. Questions people had were about some of the ideas or how to select the right idea. Favourite things were the diagram and the amount of ideas it had in it. Feelings were spread from a feeling of needing more time, to a feeling of reassurance that we may do more than we think in the classroom to a hunger for more information.

Finally – Engagement

List the following tasks in order of preference. What would you engage the most in.

A snakes and ladder style game.

A series of statements to respond to.

A block of text.

A photo to annotate.

Now take the one at the bottom of your list and do something to make it more engaging. Does engaging = engagement in learning. No probably not. Ouch. Do I teach things sometimes because everyone looks active. Do I teach things sometimes because I like teaching them? Is it really LEARNING or is it just DOING?

Final task – Learning cycles

Take the words Planning, Reflection, Learning, Strategies, Assessment, Planning etc and put them into a learning cycle. Which goes where and why?

Since this session – I have done learning cycles with my kids in lessons. I have spoken to colleagues at length about the contents of the course. I have already started building some ideas into my department learning environment. I have become so motivated in pushing my teaching and learning forward even more.

WWW – a feeling of excitement about the week ahead. This is actually the week just gone and my lessons were sometimes in a different league.

EBI – I wanted some kind of permanent reminder of the day like photo’s of resources everyone put together rather than just a memory. To hit some middle ground with this I made a scrapbook!