Sunday Trefoil 10.11.19


Sunday Trefoil 10.11.19

10 Nov ’19 Teaching 0

This weeks trefoil reflects the time I have invested in Anki (spaced retrieval learning) app, explores one view of my teaching that is being consolidated and an interesting approach to exam preparation, similar to, but different from a Walking-Talking mock. My recent experiences of teaching full-time have pushed me further along the line that ‘substantive knowledge’ empowers learning (at least in English lessons). Getting that information in, or at least transferred, so that the students can employ it… and employ they have! This transference almost consumed almost all my educational thinking space of late. And the irony of teaching Dickens, as I am elevating the role of substantive knowledge, is not lost on me.

NOW, what I want is, Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else, and root out everything else. You can only form the minds of reasoning animals upon Facts: nothing else will ever be of any service to them. This is the principle on which I bring up my own children, and this is the principle on which I bring up these children. Stick to Facts, sir!

Charles Dickens – Hard Times

What has surprised me most, is the enthusiasm with which the students exemplify and share their new knowledge. Even if this does means, for a good number of the boys (not stereotyping merely observing), shouting out in class. The impact of the Knowledge Organiser – Retrieval Roulette partnership (plus relationship and routine) is paying dividends. Students have the knowledge and subject specific language at their disposal to answer with greater credibility. Second, and I won’t keep harping on, success-momentum-success, is building their self-esteem as learners and writers.

However, I am looking for “more.” More for my EAL learners, more for all students. My focus is on planting. My trowel (in addition to teaching / assessment / feedback) – AkiApp. Anki is a web and mobile app that delivers spaced retrieval learning (which I keep on referring to as learning / planting, re-learning and revision). But AnkiApp is so much cooler – in their eyes.

Here is my trefoil.

This week, through Anki, I learnt how to add two types of audio content to Anki Cards. I have recorded and added mp3s and explored and used TTS text-to-speech. Adding audio offers the opportunity to listen and learn, removing the barrier of reading ability, whilst promoting it at the same time.

I learnt how to modify the ‘Layout’ of Anki Cards and how to add LaTex for maths write up and add CSS text features; colour, bold.

Lastly, I used my planning period on Friday to visit the Y11 English students’ sitting their Language Paper 2 “post-it note mock.” Students sit the paper under exam conditions with staff ‘live marking‘ via posting notes. Reading over the shoulder of students offering almost silent feedback in real time. The papers and exemplar responses are returned to students for their self-assessment.

On Friday afternoon, I asked my two Y11 Upgrade classes what they most appreciated about the experience…? Via post-it notes, of course. Then categorised their responses.

  1. Remember to answer Q5 first. (It is also worth reminding ourselves that the variance in longer form questions is far greater. 24 mark items: +/- 6 marks.
  2. Being reminded about the different processes of answering different question types.
  3. Time-management prompts.
  4. Positive praise post-it notes. Affirming their confidence.

I will ask if I can share some photos of what this looked like, in due course.

Student reflections and feedback


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