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10 Steps for Reviewing Your KS3 Curriculum

Now that schools are getting into the swing of the new GCSEs and KS3 assessment continues to present various challenges, it’s natural that a lot more attention is being given to the curriculum content at KS3.  Of course some will say that Ofsted’s much-trailed renewed interest in curriculum is playing a part too – but I’ve … Continue reading

Curriculum Notes #2:  Big picture first: then zoom in.

#2 in a series. I’ve often found that students in lessons are wading through a foggy cloud of confusion about why they are learning what they are learning.  I’ve been in that cloud plenty of times myself.  If, as an expert in a subject, you make a selection of the elements of the curriculum for … Continue reading

Curriculum Notes #1: Start out real, concrete, authentic.

Here’s the first of some short blog posts about detailed aspects of curriculum thinking. I observed a science lesson recently where students were looking at cells and were asked to recall the differences between plant and animal cells.  A student I spoke gave me this response:  animal cells are round and plant cells are rectangles. … Continue reading

Eureka! Teaching for creativity. C = f (K, P, D)

  Over the years I’ve thought a lot about the question of teaching for creativity.  Back in 2012 I wrote this post where I made some reasonably sensible general statements: It is uncontroversial that for us to solve Humanity’s problems, to create the conditions for a sustainable future and also to maximise the cultural richness of … Continue reading

Vietnam, Ali, reading and the powerful knowledge gap.

In a recent lesson observation, I witnessed a classic teacher-dilemma unfold.   How far do I have to go to fill in the knowledge gaps? I can’t teach them everything they don’t know so where do I begin? It was in a GCSE English resit class where students were looking at a reading comprehension question.  Here’s … Continue reading

Rescuing Differentiation from the Checklist of Bad Practice.

I’m not exactly sure why but it feels like, as a profession, we’ve made a mess of the concepts and language that apply to the everyday processes needed to teach a wide range of students within one class.  A range of what? Attainment, ability, experience, competence, knowledge, skill, confidence, fluency? Most likely a mix of … Continue reading

Curriculum Maps: Knowing New York; Knowing about New York.

This posts builds on the last one:  Mapping curriculum terrain: The beaten track and beyond, using  geographical metaphors to consider curriculum design issues. New York. A Case Study.  Let’s imagine, in the metaphor, that New York City represents an area of the curriculum.  Our goal is for students to learn about New York and we need … Continue reading

Mapping curriculum terrain: The beaten track and beyond.

When school leaders and teachers start reviewing their curriculum, there are so many complex considerations.  What to teach and why?  It’s a huge question. At the macro, big picture scale, there’s a need to consider overarching principles and values – because these ideas inform or dictate the decisions that are taken.  Which subjects to teach and … Continue reading

Revisiting Dylan Wiliam’s Five Brilliant Formative Assessment Strategies.

In many of Dylan Wiliam’s talks and publications he references five ‘key strategies’ that support the implementation of effective formative assessment.  The five strategies each get a chapter in his excellent book Embedding Formative Assessment (2011)  which builds on the work he developed with other colleagues in the 90s and 00s. The five strategies were … Continue reading

Find your space; Own your space! To be effective and happy, we need to be ourselves.

The start of a new year, a big term ahead, it’s reflection time.  My message to teachers and leaders is to navigate the turbulence and try to do what you can to make your job your own; to carve out a way of working that gives you maximum space to be yourself, to express yourself, … Continue reading

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