The Progress Pie Chart

THIS has been developed as a Computing/ICT resource. This resource can be used to demonstrate progress of all learners over the course of a lesson. It could be easily adapted to demonstrate progress over a period of lessons (ideally 3 based on the 3 segments).

The resource is a different slant on the more conventional Progress Clock or Progress Wheel teaching resource used by teachers to demonstrate progress in a lesson for every student. It has been changed into a pie chart as this gives it the Computing/ICT backdrop. A blank template can be found in this link THIS Education Progress Pie Chart.

The idea is that students identify what they know at the start of lesson, the progress they have made in the middle of the lesson and then finally what they now know/have achieved by the end of the lesson. The example that can be seen in Image 1 shows a student in one of my groups who is nearing the end of a project over several lessons to create Apps using App Inventor. The student identifies their level and what they are going to do to try and make an improvement within a lesson. The student can show progress within the complexity of the task they are doing or via an improved level (hopefully both!).

Image 1


It can be seen that the student is making choices about their learning, demonstrating understanding about what they need to do to make progress and developing independent learning skills within a given success criteria. It also provides a self assessment tool for students to use at 3 points during the lesson. It could easily be used as a peer assessment tool too. A collection of these would demonstrate progress over time.

At my school we have department open days which allow teachers to visit lessons in other areas of the school to gain ideas and provide constructive advice to improve teaching and learning. In my opinion this a truly collegiate approach to improve teaching and learning within the school structure and breeds a really supportive environment through peer review.

Image 2 shows feedback that I recently received at one of these open days when the Computing department was open for colleagues to visit our lessons. I have included these peer comments within the blog as it demonstrates what other teachers thought of how the Progress Pie Chart is used.


Progress Pie Chart main points from Image 2

‘Clear pathway for progress’

‘Students really interested and engaged, all spoke highly of how much they liked the pace and challenge – I liked the Progress Pie Chart’

‘Effective assessment tools’



Reflecting On Growth Mindset Teaching

THIS is a link to number 36 of the Scalby School Teaching and Learning blog which has some great ideas on how to teach a Growth Mindset to young people. 

One link that is mentioned originates from MindShift and attempts to clear up some confusions. The author, Eduardo Briceño discusses ways to support a Growth Mindset and this quote stuck out for me;

cultivating growth mindsets involves a gradual process of releasing responsibility to students for them to become more self-sufficient learners, and praise is a communications technique that tends to be more helpful earlier in that process of building agency. Later on, adults can ask students questions that prompt them to reflect, so that they’re progressing down the path toward independence“.

This has helped me to reflect on two things. Firstly that students cannot be just left to their own devices. So called experts who criticize progressive teaching (if it even exists?) often think that kids are just put in classrooms, given a task and then left to their own devices. It plainly states that if Growth Mindset (arguably a progressive teaching technique) is carried out well it is about building a young persons ‘agency’ and their skills to become truly independent learners. Teaching Growth Mindset therefore is about a teacher using both traditional and progressive teaching styles.

Note: I really hate the fact that I even have to consider that there may be two different styles of teaching. For me there is just one; ‘Common Sense Teaching’ which involves adopting different teaching styles and techniques as the need arises.

Secondly it has given me further confidence that the skills I am trying to develop in the learners that I teach are going to create young people with a Growth Mindset needed for life in the 21st century. The quote encapsulates how I like to teach on a daily basis.

Leading The Standard For Teachers Professional Development

July 2016 saw the publication from the DFE of the new TeacherStandards_July2016.

THIS is what the new standards suggest to me. I have highlighted some specific detail in the link, some of which I would like to comment on.

A teachers professional development in my view should be based on 2 main objectives. The first objective should be set around how that specific person would like to develop their career and to learn how to improve so that they can excel at their craft of being a teacher. The second should be based around how to ensure the aspirational progress of all learners within that teachers care (very much linked in to the first objective). This objective should also promote the priorities of the school in which they work. These objectives are often broken down further as part of an appraisal cycle. However, I do believe that those who lead professional development in schools should ‘balance school, subject and individual teacher priorities‘ with sensitivity and challenge to ensure successful outcomes for ALL teaching staff and learners.

These are the the excerpts that I would like to make a comment on from the document:

‘A shared commitment for teachers to support one another to develop so that pupils benefit from the highest quality teaching’.

‘Ofsted put it their September 2015 handbook, “a motivated, respected and effective teaching staff” in “a culture that enables pupils and staff to excel”. Meaning that leadership not only prioritise the operational aspects of teacher development’.

‘Activities to form part of a sustained programme, typically for more than two terms… includes opportunities for experimentation, reflection, feedback and evaluation’.

‘effective leadership of professional development… develops genuine professional trust’.

I believe that these are the most important points in the document due to the strong leadership that would be required to make professional development a positive ongoing experience. I have seen, and have anecdotally been told of, leadership in schools which may struggle to promote a culture which enables these professional development standards to be an effective source of improvement. It could be argued that schools where leadership does not harness a culture of professional trust use professional development in a negative way, in direct conflict to using it as a positive tool to embed sustainable improvement.

I have often talked about how leadership should promote collegiate approaches in their schools where colleagues work together to improve towards a common goal. Ultimately this is to provide the best standard of education possible and to achieve challenging outcomes. One final important comment to evaluate is that teachers should be encouraged to take risks and reflect upon improvements that need to be made within a supportive environment. At my current school this was very much the flavour of a recent training session where the focus was planning towards the new academic year and the encouragement of taking risks within our observed teaching.

THIS is what I hope is the genuine way forward for the continual professional development for ALL teachers.


Using AI2 App Inventor In KS3

THIS is a post that I have been wanting to share for a few weeks and is aimed at Computing teachers who teach KS3.

I have been using App Inventor for about a month now with learners and I have rarely seen young people so engaged in their learning.

I have been using this with Year 8 groups in my current school. It is great as it gives the learners the opportunity to learn code by following online tutorials. They then have the opportunity to create their own App’s after gaining ideas from the tutorials. The coding is very similar to Scratch but engages the young people far better.

The website can then link straight into Android Tablets which are provided for them by the school. The tablets where a costly outlay but the engagement and seeing learners develop a love for learning and wanting to succeed, in my opinion, has made it worth the spend!

Using the tablets gives them instant recognition for their achievements and enables the young person to test what they have produced and work out what is going wrong (and there usually is something going wrong!). This further develops independent learning, problem solving and resilience skills.

I have included one of my lesson PowerPoint presentations AppInventor_Lesson2&3_TalkToMe which I have used recently to give my year 8 classes their first taste of using the App Inventor. The PowerPoint includes a constant reminder of what the learners need to do in order to make progress and achieve their target levels. Homework activities are based around writing up their experiences (via a ‘Student Workbook’) and justifying how they are achieving/working towards their target grade. This evaluation work is started in the classroom and extended as a homework task is the link to use to get into App Inventor and create your Apps. Note: Learners will need access to a google account to be able to use the App Inventor and keep their work/creations safe.


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Working For ASDAN Education

THIS is about the last couple of years where I have had the pleasure of working for ASDAN, an educational awarding body and registered charity. It is with the regret that I now leave ASDAN to pursue other opportunities in education and my passion for teaching and learning.

My role has been as a National Development Co-ordinator working with schools to develop curriculum’s and resources for teachers across the UK. The main part of this role was to develop and deliver training events for the professional development of school and further education practitioners. Comments from delegates can be found here. I have loved my time working with ASDAN for several reasons, but when I reflect upon my experiences these are the two main reasons why ASDAN stands out as a #GreatEducation organisation with real positive vision, values and #EduPurpose.

Firstly, you can follow ASDAN on twitter @asdaneducation. If you work in education and care about equipping young people with the skills for lifelong learning in the 21st Century, I would highly recommend that you do this. One of ASDAN’s main aims is to make learning relevant and transferable & to reward a range of learning styles. Through doing this they recognise that young people do genuinely have different learning needs! With the very narrow curriculum focus in the current educational landscape it is important to keep in mind that ASDAN are still sticking to their educational values of creating varied learning experiences for ALL learners, while celebrating the diversity that exists in young people. I have found it really refreshing to work with teaching professionals across the UK who also believe in this. I feel that my work has given me the opportunity to provide advice and guidance to improve the life chances of so many young people.

Secondly, working at the central office in Bristol with such a talented group of people (including those based around the UK) has given me the opportunity to grow professionally as a teacher. If are interested in education and you ever have the opportunity to work for ASDAN you should seriously consider it. The leadership style is that of empowering people to manage their time, contribute and share their own ideas. The directors are supportive and encourage a collegiate approach to achieving the organisations vision and values. In my opinion this is exactly how any organisation should be run and it makes the individual feel valued. My experience has been that the directors do not constantly check or monitor progress but trust employees as professionals in their individual field/specialism. I hope that I have repaid the faith placed in me as I think that I have been pro-active in meeting the needs of the organisation? I believe my colleagues would agree with me that this leadership style makes employees feel motivated to go the extra mile to be the best that they can be for the organisation.

THIS is therefore the end of a hugely enjoyable and rewarding professional chapter in my life. I want to thank every one of my colleagues at ASDAN (and those recently moved on) for contributing to a great experience. Over the past week or so, the comments that I have received from so many colleagues have been overwhelming. The comments have also given me the extra bit of confidence to know that how I conduct myself, how I interact with others and my work ethic are positive personal traits that should help me in the future as a teacher or as a school leader. Those people know who they are, so thank you so much. You will never truly know what that means to me!

It would however be remiss of me to not thank the following people individually who I have worked very closely with;

Maggie and Kath for ALL your support as line managers, as colleagues and I hope now as friends.

Kath and Sally for hiring me in the first place!

Jemma for your continuous offer of coffee, who will make it now? Oh… and sorry if the logo does not meet requirements! 😉

Julia for being a critical friend… your help in the early days was really useful. 🙂

Rob for your computing/coding/on-line teachings.

Kiel for introducing me to Minecraft and simply for being the only other Yorkshireman in the office!

Finally, Simon for making the early morning coffee to make us feel alive at 7:30am when we start work. Also for being a great guy to share a workspace (and lately a car) with on a daily basis… thanks for putting up with me!

Goodbye all at ASDAN! 🙂


Featured Image: Gained from ASDAN Design.

Being A Lifelong Learner

It was Robert John Meehan who said “Your life as a teacher begins the day you realise that you are always a learner”. I am passionate about teaching and learning. My blogs discuss different views on learning and I discuss about what I know works and what sort of teacher I am based on information that I have gathered through working with educators across the UK.

THIS blog is about how I have recently been taking part in a qualification as part of my journey as a lifelong learner. Not only has it reminded me about the importance of teachers being lifelong learners and reflecting on our teaching experiences, but it has reminded how young people become lifelong learners.

The 21st Century is very much a digital age and the need for young people to have access to technology enhanced teaching (TET) is becoming greater all the time. It is with that in mind that I have recently undertaken a course to learn about, and improve upon my own TET. I have written about this in 5 recent blogs which can be searched on this site via typing in #MENTEPCourse. Doing this course has also created the opportunity to complete a Level 4 Wider Key Skill in Improving Own Learning & Performance qualification. At the time of writing this I am awaiting external moderation and the confirmation (hopefully) of certification.

The Wider Key Skill is based around a cycle of planning the learning and completing the activity based on achieving SMART (Specific, Realistic, Achievable, Resourced and Timed) targets. The final part is about reviewing the learning cycle to make improvements for the next time.

All teachers will be familiar with this process. The learning is planned, it is then delivered before a review takes place to assess the progress of learners. This review leads to future lessons being re-planned to ensure that the progress of all learners continues to be made. My Wider Key Skill gave me the opportunity to plan my own learning, it reminded me that being given the opportunity to plan my own learning engaged me in the process so much more. More over the learning was relevant to me, my situation and my future.

So we, as teachers, are lifelong learners. We are constantly learning about young people, what makes them tick and then adapting our teaching to suit individual and global learner needs. In my view teachers should be constantly learning, evolving, planning and reviewing learning to better meet our clients (learners) needs.

THIS is what I have been reminded about regarding learning… Teachers will be continuously following this cycle to improve the teaching of young people. However, do we always remember that young people (more often than not) learn better through being actively involved in the learning process themselves? Young people will learn far more deeply if they have the ownership, and are taught how to learn to reach given (teacher) or shared (teacher/learner) targets. They must be given a reason to learn, not just “because you need to know it for the test” (although this is probably true) but because it has real meaning for them. Real meaning can come in different ways but the obvious ones are linking the learning to their future, their circumstances or maybe even as something that is a great thing to know for life!

Learning is a gift! Give young people the opportunity to decide how they learn best and to have ownership of their learning. If these skills are taught and practiced early. then young people will not only do much better in tests and exams, they will do much better in life, as they will be able to constantly apply their skills to learning in different contexts. THIS will make lifelong learning an enjoyable and engaging experience in a diverse 21st Century!


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The New English GCSEs: a pleasure, not a chore.

THIS is a strategy for peer assessment and questioning for deep learning.

By @andrewwarnerkms


There seems to be an awful lot of flapping and worrying about teaching the new GCSEs. I’m not afraid to say that, in our humble little department, we’re quite enjoying it. We’ve had a long term plan since a couple of terms before we started delivering it to our (now Year 10) students after February half term, and both teachers and students are getting to grips with it nicely.

We’ve structured it in such a way that we’ll have all the Lit texts taught by the end of year 10, so that we can interleave fortnightly study blocks of each topic in year 11. We studied Lord of the Flies over the summer term, six poems from the cluster during the first half of the autumn term, and we’re just finishing off A Christmas Carol as we speak. After Christmas we’ll study four more poems, spend the best part of…

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