Monthly Archives: March 2014

Marking in Perspective: Selective, Formative, Effective, Reflective

Thoughts for my return to th classroom. I’ve always struggled balancing my marking and this is a good place to start. Practical advice!



Marking in Perspective: Selective, Formative, Effective, Reflective

Context and Motivation

I’m feeling relieved, smug and virtuous because I’ve just marked some books. It feels good because a) it was overdue and, hence, was having that ‘albatross’ effect; b) for a change I am looking forward to going into my class tomorrow without feeling guilty and most importantly c) because I feel like I’ve renewed a connection with my students’ learning in a way that is hard to do any other way; I’ve done something worthwhile which always feels good.

To be absolutely clear, I am a Dylan Wiliam devotee; you won’t catch me doing marking slavishly because someone tells me I should or because it looks good; I only do marking if I think I need to – and this only if I think it will make a difference. I expect my staff to have the same attitude. I’m convinced…

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Fast Fix – Visualising Plant Cells

Use red onion when teaching students how to use a microscope.

Prepared slides are expensive and easily broken, particularly by excited year 7s. Before you teach your students how to mount a slide with iodine and cover slips, teach them how to focus a microscope using red onion.

Red onion:

  • Peels very easily;
  • Requires no staining;
  • Are much smaller than white onions (less wastage).

How do you teach microscopy?

“People keep saying ‘science doesn’t know everything!’

Well, science knows’ it doesn’t know everything; otherwise it would stop

Dara o Briain

(Or would it…most scientists I know don’t know when to stop)