#7 ‘Bloom’s Taxonomy Tiles’

Originally developed in 1956 by Benjamin Bloom, ‘Bloom’s Taxonomy’ represents the different behaviours students demonstrate that are important to learning. The theory was remodelled in the 90s and is used by many schools (including my own), to help students develop deeper thinking skills and explore various layers of understanding.

Personally, I use ‘Bloom’s’ when planning lessons as it helps focus questioning so that it provokes thought. In recent years the all too familiar pyramid diagram has started to age and look old-fashioned. With this in mind, I decided to create the tiles below usning the ‘Rhonna’ app once again.

As you can see, the tiles contain the six processes of ‘Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy’: ‘remembering’, ‘understanding’, ‘applying’, ‘analysing’, ‘evaluating’ and ‘creating’. Each tile contains a list of key words and questions designed to stretch and progress learning.

Please feel free to download below. Whether it is used for a visual wall display, or simply to inform your planning it is a useful resource to use when considering the questions you ask to your students.



#6 ‘Underground Discourse Markers Map’

I have had lots and lots of compliments on Twitter regarding this map. I am quite proud of it as it looks quite professional considering I created it on Microsoft Word! I got the idea from @LauraLolder who created a fab Underground map style wall display. This version is great for (smaller) wall displays and for laminated mats!

As you can see, it’s simply a list of discourse markers that’s great for supporting students with their writing and pushing them to extend their responses. There are several different ‘lines’ on the map representing the main six categories of discourse markers: comparing, contrasting, adding, emphasising, sequencing and providing examples. The map also has a QR code which links to ‘Analysis Squares’ (please see previous post).


#5 GCSE Revision Mats

Preparing students for the Unit 1 exam can be quite hectic to say the least. The resources below are really useful in reminding students of the skills required for the paper in both Sections A and B and are great to slip into a revision pack.

For me, visually attractive resources definitely aid learning and help students to retain information. I created the ‘Revision Squares’ on an app called ‘Rhonna’ which can be downloaded for £1.49 from the App Store. Once I get my new classroom display up and running, I’ll definitely enlarge these mats into a A3 squares. They’ll look really good on the wall!

I have used the Section B mats in class too. When setting timed questions on writing to persuade or argue, I have found them useful to support students who need a push. Feel free to download below… I’m sure I’ll add to this post in the future.

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#4 Analysis Squares/’Dynamite Paragraphs’

The ‘Dynamite Paragraph’ method of analysis was created by Rachael Stevens (@murphiegirl) and is a fantastic way of encouraging students to extend their ideas so that their analysis is detailed and sophisticated. Please click the here to Rachael’s blog to find out how to use this strategy effectively.

Over the past few weeks, I have used this resource with D/C grade Year 11 students. The step-by-step approach and words/phrases allowed them to stretch their responses; this ultimately resulted in them  achieving B/A grades on their Controlled Assessment pieces.

From the original idea, I created the comic-book style resource and designed the ‘Analysis Squares’ mat – please see below. Both can be used as posters and are an effective way of embedding these skills at KS3.

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#3 Five-a-Side Fantasy Football

This is a top resource adapted from John Mitchell (@Jivespin), who created ‘1st XI’ for History lessons. You can find resource this posted on @ASTsupportAAli excellent Teaching Toolkit blog! As you can see, I’ve cut the original idea down to five-a-side to make selection more difficult and to encourage students to think more carefully about their choices. Let’s face it, anything involving football is a fantastic and fun way to engage boys! Even I got a bit addicted.

This version is great to use when considering characters in novels. As you can see from the example, students have to manage a fantasy team based on the strengths, weaknesses and characteristics of individuals in the narrative. ‘SOLO Tactics’ have been added so that students have to think strategically about their team selection, explaining reasons to justify their choices. What’s more, player selections should also be justified using evidence from the text. Considering a team captain/player-manager also raises great class discussion and debate. Slim is a great example here… a definite leader.

I’d love to see this used on characters from a Shakespeare play! That’d be ace. Please tweet any pictures of this resource being used… it’d be fab to post.

Download here: sellfy.com/JamieClark85


#2 QR Codes

QR codes are bloody brilliant and can be used in a variety of ways.

In case you are unaware, QR codes are ‘scannable’ links to websites, videos, pictures, resources etc. To create them, the best place to visit is http://www.qrstuff.com where you can change the colour and print out multiple copies. Students are required to download a QR code scanner app on their mobile device to access content… something they all love to do.

I have used QR codes for marking and feedback purposes. In the example below, the code served as support for the student’s  ‘EBI’ (even better if) and brought up a webpage full of comparison connectives. The best thing to do is to set aside some time during a lesson to allow students to use their devices in order reflect on their feedback and improve their work… this is sometimes known as DIRT (dedicated improvement and reflection time).

The second picture shows QR codes being used to differentiate tasks. In this case, they provided ‘Support’ for students who struggled to form ideas and ‘stretched’ those who need to be pushed and challenged. I have found student enjoy developing and crafting their responses using the codes PLUS you no longer need to hand out support or extension task sheets!

More recently, I have used the codes for planning and revision purposes (see the third image). If any student misess a lesson/needs to strengthen their understanding of a certain area, they can independently consult the mat.

There are many other ways QR codes can be used. Some excellent examples you can find on Twitter – see @tombrush1982 for some top-notch practice.

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#1 Overlays

Overlays can be printed in A4 or A3 size and can be placed over any text. They can be adapted and edited for any subject and are an engaging way to support students with tools required for analysis of texts (including exam questions).

Within English, the ‘GCSE Anthology Poetry Desk’ and the ‘GCSE Unseen Poetry Desk’ overlays are effective in encouraging students to respond in a more developed and sophisticated way by thinking carefully about language, themes and structure. The overlays also draw attention to the mark scheme criteria to ensure students are hitting specific skills required to achieve high marks.

SOLO Taxonomy has been introduced on the ‘SOLO Surgery’ poetry overlay. Students work through the stages in a systematic and progressive way. In the last example, the overlay has been amalgamated with the ‘Questioning Grid’ providing a useful way for students to use high level questioning skills when considering texts. In this example, Crooks’ harness room from ‘Of Mice and Men’ is used.

QR codes can be utilised on text overlays. In the examples, the codes link to A* exemplar material and ‘Dynamite Paragraph’ techniques to support and stretch students’ responses.

Making them look attractive is always helpful… especially if they have a theme!

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