Tag Archives: Magic Monday

Magic Monday 2

2014 was welcomed in style with our second Magic Monday on January 6th.

MM 2 invite

Despite being held on a traditional INSET day, the philosophy at the heart of Magic Mondays was very much in evidence, with the majority of the day being allocated to presentations and workshops by our teaching staff, for our teaching staff.  As usual, attendance at any one of these was entirely voluntary and we were delighted once again to have a full house at all six presentations and workshops that ran throughout the day – a clear indicator of the commitment of our staff to developing their pedagogy further.  Not only this, but a great show of support for colleagues who presented.  Thank you.

A massive thank you also to all of those who worked so hard “behind the scenes” again to help organise the resources, the “goodie-bags”, the setting up of the Learning Resource Centre, the delicious catering……….it was another great team effort.

MM2 summary collage

Blog posts on each of the voluntary presentations and workshops from Magic Monday 2 can be accessed by clicking on the links below:

The feedback was overwhelmingly positive once again.

MM2 feedback sheets

Best things about today:

  • The variety of practical ideas and strategies that work in lessons, can be transferred to any subject and can be used straight away
  • Being able to try them out in the workshops
  • Great resources provided during presentations and in goodie-bags to take away
  • Recommended websites and education books to read
  • The range and enthusiasm of presenters sharing ideas was inspiring – our staff sharing their passion for our students
  • The very positive atmosphere, collaborative working, support from colleagues, feeling able to ask other colleagues for support, catching up and discussing with colleagues
  • The planning, set up and catering

Hopes and dreams for next time:

  • Same again please – more great T+L ideas
  • Start a staff notice board for sharing ideas
  • Have a selection of books on education in the library that we can use
  • Would be good to hear how ideas evolve, e.g. video diaries, video lessons or see them in action in classrooms
  • Split up sessions – better when shorter
  • Schedule before holiday so can design resources
  • Ideas for specific sessions included marking and feedback, revision ideas, ideas for practical lessons, plenaries, challenging the most able, supporting weak writers, strategies for low-level disruption.

New Year’s Resolutions:

  • Trial today’s ideas
  • Read more to get more ideas
  • Discuss ideas with others
  • Observe other staff teach and be observed myself
  • Join Twitter
  • Take more risks
  • Make the start of my lessons more engaging
  • Let students plan / deliver a lesson
  • Focus on being consistently good
  • Develop my use of assessment and feedback
  • Focus on questioning and language
  • Allow students more time to self and peer assess their work
  • Improve challenge in my lessons by differentiating from the top down
  • Be more organised
  • Update my blog more regularly

Thanks to everyone for all your feedback.  Our Teaching and Learning library of books is being updated as we speak with 50 new books for you to read!  We are also looking at using Padlet to create a virtual wall for sharing teaching and learning ideas.  Don’t forget if you would like to observe a colleague teaching or would like a colleague to observe you we are very happy to facilitate that – just ask!


Engaging with learning intentions

Pete Goodyear from our Science department kicked off the first of our 7 minute presentations at Magic Monday 2, with this simple yet great example of deliberate practice.

Pete outlined for us how through a number of small, deliberate changes to one area of his teaching he has managed to engage his students with learning intentions to a far greater degree, securing greater understanding of them.

In our school, like most, it’s an expectation that all our staff supervise movement around the buildings by standing in corridors or outside their classroom during change of lessons.  Having a “bell-task” planned for each lesson ensures that students can get straight on as soon as they arrive, without the need for any further instruction from the teacher.

Pete began by sharing with us an example of what one of his typical bell-tasks might have looked like previously.


One of the problems he identified with this sort of bell-task was that it wasn’t differentiated enough – meaning that some students found it difficult to get on with and some students found it too easy.  Precious time then had to be spent after this explaining the task to students – thus negating its intended purpose.

Pete began to experiment with simple word search grids for bell-tasks which students had to use to find key words associated with the topic or lesson.  They then used these words to identify what they thought they would be learning about in the lesson in very simple terms, for example “photosynthesis”.

Slide 2

This idea was then developed further so that students had to find slightly fewer key words but now had to use them to create their own learning intentions for the lesson.  This also stimulated discussion between students as to what the learning intentions might be, for example, “radiation and risks” or “what we do with radioactive waste”…..

Slide 3#

…however the link between the key words and the learning still wasn’t being articulated by students as clearly as he wanted it to be.

More recently, Pete has started to include key learning verbs in his word searches to try to make this more explicit to students, for example, describe, interpret, explain…etc.

slide 4

The result being that not only are all students now able to engage with the bell-task, but that they are also much more likely to be able to articulate what they will be learning during the lesson or will be able to do as a result of it.

To create the word searches Pete uses the Word Search Maker on the Teachers Corner website (available here)

For his next step, Pete is going to trial the use of different creative tools to introduce the learning intentions……we look forward to hearing how he gets on!

Magic Monday 1

Our first Magic Monday on the 9th December was undoubtedly an overwhelming success.

MM1 invitation

Over 90% of our classroom based staff attended the Pedagogy Picnic at lunchtime (more if you don’t include those staff on lunch duty) plus we had virtually a full house at our Workshops Of Wonder after school.  When you consider that both sessions were entirely voluntary, the turnout was incredible! It was fantastic to see so many staff wanting to focus on developing their pedagogy further as well as showing their support to colleagues who presented.  A massive thank you to everyone who attended or presented, as well as to all of those who worked so hard “behind the scenes” to help organise the invitations, their delivery, the resources, the “goodie-bags”, both of the venues, the delicious catering, the I.T……….it really was a team effort.

MM1 Summary pics

Blog posts on all of the presentations and workshops from Magic Monday 1 can be accessed by clicking on the links below:

Pedagogy Picnic presentations

MM1 Ped Picnic summary pics

Workshops Of Wonder

MM1 WOW summary pics

The feedback from our first Magic Monday was overwhelmingly positive too.

MM1 feedback sheets

Staff told us they really liked:

  • the variety of presentations
  • the range of ideas / innovative ideas shared
  • the practical ideas / their relevance / the fact that ideas could be implemented straight away
  • the short / sharp nature / pace of presentations and workshops
  • the sharing of ideas that our staff have used
  • the sharing by our teachers for our teachers
  • involvement of different departments
  • the range of experience of teachers sharing ideas
  • the opportunity to work with other teachers / different departments
  • the chance to try out new ideas
  • being together / eating together / talking together
  • the provision of ready-made, adaptable resources to take away (the goodie bags!)
  • the refreshments
  • the choice of venues (our staffroom and Learning Resource Centre)
  • the atmosphere, enthusiasm, passion of presenters and having a common goal
  • the chance to think/reflect

MM1 Ped Picnic 1

For our next Magic Monday staff would love:

  • More of the same!
  • Even more ideas!
  • Even more departments involved!
  • More teachers sharing ideas
  • Another goodie-bag of resources (including chocolate!)
  • More time to discuss / share ideas / Q+A
  • More examples of impact on students / feedback from students / evidence of progress

MM1 Ped Picnic 2

As well as giving specific suggestions for topics staff would like to hear more about:

  • Feedback – especially peer assessment
  • Differentiation
  • More Kagan cooperative learning strategies
  • Using Twitter as a CPD tool
  • More about SOLO
  • More about using QR codes
  • Easy to adapt plenaries

Here’s a sneaky peak at what we’ve got planned for Magic Monday 2 on January 6th……..

MM 2 invite

  • all new ideas
  • all new presenters from Science, Maths, Humanities, Performing Arts, MFL and English – including co-presenters from different departments
  • a few minutes after each session for Q+A

We’ve had such a good response from our teachers that we’ve already got Magic Monday 3 planned to include:

  • differentiation
  • flipped learning
  • foldables – revision resources in the run up to exams
  • D.I.R.T.y feedback
  • cooperative learning with impact
  • takeaway homework
  • animoto
  • independent learning

…and that’s just for starters!

Plus after Christmas we will be running a voluntary “using twitter for CPD for beginners” session as well as giving staff the opportunity to see some of the things they’ve heard about already in action in classrooms.

It’s going to be an exciting year!

Mobile Magic

The second presentation at our first Magic Monday “Pedagogy Picnic” was by Michael Caygill following his experimentation with the use of QR codes in Science.

Mobile Magic title slide

Michael began by outlining exactly what a QR code is…

Mobile Magic what is a QR code?

before explaining how to install a QR code reader on your mobile phone or tablet.

Mobile Magic how do you use QR codes?

He recommended the www.qrstuff.com website for creating QR codes

Mobile Magic QR code website

…before sharing some specific examples he has been trialling in his Science lessons, for example this student worksheet on corrosion, which contained QR codes that linked to wikis and particular pages on the  BBC bitesize science website…

Mobile Magic QR code corrosion worksheet

…this worksheet, which linked to ideas about chemical reactions…

Mobile Magic QR code chemical reactions

…and finally this example, which linked to information on chemical bonding.

Mobile Magic QR codes bonding

As well as using QR codes as a source of information during lessons, Michael shared how he has also been experimenting with their use when providing written feedback to his students.  Shown below are two examples of how he used them to provide further support for students to complete their improvements following his feedback.

Mobile Magic QR codes response to feedback

Notice that in both cases, references to further reading in text books and web references are provided, making the use of a QR reader non-essential.

Mobile Magic QR codes response to feedback 2

So, if you fancy giving QR codes a go or would like a bit more info Michael would be more than happy to support you with this.