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AfL and learning log for Y7 (and other exciting stuff)

*edit – if you downloaded a copy of the Yr 8 learning log before Monday at 10.30 ish, then you have the old version that was a bit squiffy, due to a lack of saving correctly (AKA Friday-itis)…. Please re-download! *

Hi all,

I’ve been everso jolly busy lately making shiny new things for next year, so I thought I’d take some time to share some of them with you.

First of all, recent exciting things in my classroom have been:

SOLO – the kids love it, other teachers seem pretty interested too, and my next project is to write a whole load of SOLO rubrics for each topic.  I’m using it to differentiate the work too, based on the students’ self-assessment at the start of the lesson, using the rubrics.  They have really taken to this (although it’s tripled my planning!)

iPad – I LOVE my iPad!!  I use it to display good examples of work from students, by taking pictures on it, then displaying them on the board using my VGA connector.  It’s also great for keeping me on top of all my tasks – I use ‘Things’ which is a paid app, but worth it.  There’s nothing like the satisfaction of ticking things off your to-do list!   It’s my own, as only very very important people have one from my school at the moment.

VideoScribe – I found this app (also available on desktop) that lets you make AMAZING looking videos of stuff – see my Twitter as CPD post for an example.

Popplet – again, an app that’s also online.  It lets you mind-map stuff, so I’m using it to keep all the content of my Yr 12 course so they can access all the materials ahead of time.  You can embed your youTube videos into it, as well as pictures, text and useful links.  And it’s pretty.

Loci – I pinched a great lesson from my ex-HoD where you give the students a bunch of post-its, and ask them to stick them on their desks to a given rule (eg – at least 15cm from the edge, equidistant from the front edge and back edge etc.)  I also used bits of string and students to demonstrate how loci change when you change the tether point.  One student = circle.  Two students standing together, passing the string along so one end is touching their body = oval etc)  It was lots of fun 🙂

The boring bit for me (although I’m pleased with the final product!) was making/adapting a new AfL booklet for our students.  Previously, they had a booklet that stayed at school, which contained questions for each level, and a level ladder to self-assess with.   Now it only has the questions.

I have  blatantly stolen borrowed an idea from Swavesey Village College – the Learning Log.  This goes home with students like their planner does, and has on the front a timetable of what they do when (I’ve left ours as a half-termly schedule for flexibility) and the details for all the sites we use like mymaths and mangahigh.  Inside is some info, and then for each topic, the level ladder where they can self-assess, and can record whether they got the matching question right from their AfL booklet once it’s marked.  The level descriptors match the questions in the AfL booklet for ease.   It has a half-termly space for reflection on strengths and weaknesses, both for student and teacher to fill in, along with a look at how they are progressing against their levels.   At the back is a blank h/w grid for each week of the school year, where they can fill in their homework, and it can be signed off by teachers for quick reference.

I thought since I’d put so much time into this, that it was sensible to share so that the rest of you don’t have to do the same.

Year 7 Learning Log

Year 7 AfL Booklet


Year 8 AfL Booklet

Year 8 Learning Log


Year 9 Learning Log


Feel free to pinch whatever you like from it 🙂




‘Good’ is the new ‘impossible’.

So this morning I have been observed by my HoD, a member of SLT, and an Ofsted-related lady. She is in to make sure our observations are consistent, and are done to Ofsted standard. I did what I thought was a ‘good’ lesson:

Grade your understanding of ‘factorising quadratics’ using my SOLO grid.

Write what you know about factorising on a post-it, and stick it on my desk.  I then took a pic on my iPad and displayed them on the IWB.  We discussed what we knew, ano then looked at how to use it.

I got them to remind me of the FOIL and grid methods of multiplying out brackets, and we looked at what link there was between the numbers in brackets and in the equation. 

We found pairs of numbers with a given sum and product.  Lots of questioning etc.

We then looked at equations and tried to put them in brackets.

Students further ahead moved on to a>1. 

At the end, they re-graded themselves, and wrote down something they’d like to be better at by the end of next lesson.

Overall, the feedback was that the lesson was good (couple of lazy ones not engaged at times) but that the judgement had to be satisfactory. Why? Because the group are not hitting their FFT targets. 

This is a problem across our whole year 10, and from recent meetings, many other schools seem to feel the same.  However, this is what we are now to be graded on.   It implies that planning and assessment aren’t good enough if they are not meeting their potential. 

The conspiracy theorists among us have suggested that the exams are deliberately harder this year so that Gove can have a rubbish set of results to beat us over the head with when putting forward his latest scheme to vilify teachers and ‘improve’ education standards…

If there’s even a hint of truth to that, then God help any teacher being Ofsted-ed with KS4 next year…. 😦