Whole class response


Today I finally tried out Kahoot, a website where you can set up quizzes, polls and surveys. I made a quick multiple choice starter for my Year 9s on the use of present or preterite in certain sentences.

In the past I have used Socrative to engage pupils and to get a whole class response, but the nice thing about Kahoot is the quick and easy way pupils access your quiz. Once you’ve set up your quiz, all pupils need to do is access kahoot.it and type in the pin that is displayed once you’ve finished making it. Then they all sign in with a user name and once you have all your class in you can begin. I used a multiple choice quiz this time, and pupils needed to do was to click on the shape that corresponded with the correct answer on the board.

I set my quiz questions to last for 30 seconds each, but as soon as all pupils had answered it automatically moved on. After each question Kahoot shows you how many pupils answered which answer and then flashes up the leader board, making it even more of a competition for students to do well.

At the end of the quiz pupils could give feedback on what they thought of the activity and I could download a spreadsheet of results, with individual’s answers, just to double check who really knew what.

I thoroughly recommend it!

More flipping

Today I taught my top set Year 9 class after having set them my flipped video on the preterite tense and asking them to complete a Google Form series of questions so I could assess their learning. This has been one of the most valuable elements of flipping the classs room that I picked up at #ililc4 – that and using Flubaroo to mark the answers!

The pupils started the lesson on a red, green or amber table, depending upon whether they had scored above 70% (green), less than 70% (amber) or not done it at all (red). This was very similar to the lesson I blogged about last month, but I tweaked it for the needs of this class. I also considered some of the feedback I got from my Year 10s who did this, and added in some paired speaking tasks. At the end of this lesson I again asked for feedback and most pupils really enjoyed what they did. Any areas for development included having a variety of activities (somehow I need to move out of my comfort zone and do reading and listening things too!), and putting a table copy of the lesson plan out (instead of just displaying it on the board).

I was talking in the classroom today about flipped learning and a lot of teachers, particularly those in Humanities, are quite keen on developing their flipping lessons, so I hope to recruit them into a bit of a research group next year where we can run an action research project on the benefits of flipping the classroom, so watch this space!

If you want to read more about flipping the classroom, then have a look at this: http://fln.schoolwires.net/cms/lib07/VA01923112/Centricity/Domain/46/FLIP_handout_FNL_Web.pdf



During a mentor meeting today my NQT and I were discussing how we can get a bit of Extended Abstract (SOLO taxonomy) into a straightforward lesson on pets’ descriptions. To get to Extended Abstract I like to get the pupils to create something which shows that they can apply the knowledge that they have learnt, going somewhat beyond the constraints of the practice opportunities in the lesson.

In this case, we decided that the app or website Thinglink would be a good opportunity to show their skills. Thinglink is a relatively new app, where you can upload a picture, click on a certain section and write a message. What I want the Year 7 French students to do, is create their own descriptions of a pet (perhaps including family members as well). To model this activity, I used a picture of my dog Dizzy, and labelled it with her name, colour, eye colour, personality and something she likes (bones, of course!). You could also add other media, instead of text, to the picture, such as a YouTube video, maybe with a relevant song.

You can see my example here, and I will update this post with what happens in lesson soon!

The possibilities are endless-imagine the topic of town, prepositions and the bedroom, or even the good old pencil case!

The Flipped (and Differentiated!) Lesson

This afternoon I had my Year 10 GCSE Spanish class, who, before the holidays, had been set the task of watching this video on the preterite tense and answering a series of questions, using a Google Form, to show their level of knowledge. The plan was for pupils to complete this homework over half term, as well as complete a worksheet on the preterite tense, and the results of the Google Form answers would then be used to determine the next course of the lesson for the pupils.

This morning, I was able to run the Flubaroo script on the Google Form answers (for tips with this, see @lancslassrach’s blog post). This quickly marked the answers and gave me pupils’ results in the form of a percentage. I then re-ran the script to send pupils’ responses back to them, with the correct version so they could see their mistakes – most of which were not including accents!

Today’s lesson then had a red, an amber or a green path to follow: if pupils scored above 75% they followed the green path, if below 40% they followed red, and those in between followed amber.

The lesson plan did not take long to think up, ;but thanks to Sadie McLachlan for the initial template idea, so all that I had to do was create the resources for the lesson, which you can see above. The purple bit at the end includes extension tasks, which pupils ended up not needing, although at one point I was worried that there was not enough work for them to do as they were whizzing through tasks at the beginning! Once I had planned the lesson I set about creating the resources, some of which were the same, regardless of the colour path (eg the dominoes, and the Que Tal worksheet), but the practice tasks and final success criteria were differentiated completely and tailored to the level of the coloured group, whilst still taking into account GCSE success criteria. The resources are embedded below:
At the end of the lesson I asked pupils to give a WWW and EBI comment on the lesson to help me reflect on how it went.
Before I show you their answers here are my thoughts on the lesson:
  • Pupils had to self-motivate to work through the tasks and push forwards.
  • I was able to really help the pupils that needed it.
  • I could spend time working through pupils’ common mistakes
  • The pupils worked at their own pace and could show me, individually, that they understood how the past tense worked
  • The opportunity to talk pupils through irregular preterite verbs presented itself, and rather than it being a whole class presentation, I was able to quite quickly talk pupils through the concept and show them how to use the verb section in the back of the dictionary to check irregular conjugations
  • Extension tasks for brighter pupils need to be more varied, not just translation of sentences (I must think back to Dominic’s session on differentiation!)
  • Pupils were able to flit between the pathways if they had completed one homework task, but not the other. This enabled me to get them to complete the tasks that suited their own needs, skipping bits where necessary or including other elements that they needed to work on.

However it would be even better if (!) I orchestrated different styles of tasks, as this was quite a writing heavy lesson. Now that the class is used to this technique I will try it again, this time building in speaking and reading activities as well as writing ones. I also noticed at the beginning of the lesson how quite the pupils were – now, admittedly, I only have a small class of 7, but still, they are often more chatty and are happy to work together. The girls got chattier (in a good way!) as the lesson went on, but the boys stayed resolutely quiet, even though they ended up on a table together, working at a very similar pace. One pupil was absent today and I hope to still use the resources with him, to get him up to speed, whilst the rest of the class finish off their paragraphs in tomorrow’s lesson. I also want to come up with a way to help pupils move between the pathways – I gave one pupil the chance to move from red to amber with his next task, as he was clearly showing the ability to understand the most basic level, and he coped well with the amber work: it still challenged him.


Flipping the Classroom so far…

I have been mightily enthused since attending #ililc4 and have been trialing ideas left, right and centre! So far I have tried the Seven Monkeys Approach to a difficult tense in the past tense with my GCSE class (see Tom Hockaday’s session for details), which showed the pupils that they could understand a lot, even if they felt that they couldn’t at the start, I have used Dominic’s Le Mot de Passe game in Spanish as a starter activity.

My main focus has been on using Google Forms to check pupils’ learning at home which should enable me to use class time more effectively. For example, my Year 12s need practice at listening to materials by themselves, not just in a classroom setting, so as to replicate the exam scenario better, so rather than doing a listening in class, I created a Form, with the question which I sent to them and they access the Kerboodle Audio to complete the questions. Now I can see the results they get at a glance, and can mark it appropriately.

I have also been making more videos, this time using PowToon, on the preterite tense in Spanish. This is to support my fast track GCSE class, who have very little understanding of this tense. They have had one introductory lesson on the preterite, and I wanted to set some grammar work for the over the half term. I am, however, aware that they may not look at the work until the night before it is due, which is two week’s away, so I decided to directly email them the link to my help video, along with some grammar questions (simple translation and conjugation questions) which will indicate to me whether they have understood the grammar or not. I have also set a sheet to complete on the preterite. When they come into the lesson after half term, I plan on differentiating the lesson depending on how well they have completed the online task and they will be seated according to their ability for that lesson. If they have not completed it, or gained a very low score, then they will follow the red lesson, if they got a very high mark, then they will follow the green lesson, but if they are somewhere in the middle then they will follow the yellow lesson.

The lesson did not take very long to plan, and the only resources I need to create are written at the end of the lesson plan. If it all goes well then pupils will motivate themselves to get through the tasks and eventually complete a paragraph describing what they did last weekend. The aim of lesson lesson is the same for all pupils, but the journey that they take to get there is different! Whilst weaker pupils are catching up on the homelearning I can spend more time with individuals that need my help, and check on them all throughout the lesson. You can even see the SOLO progression of activities if you consider the complexity of the requirements of the task.

#ililc4 February 2014

This weekend saw lots of MFL teachers gather together in Southampton for the fourth ICT and Languages Conference. The conference was spread over two days, with the opportunity to meet some fantastic teachers, attend various different sessions and there was also an MFL Show & Tell event on the Saturday night.

I was lucky enough to be able to present on both days and at the Show & Tell, and you will find my presentations on Getting Pupils to Speak here, on SOLO and New Technologies here and Silly Songs here.

On the Saturday I attended Amanda Salt‘s session on A Level & New Technology where she talked about apps that support A Level teaching and the independent study resources that she has collated in a variety of places, including wikis, blogs, moodle, delicious etc. Some of my favourite ideas included using infographics to link to a topic (which I am starting to collate on Pinterest). I took notes throughout the session, which are below.

  • Share eg through wiki, moodle, delicious etc Don’t spoon feed, help them to become independent learners
  • El Cazo de Lorenzo – video clip
  • Study skills page – GCSE study skills, tips from teachers, note making
  • Audio wiki
  • Authentik materials wiki spanishgrosvenortopics.wikispaces.com Amy Leonard
  • Pinterest topics – get pupils to find stuff and add it, info gracias in TL
  • Info-mania.org
  • Edmodo-google forms
  • Make dice LITE verbs and pronouns
  • Decide now app Spin the wheel to talk about different topics
  • Conjugation Nation app (paid)
  • Linoit for essay planning and pulling useful news items for a level facts
  • Takeaway homework and they choose what they want to do, and shape their own learning. Helps create independent students!
  • Make a Facebook profile for characters in book for A Level literature
  • Kidblog.org
  • Spokes in a circle with ideas of how to improve or make progress
Later on in the day I attend Dominic McGladdery’s talk on talking tools and have downloaded lots of new apps to my iPad to try out. We had great fun trying out some of them. You might like to look at Audioboo, Fotobabble, Dabbler, Yakit, TalkingTom, VoiceThread, Tellagami and Teleprompter. On the Sunday I also attend Dominic’s session on Differentiation, which gave me lots of ideas on how to look at the four skills in MFL. I am sure he will be blogging his presentations, but here are some of the notes I made from this session:
  • Underline the correct answer
  • Multiple choice
  • Put phrases in the correct order
  • Smiley faces for positive or negative reaction
  • Use videos to add value to listening eg Voki it!
  • Give script


  • Qqt
  • Survey-tick box
  • Cue cards as they have them at ks4&5
  • Scaffolded responses


  • Different texts
  • Or modified
  • Differently presented eg cartoons
  • Different style Qs eg t/f, matching
  • Tarsia, textivate
  • Qs in English
  • Answer with a picture


  • Writing frames
  • Vocab/Grammar lists
  • Swords, wordsearches
  • Rhyming poetry
  • Lego
The other session I attended on the Saturday was all about Flipping the Classroom, by Sadie McLachlan, which was fascinating as she spoke about the processes that her department are employing to effectively flip the classroom at her school, Wildern. Her blog is here, with her presentation and I came away with so many ideas of how to make this technique work,that I can’t wait to try it out.
On Sunday I attended Rachel Smith‘s Flubaroo session, which showed me how to use Google Forms more effectively by running the Flubaroo script so that pupils’ responses are marked for me. This was another great session, which will really help with the idea of flipping the classroom or setting effective speaking homeworks. I am hoping she will blog her presentation soon.
The other session I attended by Tom Hockaday I blogged about whilst I was in the session. Some more really useful ideas to use with my GCSE classes.
On each day there were fantastic key note speakers – Joe Dale and Clare Seccombe – who each had me thinking and reflected both at the start of the weekend and then again at the end. Thank you to you both! Joe’s Flipboard of articles is particularly useful if you want some bed-time reading!
The Show & Tell on the Saturday night was a treat not to be missed – I wish I could remember all of the different things we saw! Off the top of my head, I enjoyed Dom’s Mot de Passe game (which I have already incorporated into my first lesson today!), Hip Hop Phonics by Nina Elliott, and the lovely dittys performed by Simone and John.
There are so many other sessions that I missed, that I am sure other teachers will be blogging about soon, but it goes without saying that my head is full of so many ideas that I need to try out, so as soon as I have managed to get enough sleep, my thinking cap will be going on. Thank you to everyone for making the weekend so memorable, and I hope to see you all again soon!