Insight 2014


4:30PM 5:10PM 5:50PM
8th July

Chinese Calligraphy and Basic Cantonese

Tommy Leung

An opportunity to learn some Chinese calligraphy brush strokes and an introduction to the lesser spoken form of the Chinese language.

Opportunities in the World of Horticulture, Agriculture and Environment

Rebecca Pow

There is a shortage of people entering the horticulture job market – Gardening writer and broadcaster Rebecca Pow examines the opportunities.

Writing a Group Sestina

Jo Backhouse

A workshop looking at the structure of Sestina as a poetic form; using groups to generate topic. plot, and end words before constructing a Sestina as a group.


9th July

Shut Up and Dance

Wil Lowndes

A history of dance music through 9 tunes.

How to Set Up a Refugee Camp

Stu Hall

A look at the role of tropical disease biologists in setting up refugee camps; prioritising health care and dealing with the burden of budget and disease transmission.

The Spirit of the Gift

Ian Grant

An anthropological journey into the effect of consumerism on the gift


10th July

A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Life

Chris Ford

Have you seen ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ on TV? This event takes you a lot further back in time; re-enacting your deepest biological ancestry…

American History

Elliot Furneaux

A discussion about some of the most important sites in US history: Dallas, Gettysburg, Little Big Horn and more.

A Crash Course in Casualty Simulation Make-up

Stu Walker

An introduction to the world of casualty simulation make-up. Participants will get hands on with blood and bruises, and get some ideas as to how to learn more. Not for the squeamish; old clothes or apron a must.

For more information or to book your place please email

 Limited places available. Lectures cost £1 per person, all profits to charity


LWL tips: ‘Have You Thought About…?’ slips

LWL tips returns with a contribution from the RPE department!

‘Have you thought about…?’ slips

When the class is working on a piece of writing: an essay, long answer etc. they are bound to finish at different times. When they do finish, swoop in and plonk a slip of paper on their desk with ‘Have you thought about….’ complete with a deeper (or higher level) aspect of the question they have been answering.

For example (has to be science i’m afraid): If they are answering the question ‘Explain how a polar bear’s adaptations allow it to survive in it’s habitat.’ The slip could say ‘Have you thought about competition: food, water, shelter, mate?’ or ‘Have you thought about interdependence: hunting etc.?or ‘Have you thought about vascular counter current exchangers?’ or ‘Have you thought about a comparison with an animal from a different habitat?’

Sounds good – I plan to try it out after half term.

Enjoy your break everyone!

LWL tips: The Extension Menu

LWL tips… all tips available on the school VLE. You’ve found it!
This week: Structured, independent, on-going extension … ‘The Extension Menu (working title)’
There are a huge number of options out there for extension tasks, a few of which we have covered over the last few months. Now I’m starting to consider the possibility of offering a choice of task, presented to the students as a menu. This is only at the planning stage, my first thoughts are:
extension menuMenu (poster) on the wall at the front of the class, several options available
  • Each option has a value (like prices or points)
  • Students choose an activity when they have completed the main task
  • Students may not finish a task but rather it could overflow to future lessons
  • Students earn/spend the points upon completion
  • Score could be used either in league table or as a ‘classroom currency’
  • Use points to encourage students to take on a range of tasks
This is only an initial idea, I would love feedback and help to develop it further. Please let me know if you have done something similar or if you have any ideas to improve it.

LWL tips: Who Owns the Zebra?

LWL tips…does exactly what it says on the tin.

This week’s activity is about problem solving… ‘Who Owns the Zebra?’

This is a fun little activity which can be used as a starter, a rewarding game or a warm-up. Depending on the rules set by the teacher, it calls on numerous cognitive skills; organisation, memory, insight, note taking to name but a few. This can also be used as a template for subject specific problem solving activities, which could then be used as revision tools or to indicate prior knowledge at the start of a topic.

Below are links to the files you will need:

The powerpoint slide presentation is the main event, the word file has all of the statements and answers written out as an aid for the teacher.


Statements for teacher – Word file

LWL tips: ‘So What?’

LWL tips… you either love it or you hate it.

 This week we look at questioning techniques… So What?’

 Sometimes we come across a student with a hidden quality; they don’t say much, they might not do much, but you can tell that there’s more going on inside than meets the eye. That’s where ‘so what?’ comes in (other similar questions are available). All you need is a simple starting point – get the student to say something (an opinion is most useful) then simply reply ‘so what?’. They will hopefully expand on the previous point, to which you then simply reply ’so what?’ again, and again…

 This sounds simple, and with practise it is; but it is incredibly useful when trying to ascertain whether a student is struggling or if they are in fact just keeping all the good stuff locked up inside. Give it a go.

LWL tips: HOOKS – Reel them in

LWL tips… An LWL tip a day helps you stretch the most able, rest and play – catchy!.

This week we look at motivating students at the start of a lesson… HOOKS – Reel them in!’

 As a product of demanding exam specifications and time constraints we are often pressured into introducing topics by saying “you will need to know this for the exam”– all of the middle-lower ability students automatically sit up straight thinking you are about to give them the silver bullet whilst the higher ability students disengage.

Instead… Start each lesson with an interesting/topical/real-life example of what you are going to study. This way the students understand why they should care about the topic and maybe even spark their interest! This can be achieved in any subject from fractions in maths (pizza, cake, *insert more imaginative idea here*) to Hamlet in English (a clip of The Lion King and a comparison between the stories).

LWL tips: Plenaries and Extension Tasks

LWL tips connecting people… to their full potential.

A big thank you to RB for these… ‘Plenaries and Extension Tasks’

Ask the students:

What are the (three) most important things you have learnt in today’s lesson? Why are they important?

What do you think are the success criteria for this lesson?

Think of (5) questions that somebody should be able to answer about today’s lesson. Find someone to ask.

Why did we learn this today? What do you think we will be learning next lesson? Over the next 3 lessons?

How would you teach a famous person about what we have studied today?

If you were marking your own work, how would you know if it was a good piece? What would you look for?

LWL tips: Teaching by Asking

LWL tips… the future’s bright, the future’s… differentiated.

A big thank you to JPR for this one… Teaching by asking

Rather than teaching by telling, start a topic by asking students a question which leads to what you want to teach. 

e.g.     “What methods are used to market food products?  Think of as many as you can.”

“Why do you think managers value staff training?”

“Who would have supported Cromwell, who would not, and why?”

“Here is a maths problem you can’t solve with the methods we have seen so far – how would you solve it?”

Students work in pairs or small groups to answer a question or series of questions using common sense, experience, and prior learning. Students can all have the same questions, or they can be given different questions on the same topic. Ensure each group has a scribe, check their attention to task and the quality of their work.  When they’ve finished, ask each pair or group for one idea they have had, ensuring that each group offers something.  Write the strong ideas on the board saying a little in support of each idea if you wish.  Allow the class to discuss any points of disagreement until they have agreed a common answer. When the class has its common answer, ‘top up’ the answer with any additional points the class has missed, and correct any misunderstandings…  If students get half of the answer, it saves half of the teacher talk, and generates interest and thinking skills.

LWL tips: All Must, Most Could, Some Should

LWL tips… Every little helps. . . you to extend the learning of more able students.

Our activity this week is an oldie but goodie…   all must, most could, some should’

 Using the ‘all must, most should, some could’ format enables teachers to set extension tasks for the most able, or provide a range of options for extension work from which they can choose. The drawback of this approach can be that unmotivated pupils, however able, may not always reach the higher-level work; therefore it is important to make sure that key objectives are covered in the ‘all must’ work and then the activities get progressively more fun – ‘some could’ should be something the students really want to do.

LWL tips: How I got from A to B


LWL tips Probably the best… weekly G&T tips email in Heathfield school.

Our activity this week comes from JER–a big thank you for sharing good practice… How I got from A to B’

A great way to extend a student’s learning is to ask them to write an explanation of why they have made the decision that they’ve just been challenged on; this is great for English but with a bit of tweaking this can be used across the board. It works as a check for the student, clearly shows you their thought process, but most importantly extends their learning because they’re thinking of how they got there, not just the right answera nice doorway to metacognition!