TeachMeet Midlands: What was it all about?


TeachMeet Midlands was a huge success. This time our TeachMeet was part of National TeachMeet Day in the UK, which helped raise the profile of the event in Nottingham and across the Midlands. With sponsorship from the Nottingham Learning Trust (@NottmLT) and The National College (@the_college), as well as the companies behind TeachMeet UK, Pete (@PeteBevington) and I (@MarcWithersey) were able to promote this event through many channels beyond Twitter and we introduced so many more teachers to the TeachMeet format of CPD.


The night began with short keynote from Adam Pepper who uses film as a stimulus for writing. This approach supports a topic based curriculum and in his experience, has broken down literacy based barriers for many groups of learners.

Adam Pepper’s key points:

Film shouldn’t just be golden time or a Friday afternoon film loosely linked to a theme

Teachers need to be smart with film

It gives a clear visual relevance for children. Particularly EAL

It’s powerful. Pause and look at expressions. Film doesn’t require reading or writing – more accessible

Children are already following narrative through DS iPad kindl.

Film is the hook and we build up to it.


A possible structure for film based learning to quickly move children through a film based lesson, in a purposeful way:

1. Study still image from film clip – create word banks what can you see, hear, feel, smell, happening.


2 Crack the code from a transcript of the film clip. Word counting.


3 Listen to sound clip from film – note what you hear, weather, animals. Describe feelings.

4 Art challenge: based on notes and code sheet. Sketch the scene, to music from the film.


5 Now watch the film clip.

6 Get Set- children now have a visual auditory and textual experience to draw upon in writing.

Adam’s advice:

Be creative with film choice. There’s not always a direct film for your topic but pick by setting, time, characters, events.

Films about narratives that are too difficult to read as a text- opens up your choices for literacy (For example ’The Odyssey’ can be taught in primary through film).

Biographies – be clever. Pick an interest significant person to study Michael Jordan, Bruce Lee.

Think topical- look at the news and link to film.

Use old dated films Boris Karloff the mummy, black and whites, pick films most children haven’t seen.

Use google “films about… Films set in..”

But…. Always have a text ready to link to the film. That’s the point.

Conclude the topic with children making their own film, bringing their writing back to film.


Rebecca Glover: Using narrative to excite writing

Rebecca has built a time machine in her primary classroom.

Recently the time machine delivered an egg. Her class decided it was a dragon egg and they became Dragon Conservation Experts. They hatched the egg and raised a baby dragon which they named and cared for.


Next Rebecca set up a problem, which was delivered in the form of a letter through the time machine. The dragons caused problems with neighbours. The class received letters from other people in the neighbourhood who had problems with their pet dragons. Rebecca aimed to disrupt their theme and spark debate.

Children got in to role to solve the problem from different points of view. This developed empathy and understanding. Children came up with solutions to help.

Each morning time machine lit up and flashed, with new artefacts to keep the debate going. One time pliers and dragon teeth were delivered as their original solution wasn’t good enough for neighbour complaints. What else can they do? Children were filled with purpose to write!

The time machine is an emotional roller coast with a firm structure. Children invest their time and effort into the learning and literacy because they care about the topic. It becomes real to them.

Rebecca says Children go from listening to the teacher like a TV, to becoming an activist.

Wendy Hill (@NatFantastic) and The Happiness Diet from Shonette Bason (@ShonetteBason).

What is it? 31 days of happiness.

How did Wendy use it? Set as homework for children and parents

What is the format? There’s one thing to do each day


Impact? Parents responded well, children came to school on time and energised.

What’s next? Physical February! Look it up.

Also… Shonette is organised a World Record attempt for largest Dough Disco. Get involved by emailing shonettesmum@shonettebason.com

Shaun McKenzie (@superlatics): Sharing good practise in humanities

Shuan is a subject leader in Humanities at a secondary school. He started the school recently and is developing a team ethos. This began with a few of his favourite quotes:

“Why are we teaching? What are we teaching? How are we teaching? Why are we teaching? When are we teaching?”


“What do we want pupils to know and to understand?” “What pupils could do? What can’t pupils do? What don’t pupils understand?”

This gave Shuan a rationale for his department- to encourage collaborative work – get together and share. To promote progress and creative learning. To foster a group mentality.

He brought his department together to plan and share ideas for teaching and learning.

This resulted raising standards across the subjects in his department and tackling the school’s improvement plan as a department.

For extended writing, Shaun’s team uses paper hexagon shapes with key terms printed on them. Pupils fit them together in their own way and that is what they write about in their essays.

ImageMaking trips purposeful. Shaun’s team uses photo grids of trips which pupils annotate with their experiences afterwards. This can happen as group and be used as revision notes.

Planning for different learning styles. Shaun’s team create overlapping story books with their pupils. During a rainforest topic, a story book with light the flaps and folds created a guide through the facts of the topic by reading the story.


Small world figures in history to make up story boards- used for the Battle of Hastings. Pupils made 8 story board frames which included facts written on wipe boards in the frames.


The impact? Shaun says his secondary pupils are declaring they’ve actually enjoyed lessons and leave the classroom buzzing!

Shaun would like to use Twitter to plan with a group of teachers who are looking to create a new humanities curriculum for their school. He would like to work together via twitter to produce a KS3 curriculum of shared resources. Find him on Twitter @superlatics

Wendy Hill (@NatFantastic) on ICT in role play EYFS

Wendy shared 8 iPad apps in 7 minutes. She facilitates their use in her role play areas and children can record their narratives in a variety of creative ways. This enhances their play.


Soundcloud app – record snippets of speech in roll play area, children use the app to record their clips. Leave it recording all session.

Pic collage- arrange images taken and children annotate them

News booth- uses a photo and makes it look like a news bulletin from the role play

YouTube- alongside books as a private YouTube channel

iMovie trailers – present their roll play story as a movie

Puppet pals – insert themselves as characters with photograph backgrounds of the role play area. Children retell the narrative they acted out

Google- for their research of role play images

Random name selector- hogging the roll play- use this to select other children, the children pick who goes in next.

Joseph Bull on Assessment and Feedback research findings in KS3 MFL

Joseph outlined his masters action research through his key questions and results.


How and why do we mark? Joseph’s 4 main types of feedback in MFL:

Praise – good well done smiley tick

Corrections – underline and change spellings

Explanations – more, show what mistake is

Feedback- what to build on to take to next level

Children talked through what feedback means to them. Children with low literacy said ‘I know it’s good, it’s got a tick’. He found that a significant number of pupils are unable to read teacher’s comments. Joseph concluded that written feedback may be good for book scrutiny but students getting nothing out of it.

Joseph’s findings on his 4 kinds of feedback in marking:

Praise – most liked feedback. They like seeing ticks

Corrections – students don’t understand why it’s a mistake and that it’s just wrong. They can’t distinguish between slips and errors. Pupils are trying to do something too complicated and they are errors, but putting a correction doesn’t help them understand how to solve the problem correctly.

Explanation –  Children have literacy barriers and concept barriers. It didn’t help anyone.

Feedback- least able doesn’t understand literacy, most able don’t understand the concept they need to work on and they parrot back what you have told them

Other forms of assessment strategies that Joseph included in his research:

Peer assessment- Pupils were concerned peers can’t teach them

Self assess- Pupils said they are concerned they can’t teach themselves

So why mark?

Praise isn’t pointless, the students get something from it. We need to reevaluate it.

MFL needs a new model for marking and feedback.


Hannah Pearson (@PeepingPearson), Assistant Head trailing barrier games in KS2.

Hannah’s goals for using barrier games:

Improve communication and language (speaking and listening)

Target specific needs (such as ADHD)

Improve peer interactions

Develop empathy and patience

Teach resolutions and differences

Teach how to manage frustration


What are barrier games?

Played between 2 children with barrier between them.

One gives instructions one receives them. ie- drawing something, modelling something

2 players 1 referee (an adult)

Good at building relationships after a fall out in a non confrontational manner

To begin with, children pick a peer they are more comfortable with and as skill develops they move towards someone they wouldn’t necessary spend time with.

Referee captures photo, video, to reflect on children’s practise with them.

Children swap roles. 20 mins in time. Frequency is tailored to children.

Allow time for them to analyse their game.


Strategies to plan for barrier games:

Drawing instructions can be enhanced with crayons and felt tips to make instructions more complex

Teach higher order thinking skills.Image

Measure progress with Boxall profile and give the referee key things to look for and check off, write down children’s comments during game play.


Hannah’s next steps?

Hannah wants to measure how it impacts learning and attitudes in the classroom.

View Hannah’s Prezi here complete with videos, photographs and audio from games! Thanks for sharing this.

Fiona Hayden (@FionaHayden, @SouthwoldsSoc) with Pinteresting Homework.

Fiona explain how she creates a Pinterest account and gives her pupils the login details. Each student is assigned a board that the teacher has set up. Children have to pin to that board. Fiona uses this in A2 sociology so her pin boards are linked to sociology modules.

Each week students swap boards. They need to bid for their next board. They build up boards of knowledge. They write a description of how the articles or pins support the topic and learning. Teacher can review these to check their understanding of the work.

At A Level this is supporting students to read wider than the textbooks. They read real life!

It also supports revision as they quote from the recent articles they have pinned to the boards.

Fiona says that this can be easily used in KS3 and GCSE, but also in primary. Fiona urges primary staff to not be scared as not all social media is the same. Pinterest is safe because it is closed to your topic and within your filters. It’s somewhere to share resources.

With her A2 students, she recommends the use of the app too. Her students ‘need’ to have their phones visible to them at all times, they worry about their phone’s whereabouts! As the app is on their phone, she has a link to their lives and can ping to them through pinterest whenever and wherever the opportunity for learning arises.

Fiona also shared Quizlet.


Quizlet creates classes and creates flash cards. Students make the flash cards and teacher reuses them across classes 😉 It also creates quizzes for students based on the flashcards they have made.

Ben Waldram (@MrWaldram)

Ben became a Google Certified Teacher this year and travelled to the Google Teacher Academy in January. Even though he was selected to join the community because of his good use of Google apps in education, he learned so much from the training. Ben shared some of his new learning with us.

Boogle – change  the name of Google search screen.

Blockly- first step towards using Scratch.Image

GeoGuessr – drops you anywhere in street view and guess location


Lego Build – another way of looking at a map


Google art institute – high res art and artefacts



GDocs- live documents which take up no cloud space. Parents can view and comment on homework (but not edit)


Paul Bannister (@Paulyb37), Head Teacher. Be Inspired, Be Inspiring.

How are we inspiring ourselves before inspiring children? Paul insists that we need to be inspired as teachers in order to inspire the young people we teach. Paul shared a range of books that have inspired his staff at school.


Paul says we need to make regular  tweaks to our practise and we achieve this by managing our own professional development beyond the school we work at.


Paul also recommends watching Austin’s Butterfly on YouTube.

Lucy Chapman from NTU Outreach team (@NTUoutreach).

Lucy is part of the community outreach team at Nottingham Trent University. She asks if we are using universities to support the children in our schools. The outreach teams helps to Identify problematic cohorts and offers planning of interventions with other services to help us close the gap.

The NTU outreach team have packages for primary, secondary and post 16 and these can


be followed up and tracked back. Children on their packages will be supported further should they follow their education on to NTU.

Currently the team are reforming their department and are eager to listen to your school’s needs and your advice on how to raise aspirations for Nottingham.

Victoria from Nottingham High School shared Linguascope for MFL and ICT lessons.

She advises that this online tool is perfect for teacher’s who may have to cover an MFL class without being an MFL teacher.


Her favourite feature is the create comic strip tool. Students pick background and character and add speech in the language they are learning. The tool has the basic symbols in languages ready to use.

Emily Flavell (@EmilyFlav) with Exciting Writing.


Emily shared Alan Peat’s Exciting Sentences books for teaching literacy skills and improving children’s creative writing. She described the impact this resource has had on her learners and highly recommends it.

There was something special about this TeachMeet. The events always have a buzz about them, but there was something more about it. Maybe it was because of the National TeachMeet Day and sponsorships which helped promote each event and create a larger build up for each individual event.


Whatever it was, on the night there was a huge amount of collaboration, discussion, debate and reflection. We are already planning another TeachMeet with our friends at the Nottingham Learning Trust. Look out for a date which will be set for June 2014. For tweets on the night check out the Storify I compiled after the event:


Thank you to everyone who came to our TeachMeet, and to our amazing presenters on the night. Also a huge thank you to the team at The National College, Nottingham Learning Trust and Toshiba who made this all possible through their generous sponsorship. We would also like to thank the team behind TeachMeet UK and the sponsorship deals they organised with Twinkl, Yes Programme, Edgy Productions, Zondle, One Day and The Learning Centre.

Oh and.. finally… Those ketchup cups at McDonalds, they are designed to open up to dunk McChicken Nuggets… Thanks Paul!


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