TeachMeets at Reading

Not So Mini TeachMeet V1 Thursday 13th June 2013

So the anticipated day had arrived- our Mini TeachMeet with Bulmershe School!

Whilst setting everything up, I was worrying- as per usual! Would everything go smoothly? Would it all run as anticipated? Would everyone enjoy it?

Before long, people started arriving and chatting. The all important food was delivered and our very special guests arrived… to a huge surprise!

Originally, when the TeachMeet idea was bandied about, it would just be their presenters, our presenters and an informal sharing session of pedagogy ideas.

What our guests from Bulmershe arrived to was a filled room of people… I’m sure that’s not quite the welcome they had expected! It just snowballed without me realising it but presentations were dumped on the desktop, presenters got anxious… but probably pretended not to be! And the whole thing began.

If you missed it, you missed out on a lot! Presenters enthusiastically shared easy hints and tips to improve learning in the classroom and good fun was had by all! Videos of all presentations will follow soon!

CLICK HERE to join the TeachMeet Reading community for current and future sharing opportunities across Reading.


Bridget James (Biology Teacher and Sixth Form Manager at Reading College)- Pasty activity!

Learners are placed in threes and are given one phrase or thing on a slip of paper. They must research that term/ phrase etc.

They then report back to the others in their group.

They must then try to work out the link between the three things they have.

In this case- all the elements made a pasty! This is a great activity for students to work independently and use higher order thinking skills to develop links between their learning.


Amjad Ali (AST in T&L, Law and Citizenship Subject Leader at Bulmershe School)- Try one of these!

Try a U shaped continuum to sort your learners into experts and novices- CLICK HERE

Create a VIP chair for those learners who make a Very Important Point- CLICK HERE

Create a buzz around a topic by creating a 1 min trailer of a new topic- CLICK HERE See Amjad’s example HERE

Learners shadow you going through an answer and then shadow each other doing the same- CLICK HERE

Students review incorrect spellings from homework/ essays using sticky notes- CLICK HERE

Use viewers and listeners for dryer content in your lessons- CLICK HERE

Use a share and replace board in the staff room or with students creating resources and sharing with each other- CLICK HERE

Use balloons to excite and engage your learners- CLICK HERE

See the full presentation here- which idea will you try?- TMReadingCollege – Copy


Rachel Thake (ESOL Teacher at Reading College)- Grass skirts and sticky note board games

Rachel uses sticky notes to make board games with her learners and uses a grass skirt dictation for her learners:

Rachel Thake Copy


Steven Davis and Kamilah Bilbe (Art Teachers at Bulmershe School)- Review Wheel

This is a great spinning plenary wheel and slide content can be altered to include all of the plenaries you’d like at the end of your lessons. Take a look here- CLICK HERE Students can also set targets for development- CLICK HERE

Here’s a copy of the Review Wheel- Review Wheel Copy


Preeti Vohra (IT Teacher at Reading College)- Musical chairs and images

Present students with images and words on the board. Put students in small groups with one facing away from the board. The other learners in the group guess the thing being described. An easy starter/ plenary that can be easily adapted for any subject! CLICK HERE


Dave Tomola (Subject Leader Geography at Bulmershe School)- Sticky notes

This is a great review of a topic activity, using sticky notes. A 4×4 grid is made and that’s populated with content that students then add to- CLICK HERE


Liz Anderson (Beauty Teacher at Reading College)- Confidence 

Liz spoke about the developing of confidence being crucial to securing students’ progress. Here’s the resources she uses:

confidence slide – Copy


Eve O’Reilly (Subject Leader of RS at Bulmershe School) and Emily Clifford (Science Teacher at Bulmershe School)- Traffic lights and Confidence Lines

Another great monitoring of progress strategy is to use traffic lights and a different kind of confidence line. Try these ideas- CLICK HERE


Katy Grimshaw (MFL Teacher at Bulmershe School)- level lines and grade grid

Katy explored how level lines and grids can aid students in assessing each other’s/ their own progress- CLICK HERE


Paul Emberlin (English Teacher and Programme Manager for Access at Reading College)- Google Docs and Communities

Paul gave an overview of how Google Docs has transformed his lessons. He even brought students along to confirm his assertions!

CLICK HERE for a great guide to setting up your own.


Marcus Leach (PE Teacher at Bulmershe School)- Learning Outcomes Check

During a lesson, students have to tick off any LOs they think they have met. Great for monitoring progress! CLICK HERE


Rachel Pitman (English Teacher at Reading College)- literacy and the news

Rachel offered some fab ideas to make literacy more fun and accessible to learners- CLICK HERE

Try this article about middle lane drivers- CLICK HERE


Rebecca Reilly (Subject Leader of Media at Bulmershe School) and Rachel Pagington (MFL/ Technology Teacher at Bulmershe School)

Becky and Rachel were due to present on See, Listen, Write- CLICK HERE and creating Success Criteria.

The next leg should be in the CPD week we have planned in the first week of July.

So… Do you have any reasonable excuse not to be at the next one?

Not So Mini TeachMeet V2 Monday 1st July 2013

So it was that time again! It astounds me that in less than 3 weeks, we were all set for our second ‘not so mini’ TeachMeet’.

This time, we had boasted ‘bigger and better.’ We had a wonderfully swish location, timed presentations, a ‘STOP’ sign and people outside of the Bulmershe/ Reading College clan!

I was in charge of timings, which fortunately meant I could get out of presenting! Again! PHEW! Unfortunately, I’m not brilliant at doing more than one thing at a time so thanks go to my wonderful colleagues at Reading College (@claussnitzerK @richard_duckett and @RoxyLewisGeogfor jogging my memory!

Take a look at all the feedback HERE. 


Marcus Leach

First up was @marcus_leach from The Bulmershe School. He presented about the entrance and exit ticket. He uses this to record students’ expectations and progress during lessons. The entrance ticket can be discussed with peers so that prior learning can be explored. A completed exit ticket is needed to exit the room.

CLICK HERE for his template.

The added bonus of this TeachMeet were some of the discussions that were had post-presentations. We discussed that the ticket could be like that for a cinema, or a theatre, or a boat or a plane… They could then serve as passes for popcorn or VIP seating in the room. These tickets can be adapted for online, group or whole class use (@richard_duckett ‘s ideas). As a record, they could even be hole punched and hung on a line (Angela Buckingham’s idea).

Roxy Lewis

@RoxyLewisGeog from Reading College was up next with her presentation on the use of tablecloths and concept mapping. Concept mapping takes students beyond the basics of mind-mapping. It forces them to apply higher order thinking skills to their learning and they are required to make connections between different aspects of their learning.

Her brand new and rather excellent blog explains this activity fully:

Angela Buckingham and Rachel Thake


Angela Buckingham and Rachel Thake from Reading College were next with their use of paper chains in the classroom. They used these to summarise memories students had of the year. This strategy could be used at any stage of the course to review and recall.

Danielle Kohlman

Our Twitter guest, @kohlmand , came next with her Purple Page of Progress.

These have a variety of fantastic uses and students can use them to consolidate learning as well as the teacher using them to check where students are at crucial points of the learning. I love that colour is used to ensure they stand out to students (we all know they love routine) and I personally loved the idea of condensing a topic onto one page. 

Danielle also highlighted the importance of teaching them the HOWs as well as the WHATs with a task- once she’d done this, she saw a much improved level of content in their summaries.

Take a look at her full post HERE.

Dan Williams

Buzz Boards came next from @danwilliams1984 at Leicester College.

This was the first of our Twitter presentations via video. Dan introduced the concept of ‘Buzz Boards’ and THIS POST explains it further:

Paul Gallantry

@pjgallantry presented next with his tips for success with flipped learning. He reviewed the concepts of this and blended learning; looking at the use VLEs to enable this process.

Again, the question aspect post presentation offered the opportunity to explore ideas and possible difficulties in more detail. It was pointed out that ‘flipped’ doesn’t HAVE to involve technology. It is merely the process of taking a conventional lesson and altering it so that the ‘taught’ part takes place outside of the classroom.

Take a look at this detailed presentation for a greater insight.

Alex Warner

@EducationAlex (Alex Warner) from Reading College presented his curriculum quick wins. 

These included: Tagexedo, student made videos, literacy and numeracy blackboards and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Take a look HERE.

Here is a take on http://www.tagxedo.com/ from@pjgallantry who used it to give to students as they left a course. He made them from a picture of the student plus samples of work they’d completed over the duration of the course. 

Katherine Grimshaw

Katherine Grimshaw from The Bulmershe School approached the use of celebrity masks in the classroom. They take away the ‘fear factor’ for learners and can also help students get into character for a new perspective on a subject. It would be an excellent plan to get a stockpile of these in your box of teaching tricks!

Take a closer look HERE.

Richard Duckett

@richard_duckett (doing a little dance) from Reading College then presented on his excellent class activity to combine low and high tech. Lollipop stick colours were connected to information about that colour via QR codes (here is @james_kieft‘s guide to making QR codes: https://www.smore.com/ckck-qr-codes?ref=my). Students therefore discovered what colour they were based on what colour lollipop stick they had selected. This information lead to them considering their positive and negative attributes and they could set targets for the completion of coursework, based on this information. 

If that makes no sense whatsoever, which is highly likely, take a look at Richard’s much better description HERE. 

Martin Butcher

Martin Butcher from Reading College then explored the possible uses of Google forms in lessons.

Martin doesn’t claim to be an IT expert in the slightest but was more than able to manage Google forms- they are even better than survey monkey! They can be created quickly, shared with students via a link and the results can be analysed via a spreadsheet or the automatically generated graph content. They can also be embedded easily in Moodle or other online situations.  

Here are the resulting FORM and RESPONSES.

Here is @james_kieft ‘s FLYER guide to help you to get started.

Simon Mitton

@si_mitton presented his use of http://www.movenote.com/ for recording video feedback on assignments for learners. 

This, for me, was one of the best presentations. Mainly because I’ve been looking into video feedback for my learners and this was the solution I’d been looking for. It’s free, easy to use and even easier to share with students. BIG WIN!

The post-presentation questions revealed that students enjoyed it as they were able to watch it back AND it saves time on marking and providing feedback- YAY!


James Kieft

@james_kieft (seen working out here!) from Reading College, presented his top three tech tools to try. 

http://www.knovio.com/ can be used to record video alongside presentations (great for consolidation of learning/ flipped learning). 

https://www.blubbr.tv/ can be used for adding questions to short 20 second clips of video footage. 

Take a look at this one that @kohlmand put together straight after the TeachMeet for her class on Wednesday!


http://www.visuwords.com/ can be used to create a more visual representation of any word. 

Take a look at his blog for more tech tips: http://james-thinks-its-worth-a-look.blogspot.co.uk/

Debbie from @TeacherTweaks

Add something that was missing.

Build on a point that was too general.

Correct/ Challenge anything incorrect.

Debbie from @TeacherTweaks kindly submitted a video for presentation- ABC Marking- a peer assessment strategy that I’ll definitely be trying from September!

Here is the process described fully: https://www.smore.com/72eb-teaching-and-learning-bulletin

Amjad Ali

@ASTsupportAAli (Amjad Ali) from The Bulmershe School presented a range of top ideas to try in the classroom.

Scrabble tiles- students come up with words related to the topic or as a vocabulary developer. A great starter!


Literacy plasters- create a set of plaster for common errors that can be stuck on students’ work:


Joker of the pack- get a pack of cards and use them for matching definitions/ group roles or characters:


Record your own starters so that you can get on with setting the lesson up, providing feedback and speaking to individual students:


Magenta principles- provide a way of higher order activities that students can choose from when completing activities:


Shelley Montague

Shelley Montague from Reading College presented an idea for allowing students to engage in a creative way with difficult subjects. They are tasked with creating a way of engaging learners of a different age with the subject, in this case, the learning cycle. Unfortunately we had problems with the technology for this but here is what she would have showed us if all had gone according to plan:

The very best moment of the afternoon for me was the return journey to College in the minibus where all I could hear behind me was incessant chatter about the ideas they were all going to be taking back into their classrooms. Despite technical hitches and not enough time for dicsussion at the end, I hope that TeachMeets will continue, grow and become a regular part of CPD at College.

The next time we meet will be in September but unfortunately @ASTsupportAAli will not be with us as a Bulmershe School member of staff. He’s not going too far though so there’ll be no excuse for him not to take part. We’ll hopefully be able to maintain what has so far proved to be a rather fruitful link with The Bulmershe School. Watch this space…

TeachMeet Reading October 2013
A new year, and another TeachMeet. This time, we had more time so it was taken up with food and chat at the start, with discussions and questions in between presentations too.
The catering students at the College provided plenty of delicious food 
and a Today’s Meet feed allowed staff to provide feedback. If all of this tempts you to attend the next one, then watch this space for a January date and an internal, smaller one before Christmas. 
Vocab Builders
All presenters were selected at random and the first was Preeti Vohra, from the IT department at College. She brought her students along to present the activity for us. 
The students are given a small selection of words at the start of each lesson. They find out the meanings and then use each word in a sentence. For this, Preeti uses a Google Doc so that all students can type their sentences in the same place. This document is shared on the main whiteboard and once all sentences have been written, a nominated student selects the best one. The winner gets a large star that they can stick on their ID badge. This is an excellent way of embedding English in lessons!
Music in Lessons
Hannah Tyreman from Reading College presented next. The topic was music in lessons and this post has all the details. 
CSI and Memory Maps
Rebecca Reilly from The Bulmershe School presented on a CSI activity she used in class for students to engage with the new topic of crime dramas and a second activity- map from memory. This activity is an excellent way of engaging learners with a new topic/ learning outcomes and keeping them active at the same time. 
Mentor Mob and EduClipper
James Kieft from Reading College presented next. He introduced two sites that students can use to gather research and create a playlist of resources. 
Ping Pong Balls
Scott Reilly from reading College then presented on the use of ping pong balls to rate employability skills. He called it Amazon Andragogy rather Poundland Pedagogy! He had presented students with the top 20 qualities that employers were looking for in employees. Students had to decide the qualities that thought would be the most important. All qualities were written on ping pong balls and these were thrown onto the table. The students scrambled to collect 5 each (there were 4 students) and they would try and exchange these until they had all the ones they wanted. Scott then displayed the value placed against each quality and students would add up their score. See this document and this presentation. 
Fact or Fiction
Emily Clifford then presented a quick and easy activity with fact/ fiction. A series of cards are given to students and they must decide to put the statement on the fact poster or the fiction one. Students could proceed to change their minds as they went through the lesson; changing them from one to another as they learnt more about the topic. 
Giant Timeline
Katy Grimshaw then presented the giant timeline. She used backing paper for this activity so that students had a large surface to work on. A wiggly line was drawn down the centre of the page and 3 sections of text were handed out to small groups of students. Each group wrote an image/ keywords relating to their section of the text and so a timeline of the text was created. This would be displayed in class and students could use it to locate particular information they required throughout the lesson/ series of lessons. It can help students to navigate and deconstruct a tricky text. 
Bloom’s Bingo
Marcus Leach then presented on Bloom’s Bingo Dice.
Why not give one of these ideas a go and let us know how you use it via the Planning for Learning site. 

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