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Great ideas should be shared…

on September 22, 2013

I’ve decided to collate great ideas.  Some are better than others, some are mine, most are blatantly stolen/borrowed from elsewhere (and credited where I can remember…!)   Some are subject-specific, mostly to maths, some are whole-school.   I’ll update the list periodically, probably after every teachmeet I attend!

– A ‘What’s the point of…(maths)…?’ board for your department.  One of the things that I get very bored of contending with is the whole ‘But why do we have to do algebra / fractions etc?’ question.  I figure that, as a teacher, you should be able to explain to your students why your subject is useful to them, but as a human being, you shouldn’t have to repeat yourself 14,000 times.  Hence, the board.  I’ll add a picture when I’ve got mine up and running 🙂

– A Y11 progress board.  I have set up a board in the Maths corridor with a scale from -4(!) to +1, to show how each student is progressing against their target.  I split it into Girls v Boys, to encourage a little friendly competition….!  Every time we do an assessment, I will move the names around, so they can aspire to move up the board.  I have colour coded them, so that I know their actual targets from their colour (dark green, A, green B, yellow C, orange D, dark orange E, red F) so that I can easily pick out the students I should be most concerned about.  It took ages to cut out each name, sort by gender, then compare their working at grade with their target, but they are all separate and blu-tacked, so now easy to move. 



P.S – that’s not me, it’s Mr Ilovemathsgames taking the picture…

 – (Stolen from The Stamford School) ‘Drop everything and Read Week’.  Throughout the week, the bell goes at random points, and they all have to drop everything and read for 15 minutes.  

 – Key words / terms / formulae on the walls.   Paint is an option, but we used vinyl.  We got 5 key formulae, nice and big, for £50.  It makes the corridor prettier, counts as extra display space (my advice, put them up high to avoid them seeing if they can pick it off….), and it means they see them every day.  Hopefully it’s helping them to remember the formulae. 



 – Consistent marking and feedback.  (

A fantastic, adaptable feedback sheet that can be downloaded here: 

 – Taboo for literacy.  (Kevin Millard) A great game, easily adaptable for any subject.  Choose a key term that has to be described without using certain words.  Even more powerful if you get students to create their own game cards, as they have to choose which are the most important words to describe something, therefore the best to make ‘taboo’!!

 – Success posters (Beatriz Schavier).  To raise aspirations, create posters of ex-students showing their jobs / successes / uni / achievements etc, and put them around school.  If they see other people that they know and went to their school being successful, it might help them to believe that they can be successful too.  

 – Bribery. (The Head at Penketh School)   He told Y11 if they put in enough effort over the year, the staff would do the ‘gangnam style’ dance for them.  He went one step further and recreated the entire video….

 – Teachmeets as INSET.  A great way of sharing good practice.  Split up the staff into smaller groups (20-25?) and each person has to present from 1-3 minutes on something they want to share.  It’s informal, it makes everyone feel they have something useful to share, and it’s MUCH more interesting than training can sometimes be….




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