1. Use Show-me boards in every lesson
2. Start lessons with Daily Review
3. End lessons with Exit Tickets
4. Say ‘Everyone think about that’ and ‘Chat to a partner’ after you ask questions
5. Build Active Assessment Activities into instruction
Use Show-me boards in every lesson
Show-me boards should be as integral to lessons as jotters. Their use:
- Makes every student commit to an answer to every question
- Makes every student’s thinking visible to the teacher
- Builds thinking time into questioning (because students can think as they are writing)
- Removes ‘rabbit in the headlight’ moments (whereby students freeze when they are asked questions) and helps address the embarrassment/shyness that some students experience when answering out-loud
- Helps the teacher to see where there are common areas of strength and weakness in the class, supporting them to make whole-class teaching points
- Helps teachers to home-in on particular aspects of individual answers, highlighting strengths and areas to improve
Start lessons with Daily Review
‘Daily Review‘ is where a lesson starts with a short recall (retrieval) quiz. Students are asked to recall knowledge from recent lessons (perhaps yesterday’s lesson, or the one the day before) and/or less recent lessons (perhaps a lesson from last term or last month).
There are two key benefits to teaching and learning:
- The teacher can find out what students have learned (or not). Using the information they get from Daily Review, they can give whole-class feedback and/or adjust their teaching to address any issues.
- Student learning is improved, because the act of recalling information strengthens the memory of it.
End lessons with Exit Tickets
‘Exit Tickets‘ are Post-it notes which students complete towards the end of a lesson. Rather than allowing students to ‘self-report’ learning (“Did everyone understand this?” or “Use green/amber/red to indicate how well you could do this”), the teacher asks students to write down specific things which prove whether or not students have learned what they were supposed to.
So, for example, if a success criterion is to be able to write a definition for something, an Exit Ticket would be used to find out if students can do this. If students are being taught how to solve a particular type of problem, an Exit Ticket would be used to check who can do this and who can’t.
Used in this way, Exit Tickets provide invaluable formative information to the teacher about the extent to which what has been taught has been learned.
Say ‘Everyone think about that’ and ‘Chat to a partner’ after you ask questions
When teachers ask questions, they want every student to be thinking about these. One, two or a few students isn’t good enough – everyone needs to be thinking. Making this expectation clear to students by saying, ‘Everyone think about that‘ supports this. Similarly, asking students to ‘Chat to a partner‘ for 30 seconds, a minute or a few minutes helps to get everyone to think. It also supports students to learn from each other.
Build Active Assessment Activities into instruction
Students are passive when they are aren’t thinking; they are active when they are thinking. In great teaching, we are aiming for all students to be active in their learning. This means that we are aiming to get all students to think. This is what Active Assessment Activities are all about. They include:
- True or false
- Odd one out
- Deliberate mistakes
- Multiple choice questions
The Teaching Delusion: Why Teaching In Our Schools Isn’t Good Enough (And How We Can Make It Better), published by John Catt Educational. Available at: