Team Review


(10th March – 21st March 2014)


What are the ingredients that make up a “sparkling classroom” in the Humanities at Heathfield Community School?



  • A menu of strategies / resources / ideas created for each key ingredient of a lesson.
  • This menu to be created collaboratively, using current thinking about pedagogy and our own ideas.
  • Each area is encouraged to “take a risk” in their lesson planning
  • Student voice and observers a crucial element and encouraged to input to whole process.
  • Key findings to be presented as a “teachmeet” style presentation. The key ingredients to be agreed and a bank of resources created to help plan “sparkling classrooms”…..


1. Starters / Learning Objectives / Progress during a lesson / Plenaries

2. Questioning skills to promote learning

3. Extended writing / Literacy

4. Effective group work

5. Differentiation


The following will help give an overview of the planning process:

1. Sparking Classrooms- Roy Blatchford

2. “Teaching in the Zone” white paper – Angela Lui

3. Planning Lessons – Learning Spy –

4. This much I know about…lesson planning – John Tomsett –

5. OFSTED framework (January) for Outstanding Teaching and Learning

1. Starters / Learning Objectives / Progress during a lesson / Plenaries

Key questions to investigate:

• What is the point of a LO and can challenge be built into them so that all can access?
• Can progress be demonstrated during a lesson? How else can progress be demonstrated over time? How is this made explicit in lesson planning based on prior knowledge of student?
• What does an effective plenary look like?

Here are our findings:

Planning challenging lessons through learning objectives SO THAT….

Building challenge through Learning Objectives:

Rapid progress


2. Questioning Skills to promote learning

Key questions to investigate:
• How can questioning promote learning across all students?
• What activities encourage perceptive, challenging and deeper questioning?
• How do students demonstrate independence of thought?

Here are our findings:

How to ask questions to facilitate dialogue P4C

Questioning – Top 10 strategies:

From Good to Outstanding – Questioning strategies to promote learning:

Pose, Pause, Pounce, Bounce

Probing questions:

3. Extended Writing / Literacy

Key questions to investigate:

  • How can students improve their writing in the Humanities?
  • What role do specific literacy focused lessons play in the Humanities?
  • How can we improve written feedback?
  • Do students know how they can improve their written work?

Here are our findings:

Completed “word mat”for Humanities lessons:

word mat 1

word mat 1

word mat 1

wordmat 2

Doug Lemov’s Field Notes:

The art of beautifully crafted sentences:

Hexagons:  (from “Thinking in Shapes”)

Slow writing:

Improving written feedback:

Literacy mat:

4. Effective Group Work

Key questions to investigate:
• What opportunities are there for group work? Does group work enhance motivation?
• What are the most effective group sizes / group activities?

Here are our findings:

Top 10 Group Work strategies:

Group work idea:

Supporting effective group work:

5. Differentiation

Key questions to investigate:

  • How do we model and scaffold in the Humanities to “teach to the top, as well as support at the bottom?”
  • What role does marking play to help differentiate?

Here are our findings:

A monster of a post:

Building challenge:

Inclusive questioning: