Friday, 13 January 2012


If you're a teacher you're probably about to say something along the lines of "AFL? You've only just started this?"  I said things had stagnated.

It was getting on for two years ago that a colleague did a presentation at a departmental meeting about something called AFL.  I recognised it as one of the fun things that was missing from my teaching and tried to work out how I could incorporate it.

I went though a list of about 70 different activities and wrote about 15 down in the back of my planner.  I figured that these were ones I could easily do, without any preparation or resources. Then, when I did my weekly planning, I wrote down for every class an AFL activity. I used a different coloured pen (purple if you're interested!) so that it stood out and it made sure I always spotted it there.  I started with easy things - Hangman, ABCD corners, thumbs up/down, red/orange/green cards (already in the pupils' planner which was handy), lining up and giving me a fact before they left, writing something they've learnt on a post-it note, digging out my mini-whiteboards from the back of a cupboard... I became more daring - I threw a ball at a pupil to get an answer, the kids then throw it to other people for their answers (note, I have a low lab ceiling and had a full size football....thirty 16 year olds... I downsized the ball).

My classes loved it. True, all I was really doing was a plenary, but to them it felt like playing. I was working out who understood what.  I've since added some more to my usuals - the Blob Tree and the Blob Classroom work well for lower ability pupils, especially those who struggle with their behaviour, I use a C3B4ME to get higher ability, highly dependent pupils to work more independently, I have random name generators (check out TES for a powerpoint template to do this for you) and sometimes I award counters for good answers or questions. (Classroom Dojo is good for this too, if you can get it to work...).

It's made life easier for me now that it seems I am supposed to demonstrate progress every 20 minutes. I just flip to the back of my planner for an instant idea. I've also borrowed the unused department copy of The Teachers Toolkit for some more ideas...

(Still to come, Bloom, the ASE conference, demonstrating progress....)

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