My Meta-cognition week – Becky O’Neill


Y12 analysed key quotes on class and gender in Jane Eyre, through its use of bird imagery. It never fails to amaze me how much all years levels love writing on the desks! They have more pride in their work and it allows them to draft and edit, easily wiping off parts, in order to evaluate and improve their work. It’s also amazing for allowing me to see their work and give automatic feedback. Sometimes I’ll rub out a word and ask them which word might be more precise, for instance, or ask why they decided on that exact word, instead of another. Seeing the work so easily allows me to ask them what their processes were to get to that stage, along with what their next steps will be and why. They then used the note form analysis to write a full paragraph (while embedding other criteria, such as context), the next lesson, and it was their best work that I’ve marked so far because they almost had a duel coded version of their thinking.

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Using Sue Strachan’s (@SusanSEnglish) blog on sophisticated introductions, Y11 wrote some fantastic introductions, using similes and triplets to introduce their theme or character. They’ve been blowing me away with their essays, in the lead up to their mocks, and they definitely met this challenge. Being forced to specify their character through adjectives (and other forms of figurative language), they really had to unpick their thoughts and justify them. They also said that they found characters easier than themes, so not only were they naturally reflecting on their learning, but I now know that we need to develop this when we revise themes next week. I want their work to stand out, as soon as the examiner reads their first sentence.

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After playing my revision dice games, Y10 created their own on Friday. I put up question stems to ensure that they’d use a variety of higher order thinking skills, and it really challenged them to think about the poems from different perspectives. They also had to provide an answer sheet, taking ownership of their work, as others will be relying on them when they play their game. Next week, after they play each other’s games, I’ll keep them so that we can do it throughout the year for embedded learning.

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Finally, Y7 made posters on Greek root meanings for homework, in order to help their spelling, vocabulary and readings skills. They had to use the prefixes provided in a word, put them in a sentence to show they understand its meaning and then add an image. I always use my visualiser to show 3-4 models of excellence and these were this week’s. I also log rewards for homework that shows time, effort and pride, so that along with being told how the task is beneficial and necessary,  homework has value and they know that I’ll acknowledge effort. These examples are obviously creative and show dedication to the task, but the last two also show that they went above and beyond by providing more than one word and sentence. Next week they’ll use their posters to teach each other ways of remembering the prefixes, so that they don’t forget them (this is also the point of the images: duel coding). Throughout the year, I’ll give them more prefixes and we’ll keep revisiting the posters which will again show them that the homework has value and use. We’ll probably begin turning them into quizzes, like we do with the department’s Knowledge Organisers.

By Becky O’Neill – first published on her own blog called