Blog Archive

Saturday 9 February 2019

Driving Questions - Mangotsfield Examples

Embedding a driving question is paramount in Term 4, it can be challenging for the teacher to devise as it requires the ability to make lessons enquiry based and makes creative writers of us all. The DQ should be clear, provocative, open-ended, challenging and linked to the core of what teachers want students to learn. 
Referring back to the DQ frequently throughout the lesson will contextualise activities or provide direction for students will help them to stay on track in more self-directed learning activities.

With this in mind, Mango Moments has been collecting a range of Driving Questions over the past week. Check out the examples below for some inspiration:


What does masculinity look like in Macbeth?
What does isolation look like in a Christmas Carol?
Why does Chaucer make fun of monks?
How does Marlowe make fun of man's pride and insolence?
What makes Macavity such a special cat?
How much does Blake love and fear the tiger?
What makes Martin Luther King such an inspirational speaker?

Why is the coastline creepy?
Are beaches all just sand, sand, sand?
Oops, what happened to my house?
Aid or Trade - which will eliminate poverty?
What has climate change got to do with Somerset?
Why is marriage like a rollercoaster?

When does sound become music?

If you have a DQ you are particularly proud of, please do get in touch with your example. The more we share, the more inspiration we may receive!

For further reading:

Supporting Dyslexic Students at Mangotsfield

Maintaining the momentum of supporting our SEND students, in particular those who are double alert (SEND and PP), Mango Moments will be running a series of posts over the coming weeks to raise awareness/reinforce our understanding of key special educational needs and how we can support such students.

Mike Marsh writes:

Although there isn’t a universally agreed definition of Dyslexia the Rose report into the teaching of students with Dyslexia provide a working definition; "Dyslexia is a learning difficulty that primarily affects the skills involved in accurate and fluent word reading and spelling".

Characteristic features of dyslexia are difficulties in phonological awareness, verbal memory and verbal processing speed. Dyslexia occurs across the range of intellectual abilities. It is best thought of as a continuum, not a distinct category, and there are no clear cut-off points. 

Co-occurring difficulties may be seen in aspects of language, motor co-ordination, mental calculation, concentration and personal organisation, but these are not, by themselves, markers of dyslexia.  A good indication of the severity and persistence of dyslexic difficulties can be gained by examining how the individual responds or has responded to well-founded interventions.

So what to do then?

The more we use evidence based teaching strategies such as those outlines in Rosenshine’s Principles (link here) the more effectively we will teach all students including those with Dyslexia. As we move towards use of key words lists and knowledge organisers the we are embedding dyslexia friendly teaching strategies into all of our lessons. There are some specific resources will make a difference; 
  • Visual Prompts- number lines, connectives, sentence starters.
  • Having their own copy of resources especially for text heavy PowerPoint slides. 
  • Using a clear font e.g. 12 point and Tahoma or Lucida Sans.
  • Reduce visual clutter on slides and worksheets, use a light blue/yellow background where possible. 
  • Use of ICT for longer tasks- if you know there is an essay or assessment coming up book a couple of laptops. 
  • Post it notes or whiteboards to record key spellings or the sequence of key events. 
  • Some students swear by coloured overlays, our KS3 literacy coordinator has a supply if needed.
  • Use of talking before writing to allow all students to formulate their ideas verbally before writing them down. 
  • Model active reading- looking for command words, highlighting and reading the questions before the main body of the text. 
  • Prime students that you will be asking them a question, ‘I’m coming to you in two questions time David…’ 
  • For the students who have the most difficulty writing provide flow charts or other graphic organisers as ways for them to get their ideas on paper effectively. 
Further reading:

Sunday 3 February 2019

EAL Strategies in English

Effective teaching for English as Additional Language students has often focused on making the verbal curriculum more visual, alongside more interactive and collaborative tasks, and with an understanding of the language demands of your own subject. This is particularly important for EAL learners because they provide a classroom experience that has a rich context, additional support, opportunities for collaborative learning and exploratory talk.

Ryan Smith writes:

For the students who are almost completely new to English, my strategy is to design a scaffolded worksheet that is as systematic as possible and divided into sections so it becomes step by step. I'll usually combine a similar variety of activities in similar orders, e.g. finding words in a word search, translating single words from English into their native language, then using the word in a sentence in their native language, then translating that word into English. 

An alternative approach includes the same first two steps as above, but turning the words into a picture (if the task / words are perhaps more descriptive in focus). The examples included in this post might help to exemplify it better. The more proficient they become, the more I can try to link what they're doing specifically with what's going on in class.

At the moment, I try to make them as reusable as possible. I think it's useful for the students to get used to a format, but also it's really useful for me so the workload doesn't become completely unmanageable. Most of the worksheets I have for the students whose English is still new can be adapted just by changing the table of words, word search or description.

Student response has been positive; they seem happy that there's something specific to get on with and seem to appreciate the effort. The students I've used it with (Rafaela in Y7, Beatrice & Selin in Y9) always ask for them if I forget to give them out and always work from them, sticking them in afterwards. I have recieved praise and thanks for these students for providing a strategy that allows them to regularly progress, succeed and feel they can access the work.

For further EAL strategies check out the free toolkit linked below, available from the TES website: