Using Plickers in GCSE PE lessons

This guest post was written by Simon Bradbury @PeBrado.

I currently teach AQA GCSE PE and over the last 5 years or so the theory question paper always starts with 10 multiple choice questions. Now, to me this is 10 easy marks as the answer is there in front of you.

One of the key issues that all teachers seem to be talking about is managing time and not having enough time to do things. With the help of apps like Plickers the app will do the marking for you.

Essentially what Plickers is, is a simple tool for teachers to gather formative assessment without the need of any student devices. How it works is there are Plickers cards, which can be assigned to students. Therefore in my GCSE PE class I have 20 students and each one of them has their own Plickers card in the back of their exercise book. You will need to allocate cards to students (see below) on the Plickers website (



The image above is what a Plickers card looks like, so this would be given to the first student on my register, as it is number 1. You will see that each side has a letter on it. You input the multiple question that you want to ask prior to the lesson on the Plickers website and then ask the students. They then turn their Plickers card to the letter they think the answer corresponds to. Therefore taking the image above this would indicate the student thinks the answer is B.

Now this is the clever part, using the Plickers app on your phone/tablet you can then scan all the students Plickers cards as they hold up their answer. You don’t even need to press a button you just scan. It will then bring up the students answers on your phone as you scan and you can have a live feed on the website so the students can see if they are getting it right or not as this can be projected (see image below).


It does not have to be multiple choice, you can have true or false questions. You can now also add images too to the question.

This is great app for starters and plenaries but particularly for GCSE PE theory lessons as it relates to the layout of the start of their exam paper. I have recently inputted the last 4 years worth of multiple choice questions from the exam papers. Even better it saves the teacher time by marking the answers. I believe it can be used across a number of different departments for example times table in maths and spelling tests in English.

One touch, One bounce and Buzzers

This post was written by Martyn Beaumont @cantersno15.

Year 11 are now in to the home straight of GCSE PE and the relentless drive to cram in as much revision as possible has been in full swing for a good 10 weeks or so now. Being Head of KS4 as well as a PE teacher, it was becoming quite clear to me that pupils were starting to get to a point where revision was getting too much. I could see them walk into my lesson to complete some of the activities I had planned out for them and before we even started it was dead in the water. They are stressed, they are tired and they are getting close to burn out.

Sometimes as a teacher you have to take a step back and realise that may be just maybe there is another way to attack these boys that does not involve to much effort on their part (or yours), where they can have a fair bit of fun and continue to learn, revise and reinforce the subjects needed. I am a big supporter of the fact that just because pupils aren’t writing a lot, doing an all singing all dancing revision sessions does not mean they aren’t learning anything. If they can articulate what they want to say either in a relaxed manner or more importantly under pressure then this is at times more important than writing it.

Revision techniques such as board rush, table drawing, speed dating, blockbuster, million pound drop and the weakest link are all favourites of mine and are a regular part of my revision programme (not my original idea I would like to add). But lately I have been trying to find another way to get the pupils going when they clearly are starting to lack a little motivation or just had enough of revision. My school is an all-boys grammar school and I have noticed over the years that for some reason the break and lunchtime routines mainly consist of penalty shootouts and one touch, one bounce (being a rugby specialist this annoys me little!!). This was where I came up with my first revision idea:

Football Revision

I based this over the course of one week, which consisted of 3 lessons. Basically it was one big competition of exam question quizzes that cover all major topics in the syllabus but pupils never touch a pen or paper for the entire week (unless they wanted to add to their notes for particular topics).

The first competition was a very simple but very effective penalty shootout accumulator question challenge.

• Pupils were split in to 4 teams of 5. Each team member answers a series of questions on a variety of topics. Each question they get correct converts into a penalty.

• Once all rounds are complete a penalty shootout occurs with all team members taking it in turns to take the number of penalties accumulated from the quiz. Most penalties scored overall wins.

• At the insistence of the pupils we also added bonus balls and questions that were worth double points or took points/penalties away from particular teams.

• If a team missed a penalty or it was saved the goal keeper at the time (a member of a different team on rotation) was asked a bonus question to steal the points

Lots of fun and pupils really got into both parts of the challenge. Lots of revision was going ahead during and between rounds as pupils were swatting up on topics that had not been picked yet.

Dribbling challenge

• Again 4 teams of 5

• Quite simply a series of cones were laid out in a zig-zag formation.

• Pupils had to dribble a football around them to various buckets full of questions (laminated). 5 buckets in total with varying question difficulty.

• Time limit was 5 minutes

• Once teams had collected as many questions as they could within the time limit they were then asked them in a quick fire quiz format. Most correct answers wins.

One Touch, One Bounce

This is an age old game that seems to be a playground favourite amongst our year 11 pupils. To incorporate it into a revision game was a little difficult, but we managed to incorporate none the less.

• Groups of 5 in a circle with one ball (groups were differentiated and so were the questions).

• One person in the group made question master (this rotated every 5 minutes). They were given a pack of questions and marks schemes to asked and check answer.

• Pupils play one touch one bounce trying to get pupils to mess up

• When this happened pupils had to answer a question. If they got it wrong they accumulated a letter. This is normally accompanied by the word ARSE and a game of it, but as it was a lesson I changed it to SCHOOL. If they got it right they did not get the letter and the game carried on.

• Interestingly some of the group changed the game (after asking) to a very similar version but had to hit the ball against a target on the wall. If they missed, the same sequence of events occurred.

We ended up with about 6 rounds in the lesson, but it was not without faults. The top end of the group games seem to go on for a very long time, but that meant more revision. Those that were not quite as good at football answered a lot of questions. This was counteracted by be randomly asking questions as times to make sure everyone got a decent amount of questions. Again good fun and the majority got really involved. Was it perfect, no, did it work, I think so.

Three lessons with lots of topics covered in a very informal but fun fashion. Pupils were revising without really realising and we had a lot of fun while doing it.


The last (and not linked to the football challenges) was my most surprising and easy revision game. Our school has terrible facilities, including technology in every way shape or form but I found a little gem hidden away amongst all of our staging and microphone equipment. A set of 10 working quiz buzzers and quiz station.

This was set up easily within a lesson with a buzzer on a table per pair.

Put simply I arranged the simplest of quizzes where I was the question master.

Pupils had to buzz in if they knew the correct answer, buzzers lit up and blocked other pupils from taking part.

There was a massive sense of urgency in all that we did and pupils were really concentrating on the questions and the answers. If answers were incorrect then the buzzers were reset and all started again to steal the question

To make it fairer and ensure everyone was taking part pupils were arranged into differentiated pairs.

One member of the pair was asked to revise a topic (which was going to be the next set of questions) while the other took part in the buzzer round.

We swapped over a number of times and also chucked in a couple of music rounds, guess who and famous quotes to keep it interesting.

I would highly recommend getting a set of buzzers (if possible) or working out a way of creating buzzers to add to the atmosphere of a normal quiz. Pupils seemed a lot more engaged, concentrated more and we were really trying hard to answer the questions. It was a massive surprise to me that it worked so well, with one of the more ‘difficult’ pupils even calling it ‘sick’. Another very simple but effective twist on a strategy, with lots of revision going on, even if they did not realise it.

If you have any questions regarding the above, then please feel free to contact me on @canterno15 or @pembeaumont

GCSE PE Edexcel Exam analysis using ResultsPlus

This guest post was written by Dave Woodward @dwoodward11.

Since the introduction of the GCSE PE (2009) specification, I have been intrigued to see the changes and developments that have taken place within the exam paper.


The most notable, being the removal of bullet points/ prompt on the 6 mark questions and also, the increased frequency of 3 and 4 mark questions (Extended questions). I am also extremely interested about getting the little things right (Marginal Gains)

I have been doing a lot of work with my students on the 6 mark questions and highlighting areas of specific weakness. I wanted to see if I could dig a little deeper though, and by further analysis, try to identify any ‘marginal gains’ that would better prepare my students for the exam in May 2015.


I have been using ResultsPlus from Edexcel over the past few years, as it is a huge database of information for results analysis about cohorts and even specific students. For those who are unsure what ResultsPlus is, this is what Edexcel say:

“ResultsPlus is a free online results analysis tool for teachers that gives you a detailed breakdown of your students’ performance in Edexcel exams. Widely used by teachers across the country, ResultsPlus provides the most detailed analysis available of your students’ performance and helps you to identify topics and skills where your students could benefit from further learning, helping them gain a deeper understanding of their subject”

The specific area I looked at for this research was the skills mapping of each theory paper from June 2011 until June 2014.


I downloaded the skills map reports from Edexcel then cross referenced them with each year and the range and content of questions that have appeared. That left me with this spreadsheet.

I have found that the following areas have never appeared:

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 07.06.01

The following have appeared every year:

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 07.06.23

So what does this show me?

I can see that the impact of rest on the Cardiovascular and muscular system hasn’t been tested for 4 years. I can also see that Describing, explaining and applying the principles of SMART targets has appeared each year.

But what impact will it have?

It is a tough one to measure, the true test will be on the afternoon of Friday 15th May 2015. One thing is certain however; I won’t change the way I will do my revision but when going through the topics that haven’t been tested I may spend a little longer than I have previously on them. I may set extended questions based upon topics that haven’t been tested. I think you can play a dangerous game second guessing the exam boards on trying to look for patterns, I will just use this information along with the existing information about how my students have done in mock papers, extended questions and homework over the last 2 years to plan a balanced revision package for them. Ultimately for my students’ to feel in the best possible mental shape ready for the exam paper, anything I can do to help is time well spent.

“It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.” John Wooden

Thanks for reading and I hope it helps you and your students. If you have any questions or want more information please get in touch.

Using Foldable lap books to improve theory retention in GCSE PE

This guest post was written by Dana Abdulkarim @DanaABDUL.


In September 2014 we moved to whole cohort GCSE PE study, in order to preserve and ensure a high quality curriculum including PE at Key Stage 4. Previously whole cohorts studied the BTEC First award – the inclusion of the online exam has made this no longer a viable option. We have over 220 students in present Y10 and whilst a great number would have selected GCSE PE as an option, we have a varied spectrum of physical and theoretical competence. At the highest level, we have students who have surpassed 4 levels progress at Key Stage 3 and play sport to a high level (ideal PE candidates) and at the lowest, students without a ‘love’ for practical PE and entry level data below level 3 from Key Stage 2 SATs. Students have 2 hours of GCSE PE a week, one practical and one theory (Edexcel syllabus).

I teach two classes, one with 26 girls and the other with 31. Target grades within these groups range from A* – G, with 15% Pupil Premium. The challenges in theory lessons have been enabling access to the learning for all to ensure maximal learning and retention; supporting reluctant learners to organise their notes more coherently and tackling the very poor literacy levels within the group (some learners have reading comprehension ages below 11 years). As a teacher I try to teach using various methods and strategies, I am open to the use of technology and use a number of recognised ‘best practice’ techniques that are common place in sound pedagogy. I had come across the idea of foldable lap books via a colleague @jk_graves in Science 12 months ago; she presented their use and merit with nurture group Key Stage 3 science lessons and was able to demonstrate the impact on learning, engagement and retention for testing successfully with a small group of educationally vulnerable students. Besides being impressed by their impact I chose not to include this strategy in my teaching at the time. The move to whole cohort classroom teaching forced me to look at my own practice in the classroom and question the appropriateness of my approach with groups not 100% sold on studying my subject. In end of unit tests prior to trying this method, those students that would’ve opted to study PE performed as expected, they were highly engaged and motivated to demonstrate their theoretical competence; students more reluctant were performing below target level consistently and their work showed a lack of clarity in their knowledge and ability to link theory ideas. I also teach these classes Monday period 1 and Monday period 5, so enthusiasm and positivity can sometimes be still in bed or thinking about post school naps!

What are Foldable lap books?

There is a lot of information online about foldable learning, a great slideshow is available here; but essentially it is a 3D learning tool that encourages creative, interactive learning resources that organises student work to be something that they can use to refer back to. The key ‘hook’ is their ability to generate independent learning and the malleability to create any design necessary given the content. They are a kinaesthetic learning task and the use of colour and ‘folds’ supports the pedagogy needs of vulnerable learners.

What we did

I wanted students to create a foldable that would include all the key knowledge and underpinning theory that they needed for the respiratory system (1.2.4). In order to do this the first task was to design a WAGOLL including the essential content. Given the concept of a foldable was new to most students in the room I made the decision to be somewhat didactic with the design, in future I hope to allow more open license to the design after agreeing the content (success criteria). Students created a shutter fold with four mini doors.

image 4

The syllabus asks for students to understand the respiratory system in four key areas:

1. Functions of the system and key definitions
2. Immediate effects of exercise on the system
3. Long term adaptations of exercise and the benefits to the system
4. The effects of smoking

Students also need to know and understand Oxygen debt and lactic acid. That is it! It is a very basic expectation, however the syllabus expects students to also ‘know and appreciate’ a great deal of underpinning theory:

• Mechanics of breathing
• Gaseous exchange
• Aerobic respiration
• Anaerobic respiration

The latter theory above is crucial in being able to appreciate the subtle differences of the former essential ‘syllabus content’ – it was here with the underpinning expected baseline knowledge that vulnerable learners were coming unstuck. They were finding the scientific application confused their notes and they found it hard to organise their ideas.

All underpinning supporting theory was added to the back of the foldable (mechanics of breathing and gaseous exchange) and the inside middle space (aerobic and anaerobic respiration), which was linked to oxygen debt and identifying sports and sporting actions that utilise different respiration. The doors were for the essential ‘syllabus content’.

image 1

image 2

Following my instructions, students cut out their own doors and folds and got creative with the presentation. Students were encouraged to use imagery in place of text on doors with text beneath thus creating an immediate learning tool. The content, whilst I had decided upon the structure was left to students to create after discussions/ direct teaching/ demonstrations/ role play to draft in their work books and transfer to the foldable. I used all the resources I would normally use but in a way that demanded students listen, note take, select and manipulate to make sense personally. Peer checking of content happened after each mini stage of design. More able students were selected as ‘foldable experts’ to help teach theory or suggest content design to those struggling.

image 3

Impact and reflection

Normally I would teach this area of the syllabus over 3 or 4 lessons with a test at the end. Using the foldable took the same amount of lesson time, 4, with the test at the start of the 5th lesson. Student voice during the learning was positive with the groups highly motivated. Many of the more able students in the group at first questioned the method, but found that they enjoyed it with comments like, ‘this is already making my revision notes’ and ‘I am going to do this with the cardiovascular system we just did’ commonplace. Similarly, they enjoyed taking on roles to help others, I think they enjoyed that the usually reluctant and poorly motivated students were engaged. Students that were more vulnerable also praised the strategy, they too valued the creativity element and some commented that they knew ‘a bit more about how they learn better with pictures rather than words now’ achat de viagra belgique.
As a school we encourage using images in place of words a lot, but it wasn’t until the foldable task that they ‘got it’! In terms of the impact on test results, the data suggests that it was on the whole positive. Most students improved their test average grade by 10% or more from the previous cardiovascular system test (similar content expectation). The area where this strategy had most impact was with those students that often scored between 40-50% in tests, C-E grade students. In this band some students improved by up to 40% from previous tests. The most able benefitted from the clarity of their notes to learn from as they too improved by an average 6%. Where the foldable appeared to make little or no significant impression was for students averaging 10 – 25% in tests, F-U grade students. Whilst they were better in the multiple choice recall questions, they still struggled where they had to consider the underpinning knowledge and apply this to a sporting scenario. Interventions have been put in place for these students working alongside in-house learning support strategies to increase access to learning by challenging their literacy gaps. A subject specific dictionary and definition cards are one example.
Obviously student achievement in the test cannot fully demonstrate the impact of the foldable, students are becoming more ‘test savvy’ and are starting to understand how to approach the question (BUSY exam question preparation). We have also done lots of work to improve their ability to tackle the 6 mark question using ‘IDEA answering’ developed from work by David Fawcett. I think as a learning tool it has merit, I am using it with my Y11 GCSE option group as they start to prepare for the summer examination. For some more complicated elements of the curriculum I might look to use this again to help students organise their ideas, similarly if I set a ‘choice presentation’ homework ‘creating a foldable’ might now be an option. I am adapting the ‘interactive learning tool’ idea to the display wall – I am presently recreating the respiratory system foldable as a display, who knew pizza boxes could be the perfect shape to create doors?!

Million Pound Drop

This guest post was written by Ben Pollard @bpollardPE.

Using game shows as ideas for engaging activities in lessons – ‘The Million Pound Drop’


I’m not really a person who believes that you need a ‘starter’ in every lesson and I certainly wouldn’t say my lessons follow any specific type of format relating to such things. I do however always strive to come up with inventive ways to engage pupils in the learning process and whether this comes at the start of the lesson, during it, or at the end, original ways to both engage pupils and assess their learning are incredibly important to me in my lessons. A while ago I started using formats from TV quiz shows in lessons to do just this. I have experimented with a number of these, one particularly successful one is described below.

The Million Pound Drop


One I used recently which received particularly positive feedback from the students was a version of ‘million pound drop’. For those not familiar with the format, it is essentially a multiple choice quiz with 4 potential answers per question. Players start round one with £1 million (usually divided in to £50K bundles) and have choose which answer to put their money on. They can divide their money up between answers or if they are certain about one answer, they will put all their money on that. They only keep the money that is on the correct answer when it is revealed. The winners are obviously the group who has the most money left at the end of the game.

The reason I particularly like using this game with students is that it challenges the strength of their convictions and promotes a great deal of discussion and consideration between groups. It also links to the multiple choice part of their exam in the particular specification that we follow. We always go back over the questions at the end of the game and discuss the areas which we feel we most need to recap as a class, which is obviously incredibly important in the long run for the group. The game works really well for this as pupils have a clear visual sign of the questions they feel most comfortable on, by reflecting on how committed they were to an answer.

January, What have we been doing………..Controlled Assessment

This guest post was written by Martyn Beaumont @cantersno15.

With the majority of the AQA GCSE PE course complete we have spent the last month concentrating on getting the Controlled Assessment complete, hoping that my pupils can produce the goods in the controlled conditions we do it (which we now have).

Before I start I would like to make a few things very clear:

• Pupils produce their final piece of work in Controlled conditions over 4 hours (I cannot find any time frames set out by AQA but apparently this was suggested at an AQA course)
• Pupil research takes place under part controlled conditions
• Pupils are not allowed to use or take in any of their research when completing the final piece
• We adhere to all guidelines set out by the AQA controlled conditions guidelines
• We have had very good feedback from our external moderator about our Controlled Assessment

The AQA controlled assessment is in essence very simple and we look at in in four stages. Pupils have to show a clear ability to analyse one of their sports in terms of strengths and weaknesses. Then show their ability to put measures in place to improve them. The sport the piece is written about must be one of the four being used for the practical element of moderation. The four stages we use are:

1. Strengths
2. Weaknesses
3. Corrective Measures
4. Recording Measure

These sections are essentially what are set out in the AQA template for this piece of work. Although I show my pupils this template, I tend not to use it directly as I think firstly it looks scruffy, but secondly encourages pupils to write very little.

The Set Up:

I spend one lesson teaching about the controlled assessment and what is needed to achieve as high a mark as possible. I make it very clear using the grades descriptors set out in the specification what will be needed and make it clear that I cannot help pupils in anyway once the controlled conditions start. Pupils research (in a computer room) over two weeks, which for us is four, one hour lessons. This is their opportunity to plan what is needed and pick up all the technical points needed to gain higher marks.
Pupils then complete four one hour controlled condition lessons to complete the final piece of work. No research can be taken in to the final four lessons and the final piece of work must start blank at the start of the first lesson and can only be completed during this time.

Below are a few key pointers that we suggest pupils use in each of the sections:


Include 3 different types of strength:

• One skill strength
• One tactical strength
• One fitness strength (usually a component of fitness)

Skill Strength

– Include annotated pictures where applicable to show what is good about what you
– Include technical points about the skill
– Include its impact on your performance and team performance
– Use key terminology for the AQA course

This then needs to be repeated for the other two strengths, but if honest not in as much detail as you would for the skill strength.


This is one of the most important sections in my opinion on the controlled assessment as it clearly shows pupils ability to analyse their weaknesses in depth. Again I suggest the same procedure as above:

• One skill weakness
• One tactical weakness
• One fitness weakness (usually a component of fitness)

Skill Weakness

– Include annotated pictures where applicable to show what good technique looks like and what elements you need to improve on
– Include technical points about the skill
– Include its negative impact on your performance and team performance
– Use key terminology from the AQA course

Again repeat these steps for the other two weaknesses but not in as much depth as the skill weakness

Corrective measures

This section shows the pupils ability to put in place corrective measures to help improve each of the weaknesses they have highlighted. I suggest that:

Skill Weakness – Choose two drills that will improve the weakness
Explain how they are carried out
Explain how they help improve the weakness and the impact that they will have
Use pictures (annotated), diagrams or drawings that show the drill clearly

For the other two weaknesses, choose one drill that will help improve it and explain as above.

Recording and Monitoring

This section is the pupils’ opportunity to show what they will do to monitor the weaknesses and show if improvement is taking place:

I suggest:

• For each of the weaknesses choose or create a test. E.g if the skill is penalties, then the test is a shootout consisting of 10 penalties.
• Create a table to easily record the test over a time period
• Suggest other ways that will help monitor how the performance is getting better. Think about the course content (ICT and media section)

Below is what a rough plan of how our controlled assessments normally look. I will not add a pupil example as I do not think that would be fair. This has been developed with the help of my colleagues over the past few years

Controlled Assessment Rough Template


Skill Strength

Explanation of Strength
Impact of Strength
Annotated picture

Tactical Strength

Explanation of Strength
Impact of Strength

Fitness Strength

Explanation of Strength
Impact of Strength
Annotated picture


Skill Weakness (lots of detail)

• Explanation of Weakness
• Impact of Weakness
• Annotated picture


Tactical Weakness

• Explanation of Weakness
• Impact of Weakness

Fitness Weakness

• Explanation of Weakness
• Impact of Weakness

Corrective Measures

Skill Weakness

• 2 x Drills with pictures, diagrams/drawings


• Explanation of Drill
• Impact of drill of weakness

Tactical Weakness

• Explanation of Drill
• Impact of drill of weakness

Fitness Weakness

• Explanation of Drill
• Impact of drill of weakness

Recording and Monitoring

Skill Weakness

• Explanation of test
• Explanation of how it will be recorded
• Table to show it
• Any other ways to monitor

Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 09.50.10

Tactical Weakness

• Explanation of test
• Explanation of how it will be recorded
• Table to show it
• Any other ways to monitor

Fitness Weakness

• Explanation of test
• Explanation of how it will be recorded
• Table to show it
• Any other ways to monitor

This is just an example of how the controlled assessment could look and an explanation of how we set it up. We do not give this template out to pupils, it is just a suggestion I have used for this post. I would like to stress that we do not tell the pupils what to write, they research all the information and as suggested write a final piece starting from starch in the four hour window we give them on online casino Canada. Some of the pieces produced in this period of time have been very impressive, probably better than 10/10 when compared to some of the AQA examples. If you would like any help or advice please feel free to contact me.

Using music to engage students and make learning enjoyable

This guest post was written by Sarah Taylor @NorthKestevenPE.

I wanted to engage my students in a fun but worthwhile activity so that they are more likely to remember the content. I thought about writing my own lyrics to a well-known song at that time, changing the lyrics to fit in with learning the skeletal system. The idea was so that whenever the students heard this particular song they would be able to associate it to the skeletal system. They didn’t have to pick up a text book, I didn’t have to keep reminding them to revise the skeletal system, they would retrieve the information from just listening to the radio or playing their ipods.
Whenever a song comes on the radio you don’t have to think about the words, they just come naturally, even if you have not heard the song in a long time because they have been stored in your long term memory. I wanted to create a resource that would take them through this process so they would associate and be able to retrieve the theoretical content every time they heard this particular song.
The process I went through in writing the lyrics to fit in with a song is quite simple. Print off the lyrics to a well-known song at the time that pupils will know and be familiar with, try to pick one that they will hear over and over again on TV, radio, film etc. Put the key words from the particular topic you are covering at the top of the page and have a copy of the song so you can see if the lyrics fit. Once you have your lyrics you then need to record it. I personally use the app ‘Quick Voice Pro’ and use the instrumental karaoke version of the song on a computer screen to record my version of the lyrics.
This is a great way to start off a topic and a lesson, you can have your recording playing as the students walk into the classroom, this instantly gets their attention and they are engaged as they will not only recognise the song will listen intently because the lyrics are different from the ones they know. I am not a good singer, so I asked the rest of the PE dept to join in the singing, so the pupils get to hear how bad we all sound together, which helps them become more comfortable when they come to recording their own songs.
Students love hearing the PE version, recording their own and hearing each other’s songs, they frequently come back after the lesson and say I heard that song the other day and all I could think about was bones or their own lyrics viagra traitement impuissance. BINGO!!!! They are recalling and retrieving information subconsciously.
I have differentiated tasks for students of all abilities, I make students listen to the song and fill in the blank spaces so that they can identify bones or their location or function, once filled in they have to sing it as a class choir and then have to record it in small groups. If you have time and higher ability students let them have a go at creating their own so they can personalise their own learning. They do this in exactly the same way, print off the lyrics to the song they want to use, have the key words and get creative! I have had some great songs over the past 3 years, you can also record them and then email the students so it can be used for their revision. Students love it and hopefully by doing this they embed the information into their long term memory and it deepens their knowledge and understanding.

Songs to date:

Counting stars – One Republic – Naming bones
Dominoes – Jessie J – Cant see my abs too many dominoes
Newest one – Disneys Frozen – Let it go – Name the bones. Link to lyrics

4 ideas for GCSE PE classes

This guest post was written by Rachel Campbell @PEenthusiast1.

Engaging a GCSE PE class of 18 testosterone fuelled competitive boys isn’t easy and continually forces me to think outside of the box and to try innovative and fresh ideas which challenges me on a weekly basis during the ‘planning hour’ on a Sunday night. It was my first lesson with this class in September that made me realise I needed to adapt my teaching. A simple height and weight measurement to calculate BMI led to a shouting match and fiery arguments about who was taller and who had the biggest muscles. These competitive boys needed something to motivate them so here are a few of my top tips to engage learners in the classroom:

1. Create a class football league table.

Each lesson students are awarded points for behaviour in lessons, attitude, homework and punctuality. Those who work hard are rewarded and stay in the premiership but students are soon relegated into the championship and football leagues below when they fail to meet expectations. I started to see a change straight away, students were running to the classroom at the end of break to avoid being late, homework was finally being completed and the unveiling of results created a positive end to each academic term.

2. Teach as many practical lessons as possible to promote learning and progress.

Put instructions in an envelope for each student under a cone on the field at the start of the lesson. Students arrived to the classroom based lesson and had to race their peers to the field, find their envelope, follow the instructions and run back. Sometimes the instructions asked them to perform a sport specific warm up, design an exam question, answer a question or even just read the learning objective. When the students arrived back they were excited to learn and ready to discuss the lesson topic.

3. Invest in a football alarm clock.

Encourage students to answer questions and perform tasks with a time limit. Students love to compete against each other and are motivated to work together.

4. Buy some department morph suits.

They have been used by my colleague Mr Roberts to teach muscles and bones. One of the students wears the costume whilst the other students labels. It brings the subject alive and students remember it.
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December Term what have we been doing…….. In Depth Exam Analysis

This guest post was written by Martyn Beaumont @cantersno15.

We are getting to that stage with my year 11 group, where exams are not too far around the corner and by February at the very latest, the course will be complete. It is inevitable that the students will be taking practice exams, have mock exams (which mine have this week) and be practicing technique until they are blue in the face. This will make me unpopular, but ultimately pupils need to able to answer exam questions so the more they practice it the better they will get. What I have been working on is how pupils (and myself) analyse these exams once they have been completed. This has taken me a fair few years to develop to find the best way to engage pupils in looking at more than just the grade but I feel the technique explained below makes taking and reviewing the exams the most worthwhile.

The Technique

Obviously first of all pupils take the test in exam conditions and it is marked by me. The marking is where I have (with the help of my department) started to change my approach. Rather than writing in answers or correcting mistakes all I now use is a code. Different codes mean different things and these can be adapted throughout the year and be made as individualised to your class as you would like. Using the codes firstly makes marking a lot quicker but secondly does not give the pupils an instant fix to their issue, they have to find it. The codes that we started to use last year are below:

Writing related feedback

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These codes were firstly brought in and stuck in folders in year 10 to improve quality of feedback and I know they are not revolutionary and I am sure many people use them, but the way I now use them for exams (rather than folder work) has had a real impact this year.

Once I have marked all exams I produce this geek sheet:


This is my geek sheet breakdown of every question answered by every student, with averages, totals and all sorts. This allows me to clearly see the strengths / weak areas of the class as well as the individuals and how the next few lessons need to be directed. Here you can clearly see the scenario was a huge issue and allowed me to notice this and address it very quickly. Also you can see three questions in section A and one question in the multiple-choice were an issue.

One I have produced the teacher geek sheet (it only takes about 30 minutes once you have set up a decent spreadsheet) I then produce an individual breakdown and address sheet for each pupil to work on to analyse their own performance further. The sheets they receive look like this:

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The sheets that are given out are not colour coded in anyway as black and white copies are the only way forward at our school! Again this does not take me very long at all as the bulk of the sheet (the bottom boxes) are pre-existing and I just have to copy and paste a picture version of the analysis over from excel to my word document for the individual pupil.

These sheets are given out before the marked exam papers and pupils are given the task of going through their analysis; highlighting any question or topic where they achieved half marks or less. These topics are then written into the box where it states topics to start revising.

Once they have done this I give out the exam papers fully marked with grades on. Pupils are then tasked to work their way through the exam paper and create a tally of exam codes in the box for exam technique development. They then look at the marking codes sheet in their folder and work out the key areas of technique they need to develop. This process gets quicker the more the group get used to the different codes.

Pupils now have a clear idea of what the main issues were in their exam paper both on a technique level and content knowledge level. Pupils then work independently for one lesson addressing these issues with various tasks set by me. They also have to show they have responded to the exam analysis by re-doing questions that they got half marks or less in or where certain codes (the biggest tally) showed up a technique issue. I also give them some new similar topic or technique questions to work on to make sure it is a thorough process and not merely finding the correct answer and re-doing a question they have already seen and discussed.

This technique follows the marginal gains idea of improvement, but puts the pupils in charge of addressing the issues that have been shown by the exam paper. Rather than here is your paper, here is your grade, let’s go through every question and write notes getting very little from it. Pupils engage in their own personal analysis, finding out weaknesses (and strengths) and developing them. At the end of it all I take a photocopy of each pupil exam breakdown sheet fully completed so they can be used for comparison on their next set of mocks.

A simple breakdown of this technique is as follows:

• Take the exam
• Mark using codes and produce teacher geek sheet
• Produce individual pupil analysis sheets
• Pupils highlight questions with half or less marks and write topic areas down
• Exams given out
• Pupils work through exam tallying up different exam codes in technique box
• Pupils work on a series of tasks related to codes
• Pupils show response to analysis by re-doing highlighted questions and similar area questions

Yes, this technique does take a little bit of extra time to produce the end results and I am lucky as I currently only have one group of 20. But I have done similar types of analysis for larger groups and a lot more pupils over the years and feel it is very worthwhile for both the teacher and the pupil. Identifying and addressing individual and whole class key issues, showing progress, showing responses to feedback among other things in an engaging way which will ultimately help the pupils in the all-important GCSE summer exam. My pupils will take a large number of full mock exams and mini exams over the next 6 months so by using this technique to show improvement it will make it slightly less painful for all involved.

I hope you find this post useful and feel free to ask me any questions related to this via my twitter handle @cantersno15

2p table football and song parodies

This guest post was written by Martyn Beaumont @cantersno15.

This is the first year I have only one GCSE group to oversee (I have two other A-level groups) and now they have moved in to year 11 I always find this first term an interesting one and one that sets us up for the whole year. Here are a few things I have recently been doing to start the year off:


This year group completed a mock exam before the end of term and the results were very much disappointing for a group that I have very high hopes for. They were unaware of their results so the first lesson back was a bit of a shock. I started with our summer results which were some of our best ever results, then put theirs up, not even close. I have spoken about this before so will not drone on about it but setting and resetting expectations at the start of every year is key. We all then wrote on whiteboards what grade we wanted to achieve at the end of the course and every pupil either put A or A*. Is this realistic, probably not, do I want them to think this is realistic, of course I do, so everything from now on has been reset and off we go.

The main focus of this term so far has been content and the topics of injuries and International sporting events but mainly different competitions.

In terms of injuries I have developed (and blogged about it here) how I teach this aspect of the course but this year I took it a little step further. Before I have given out one relatively easy song for the whole group to write lyrics to around the topic of injury, once it has been taught. This year I decided to give the pupils the choice of what song they wish to perform to and gave them a very free reign as to how they can approach.

Again the work produced, understanding and remembering of the topic was excellent with constant revision going on without the pupils realising for the best part of three lessons. Here are a couple of the songs that have been produced by my students. (I would just like to clarify that in one of the songs the students are talking about broken ‘ligga’s’ meaning ligaments, absolutely not anything else). I have also added my example that was played to the class as I would not set any piece of work that makes pupils slightly anxious (the recording bit) without attempting it myself.

2p table football competitions

This topic is a relatively simple concept in the terms that pupils need to know about international sporting events, the impact of these on a country, the history of the games and the different competitions. My main focus so far has been on the different competitions and I did this in lessons with the help of one of my own favourite old school games 2p table football.

In truth I stumbled across this by chance, I was due to teach table tennis but due to some poor weather and some practical KS3 lessons taking up the gym, I had to change the plan last minute.
Starting the chapter off was simple, group work with various questions about naming different sporting events, different sports etc. With the answers written up we then started to look at the format of the different tournaments and how they work. No surprises that all the boys could easily talk about leagues and knockout competitions and most have experienced them on a regular basis. None knew what a ladder competition was and very few could talk about combination tournaments. Having worked through a little bit of content of what they already knew (leagues and Knockouts) I left it for the next lesson to introduce the ladder and combination types of tournaments.

Next lesson I set up the room up as follows:

1. Single desks with a chair either side spaced out
2. 2p on the middle of the desk
3. Rules of 2p football around the room
4. Two 10 man ladders on the board

A quick explanation of how to take part in this type of competition and demonstration of the game then took place and I left them two it for a good 30 minutes. What surprised me is that 90% of the group have never played or even heard of this game before, shocking!! The next 30 minutes turned in to an extremely fierce and competitive ladder competition with even those that can at times be disengaged really getting involved. At the break we then started to talk and discuss format, advantages and disadvantages then completed a cheat sheet for them and carried on.

The next lesson, due it is initial success, I designed a combination tournament with pool stages, knockouts, trophy and shield elements using 2p table football again. I used the final ladder tournament results from the previous lessons to seed the competition and off we went. Again halfway through discussing and cheat sheets filled out and the competition continued. Finishing with a trophy final and a plate final with full on serious crowd support from all (this took less than 45 minutes to complete). To finish I did a quick white board assessment game and pleasingly all pupils could easily answer questions on the competitions they had taken part in over the last two lessons. Some slightly struggled when questions were about the original knockout and league content but when reminded it is similar to the combination tournament managed to make enough relevant points to answer the questions. Some may call this a big waste of time, some may say there are easier ways to teach this but if I am honest I don’t mind. We had a lot of fun, learnt all the content needed, remember (so far) all the content needed and I believe I found a way to ‘make it stick’. As an added bonus pupils had their eyes opened to an old school game away from mobile phones and Facebook!

In the next blog post I will be showing you the finished football tracking wall display I have spoken about recently along with a micro analysis exam paper technique I have been developing to help pupils (and teachers) clearly identify weaknesses and strengths in exam papers and content.