Almost half the year gone – What we have been doing…….

This post was written by Martyn Beaumont @cantersno15.

My year 10 group have be flying through the theory elements of the course so far this year and I am a lot further ahead with this group than previous years (and I am not really sure why). After completing our last chapter which was circulatory and respiratory systems I used an old creative homework task that I have used before to assess their understanding, rather than an exam paper. I have blogged about this before (high expectation homework) and will not repeat this but thought I would show you some of the results. Each model is marked out of 20 with some excellent models and results again this year:


Since the completion of this topic I have moved my year 10 group on to the coaching element of the course as I feel quite a large number of this group will be looking in to coaching as one of their four choices for the practical element of the course. I have experimented with a few ways of doing this over this term but the one below is the one I found the most effective of all.


Pupils to be set up into groups of around 4 or 5 and then each group given a number and each pupil given a number within the group (example below)

Group 1
Joe Blogs 1
Morgan Freeman 2
David Beckham 3
Peter Pan 4
Nelly the Elephant 5


I choose the sport (letting them know in advance) they will be coaching for the lesson and they are given an instruction card with a skill, drill and key points they will be coaching during the lesson. This is purposely done to take them out of their comfort zone as usually the sport chosen by me is not the majority of pupils strongest in terms of ability and knowledge. Pupils then have to coach the other members of their group through the skill and drills they were given for around 10-15 minutes maximum.  The key focus for me as a teacher is their ability to analyse what is in front of them and coach to make it better, something I feel pupils struggle with at times to do, although it is a key element of being a coach.


The lesson is completely run by the students, setting up of drills, explanations, demonstrations, feedback and all other elements. I work around the groups only ever speaking to the coaches during the time they are leading their session. Each coach is then debriefed by their own group (and an assessor) and then the next pupil takes over. An example of how this worked for a rugby lesson is below:

1 – Warm up drill – Rugby Netball

2 – Lineout Throw

3 – Rucking

4 – Grubber Kick


(Drill cards and key points in the slides below)


I also had two non-doers due to injury working as assessors of the coaches, working around each group commenting and writing down key points on the quality of the coaching. At the end of each small session, the assessors gave group coaches feedback back on two good points, 1 point to work on basis. This helped to develop the coaches who had just been, but also helped develop each future session about to take place. A worthwhile way of setting up the coaching element of the course as it gives a lot of opportunity for coaching to take place in a relatively short period of time.


My year 11 group are now into the final 11 school weeks of the course (before study leave) which can only mean one thing, revision, revision and more revision! I have used various methods over the years and have been looking to develop some further. Last year I used the excellent idea of @ticktock80’s past paper poker, this year I have decided to take it one step further. I created a casino revision week using past paper poker but also some ideas I have designed based on a few other casino games.


Revision roulette

I happened to have three roulette tables and boards that have been borrowed from friends to develop this idea. Basically very little set up needed, apart from a bank of questions and mark schemes and some knowledgeable pupils.


  • Pupils grouped in to small teams. Each team gambles on black and red but not the number.
  • Ball is spun on the roulette table
  • The colour it lands on relates to a topic, PowerPoint dictates this, the number it lands on relates to a question
  • Pupils must answer questions correctly to keep their bet, if they get the colour correct then they double their money.
  • If they answer the question wrong they lose their bets.
  • Answers are recorded on whiteboards and must hit as many mark scheme points needed to be allowed as correct


Revision 21 (stick or twist)

Based on the popular casino card game I have created a deck of cards (numbered rather than suited), but with a Jack, Queen and King.


Pupils main aim is get as close to 21 as possible while answering the questions on the numbered cards. They are playing against two other opponents and a dealer. If they get the questions wrong they are out of the round, lose their bet and made to quickly revise the given topic they got wrong while the others play on


If they manage to answer their questions and get closest to 21 as possible by asking the dealer for extra cards (sticking or twisting) then they win the round and double their money. Jack, Queen and King are difficult questions based of 5, 7 or 8 mark questions. This does take a little bit of ground work to get going but my first attempt at this game went relatively well, pupils enjoying it, actively engaged and lots of revision going on. Again, answers written on the whiteboards and checked by the dealers and myself.


The concept of the casino week was very simple. Each pupil is given an amount of chips at the start of the week with an objective to gain as much money as possible by the end of the week (which for us is three, one hour lessons). At the end of each lesson the chips were added up and recorded ready for the next lesson.  If they were working in teams then the chips are divided equally at the end of the lesson based on how much they have won. If they run out, they are given a contingency fund to start them back up again.


The schedule worked by playing roulette in the first lesson, 21 in the second lesson and finishing with the last lesson (and still the best game in my opinion) @ticktock80’s past paper poker. At the end of the week pupils had revised a number of topics in a fun and engaging way but recognised aspects of the course they need to revise further.


You do need a fair amount of poker chips and as our school used to run a poker fund raising event a few years ago, we have a large stash. This has been a very fun, active and competitive activity and one I will definitely be repeating with my A-level groups and Year 10 group later next year. Pupils seemed to have recalled a large amount of information, revised key topics numerous times and were working with past papers and mark schemes without the boredom that is sometime associated with them. I hope some of these ideas help, thanks.

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