At a recent conference dedicated to embedding enterprise across the curriculum, we bumped into one of our customers who'd just purchased GridMaker to record evidence of enterprise education in her school. When we asked her how it was going, she replied - "Great, we've got all the teachers across the whole school using it to map and record the enterprise skills they deliver in their lessons". Of course - this was "music to our ears", but we were interested to learn more about the strategy she'd used to roll it out to all members of staff - and with such a positive response!
She went on to explain the method, which is so simple and effective we thought it was worth documenting and sharing...
In a nutshell, she had "sold" GridMaker to the SLT and all the teaching staff as a time-saving tool that enabled the 'perfect plenary'. The actual process they were using went something like this:
- Lesson or activity takes place as normal with skills embedded in the learning.
- Teacher logs on to GridMaker and displays the grid on the interactive whiteboard.
- A responsible student is selected to control the whiteboard and enter information.
- Teacher asks class to recall what they have learned and the skills they have covered.
- Student enters information into the Grid and ticks the relevant skills.
One of the main reasons this process was so well received by teaching staff is because it was incorporated into the actual teaching process and completed during lesson time. (Rather than being "bolted on" as an extra "after hours" audit procedure!)
When the SLT realised they could extend the grid to capture additional skills such as PLTS - (even the nine elements of the QCA WRL framework) in one "quick and easy" process - they were keen to make it part of the official plenary policy.
It's clear that using GridMaker in this way, not only achieves all the *benefits of a standard plenary - but also provides many additional advantages:
- It automatically creates an up-to-date, cross-curriculum grid that clearly shows the SLT and HODs which skills are delivered and where.
- It allows any member of staff to quickly generate graphs and reports focusing on coverage in their own subject areas or year group.
- It provides an online, central store of valuable evidence that can be safely and securely shared with parents, partners - even Ofsted.
In a time when budgets are tight and funding is reduced - I think it's important to mention the fact that such a positive impact on teaching and learning and all these associated benefits were gained by using a simple web-based system that probably costs less than a one day conference, seminar or consultancy session.
*The DFES recommended lesson structure for Key Stage 3 promotes the use of a short plenary session, designed to draw out the learning and refer back to the lesson objectives. Download the DFES plenary leaflet here: http://nationalstrategies.standards.dcsf.gov.uk