Pillar 3: Activating hard thinking

3.1 Connecting Knowledge

At Avonwood we...

  • connect new ideas to what has previously been learnt - reactivating and reviewing prior knowledge.
  • space out learning to allow for deliberate gaps of forgetting and then reviewing to allow for greater long-term retention.
  • coherently sequence knowledge so that learning is full and connections can be made successfully and use appropriate examples to help support children in making and keeping these links.

We believe that...

  • sequential knowledge allows children to build connections between their learning.
  • learning should be appropriately spaced out and not blocked where possible.
  • learning must be coherently planned and sequenced both within and across year groups.
  • reviewing prior knowledge allows us to make connections and means that we can learn more.
  • learning should be contextualised with appropriate examples to make absorbing new ideas easier.

The impact is...

  • children make connections between new ideas and what they already know.
  • children build schemas in their long-term memory and can recall knowledge when it is needed.
  • due to the sequence of learning, it is embedded with lots of time to practise until learning is fluent and secure.
  • well-structured knowledge across the school allows for long-term retention of knowledge.
  • the more knowledge that children have, the more they can gain.

3.2 Questioning

At Avonwood we...

  • use questioning to assess the level of student comprehension.
  • use a cold calling (no hands up) approach as part of a teacher-child dialogue.
  • use 'think, pair, share' to allow for preparation of responses.
  • probe answers to check for deeper understanding and misconceptions.
  • give children the opportunity to add detail and accuracy to their own answer.

We believe that...

  • questioning should be an inclusive process which engages all children.
  • questioning forms part of a dialogue to engage and stretch children.
  • providing scaffolding for children's answers helps to ensure success and accuracy.
  • children should narrate their own thinking.
  • breaking down questions and answers helps to develop confident learners.

The impact is...

  • children are fully engaged in lessons as they are inclusive.
  • children strengthen connections between different ideas through rehearsing understanding which improves long-term retention.
  • children establish a culture of precision and excellence through maintaining a high standard for verbal answers
  • children's understanding is assessed in real time during the flow of a lesson, leading to on-the-spot feedback.

3.3 Checking for Understanding

At Avonwood we...

  • use effective questioning to check for understanding.
  • circulate around the classroom as children to monitor guided practice.
  • give children opprtunities to rehearse thier learning.
  • use mini white boards to visually asess learning.
  • make the transition from guided practice to independent work when the 80% threshold is achieved .

We believe that...

  • ongoing asessment points should form part of daily practice.
  • monthly/ weekly/daily reiviews should be used to inform teaching and learning.
  • retrival practice helps reinforce the process transferring of knowledge from the long term memory into the short term working memory.
  • reteaching familiar material in order to dispell misconceptions is a key part of the learning process.

The impact is...

  • children are given opportunities to learn from thier mistakes and these mistakes will help them to learn.
  • through guided and independent practice children discover if they have got something right or wrong.
  • that implicit knowlege is made explicit children as children review their own understaning of a given concept.
  • children are able to see where they have made mistakes in the past and are able to rectify these.
  • teaching moves learning on at appropriate pace.

3.4 Promoting Purposeful Discussions

At Avonwood we...

  • put discourse at the centre of all our teaching and learning.
  • sentence starters and frames to help children develop academic language.
  • use discourse to engage students and form connections in learning.
  • give children the opportunity to rehearse responses with low stakes.
  • use dialogic talk which is both reciprocal and cumulative.

We believe that...

  • academic language structures assist children's learning.
  • recall is improved when information is said out loud.
  • children should have the opportuity to articulate their ideas freely without fear of embarrassment.
  • rich discourse and high levels of academic language are crucial in strengthening understanding.
  • building upon the ideas of others leads to more coherent lines of thinking and enquiry.

The impact is...

  • children take ownership over their learning through private and paired talk.
  • children's learned material is reactivated when asked to verbalise understanding, enabling memory consolidation.
  • children's confidence in verbalising ideas increases with structure and rehearsal time.
  • children have higher engagement due to rehearsal and low stakes.
  • children belong to an equitable classroom where they each have a voice.

The school is part of United Learning. United Learning comprises: UCST (Registered in England No: 2780748. Charity No. 1016538) and ULT (Registered in England No. 4439859. An Exempt Charity). Companies limited by guarantee. VAT number 834 8515 12.
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