Effecive & efficient way to learn top 100 high frequency words!

High Frequency Mats3

Having recently worked with a pupil learning his high frequency words, I found the look – say etc approach to be unsuccessful so I devised the following method and found it to have a much better impact. I followed the this process…

1. Watch the adult write the word three times as them spell / decode

2. Pupil copies the word three times in the next box

3. Cover the boxes and pupil writes the word three times again

4. Pupil closes eyes and tries to write three times

Every question asked by my pupils in a day!

I recently wrote down every question that  children asked me in my year three class in one day. I decided to do this to see what it would tell me about provision in my year 3 class. There was in access of 50 questions, everyone is listed below:

Can I read Gansta Granny? x3 Can I sit on a bean bag? x 7 Is there dodge ball today? Who’s star of the week? x 3 Can I have a drink? x 15 Can I get the attendance trophy? x 2 Can I tell you something? x 5 Can I read the map book? x 2 Are we doing PE today? x 5 Shall I write without success criteria? x 2 Can I go to the toilet? x 16 can I show you my work? x 2 Do I have to take out my earrings? Are you going to the book fair? Is it playtime / lunchtime after this? x 2

What did this tell me then?

1. There is a complete lack of questions about learning.

2. The questions that do involve learning are too shallow.

3. I need a better visual timetable displayed.

4. I need to configure my routines and procedures so children have better access to water.

5. Get rid of the bean bags, there are driving me mad!

I have found this to be a powerful technique to evaluate the provision in my class, I have become aware of issues that I was unaware of before. I would definitely recommend others to do so.

Soon I plan to write down every question that I ask the children in a week. Also I plan to write down every question that I get asked as a leader in a week.

Challenge for more able children

Challenge Staff Meeting I recently ran the INSET above in my school on provision for more able pupils. Firstly, we discussed the misleading term of ‘Gifted & Talented’ – we decided that children can certainly become talented at an academic area, having practised and working hard. However, as a whole school staff we concluded that the term ‘Gifted’ is inaccurate and doesn’t reflect the effort and mind-set needed to master an academic subject. We realised that the term ‘more able’ is a more appropriate use of language to describe these pupils. In addition, we went on to discover that for our school more able is the top 10% – 15% in each class, for core subjects to start with (this approximately equates to 3 or 4 pupils). This will develop into other subjects over time. Although, when you put these children into to bigger picture of other schools and other pupils they may not be considered as more able. We accepted that you can simply increase the pitch of learning or you can increase the challenge required for learning, through thinking skills. I informed staff that an extension task for more able pupils is not challenge! I felt it was important that all staff took part in the activities and it lead to some interesting and humorous results. The first activity  was the use of Venn diagrams for comparisons – the example used was between war & sport. Next we looked at concentric circles, the closer to the centre the more important / relevant the information – the example used was the most important features of a home. Following this I introduced a piece of software that I discovered called Tarsia. Once downloaded it enables you to generates puzzles of all kinds that use the knowledge and answers that you type in. I have found it to be an amazing piece of software. Then we used learning grids, which I had taken from the outstanding learners book, again I have found these to be an invaluable tool in the classroom. I am sure diamond nine activity was nothing new to some staff but it was good to remind ourselves how it can be used to stimulate discussion. Finally, we looked at linear ranking, square of inference, odd one out, thinkers keys and creating ‘wobble’, which was inspired by James Nottingham. I think with all these activities it is vital that staff constantly ask ‘why’ and children respond with ‘because’. We finished by setting a gap task of staff incorporating some of these strategies into their weekly plans. I regularly revisit these strategies through briefings, discussions with staff and staff INSET.

The Writing Process

The writing process March 2015

This is my first ever post! On this blog I hope to share lots of WAGOLLs (What A Good One Looks Like), these could be a variety of things that cover teaching & learning.  The first one involves the development of good writers, recently I was considering the process of writing and how to develop writers within my class. In my opinion, writing for children must start with an explanation of the BIG PICTURE, where does this piece of writing fit into their learning. I usually do this via a mind map, which is developed of the academic year. At the beginning I introduce the theme and all the features of the genre – again via a mind map and the nature of lessons over the time allocated. Often I also explain the qualitative and grammatical  aspects of the writing, linked to success criteria.

Following this, I give the children an experience from which I expect them to write. This could be, role play, hot seating, something in a box, an experience, guided fantasy, a ‘wow’ experience, a guest, a scenario – eg. school is to have a road built through it…..’, three objects, provide children with a character, a scene, and a problem, a painting, a photo, a piece of music, a DVD, etc. From this experience I then expect the children to write.

Once the children have written, I take the children through an in depth examination of the genre and its features. Then I share a text as a model and we discuss the features and qualities of the featured text. I highlight aspects of grammar and word choice that the children will be focusing on and link this to success criteria, the grammar aspect is made explicit to children.

Next children compare their own text to the model green, amber and red with justification based on evidence. They then need to focus in on what needs to be done to attain the quality and grammatical success required from the model piece.


This will include:

1. Planning it!

Children plan topic, audience, purpose.

I take the children through this process by modelling my thinking in relation to TAP; I also model thoughts and ideas generation using a graphic organiser, or ideas web as appropriate. The mind movie is developed with think alouds and this is discussed with the children.

Children talk to partners about what they plan to write and TAP, mind movie etc.

Children use a graphic organiser to clarify thinking and create some order to their ideas.

Children tell partners about their mind movies.

2. Drafting it!

I now model how to write a rough draft, leaving alternate lines clear, from planning notes. I include the focus aspect of grammar and punctuation, referring to the success criteria.

Children read the draft and talk about RAG in relation to success criteria from grammar and then for qualitative aspects. The children discuss what makes the writing effective, what could be improved etc.

Children now work on their own draft.

Children read to a partner.

Partner judges according to success criteria with evidence

3. Redrafting it!

I model the redrafting process – this is the process linked to improving the QUALITY of the writing.

Children begin the redrafting process.

Children work with partners to judge quality

4. Editing it!

I model the editing process linked to success criteria – grammatical and technical aspects.

Children edit their own work.

Children work with partners to judge effectiveness of editing linked to success criteria

5. Publishing and celebrating it!

I model the final writing from the redrafted/ edited piece.

Children create their final version.

6. Evaluating it!

I model evaluating against success criteria for quality and grammatical aspects.

Children do this with partners.


I have found this to be a successful and purposeful process to turn children of all abilities. I would appreciate any feedback on peoples thoughts. I’ve attached the writing process, that could be used as a whole school approach.