The key note speaker was Jim Roberson, who is a discipline coach. He has a massive personality and I can see that he would be a big influence on disaffected teenagers. He said that "enthusiasm is caught not taught" and that discipline is "not what you do to yourself, but what you do for yourself". He went on to describe his approach as being RAP: R - respect (for yourself and others), A - accountability (for your actions and reactions), P - preparation (education will prepare you for the rest of your life). I really liked his opinion that your state of mind should NOT to be perfect, but to give it a try. He asked the teachers in the room "what is more important, having the right answer or everyone having an answer?" Jim summed up being saying that nothing is unrealistic and kids are not stuck at 14 years old.
During the evening there were two presentations by youngsters about how best they learn. Laura, Sophie and Agnes said they enjoy working independently, and on topics that are current. The boys who spoke also commented that they like lessons that have a context. Although I found some of what they had to say to feel like something SMT would say and not personal to the students I did latch onto the idea of topics being current and relevant, perhaps it is what I wanted to hear.
Noel Jenkins told the room about the fake planning notices that he has been using with his geography groups, getting the to think about how they would feel if a building had a dramatic change of use. He also showed how his groups have been making a landscape in a shoebox and writing about it to help show their understanding. He also praised the mission: explore website.
Alessio showed the audience how he had carried out a project using iBooks author to get a group of students to create a resource for other students to use. iBook author seems to be a powerful tool in encouraging students to share their ideas and practice writing to an audience.
Andy Hutt talked about using PowerPoint more powerfully. He championed using compfight.com to search for images you can use in presentations. He also gave the room a hand full of useful keyboard short cuts you can use during a presentation, such as being able to skip to the slide you want by typing in the number of the slide and pressing enter, or turning the screen black by pressing "B". He suggested using interactive textboxes if you wanted to leave a note for next lessons. His last suggestion was deceptively simple, but extremely useful: when using a lot of builds put a full stop only on the last one so you know where to stop in case o forgetfulness.
David Didau gave a quick burst through 25 ways to introduce learning objectives, from missing words out the students have to guess or making the keywords in to anagrams. He has given students ciphers to work out and jigsaws to do. Some colleague play hunt the objectives or use pictograms to get the students to work out what the objective is.
Gavin Smart showed us a app, "my study plan" that students can use to help organise a revision timetable. The app looked powerful, with students able to say which dates they would not be revising on and which exams were most important.
Dave Gale showed us a method for producing differentiated worksheets he calls "thoughts and crosses" where the students have to pick three tasks from the sheet from nine available, but they have to form a straight line. This stops students choosing only the easiest or shortest tasks to complete.
The evening ended with Jim Smith giving us ideas on how to deal with students who said "Sir/Miss I'm stuck". He commented that putting your hand up and waiting for help is not normal behaviour, you wouldn't do that if you found there were no tomatoes left in Teso. He suggested saying the following things to promote independence in response to a student saying "I'm stuck": 1. "OK, so do something different", 2. "What would you do if I gave you £1 million to be unstuck?" 3. "Imagine you were someone who is unstuck, what would you do?" 4. "Just do it wrong (then I have something to work with)" 5. "Choose someone else to help because I have clearly failed to teach you", 6. "What did you do the last time you were stuck?" 7. Play Billy Ocean "when the going gets tough" until they become unstuck. 8. Tell the students to come up with an answer and work backwards, 9. "OK, so what are you going to do?"
I really enjoyed teachmeet Clevedon, it is so nice to see as many teachers interested in their own cpd. My thanks to Mark Anderson for arranging it.
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Location:Clevedon, North Somerset