Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Key Stage 2 English tests levels 3 - 5 samples

Key Stage 2 English Test levels 3 – 5


Grammar, Punctuation and spelling


Grammar, Punctuation and spelling


Grammar, Punctuation and spelling


Grammar, Punctuation and spelling mark schemes


Key Stage 2 English tests level 6 samples

Key Stage 2 English Test levels 6


Grammar, Punctuation and spelling


Grammar, Punctuation and spelling


Grammar, Punctuation and spelling


Grammar, Punctuation and spelling


Grammar, Punctuation and spelling

Grammar, Punctuation and spelling test framework: http://media.education.gov.uk/assets/files/pdf/g/2013-2015_keystage2_english_grammarpunctationandspelling_test_framework.pdf

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

New Key Stage 2 English test

Here are links to information on the new Key Stage 2 English test

Related web links

Sample test materials

Information for parents

The New Primary Curriculum

Read the government press release on the new initiative to bring more rigour into the National Primary Curriculum here:


You can download the draft programmes of study for English, Mathematics and Science which will come into effect from September 2014 on the link below:


 Mathematics Key Stage 1 &2:


English Key Stages 1&2:


Science Key Stages s 1&2:

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Drugs in Sports Debate Kit evaluation report

Check out this evaluation report by the award winning team I’m a scientist Get me out of here!  on the science debate topic of ‘Drugs in Sports’. The debate kit was produced by Gallomanor and funded by The Physiological Society for teachers' use.

The team has produced four other debate kits which provide teachers with all the resources needed to run a debate session on set topic with their students. Through debating various topics, students develop their discussions skills particularly speaking and listening.

Find out more about I’m a Scientist Get me Out of here: http://imascientist.org.uk/

Download the debate topic kits here: http://debate.imascientist.org.uk/the-kits/

 Written for older classes, three of the kits can be used with Years 5 and 6 primary school classes with little adaptation:

1.    Drugs in Sports

2.   Are we too clean?

3.   Cannabis

The other two need some adaptation for the age group e.g. use simpler vocabulary:

1.    IVF

2.   Stem cells

You can find a list of science vocabulary for these year groups here: http://iyiomonscience.blogspot.co.uk/p/years-5.html

Friday, 2 November 2012

History through social media tools

Find out how African and Black history is being brought alive using the very versatile social media tools in the web links below:


See for yourself; they are awesome.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

The Hydrologic Cycle

This has got to be my all time favourite video for its simplicity.

It uses stunning photographs with key vocabulary to present stages of the water cycle also known as the hydrologic cycle.  

I have used it with my students to generate lots of writing e.g. explanation text on the Water Cycle and for creative science fiction story writing  e.g. ‘I am  a Water Drop here is my story. 

See for yourself and remember to stay tuned to my channel for more stunning videos coming soon.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Anatomy of an outstanding lesson.

Well, tough there isn’t one. This is a lesson I learnt as a Head Teacher.

Whilst  school leaders are expected  to be able to  recognise  one when they see it, many schools end up weighing the pig, sometimes weighing it to death in an effort to judge  quality of teaching and learning in classrooms accurately forgetting that frequent weighing of the pig will not make it any heavier. Planned weighing though could help improve arrangements for its diet which would help it grow heavier in time. This goes into the school improvement plan contributed to by all staff.

The point of weighing lessons known popularly as lesson observations is to improve students’ learning and our key indicators for this are: progress in children’s work, teacher’s assessment and progress during lessons, it goes without saying that using one lesson observation to ascertain this could prove misleading. Pupils’ progress must be over time not one made in a single 30 minute observation with a showy teacher who knows how to pull all the stops to pull a rabbit out of the hat. Thankfully most school leaders and others who hold teachers to account know this. I learnt very early on in my career years ago that an inspector within 3 minutes of entering your class can judge these factors accurately.

As school leaders go, I have not deviated from this astute observation skill when visiting classes. Actually this method puts less on teachers as it supports coaching through which discussions rather than judgements take place putting the teacher at ease and to feel more supported and trusted by school leadership; it goes without saying that everyone performs better without a whip on their back. A system I introduced to my staff was lesson study comprising a triad of teachers who plan together, support each other during delivery period of those sequences of lessons including taking it in turn to observe each other’s lessons and discussing strengths and an agreed area for improvement. Teachers engage in coaching and peer observations continually with this system which incidentally also ensure each one’s PD when they take different roles in the team. My only involvement was individual teachers letting me know what target they would like to work on as part of their PM arrangement. It is rewarding to see the resulting team work and most important of all, improvements in practice and students’ progress.  Read more about lesson study here:


Back to what are the key features of outstanding lessons, the answer should lie in what progress the students are making. Outstanding progress only results from outstanding lessons from all across the school.  It is important to point out here that this does not just happen and some of the following aspects of practice must have been embedded in school practice:

·        The classroom is lively and interesting
·        Students support each other and are very keen to improve their own individual skills
·        They assess self, others, own  and others’ work
·        Students are challenged and enjoy lessons
·        Teacher develops students’ basic skills in the core subjects in across curricular ways
·        Teacher’s assessment of students needs  is accurate and ongoing
·        Teacher displays students’ work from all abilities along with annotated levelled ones
·        Teacher uses innovative teaching methods which take students’ learning to a new dimension on thinking level.

Seeing these features in a lesson will not take more than three minutes once one steps into a classroom, hence the saying that an inspector can form accurate judgement of the quality of teaching and learning in that period, particularly when applying the litmus test of ‘Is there a real relationship between students and teacher in this classroom?’ If yes, the lesson does not always have to be perfect to be outstanding, we can all have our off days.   

Anyhow, outstanding teachers know they are outstanding from the results they achieve with the students. It is a good idea to bear the following point in mind  ‘I am as good as the level my students reach.’ This is a motivating statement which always comes in handy when all the chips are down and one needs some reassurance.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are entirely mine and do not claim to represent the views of other practitioners.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Establishing Class Rules

So how does one go about establishing those ground rules that help achieve a purposeful and calm learning atmosphere? This is my recipe from years of experience.

First week in every new academic year, instead of saying to the class,: ‘What rules shall we have this year?’;  start with a set of speaking and listening guidelines, for unless students can listen to each other and take turns in speaking, it could prove challenging to have that discussion with them about the principles that will guide them throughout the year.

That in place,ask them ‘Why have you come to school today?’ The students’ responses are always the same: ‘To learn; to get a good education; to better myself; so I can get good levels; so I can get a better life when I am older; to make friends.’ It is always very interesting to note that no one of the students in all the years, I have listened to them have ever said anything else other than these.

Taking the discussion further;divide the class board into three sections, labelling them ‘You’, ‘Peers’ and ‘Teacher’. Then ask the students to work in pairs to tell each other how they feel they might achieve their aim of coming to school; pairs share as a group and then in whole class feedback. Students’ feedback include ‘work hard, listen, work with others.etc’ Working with others is important to them. Students record their answers on post it notes and stick these in the appropriate box.

To the question: What do you require your peers to do to help you achieve your aim of coming to school?’ There is never any ambiguity, ‘Help me; be supportive; follow the rules.’ etc. On the question of ‘What do you require the teacher to do?’ ‘Be caring; be supportive; be on time; help me when I am stuck, let me try things out by myself.’
Teachning craft is illuminated by asking the students to write down three rules that they would like from all that has been said.’ They must then choose their best one, which they combine with the rest of the class to group into similar areas and to select and agree on five only. Also effective is to invite some of  ex-students to advise the class on thinking carefully before choosing e.g. they must remember why they themselves have come to school and what they hope to gain and as such should pick rules that will enable them achieve these.

These steps will result in five simple rules the students have come up with themselves, which hold personal meaning for each person and which they believe will support their intentions at school.

Needless to say, these rules will help establish a delightful class for the teacher and students as students remain motivated and inspired throughout the year being purposefully engaged at all times. The class rules are blown up and displayed near the board to serve as reminders should any of the students forget. This system develops students' metacognition skills too.

This is a great classroom behaviour management strategy to try out.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

A New Take on Harvest Festival Lesson

‘I am an atheist, I do not believe in God and do not celebrate harvest; I do not know what to write.’

How many times do many a student say this in response to ‘Write down all the words that come to your mind about harvest.’  with further probing, this situation is soon turned round with questioning along the line: ‘You must surely know one or two things about harvest, you need only give a word relating to what you know.’

Sometimes the student is convinced to have a go, at other times when not convinced, the way forward is taking the lesson back to basics; this means doing more research together as a class, reading more about the history and practices of harvest through time and in different cultures. With a racially mixed and multicultural class , this could provide an opportunity for different pupils to present harvest celebration in their own culture or religion. Researching online provides a vast of amount of new information and knowledge, throwing up a few surprises for the students at times e.g. when they learn  that the English used to nominate a Harvest Master and the Edo from Nigeria used to celebrate for five to nine days as a community unit wining, dining and partying. students with Bangladesh and Kenyan origins for instance could add more insight to how this is celebarated in their cultures e.g. explain how a cow is slaughtered and the meat shared amongst all, giving generously to the poor; Muslim students could explain how they give salah (alms to the poor). Christians sing, praise and decorate their churches during this time.

 A resulting definition of harvest festival could be: a celebration of good harvest of land produce and the sharing of our good fortune with others.  
The discussion could be extended to the Live Aid of 1985, considering the question ‘What if the drought wind had been blowing our way rather than to East Africa, would we have wanted to be ignored and left to die of starvation. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Live_Aid
This could even extend further to the vexing question of why the Church took over a universal festival celebrated from ancient times by all cultures and rebranded it as a Christian practice in their principal feasts, holy days and festivals yearly calendar, brandishing others’ practices as pagan.

A good way to record research findings on harvest could be through poetry. You can find some examples to use as models for students to write their own poems on this link. http://kidspoemsfn.blogspot.co.uk/

 Harvest is a good topic to use in a cross-curricular mutlicultural way to improve students' reading and writing skills; technology makes it easy to do so.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Using Social Media to enhance teaching and learning

This time last year, as a result of discussions, I made it a mission to integrate use of some social media like twitter and blogging into my curriculum and to complete an action research on the subject during the year. One of the strategies I used was informing and modelling to parents the use of paper blogging; sending out reading and writing activities in real time through my BlogSpot posts, in an effort to engage the students further. This proved a successful strategy with children using social media for educational purposes and their parents having access to set homework via twitter making sure these were completed.

My recent involvement in the online classroom 2.0 conference (20 -24th August), illuminated the passion colleagues worldwide have in using social media to enhance teaching and learning in their institutions;  I personally, gained many more skills and knowledge in the area which I intend to embed in my practice.

 I am now planning to introduce many more social media tools into my teaching. I am ecstatic about the idea of operating a fully integrated social media tools classroom henceforth and look forward to all the fun I will be having with my students.  

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Learning 2.0 conference

I have just had the most awesome learning experience. Glad I gave time to attending the five day online event organised by Steve Hargadon and others.

The presentations were the best I have experienced yet; I learnt so much from the experience that I am planning to make my own small contribution soon by presenting a subject. Watch this space!