Session – 137 – • How to reduce to the mark-load & still give quality, valued feedback? Ebacc/GCSE announcement from Michael Gove


Session Title: How to reduce the mark-load and still give quality, valued feedback?
Date: Thursday 7th February 2013

How many times have you heard a colleague say that they have a “mountain of marking” to complete?
I knew #UKEdChat would be a great place to share ideas on how help with that ‘mountain’ but, more importantly still give the feedback which allows students to make the progress. The session kicked off with a discussion about tips and trick that fellow proffesionals use.
@LiamOManachain made an excellent contribution – “surely we are talking peer and self-assessment? Cut our marking workload and what better feedback than that of their peers? #ukedchat” – and this gave rise to the debate that students should be given more responsibility for their own marking.
Most tweeters agreed that students can be trained to do this over time, with lots of guidance and persistence in the early stages. @smanfarr tweeted that “start early – year 7. Model what good feedback looks like. Embed by doing in various forms at dif stages in the yr”
Ultimately, if done the right way peer/self marking seemed a great tool to reduce the teacher mark load.
@ChrisChivers2 : Reflective oral feedback always, marking with students, peer marking, www and ebi plus qualitative comment. #ukedchat.
A few tweeters mentioned  the impact of instant feedback during lesson and catching students before the mistakes are made; ‏@tmeeky
“You can’t beat ‘just in-time’ oral feedback #ukedchat”. In an ideal world actually marking and giving feedback during class time would save a heck of a lot of time and most agreed it had the biggest impact on students immediate progress
However, with OFSTED’s criteria of progress over time, is this enough? The debate was raised with some interesting responses.@day_tom stated that
“#ukedchat I think the progress over time has made me make sure that stu understand the why more. And understood their feedback more”. Ultimately I think the OFSTED criteria will result in more pressure on teachers to undertake formal, recorded assessments in order to ‘tick boxes’.
To summarise the marking/feedback tips; Marking can be streamlined by getting pupils to do it, assessing at half termly intervals, marking during lesson and ensuring students are part of the marking process.

Due to the day’s news we also run a parallel topic regarding Gove’s announcements that he would back down from the EBacc and the introduction of a new NC.
The feelings were different for every tweeter as they looked to run a post-mortem on how it would personally affect them. With the fear of a new NC and the delight of GCSE’s remaining.‏@Gwenelope summed the mood up perfectly;
“At the moment there is an immediate sense of relief due to not having a new known unknown to deal with. #ukedchat.”
It appears Teachers are quite fearful of where Mr.Gove might take things next but where very relieved to hear that sense had prevailed. A lot was discussed regarding this issue without real focus but I’ll leave you with a couple of tweets to give you a sense;
@pigsmightfly -#UKedchat my daughter is annoyed about Ebacc/GCSE. She thinks her grades will be worthless
@Educ_job_please – #ukedchat Not familiar of strengths/weaknesses of old /new curriculum. But once implemented there will be gradual acceptance & embedding.
A good and productive session overall.

Notable Tweets
‏@mrlockyer  – #ukedchat We’re getting feedback stickers. In books you write a question, when pupil answers they get the sticker! Works really well! KS2
@lukemayhew – #UKedchat by the time work gets to teacher it has been checked & corrected twice & teacher then oversees & writes own WWW EBI
@bigrajen #ukedchat new plans suggest ict taught in other subject. Could this spell the end of our friendly neighbourhood ict teacher? #ohno
@JOHNSAYERS -Critique Ron Berger method is my bread and butter. Get the students to do majority, reflect, act then we check affirm. #UKedchat

Tweet of the Week
@lukemayhew – Ink stamp saying “Verbal Feedback” with speech bubble – pupil writes next to it what they have been told. #ukedchat.
Great pratical idea to reduce marking and give student responsibilty for marking

About Your Host
@C_Farr0w is currently an NQT in ICT, I live and work in Essex. I have only been using UkedChat for several months now and have taken and used many ideas. Some succesffuly, some not so.


Archive Session 137


Session 136 – What are your best ideas/activities for form/tutor time/registration?


Session Title: What are your best ideas/activities for form/tutor time/registration?
Date: Thursday 31st January 2013

Summary of the Session:
For the first time on Thursday evenings at 8pm #ukedchat had some serious competition. The launch of #alternativeukedchat came as a shock but peaceful co-existence and cordiality seemed to be the order of the night.

For us traditionalists over on #ukedchat we had children on unicycles, toasters in classrooms and snakes in bags – it was a truly odd and entertaining discussion.

There were contributions from teachers across the age divide ranging from primary up to FE. The disappointing news of the evening was that according to many teachers in FE their pastoral contact time with students was being severely cut.

There was some debate as to whether tutor time should be given over to silent reading with some interesting tweets from:

@SaysMiss tutor time for silent reading makes me sad. Get them TALKING about books. Passion for reading starts with sharing

@amanderson66 we do DEAR time (drop everything and read) as a literacy exercise during 2nd tutor period- often with discussion

There was very little interest among followers to discuss or defend the important place of signing homework diaries and student planners. Show and Tell is still a popular activity even at secondary school. I thought I’d win with my example of a live animal that a student bought in. But my dog was trumped by an owl and a snake!

Thunks, as ever, proved popular but no one was brave enough to say whether they had asked their students which biscuit they would be if they were a Roman soldier. I was pleased to see time capsules being suggested as I thought that even Blue Peter had stopped doing this! John Craven’s Newsround (it is still called that isn’t it?) featured prominently while secondary teachers favoured its slightly more boring elderly relative, the BBC news website. Others suggested quizes, termly projects, presentations, On this Day in History, and @missionexplore joined to talk about outdoor learning.

As the evening drew to a close the following tweet from @tmeeky seemed to strike a chord. Many contributors retweeted it or replied to it;

We don’t have to ‘fill’ every minute… there needs to be time to relax and be normal.

‏@urban_teacher and others rightly talked about the importance of routines and of building positive relationships. How we do it will depend on our personalities and interests, and ultimately how much we value the role of being a form tutor. As ever the impression I get from teachers on twitter is that they do care and they want the best for their students. But don’t forget to relax and be normal – yours might be the first smile your student sees that day!

Notable Tweets
@Jivespin We have a weekly quiz with each tutor contributing once a year – this was my effort – Review of 2012 Quiz #ukedchat

@WithoutMotive I’m IT support and sit between two form rooms. I hear the register, notices and that’s all. It’s wasted time. #ukedchat

@urban_teacher #ukedchat Reg Tip: Make the best effort to build relationships, rapport and stability for the students.

Tweet of the Week
@tmeeky We don’t have to ‘fill’ every minute… there needs to be time to relax and be normal #ukedchat

About Your Host
@nmckain Neil McKain. Head of RS. GTP mentor. Interested in all things T&L. Dad of Molly with a little sisiter for her on the way soon. All that and twitter is enough to keep me busy!


UKedchat session 136

Session 135 – Do new technologies in the classroom change student behaviours? If so, how?


Session 135 – Do new technologies in the classroom change student behaviours? If so, how?
Date: Thurs 24th January

Summary of the session:
I found this topic really interesting due to the nature of my job, and I really enjoy using new technologies myself. I am relatively new to #ukedchat and I was initially slightly anxious about hosting… My anxieties soon disappeared though!
I was interested to see how using new technologies in the classroom made a difference to student’s behaviour’s.  Did they value it and use it properly and responsibly or did they simply take advantage and play with it rather than staying on-task?
The chat started well with majority of people saying that technology made little difference and that it was good teaching and learning styles that mattered. If educators didn’t know how to use the new technologies properly, then the students wouldn’t benefit at all.
However, this then developed to discussing the topic in greater detail. Is it a novelty someone asked? Not so much, was the conclusion due to the fact that many children use this technology at home. To them it is second nature. Someone noted that very young children at their school were ‘pinching’ the screens of a tablet, convinced it was an iPad.
Technologies mustn’t be used as a reward was the general opinion… some people disagreed with this, but on the whole it was felt that it should be used as any other learning tool.
eSafety was a big topic too. The introduction of BYOD means that students often have internet access and there can be issues with filtering unless schools act responsibly and appropriately. Transparent proxy filtering can help greatly with this, but again, staff need to be fully aware and competent.
Blogging was deemed to be a great success for those that had used it. Not only did the children enjoy it, but it has proved positive in terms of literacy and also collaboration from parents, friends and family.

Top 5 tweets:
1.    Ian Crowford‏@Musomic @TJAMhd @swgfllaura society is dependent, and will be increasingly, schools should prepare for life!
2.    Vicky Harrison‏@Vickycarl @MrGsBrain @queendineen @SWGfLLaura I have also run a blogging for parents course at our infant school. Over 50 parents attended #ukedchat
3.    Edward Turner‏@edwardturner_ @SWGfLLaura @OnlineEllen Skills for tech would be great. But we must focus on their basic skills such as reading and writing first #ukedchat
4.    Chris McWilliam‏@mr_macmac  @SWGfLLaura when it’s well planned and utilised, yes they do go off task less. Support, differentiation, extension still vital
5.    Carrie Dineen‏@cadineen @SWGfLLaura I think they welcome, IF they can see there is a point to what they are doing. Make it something that engages them #ukedchat

Tweet of the week:
Rebecca ‏@bekblayton @eschoolsuk @SWGfLLaura I don’t think tech should be a reward,there’s a growing digital divide that we should bridge,not reinforce #ukedchat

About your host:
Laura Pearce @SWGfLLaura is Training Officer at the South West Grid for Learning. ( Her background is secondary ICT teaching  and she also works closely with the UK Safer Internet Centre ( on a range of eSafety initiatives.


UKedchat Session 134

Session 134 – What are your tips for teaching and improving spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPAG) across the key stages?


Session Title: What are your tips for teaching and improving spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPAG) across the key stages?
Date: Thursday 17th January 2013

Summary of the Session:
Firstly, I must tell you that I had a keen interesting in this topic as I am a Year 5/6 teacher who is facing the prospect of sending my Year Six children on to the SATs battlefield when the lay of the land is shifting benign their feet. But I was also keen for this discussion to be open to educators who teach all ages and I attempted to avoid blatant KS2 questions… attempted…
The discussion began by looking back to contributors’ experience of how spelling punctuation and grammar were taught during their own education. It would seem that the more mature members of the gathering experienced some form of grammar and punctuation lessons while the majority of younger participants of UKedchat seemed to only have direct lessons on grammar as part of their foreign language acquisition. When did this change occur and why did it happen?
The discussion continued with the positives, if any, of the SPAG test being introduced to the KS2 SATs. It seemed that everyone universally condemned the move, but some UKedchatter felt that an increased focus on how language is put together is a welcome by-product.
The conversation moved on to good examples of SPAG teaching from both the teacher and the chatter’s own pupil prospective. There were some good ideas and it is interesting to note that many grammar lessons from yesteryear are so vividly recalled even now.
The question was posed whether good grammar, spelling and punctuation is necessary in the digital age. There was a resounding ‘yes’, but with the caveat that it is necessary to do well in life and to progress to the higher echelon of schooling, study and prosper in a career.
There was a short, but fascinating discussion about what makes ‘correct’ English and whether this depends on if it is written or spoken. Most chatters agreed that context and audience play an important role in the use of language.
The discussion turned toward when grammar should be taught. Answers ranged from never to when the baby is still in the womb. While I have no doubt that the Department for Education is working of a skills audit for the unborn, most participants opted for early in a child’s formal schooling, but it should be taught in a indirect, creative and fun way.
The remaining 30 minutes were spent swapping various lesson ideas, resources and pointing out each other’s bad SPAG examples in our tweets. UKedchatter use all sorts of wonderful creative techniques which you can view in the archive.
Language is about communication. Errors and mistakes make it harder to interpret what someone is trying to tell us and the meaning can be confused or lost completely. Clarity breeds understanding and we are all dotted somewhere along the murky spectrum of coherence. It is our job to raise our students above the mist of ambiguity… But would it really hurt them to use full stops correctly?!

Notable Tweets
mrpeel: #ukedchat contentious comment 2: treat English like any other MFL and do not tolerate grammatical errors-only saving probs for KS5 if we do.
GeorgeEBlack: #ukedchat I teach English Language A level and even 17 year olds have a fear of the big bad word GRAMMAR, which is a shame when 3 year olds appear to do it innately
ChrisChivers2: #ukedchat How did a 20th century child learn to speak, read and write before rigorous testing supported their development?
davidErogers: I think that we should introduce a literacy test for all trainee teachers. Oh, hang on….. #ukedchat
dianatremayne: #ukedchat I teach in #FE but think that #EAL pupils in school may be a great way to increase understanding of grammar for all students
LearningSpy: @davidErogers More important: writing needs to be valued (read) and clear success criteria given #ukedchat
mberry: @TinyAcorns Strohen Pinkers The Language Instinct is good on universal grammar too #ukedchat @educ_job_please
benniekara: #ukedchat it’s amazing how many you can find! Punctuation jokes ahoy!
MrsPTeach: I learned most of my complex English grammar by learning Latin and German #ukedchat
LearningSpy: Some tips for getting students to value writing #ukedchat
RMatthews_PriEd: @ICTmagic when writing chn use a diff colour pen to start a new sentence- makes them think about when sents end/start. Effective. #ukedchat
Educ_job_please: @PascalDresse @ICTmagic Not so sure. I think children see English and text as two different languages #ukedchat
mrlockyer: #ukedchat Use odd/funny examples of bad practice, and apply the #punctuationrepairkit
whatsinaname10: #ukedchat Provide examples of good grammar in writing.  Handouts, modelling on the board, group writing with one pupil adding punctuation…
tim7168: I find overt teaching of grammar to be thankless & tedious. Much better to rely on models & improving existing writing. #ukedchat
unseenflirt: @ICTmagic Grammar/ punctuation CAN be taught in isolation, but it’s kind of like teaching swimming on dry land. Immersion is key. #ukedchat

Tweet of the Week
mrlockyer: #ukedchat Occasionally after a writing task, we peer improve. All in a circle, improve 1 thing/word/idea, pass book to left. Works well!

About Your Host
Martin Burrett (@ICTmagic) is a Year 5/6 teacher at Mersea Island School in Essex and is an advocate for using digital technology to improve teaching and learning in schools. He founded the ICTmagic educational resource website and is a co-administrator for UKedchat.

UKedchat Archive session 134

Session 133 – What are the realities for teachers in the classroom of having more trainees based in the school?


Session Title: What are the realities for teachers in the classroom of having more trainees based in the school?
Date: Thursday 10th January 2013

Summary of the Session:
A lively debate about the future of trainees in schools, given the Government desire to have two thirds of teacher training provision moved into schools by the end of the Parliament. It was great to welcome some trainees who contributed to the debate. As an ‘outside host’ (I teach at a University) it was really humbling to hear about how much the @ukeduchat community put into working with the trainees in their care, sharing ideas, experiences and encouraging them to take risks and experiment and really develop their own practice. We started with some general thoughts and comments on whether knowledge or pedagogy was most important for trainees to learn.
@anhalf – Time,patience, honesty,approachable,reflective not being afraid to get it wrong n front of a trainee!

The role of the mentor was the first to emerge. There was broad consensus that the role of the mentor is one of the most important aspect s of developing the trainee – and the trainees gave fantastic examples of how supported they feel. The process is symbiotic – there are lots of examples where trainees motivate, inspire and bring great new ideas to the classroom so teachers benefit as well. Some discussion about how best to recognise the mentor role – it is unpaid (mainly) and a trainee thought a mentoring qualification would be good – but teachers are pressed for time…
@ICTmagic – Have any enthusiastic teacher in your class, trainee or vastly experienced, is always an opportunity to learn & bounce off idea

The conversation then moved onto reflection – how to get reflective time for teachers and trainees – this is supposed to be part of the timetable, but doesn’t work in reality – and also the issue of if a trainee is only in one classroom under the new scheme, and has a teacher saying ‘this is the correct way to teach’ – it was felt there must be an opportunity to visit other schools/classes. Courses were felt to be too intense currently – trainees maybe needed a little more time to learn at their own pace. This led into some discussion about the (very few) trainees who do not pull their weight, ignore advice and do not listen to advice..and linked back to how to mentor in more challenging situations.
Other interesting issues raised:
OFSTED were felt to be rather limiting than enabling it would be good if they shared best practice’
What about trainees in schools in more deprived areas? What about trainees in schools with affluent students? Schools with results driven ethos were seen to be difficult locations for trainees to learn ‘best’
Some ideas for practice in the twitter discussion:
‏@davidhunter said:
research shows that more reflection time in places like Shanghai/Finland leads to better planning, teaching and learning… a lot of the links from the session on best websites from before Christmas… Mostly secondary
@urbanteacher I had the best CPD session ever! Every department had a stall like a market and we were either buyers or sellers

Thanks for letting me host! Debbie

Notable Tweets
@anhalf said:
Time,patience, honesty,approachable,reflective not being afraid to get it wrong n front of a trainee!

@ICTmagic said:
Have any enthusiastic teacher in your class, trainee or vastly experienced, is always an opportunity to learn & bounce off ideas

‏@davidhunter said:
research shows that more reflection time in places like Shanghai/Finland leads to better planning, teaching and learning… a lot of the links from the session on best websites from before Christmas… Mostly secondary
@urbanteacher I had the best CPD session ever! Every department had a stall like a market and we were either buyers or sellers

Tweet of the Week
I liked this tweet from @urban_teacher to trainees online:
My Best advice for a New Teacher: There is no failure Only feedback to improve your practices

About Your Host
Debbie Holley, a Reader in Technology and Education in the Department of Education at Anglia Ruskin University. Debbie works with trainee teachers on their major projects, loves research methods, enjoys using technology to prove how interesting research methods can be….follow me on @debbieholley1 more on my work at


Archive Session 133

Session 131 – How can we help pupils help each other as ‘pupil experts’ – e.g. Digital Leaders?


Session Title: How can we help pupils help each other as ‘pupil experts’ – e.g. Digital Leaders?
Date: Thursday 27th December 2012

Summary of the Session:
Not surprisingly, this Christmas holiday session of UKedchat was fairly quiet, but the contributors made their usual wise advice and bright ideas. The discussion started by talking about which jobs and roles pupils are given in our schools. It was clear that each school approaches the use of pupil’s skills differently, but Prefects, Sport Captains/Leaders and Class Monitors are common across our school system. The @headguruteacher shared an exciting project his school is undertaking which exemplifies what can be achieved with engaged and enthusiastic teachers and pupils.

The discussion moved on to utilising pupils as ‘experts’ in the classroom. Many UKedchatters use pupils to assist in planning and assessment within their classes and many good ideas were exchanged about how to do this effectively which can be viewed in the archive. It was fascinating to read of the many wonderful ways in which different aged children help each other and the variety of ways that Primary and Secondary schools and pupils are working together.

There was a brief discussion about how pupils help organise and lead extra-curricular activities. It seems that helping organise these activities is common, but leadership in extra-curricular activities happens, but is much rarer.

The chat turned to discussing how we can empower our pupils to help other pupils learn and develop in our schools. Many ideas about what makes a conducive sharing and collaborative environment for pupils to help each other.

We tweeted about how children are chosen for particular jobs. Most people stated that this was largely depended on which type of job it was. For tasks like ‘Head of House’ or ‘School Council’ most chatters thought that an element of democracy is needed as they represent others within the school. For other roles, such as class monitors, many felt that every child should have a chance to take part and that the job should be rotated. It was also said that certain roles allow gifted and talented children to develop and flourish in their area of expertise.

The discussion moved on to our particular example of pupils helping and leading other pupils – Digital Leaders. These are a group of enthusiastic and talented pupils who are selected, often by a full interview process, to learn about advanced computer skills to help with the smooth running of their school, aid teachers with technology in a myriad of ways and support their fellow pupils. The idea is that the Digital Leaders cascade and swap useful ideas, collaboratively solve problems and lead the digital revolution in their school and beyond.

The discussion moved on to how Digital Leaders where introduced to our schools, or how they could be for those who have not yet taken the plunge. This lead on to how Digital Leaders, and also other pupil experts, have been deployed in schools. It was interesting to see a division between Digital Leaders who use technology and software and those who have gone one step further to begin to make, design and tinker with their own.

There was a brief side discussion about what tech equipment people had at their disposal for Digital Leaders to use. It is clear that there is still a wide digital divide within our schools.
Ukedchatters began to discuss the sort of training pupil experts need to receive and what would the first lesson be? Suggestions were varied, but some chatters suggested that ‘people skills’ were very important and know what people needed.

The last few minutes of the discussion was reserved for tweeps to share their pupil experts’ successes. There were some wonderful stories and inspirational ideas shared, which can be viewed in the archive.

Having Digital Leaders is a wonderful way to engage learners with technology and raise achievement across your school at the same time. Contact @SheliBB and see for more details and ideas about how to employ Digital Leaders at your school.

Notable Tweets
headguruteacher: #ukedchat Our Project 9 ICT programme allows students to teach modules teachers don’t know how to.

HelanVictoria: #ukedchat Secondary year7,8 and 9. They learn so much more from each other. Worked brilliantly! The expert explains how to do it.

urban_teacher: I bought 30 ‘Creative Technologies” badges & distributed them to students who were good at tech to support others in the school. #ukedchat

LizSaddler: Lots of opportunities across whole school, plus a ‘leadership ladder’ to help students gain awards throughout key stages #ukedchat

urban_teacher: I’ve just finish setting up a project where students will support their peers, parents, local OAP. Using talents 4a bigger purpose #ukedchat

aknill: like the leadership ladder concept. An opportunity for open digital badges #ukedchat

montfordmiffy: We usually elect chn to the role – other classmates vote, so they are generally pleased with the choice & know its fair #UKedchat

eslweb: At secondary it’s a way to give students work related learning and encourage gifted and talented to do activities with real value. #ukedchat

headteacher01: #ukedchat giving pupils real responsibility is part of developing work ready pupils even at primary school

Heatherleatt: Used them in English a lot: this discussion shows they can be used across the curriculum in a variety of creative ways #ukedchat

mobo40: #ukedchat Junior PA to the head is good… Attending some sch council meetings on their behalf or with them, meeting/greeting visitors etc

Mrs___F: DL’s is a rather intimidating term. They are however very useful as without them I would languish in no-man’s ICT land. #UKedchat

vicgoddard: #ukedchat we’ve a vertical tutor system that is organised round strong house identity. Loads of opportunities. Badges everywhere!

MyersClaire: Got to be careful about labelling some students as particularly good at something so as not to encourage fixed mindset #ukedchat

HeyMissSmith: The children often help me! I can make my computer whizz a ‘Digital Leader’ badge- he’d love that! #ukedchat

Tweet of the Week
vicgoddard: #ukedchat recognition = responsibility is always the first lesson to learn

About Your Host
Martin Burrett (@ICTmagic) is a Year 5/6 teacher at Mersea Island School in Essex and is an advocate for using digital technology to improve teaching and learning in schools. He founded the ICTmagic educational resource website and is a co-administrator for UKedchat.

Archive Session 131