Blog Archive

Monday 21 January 2019

Organising Knowledge - the purpose and pedagogy.

Knowledge Organisers set out the content, vocabulary and context of all knowledge that our students are exposed too. With the demands of new courses, adopting knowledge focused strategies that are purposeful and effective, will have an impact on our students progress.

“Knowing things helps us to connect with previous knowledge and to make connections. Knowing things makes us feel clever. When we take short cuts with knowledge in order to move on to the acquisition of skills, it is like expecting a cook to make a meal with only one ingredient. It takes a range of materials or ingredients to produces something worthwhile”
“The Curriculum : Gallimaufry to Coherence” Mary Myatt (2018)

Following on for our excellent INSET session, delivered superbly by Anne and Caroline, Mango Moments wishes to share examples of effective knowledge organisers as well as some excellent blogs about the value and importance of these tools:

Joe Kirbys Blog:

Journal of the Chartered College of Teaching:

TES Blog:

For any further advice or guidance with constructing your own knowledge organisers, please do not hesitate to ask or make use of the links above.

Saturday 5 January 2019

I do - We do - You do - Two approaches

When you evaluate the effectiveness of different strategies, we must always recall that explicit techniques often have the greatest impact on memory recall, "I do, We do, You do" does exactly that. It takes students along a structured learning journey where the teacher imparts knowledge, supports students in using it and then encourages growth through independent practice.

In a nutshell, I do is the part of the lesson where you tell students what they need to know or how they need to be able to apply new knowledge. Modelling would be an example of this stage.

We do is the second phase and involves doing tasks together. for example you could support the students in creating a plan to answer an exam question.

You do is the phase of the lesson where you encourage students to practise what you have already taught them by themselves. Such practise helps students to retain what they have learned and to check their level of understanding and mastery.

At Mangotsfield School, this strategy has been utilised effectively by two contrasting departments. Thank you kindly to Kat Merchant and Pete Radmall for their reviews of the approach in their subjects.

Kat writes:
In English, the strategy is about breaking down the elements of language analysis. I do - I use a quote from an extract we have looked at as a class. Then annotate this quote with technique (orange box), inference (red box) and effect linked to language (purple box).
We do - We then use the annotations from the PowerPoint to write a WE paragraph on the board before the students write their own versions. 

You do - For extra challenge students could do multiple interpretations of one quote and/or write a paragraph using the model on a different quote (we had discussed three quotes in the previous lesson so they had notes in their books to be able to do this.)

Impact - I think it helps the students to do a worked example rather than just a pre-written example answer because they get to see me thinking it through and making mistakes. It shows them that it doesn't matter if you go wrong, and that there is a process rather than just a perfect answer that I plucked from somewhere. The colour coding just adds a visual help to the step by step process.

Pete writes:
In Science, the strategy is used by students to review a modelled answer, on this occassion of a scientific method of an experiment they've just done:

We do - They have to count the number of mistakes in the model method.  They then get to bet on how many mistakes there are in the method at the same time pointing out the mistakes, hopefully correcting them as they do so.  The winner gets a house point.  

You do - Discussion from the activity then leads the students to write their own
method for the practical
which is then dot marked and students then respond to the marking.

Impact - Use of a model student answer with deliberate mistakes in as a class activity is very useful for promoting discussion and preparing students for an extended writing task.

If you would like to find out more about the I, We, You strategy then try these links for further reading:

DOT Marking - The approach in Science

We are all aware of the mantra - MARK, PLAN, TEACH (as well as it being the title of a very popular teaching and learning text right now!). The mark element often has the greatest impact when you move away from standard, generalised comments and towards personalised feedback.

DOT marking as a strategy, originated approximately five years ago as part of the EEF toolkit. Effective feedback can move learning forward by as much as eight months in some subjects (and with specific students), however it is one of the five key elements of Assessment for Learning. To quote Dylan Wiliam: "Providing effective feedback is very difficult. Get it wrong, and the students give up, reject the feedback, or choose an easier goal" (2011, p.119).

At Mangotsfield School, John Crozier and the Science department have been personalising their approach to DOT marking to close the feedback loop. Thank you specifically to John for taking the time to outline their strategy for our blog.

John writes:
We have based our dot-marking system on Bloom’s taxonomy.  We are focusing mostly on the skill of “application.” This is so that students can learn to use their science understanding in new ways, to answer more difficult problems and in turn become more independent. 
We are using modelling techniques to introduce students to a simple method for being able to use their science understanding to answer the problem.  We are aiming to increase student independence over time as they get better at the method.

We plan the tasks so that students have the opportunity to develop extended answers, then we use the coloured dot to tell them what level of science skill they have shown in their work.  

All students are then given a structured opportunity to improve their work (DIRT), in line with the skill they have shown.  In other words, the coloured dot also directs them to an improvement task that is appropriate to their achievement.  See attached slides for an example.  Students are given access to the teachers model answer where appropriate, to support their improvement work.

We are trying to encourage a “growth mindset” of aiming high and trying our best to answer difficult problems, and we are proud of the students efforts so far.  It’s still early days, but every teacher is introducing their classes to these tasks, and we are expanding the use of them as the year continues.  We have made a display in every classroom of our colour coding system, and we will be referring to this when students are completing the tasks.

So far we have seen an increase in the quantity of writing for 6 marks questions, and we are also finding that more students are considering the need to structure their answers more carefully.   With repeated practice, students are paying more attention to the teacher’s modelling.  The more able science students are becoming competent at embedding complex ideas to extend their answer, whilst science students who find it difficult are already showing more scientific understanding in their answers.  We expect that students will become more independent and need less modelling over time.  We hope students will learn to feel accomplished and successful when it comes to writing extended answers in science, as they get more practice.

For other ideas on effective feedback, click on the link below to an excellent blog on practical strategies by Harry Fletcher-Wood: