Photos, questions, web page links, objects and puppets had all been used to capture interest first, asking children to talk through what they thought the lesson might be about. One teacher began with nonsense poems and, with lots of modelling, children produced their own learning objective to write their own silly poem. They analysed the poem and chose their own writing frame and generated success criteria. Children produced their own lesson, with understanding of what to do to improve something. Higher quality writing resulted.
In another lesson, on character descriptions, children looked at pictures of known characters then watched a video clip from Harry Potter. The success criteria were then created together. Children were mesmerised, excited and focused.
One teacher demonstrated how not to do something and children were able to come up with the appropriate success criteria straight away, with lower achievers being really successful. It was noted that children get quicker at creating the criteria.
As and aid for self and peer assessment, traffic lights were used at the beginning by children, before the work started, with those who said green having to prove their claim. By traffic lighting at the end of the lesson, children could clearly see the progress they had made.
Ideas for capturing interest first included:
- The teacher and TA role playing being in a restaurant and discussing money and fractions. Children were motivated and excited.
- A video of someone asking them to write a letter. This was more powerful than the teacher asking. The success criteria were more easily generated by the real life context.
- An email from someone (George from George’s marvellous medicine asking what he should put in the medicine). Skills were learnt because of the motivation.
All teachers had children generating success criteria. Teachers had used bad examples and asked children to make them better. This had kept children focused and helped with next steps.
All teachers had evolved the learning objective of a lesson from the introduction, which has made them more accurate about the focus. The skills are more precise and expectations are clearer.
All teachers had children generating success criteria. One teacher had the whole school doing this and had to support those who found them difficult to use.
It had been useful to separate and display ‘every time we write’ criteria as it means you can focus on the lesson content.
Marking ladders had led to self-assessment and given teacher feedback. Children were more independent and assessing each other.
Success criteria were trickier in maths.
Giving each success criterion a colour, means they can highlight their finished work which gives visual impact and understanding, showing progression and next steps.
During test week, some children found it hard to remember the criteria, although they use them well in lessons.
Teachers had demonstrated how not to do a skill to get the children to generate the criteria. Children are now much more aware of what is expected and refer to them much more than when they were simply given them.
Another strategy was to take good and not so good work and ask how the lesser piece could be improved. This also gave children something to aspire to.
Children are checking success criteria against their work so there is less of a queue for the teacher, SATs results are better, there is less time wasted and children can mark their own work.
In one class children were throwing paper aeroplanes around the room then measuring the flight distance with a metre stick. When asked for the objective, the children said they were learning to measure using a metre stick. They realised the objective was the skill.
With younger children, having accompanying pictures with the criteria made them easier to access.
Playing success criteria bingo had enabled children to see their learning path and see where they needed to do to improve. They were more confident.
Teachers made sure they had displayed the non-negotiable secretarial skills for writing separately from the criteria for a particular writing objective.
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