Monthly archives: March, 2019

Only connect

A challenging starter that requires pupils to group 4 terms and justify their connection to one another in a race against time! Use this website to create an electronic game version: Only connect

Blind starter

Expose students to quotes, texts, concepts or definitions at the start of the lesson before any teacher input. Blindstarter

AfL pit stops

An approach to AfL that focuses on trying to ensure pupils have to think more deeply regarding their responses. Where they have to justify why they have chosen or rejected certain statements. Additionally asked which is correct when there are no correct answers to ensure they can fully explain and justify why. AfL_pitstops

Thinking outside the box

A technique that encourages pupils to initially consider the obvious answers or low tariff responses to a question. Then they are challenged to think ‘outside the box’. For example: greater depth more interesting vocabulary an alternative perspective critical analysis links to other topics. Secondary_MATINSET130319_thinkoutsidebox An alternative strategy is to use this as a partner talk …

Same surface different depth (SSDD)

An approach to designing more challenging tasks so the problem seems similar on the surface but has different depth/context. Pupils learn the similarities/differences between problems. Pupils have to think hard to consider the problem/task from different perspectives, and identify the knowledge needed to solve the problem. Secondary_MATINSET130319_SSDD

Think hard questions

John Hattie states the art of great teaching is knowing when to go from surface to deep learning i.e. moving from knowing ‘stuff’ to being able to link ‘the stuff’ together and use it to solve more complex problems.  One strategy to use is think hard questions where teachers consider the most challenging content prior to …


A strategy aimed to help children get better at planning their responses to a question. They use the template to consider all the possible responses to a question before weighing up the relative significance of each point. They then draw an arrow on the gauge to reflect which point they felt was the strongest to …

Secret Teacher

A strategy aimed at challenging students to take on an additional roles in the lesson or during homework to impart more challenging content anonymously! There are 3 main ways this strategy can be used: 1. Provide them with additional challenging information to teach ‘secretly’ to their peers in a group (Pre teaching) 2. Get them …