At Alder Coppice, we are fully committed to all teaching being excellent by developing our pedagogy on teaching strategies that can enhance teaching and learning across the curriculum. Our pupils enjoy coming to school and are happy in their learning, they are encouraged to ask questions and teachers continually strive to stretch their thinking in order for pupils to achieve their potential in a supportive, welcoming learning environment. We recognise the importance of lessons being engaging and stimulating, where pupils receive high-quality teaching and responsive feedback for improvement. We want all pupils to think hard about their learning, learn from their mistakes and strive to be the best they can be. We plan to ensure pupils revisit key themes and concepts and retrieve key knowledge to support long term memory, which will drive student progress and raise standards across the curriculum.
Principles for Teaching and Learning
Lesson Structure and Teaching Strategies
Lessons are planned and delivered in a structured and purposeful way and adapted when required by pupil responses and pupil assessments. The following strategies that teachers deploy to plan and deliver lessons have been taken from, or adapted from ‘Teach Like A Champion 2.0’, (Lemov 2015) and will inform our approach to teaching and learning going forward. Our lessons also include techniques aimed at enhancing long term retention of substantive knowledge.
Planning Strategies include:
4Ms. A Lesson Objective should be manageable in a single lesson, framed so that success can be measured (ideally by the end of the lesson), written before activities are planned (made first), and focused on what is most important to progression.
Double Plan. We don’t just plan what teachers will be doing and saying; we plan for what the pupils will be doing each step of the way too. (Where possible, we embed all pupils’ activity resources in one place – a Resource Booklet: graphs, tables, maps, primary sources, novel excerpts, places to write, questions and more).
Plan for Error. We anticipate pupil errors, plan for the misconceptions we know pupils may have and aim to address these as part of the lesson.
SLANT. We insist on the following for all pupils in our lessons. We explicitly reference this acronym:
Sit up straight
Ask and answer questions
Never give up
Track the speaker.
The I, We, You structure:
I – the beginning of the learning is delivered by the direct transference of knowledge from the teacher to the pupil.
We - the teacher gradually allows pupils to complete examples with less and less assistance on more and more of the task from ‘I do – you help’ to ‘You do – I help’.
You – is the final step when the pupil is provided with the opportunity to practice on their own, giving them multiple opportunities and situations increasing in difficulty.
A knowledge Rich Lesson includes the following strategies:
Do Now. Have a short task on the board or desks for pupils to start as soon as they enter, without any explanation or input from yourself. (Retrieval Practice).
Right is Right. Set and defend a high standard of correctness in your classroom to ensure a high quality response. Do not ‘round up’ almost correct answers yourself. (The "rounding up" refers to when teachers respond to a partially correct or nearly correct answer by affirming and repeating it, but then also adding critical detail (sometimes the most insightful or challenging detail) to make the answer fully correct).
Stretch It. The sequence of learning does not end with a right answer; reward right answers with follow-up questions that extend knowledge and test for reliability. (Ask ‘How’ or ‘Why’ questions; Ask for another way to answer; Ask for evidence: Ask pupils to integrate a related skill; Ask pupils to apply the skill in another setting).
No Opt Out. Pupils cannot opt out with ‘I don’t know.’ Return to them with the original question once it has been answered correctly elsewhere and ensure they practice getting the answer right.
Wait Time. Wait 3-5 seconds after asking a question, or longer if required. This allows pupils time to think before answering. Narrate to encourage participation, noting where pupils are productively active (e.g. using their books) to give hints to other pupils.
Less Hands Up. Our expectation should be that once children have had time to think for themselves or with a partner they should all be ready to answer. There may be occasions where you ask for hands up and you should ensure pupils lower their hand and turn to look at the person talking (track speaker). Manage and vary the ways that pupils raise their hands.
Cold Call. Make engaged participation the expectation by also calling on pupils regardless of whether they have raised their hands or not. (Be mindful of individual self-esteem!)
Call and Response. Use group choral response to build energetic, positive engagement that emphasises and reinforces academic content.
Everybody Reads. Ask pupils to read aloud frequently, but manage the process to ensure expressiveness, accountability and engagement.
Everybody Writes. Prepare your pupils to engage rigorously by giving them the chance to reflect in writing, before you ask them to discuss - include Front the Writing - Arrange lessons so that writing comes earlier in the process to ensure pupils think rigorously and practice writing skills. Art of the Sentence - Pupils create a single well-crafted sentence – you push the pupils for more complex sentence types by using a rich variety of sentence starter prompts, e.g. ‘Despite…’, ‘In the long run…’, or sentence parameter prompts, e.g. ‘Explain in one well-crafted sentence that uses a subordinating clause…’.
Own and Track. Have pupils correct or revise their own work, fostering an environment of accountability for the correct answer whilst helping pupils reflect on work and know why answers are right or wrong.
Format Matters. Help your pupils practice responding in a format that fit the demands and expectations of the subject e.g. in a full sentence, using appropriate subject specific technical vocabulary etc.
Exit Ticket. End each lesson with an explicit assessment of your objective that you can use to evaluate your (and your pupils’) success.
Lessons include Lemov’s (2015) - ‘Five Major “Muscle Groups”. (There are generally five types of activities pupils participate in, which requires pupils to think and engage in a different way). They are:
Lesson Elements to support the Knowledge Based Approach to Learning:
A range of the following lesson elements are included, where appropriate into the planning process, in order to ensure the ‘five major muscle groups’ are part of every lesson and that pupils practice key skills and long term retention of substantive knowledge is enhanced:
Retrieval Practice -
at the start and end of every lesson to support pupils with building schemas and retaining knowledge in their long term memory, through Do Now activities or low stakes quizzing.
Everybody Reads -
reading practice is embedded across the curriculum
Everybody Writes -
emerging writers need practice at development of sentence types and vocabulary, this element ensures writing is given high priority
Find the Answer -
enables continual practice at the skill of retrieving information from texts
Partner Talk/Whole -
ensures pupils formulate their thoughts and ideas through paired discussion to promote active listening and scholarly discussions, develop a deeper understanding of concepts and gain life skills.
Tell the Story -
pupils listen to and take part in story telling as a way to develop understanding and place learning in a context that pupils can relate to.
Analyse the Source –
pupils learn how to ‘read’ something meticulously in order to understand the key important information and facts that are gleaned by studying something closely in pictures, diagrams, maps, historical artefacts etc.
Disciplinary Thinking –
pupils are consistently answering question in order to use their knowledge and understanding to think deeply about how and why concepts are connected, find evidence to justify their reasoning and improve their understanding of the world around them.
Plot the Data -
pupils develop their understanding of how to read, interpret and analyse information in graphs, tables and other forms of data analysis used in a variety of contexts across the curriculum.
pupils ‘Own and Track’ their answers to ensure misconceptions are addressed and improvements are made to up level answers and written work.
Debate It -
pupils have opportunities to use argumentative language and back up their thinking by applying their knowledge or finding evidence to support their reasoning. (Important skills for life).
This Reminds Me -
Pupils are encouraged to deepen their understanding and build schemas by making explicit links to a previous topic which shares a similar/contrasting theme, concept, person or event.
Lesson Resources to support Learning
Knowledge Organisers provide
Resource booklets are used where appropriate across the curriculum, to ensure rigorous and engaging lessons. These contain the relevant lesson elements for specific activities in each lesson and resources needed, such as key texts, maps, diagrams or pictures etc, retrieval quizzes and any other forms of retrieval exercises, such as exit tickets for a Unit of work.
Low stake quizzes are also used as part of retrieval practice to recap the key knowledge or information learnt over the Unit. These quizzes are used regularly as part of our weekly, 3-4 weekly reviews and end of term/year assessments to provide essential recall of key knowledge, support teacher assessment of the learning and also support the pupils’ long term retention of key knowledge.
At Alder Coppice we use a combination of strategies to ensure we can provide the most effective feedback that enhances learning, whilst also emphasising the importance for it to be meaningful, manageable and motivating. During the lesson the teachers continually circulate to read, respond and mark student work to ensure understanding and progress is being made.
Key Principles and Aims of Feedback
Drawing on research from cognitive science, including Rosenshine Principles: we ensure that learning is revisited frequently and overtime to ensure new learning is embedded; teachers are aware that when assessing if learning is secure, assessment data needs to be gathered after some time has passed, and not from evidence gathered too close to the initial point of learning.
For full details, please refer to our Feedback and Marking Policy.
The Learning Environment: Classrooms and Corridors
The physical environment can have a significant influence on learning, therefore at Alder Coppice we ensure classrooms and corridors celebrate pupils’ work, sharing the knowledge pupils have gained and provide a calm and welcoming environment to maximize learning opportunities and engage every child.
Principles of an excellent learning environment:
At Alder Coppice, all teachers aspire to be excellent practitioners to enable our vision for excellent progress and outcomes for our pupils. We are highly committed to supporting and coaching members of staff, no matter what stage of their career to improve and develop them as a professional. We aim to have links with one of our Secondary feeder schools, in order to support the teaching and learning in our classrooms.
We aim to support and coach our practitioners on all the new strategies and techniques we are implementing as part of our new knowledge-rich curriculum. Now staff have had training on these approaches, we believe that coaching is the best way to improve our practice, with teachers respecting and acting on any feedback received.
We aim to use the See it, Name it, Do it model of coaching as a reference to support our professional development in the classroom. Staff are happy to have an ‘open-door policy’ and welcome colleagues into the classroom to support their professional development.
INSET days and Staff CPD
INSET days and Staff CPD provide an opportunity for staff to rehearse routines and develop their pedagogy and teaching skills.
Quality Assurance of Teaching and Learning
Lesson observations are an important way to inform an individual of strengths and areas for improvement as part of professional development. Teachers are given verbal and written feedback and any subsequent observations needed are discussed with the teacher. Evidence collected from lesson observations informs the School Evaluation Form and School Improvement Plan, so that we know the quality of our teaching and learning across the school and can address any areas for development accordingly.
Learning walks allow Senior Leaders, Governors and Subject Leaders to gather evidence of how well our school policies, practices and procedures are embedded in every classroom. We have an open-door policy and are happy to invite colleagues into our classrooms. Senior Leaders and Subject Leaders support teachers with any developmental needs through coaching and feedback and staff welcome comments and suggestions to improve professional practices.
During phase meetings, evidence from assessments, both formal and summative, for individuals and groups of children are discussed and any issues that may be affecting progress or behavioural problems for specific classes are also taken into account when deciding how to address any concerns. Any discussions are reported back to the Senior Leadership Team, which then informs any developments required to improve our practices in the classroom or address any whole school issues, with regards to teaching and learning.
At Alder Coppice, our practice across the school provides a strong foundation and opportunities for children to collaborate and develop social skills both indoors and out. Pupils are able to work independently and collaboratively with their peers as inquisitive learners who are motivated to excel and who have a thirst for learning. The pupils will understand more and have a strong desire to embrace challenge and to be resilient learners.
Every Lesson Counts and this curriculum design ensures that the needs of all pupils can be met within the environment of high quality teaching and learning, in this way it can be seen to impact in a very positive way on pupils’ outcomes; enjoyment of the curriculum promotes achievement, confidence and good behaviour. Developing pupils’ independence and motivation as learners and their sense of responsibility as future citizens is at the heart of all our teaching and learning.
We will measure the impact of curriculum through: assessment results, attendance rates, behaviour, Extracurricular Club attendance, Pupil Voice, Parent questionnaires, Lesson observations and Curriculum Reviews.