Showing progress before someone walks into your lesson


Progress. Progress. Progress.

We’ve been told we need to show progress at least every 20 mins. Fair enough, students should be making progress but when you teach students once a fortnight (imagine what happens when your class hits a bank holiday…) it is so difficult to keep momentum in learning.

So I’ve thought a lot about how I can prove progress from before someone comes in to watch my lesson so they can see that overall the class IS making progress and how what they see in class contributes TO that progress.

Here is one technique for GCSE. EVERY lesson students complete a keyword test at the start of the lesson. They have set keywords, 12 to be precise, worth 2 marks each (total out of 24) they must know for the exam. Their homework is to learn them, my follow up is to test them. Boring? Unimaginative? However they seem to like it! Why? Because they can instantly show progress from last lesson, within 10 minutes. They just have to get one more correct than they did last time. Simple but it is PROGRESS. In some cases students really jump. I can only assume they spent more time on them.

So how to prove this to someone coming in? With this…


Every time they do the test I record what they get. There’s one rule. They HAVE to beat what they got last time I.e they MUST make progress.

They peer mark using the exam mark scheme for this type of question.

Green = more than last time
Orange = same as last time
Red = less than last time = time with me at a break time in which I support them to learn . As you can see, ALL my intervention has been successful as any red student has never been red again!

When they tell me their score, I make a comment to every single student. Positive or else!

So not only does it prove progress in the first 10 minutes of a lesson but it also proves that they’re doing their homework. It also provides differentiated, targeted homework for next week. They can then write their homework in their planner/homework diary, by noting the keywords they got wrong this lesson.
It also means they’ve completed an exam question (or 12!) in the first 10 mins.
They’ve also shown knowledge of the mark scheme, by marking each others work.
It proves my intervention with ‘red ‘ works.
And finally, I have spoken to every single student in the room within the first 15 mins.

If you have an activity that does at least the same as this, please let me know!

I’ve started to see the benefits in their mock exams. Fingers crossed this will do them well in the real thing.

So when you’re being observed, just pass this over with a brief explanation on a post-it. Your class has already started to make progress before they’ve even put pen to paper.

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