One teacher captured children’s interest by saying that they were learning about habitats and today it was deserts. She then showed them a picture of a polar bear. There was an immediate response of ‘Oh no it isn’t a desert!’ etc etc.
Success criteria were called ‘top tips’ in one class and ‘Successful Sid’ in another. By generating their own success criteria, children’s final products have improved and they can identify what needs to be even better. Skills are now written on displays, which has made children more aware of how they have used knowledge and understanding to produce outstanding pieces of work.
One teacher had captured interest first by having a letter arrive. Children were asked, ‘What do you think our learning is about?’ half way through the lesson. They were engaged and knew why they needed to learn this.
Success criteria had been generated by using the words ‘Remember to…’ This made more sense than ‘I can..’ and made it easier for them to generate their own criteria.
One example of a strategy used was showing the class a bad example of how to film someone. Children were excited about offering advice and having a chance to improve on what someone else had done.
By making learning objectives only about skills, teachers felt that they were now clearer as well as the children.
Lots of ideas had been used to capture children’s interest first, such as letters from authors, dressing up as a relevant character, a letter from a museum.
By displaying success criteria visually work has improved in quality and children are more focused. One teacher made a marking grid for children to use to tick off criteria but also add ‘even better if…’ plenaries had been used to check work against the criteria.
The visualiser had been used to show excellence and ask children why it was good.
A lesson on story starters
I asked the children what they thought would make a good story starter. After talk, pair, share they came up with ‘Once upon a time’, ‘One day’, ‘A week last Tuesday’ etc. I then showed children examples of starters that each had elements but did not contain all elements (i.e. ‘interesting’, ‘exciting – grabbed you’, ‘descriptive language’, ‘set the scene’ etc.).
The children were able to pick these out and we added them in different colours to the success criteria. Then we wrote up the learning objective and the children didn’t want the word ‘starter’ but instead wanted ‘opener’. They went on to produce Level 2c/2b work even though they are Year 1.
This was an observed lesson and one observer (staff member) said she would have told them what they needed to put in, but generating the ideas, giving examples etc. she could see that this was more useful for the children.
It had a great impact. Children know what is expected and they have seen examples so they understand it.
Year 1 teacher
Teachers have used a variety of strategies to capture children’s interest first: real objects, mystery boxes etc. Children are excited and curious. Teachers felt that it doesn’t matter where or when you share the LO – flexibility was the key.
One teacher introduced success criteria in maths with Reception every time she started a new learning objective, with children generating them from her modelling. Children are becoming more independent and confident learners.
In nursery, everything is social skill based, such as lining up, tidying up and breaking it into small steps. Children know the term ‘success criteria’ and the steps involved in something, which makes it easier to achieve.
Success criteria of what makes a good talk partner are displayed and children relate to this. Children are applying the success criteria when they are checking or going to do their work. Pictures are used to help their access.
One teacher developed criteria for going to the toilet which children now use as a reminder to each other and staff!
There is now more dialogue when children are playing teachers as they are sharing the success criteria.
Claire Hodgson | firstname.lastname@example.org
Tower Hamlets, London
Stella Smith | email@example.com
Stella Smith | firstname.lastname@example.org
Pauline Hill | email@example.com