Tweets of the (last two) weeks

Wow. Well, half yearly exam marking has finished, which can only mean one thing: report writing. Fortunately, my PLN continues to tweet all sorts of awesomeness, so I am taking a bit of time (as an excuse to watch the football) to update my favourite tweets from the last couple of weeks. First up, more ideas of web-based PD:

Speaking of web-based PD, put ‘free’, ‘Harvard’, ‘innovation’ and ‘leadership’ in a single sentence and it’s sounding pretty good. Sure, it’s a teaser to buy their book, but there’s some reasonable content even within this Introduction

A couple of good ideas for History YouTube channels here – I’ve used Crash Course a couple of times and they usually distill the main points pretty succinctly (although I keep pausing and explaining, so a 10 minute clip takes most of a lesson…)


Despite it being pretty fundamental to any pre-service training, a number of teachers seem to not get the difference between formative and summative assessment. I’m putting this one up because it has some good ideas for some formative activities with technology

It is hardly a secret to treat people fairly, with respect and have a good time. But ‘business principles’ of trusting no one, instituting a culture of fear (or ‘accountability’ – see next one) and adhering only to minimum required by law have infected professional sport and education. Well, unfortunately Saracens lost last night, but you can be sure they’ll be back next year ready to go   

I opened this, half read it, got distracted, and now can’t find the tweet for it but never mind, I’ll tweet it myself. A US Maths teacher unloads at a TEDx about the bucks being made by proclaiming the failing education system – and, look! We’ve got a new textbook / technology / speaker to sell you…

Dedicated Improvement and Reflection Time (DIRT) – probably what we have all done at some stage, but cool acronym!

OK, enough! Have a great week.
BT

Follow me: @dphistorycom (History & Education); @tokbits (Theory of Knowledge)

 

 

Tweets of the Week

One of the iconic moments of history that is rarely mentioned in school occurred 60 years ago: Bannister’s breaking of the 4 minute mile (YouTube). It was (still is!) a remarkable feat, given a lot of his training was done in his lunch times and he was a doctor, even working on the famous morning of 6 May 1954. It’s a long way from today’s elite athletes. Thanks to Matthew Ward for the following:

 

Lots of photos light up the twittersphere, for some reason this one caught my eye:

 

It’s great to see appreciation for others’ work expressed on Twitter – because they make great leads for new people to follow and blogs to read.

 

Nothing too revolutionary in this one, but always good to have a reminder. One of these days, I’m going to put these ideas onto laminated cards and get students to pick which one they are going to do – and this could be as individuals, pairs or the whole class does the same one:

An Extended Essay workshop for me this weekend, school based PD day on Monday and Vesak Day Tuesday, so kind of a shorter work week for me coming up. I hope you have a great week.
BT

Effective formative essays – without marking every word

We know it is excellent practice for students to write formatively. The down side of course is the huge amount of marking that it creates if every week you have to mark every essay for every student for every class. Say goodbye to your weekend!

For senior classes who need to practise handwriting essays under time constraints in preparation for exams, I get them to write formative essays quite regularly but tell them that I am only going to focus on one or two of the following aspects – and they are absolutely NOT going to be getting ‘a mark’ – they will get comments.

  • Introduction
  • Topic sentences
  • Plan (and adherence to it)
  • Specific historical information / examples
  • Historiography
  • Highlight each place where you used key words from the question
  • Highlight / comment where you tried to improve based on comments from last week
  • Referencing
  • Bibliography – format, academic, used in text etc.

The other way of marking essays is peer marking. Using the criteria used in the exam, get students in groups of 3-4 to mark and comment on each others’, then give feedback. This one is best done with prior warning: it is a great incentive for a little bit more attention if they know their peers will be seeing it. And they are often far more critical on things like handwriting than we ever are! Only after they have had some experience in marking work they are not emotionally invested in do I get them to mark and comment on their own.

As far as questions go, again I structure it from me giving the specific question, to ‘come up with an appropriate question on …’ until towards the end of the course it is even less structured ‘These are the syllabus requirements: you give me a plan of what and when you will be writing essays and what aspect you want me to look at.’

What I am aiming for is a self-sufficiency that will see them able to construct a study plan for when they are at university and the ability to be self-critical. Of course, the last few revision weeks before exams I will mark and comment on everything that they submit.

I hope this gets your students working, and gives you some spare time!