Summative Testing to Retrieval Practice: clarifying terms and outlining classroom benefits

The words ‘assess’, ‘test’, ‘exam’ and ‘quiz’ often have negative connotations to us as teachers and most certainly for our pupils. They can be stressful, anxiety provoking and feeljudgmental. However, in my last post, I ended with this: …Ebbinghaus (1885/1964) claimed that we can ‘interrupt’ forgetting by recalling information over time, spacing our retrieval out… Continue reading Summative Testing to Retrieval Practice: clarifying terms and outlining classroom benefits


Why do our pupils forget what we teach them?

In the classroom, as a teacher, forgetting can be particularly confusing. It’s a conundrum when pupils can vividly remember the visitor who came in Year 3 with weird Viking swords, yet three years on, they can’t remember the answer to 7 x 8 to complete a column multiplication calculation.

One year of blogging…

I actually didn’t want anyone to find this blog when I first started writing it. To be honest, I just wanted a place to organise my thoughts about being a young teacher in England who was attempting to make sense of the complexity of the classroom.  It’s now humbling to see that my blog is… Continue reading One year of blogging…

Modelling: What it is and Why it matters

“Where was the modelling in that lesson?” asked a colleague who observed my teaching in my first few weeks. After she spoke, I searched my brain for an adequate answer to this question and found nothing…I didn’t really know what it meant, not in the classroom anyway.

Book Review: Making Every Primary Lesson Count by Jo Payne and Mel Scott

My next review as part of my Reading Challenge 2018, for more details on this see here; a must read for all primary/elementary teachers. “Success cannot be defined by the government or a test and it certainly isn’t about labeling children. It is unique and personal to each individual, and it is our job as… Continue reading Book Review: Making Every Primary Lesson Count by Jo Payne and Mel Scott

6 Features of Excellent Explanations

My last post attempted to explain why excellent explanations are so important in teaching. In this post I will try to draw together the many brilliant things that have been said by others on the topic of explanations to try and see if there are features of this core teaching skill that cut across phases… Continue reading 6 Features of Excellent Explanations

Excellent Explanations (Part 1)

Excellent Explanations Part In this first of a series of blog posts, I want to argue for the power of accurate, clear and efficient teacher explanations in the learning process and why they are so important. Teaching is Explaining: A lesson learnt Part way through my first year of teaching I delivered a maths lesson… Continue reading Excellent Explanations (Part 1)

3 ways to make sense of ‘teaching mistakes’.

Today, I was observed by teachers in the first year of their training. The lesson they observed was a ‘research’ based lesson on the planets as part of our Space topic. I ambitiously planned for this to be a two step process: my pupils were to come up with their own questions about their planet… Continue reading 3 ways to make sense of ‘teaching mistakes’.