All teachers had used lollysticks or photos for the choice of random talk partners each week. Getting rid of ability grouped caused a cheer from one class. The highest achiever in one class liked it the least.
Success criteria for being a good talk partner were modelled by teachers. Children are more focused and engaged.
Three teachers used ice breakers on a Monday morning when children met their new partner, often someone they will never have worked with before.
The differentiated mats challenges were being trialled, but at the early stages it seemed that lower achievers were draining the higher achievers. Other found it gave them more time to focus support where it was needed.
There was a conflict of there being not enough tables, as Estyn (Welsh inspectorate) expect 7 areas of learning to be set up.