Magpie – Teachmeet: summary and links

On the last day of half term, staff came together to share practical teaching ideas at an in-house mini-teachmeet, organised by staff for staff. It took the format of an elongated MAGPIE session. For those who missed it, here is a summary and some links:

Mark Bell kicked off proceedings with a Bingo starter while pastries were consumed.

Clue Bingo was an idea to use as a revision strategy in class where the teacher explains some key words to students who have selected a few of their choice – fun and quick!

We then broke into groups, with staff choosing to visit a selection of the following sessions:

Table 1: Katy Jacques on ‘Hexagons’

Katy from Psychology presented a great idea on how she has been using shapes such as Hexagons … for linking ideas between and within topics. She discussed examples of not having the right answer and using it to aid discussion within a group.


Table 2: Matt Poole on ‘Feedback answers’

Matt presented a neat starter activity designed to make students act on the feedback of a homework task. While marking, fill in a blank version of the activity with the common errors you notice while marking. This is then photocopied as a starter activity for students to mark before being handed back their homework.

Table 3: Mike Metcalf on ‘Plickers’

Mike from the Pastoral team and Modern Languages explained how he uses ‘ Plickers’ to Check for Understanding and as a fun activity with his tutor set. Only the teacher needs to have a mobile phone for this to work. You can read more about this useful app here:

Table 4: Sarah Tucker on ‘Quizlet’

Sarah from Classics shared this cool idea of how she uses Quizlet – 5: Jon Neil from Politics & Economics explained his ‘Dinner Party Seating Plan’ activity.

Table 6: Sylvie Demoulin on ‘Pictures’

Sylvie from languages used visuals (cartoon pictures) to explain how students are encouraged to use their language skills as well as their imagination. This is what year 11s must do as part of their speaking exam for language IGCSEs. Visual details need to be given (using adjectives, verbs in the present tense and reference to exact place on the picture). Imagination must also be used, referring to what a character may have done or will do prior/after the scene, guessing what someone may be thinking by analysing facial expressions – this allows greater scope for tense usage, precision of verb forms and more subjective language structures.

Table 7: Rachel – ‘Whiteboard flip’ …Rachel from Maths described how students can make up a question on a particular topic and write it on one side of the whiteboard. On the other side they answer their question. Students then circle the room answering the questions in their books and checking their answers by flipping the whiteboards. This can be used in many ways including learning definitions, meanings of symbols, picking out a word in a sentence (adjective, verb, etc), differentiated by getting students in different rows to make up different levels of questions, used to revise different topics or is a nice way to do boring textbook questions but while moving around the room.

Table 8: Louise Atkinson on Treasure Hunts

Louise (also from Maths) explained how students could create their own treasure hunts … really simple, low tech and incredibly effective.

Table 9: Natalie Wright on ‘Active notes’

In order to encourage students to take better notes Natalie from Chemistry explained how by teaching them to make better notes our students are able to make distinctive neurological links to aid their recall. Natalie supplied 2 U tube links to explain this further.

Table 10: Christine Murgatroyd – Mark-schemes and Questions

Christine Murgatroyd from Biology described an activity where the students question their peers. Each student has one laminated question with the answer on the card. Students move around the classroom asking each other questions and checking the answer, they then swap cards and move to another student. After a period of time they should have all asked and answered all the questions. They should be given time to meet questions at least twice. In a large class there can be 2 sets of the same questions in smaller classes there can be a reserve stash of questions that are exchanged. This exercise can be used as a starter or a final consolidation of knowledge before a test. Useful at all age groups and in all subjects.

Then VERY short presentations (3 minutes) were added as we were pushed for time……

  • Alice Lee from the Junior School and SLT

Alice talked about a book she has been reading that has inspired her called ‘Making every lesson count’, it has a phlethora of great ideas and strategies to help make a teacher’s life easier.

  • Celia Bone from Psychology talked about her idea to encourage students to create creative links that are memorable and personal in order to generate a distinctive link to memory of subject matter – she used loads of strange objects found and collected e.g. stuff from the loft, kids bedrooms and the garden, ask students to pick one and get them to try and link the item to the lesson objective.

As a mini- plenary activity we played ‘ Just a Minute’ to encourage student talk ( less teacher talk) ideas were CPD and half term based but Celia explained she plays this with her Tutor set and Form to mix people up and get them talking to each other – a fun icebreaker but also a good subject based revision tool.


As a major thank you to all of the presenters, there were huge prizes for presenters with RGS goodie bags

Our plenary involved staff saying what they liked and how they might use these ideas.

[CB+JAS March 2017]





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