Progress continuum – demonstrating student progress easily

Presenting and sharing lesson objectives and demonstrating the ladder of skills in your subject are crucial in demonstrating student progress as this provides a starting point for your lesson from which you can judge student progress. David Didau, in his The Perfect English OFSTED Lesson, has advocated the continuum method in presenting his objectives which show not only the subject specific knowledge you want to cover but also the progression in skills which are linked to National Curriculum levels or exam grades. The examples contained in the links below shows the continuum method applied in a History context.

Progress continuum – Winner of Cuban Missile Crisis

Progress continuum – the Norman Conquest

Progress continuum – Castles

Not only can you use this for presenting learning objectives but you can use this as a ‘progress continuum’, where students are given this when you return marked assessments. Using your feedback, students colour the arrow up to the point where they reached [e.g. If their work was marked at Level 5, they colour the arrow up to the Level 5 mark on the arrow, then they set themselves a target based on your comments and the level descriptors on the ‘progress continuum’. Also, I mark their work with the continuum in front of me, reminding me of the language to use when giving feedback.

Presenting learning objectives and the path of progress in this way includes differentiated outcomes in which the first box outlining the baseline skill that you expect every student to achieve and then the following boxes outline the development of skills that you expect students to work towards. This also provides students with a clear overview of the progression of skills that you expect them to work towards as well as provide them with the key vocabulary that they can use to describe their progress.

Student self-evaluating exam performance resource

This resource was inspired by Neil Smith’s The History Teacher’s Handbook, which is a very useful guide to key issues in teaching History. From this, I saw a resource that encouraged students to evaluate their own performance in mock examinations. In the days now when OFSTED are specifically looking at teachers creating a ‘learning dialogue’ with their students in their exercise books, this resource is another tool to create that ‘learning dialogue’ meaningfully and easily. The resource encourages students to record a breakdown of their exam result and then reflect on this by recording what they did well and what they need to improve upon. Based upon this, students then set themselves a target for each paper. For my students they will be able to do this by reading my comments on their marked work and from the mark scheme. Once completed, students sign them, you take them in and sign them to acknowledge that you have read them – I will add a comment by each target to approve or suggest amendment.

Evaluation of Year 10 mock performance sheet

Prove it! – an effective lesson starter or plenary

This idea was adapted from Mike Gershon’s new book, More Secondary Starters and Plenaries – which I can highly recommend.

The activity involves giving students four conflicting statements based on a topic being studied. So, for example, changing Nazi tactics in the 1920s four statements could be –

The change in tactics was successful for the Nazis.

The change in tactics was unsuccessful for the Nazis.

By 1929, the Nazis were still an insignificant party.

Mein Kampf was very important in helping the Nazis change tactics.

Students would then have to gather evidence either based on prior learning [if used as a starter] or from that lesson [if you were to use this as a plenary]. This can be extended to students having to write a paragraph or two if this was to be used as an extended activity. Then would tick the statement that they find the most convincing and explain why they have chosen the particular statement. Alternatively, students can share their ideas and evidence with their neighbours and can be given time to write additions or amendments to their own work after listening to others.

This, I think, is a very effective activity and can encourage students to apply their knowledge to show their progress rather than repeat what has been learned from a text book or other such teaching resource. Also it can display higher order thinking skills, such as synthesis and analysis. Even better, this takes little preparation on the teacher’s part. The resource below which I give to students for this activity takes very little time to prepare and can easily signpost student progress.

Nazi changing tactics statements

Two fat ladies! Bingo in your lesson!

One of my childhood memories is my grandmother loving bingo. Twenty [or so?] years later and I have stolen this idea and replicated it in my lessons as an effective plenary or revision exercise.

This was taken from the people bingo idea which has been often used as an icebreaker and now used to check knowledge rather than get to know each other. Here each student is given a bingo card on which there are 16 or so squares which they must fill in. To fill the square in they must acquire the knowledge asked for in each square by someone else. In each square they must fill in the name of the person who gave them that knowledge. The knowledge can be given in different ways – for example in a jingle or an acrostic – to add a twist. Give the students no more than ten minutes to ask each other the questions from the bingo card and set a limitation on the fact that they must ask at least ten different people for the information rather than just ask one or two of their friends. In the debriefing of the task, students then nominate other people to answer each question in accordance to who they filled in in their bingo card.

Good fun and an interesting way of getting students to collaborate and share information.

Please find some examples of bingo cards below


People’s Budget bingo card