Teaching & Learning Blog

Friday 24th March 2017

Littlessons – Snapshots of learning at Calthorpe Park School

Bingo for thinking!

Here at CPS we firmly believe that the key to great learning is encouraging students to actively think about what they are learning as much as possible. However it can be tricky, in a revision lesson where the teacher is recapping or building on something that students have learnt before, to gauge if they are really thinking about their learning. Are they listening and thinking or are they just looking in the right direction, being quiet and zoning out?

This little conundrum was tackled superbly by Mrs Jones, one of our resident computing experts, through the clever use of bingo!

Year 11 students were given a summary of the topic they were revising and, to start the lesson, had to decide what key words were likely to be used in the teacher recap. They wrote these on a grid (which became their bingo card). As the teacher recapped, they had to mark off the key terms they had chosen and call house if they were all mentioned. The reward for winning? A house point.

This simple little activity achieved so much; active engagement of all with the summary of the topic, assessment of prior knowledge, promotion of active listening in the recap and, above all, a great atmosphere! Students were even independently trying to come up with questions to ask Mrs Jones so that she had to say their ‘word’! An astute but highly educational attempt to win!


Mr D Wyatt

Friday 10th March 2017

Littlessons – Snapshots of learning at Calthorpe Park School

Questions, questions questions!

Here at CPS, it’s not only the students who keep learning, it’s the teachers as well. This week we have been running our twilight INSET sessions focussing on a variety of topics, one of them being : questioning.

Staff have been developing their skills in asking more challenging and deeper questions to really push students' learning and understanding forward.  Mrs Al-Dabagh was putting the staff through their paces by putting them in the place of the students and pushing forward their learning through the questions she asked them. She was rewarding all of their good answers with…guess what? More questions!

There are 6 really simple ways we can make any question more challenging and just a bit ‘deeper’. After asking someone about something they have learnt, deepen the question by following it in one of these 6 ways:


This type of thinking is really important for the next stages in education where students need to think more deeply and always be able to back up what they know.

Mr D. Wyatt

Friday 17th February 2017

Littlessons - Snapshots of learning at Calthorpe Park

T&L 1

"That one looks really difficult...I'm going to do that one!"
As a teacher there is nothing better than hearing a student say that when they have a choice of problems to tackle. In a Year 7 Maths lesson, there was a great opportunity for students to not only engage with some tricky problems to solve, but choose their own level of challenge. What made this snapshot of learning so exciting was the overwhelming majority wanting to take on the "3 chilli pepper" challenges!

The students had a plan of attack, and were ably guided and encouraged by Miss Webb. 

First they "see" the question - what is it asking? What is the important information?

Then plan - what strategies can be used to solve the problem?

Then do it - attack the problem!

Finally, reflect - can the problem be answered in English, in a full sentence? Not just as a number...

It was delightful to see students sharing the different ways they had tackled the problem and bragging about the level of challenge they were going to choose. Of course there were 'right answers', however, the real celebration was the number of different ways students could find to tackle the problems, with students showing some real fluency​.

Here are a couple of examples to get the mind going (see it, plan it, do it, reflect!):

​Nick had a birthday party. His Mum made some sausage rolls. Ben took a third and then took 1 more. There were 7 left.  How many were on the plate to start with? 

Ty needs 3/4 of a cup of milk to make banana smoothie for 1 person. How much milk will he need to make smoothies for 8 people?

Mr D Wyatt
Assistant Headteacher