Here are some tips about using apps and sites is really good at diagnostic questions, to unpick some of the misconceptions and pre-concepts that pupils have. You can make your own and use prepared ones – its a bit maths biased though.

Nearpod and Desmos are fantastic for making interactive activities (gap fills, graphs, card sort, drawing etc) and Kahoot and Mentimeter for more interactive quizzes.

GCSEpod and Educake are good places to find videos and quizzes.

Seneca is good for extension work for lower attainment groups when they finish as it asks questions to check their understanding in many different ways.

Sean’s freesciencelessons videos on YouTube are great to add alongside student work that is set so they are signposted to additional support even if they don’t want to come and ask you in person. I also try to add a video alongside the work I set for KS3 for interest and again so they can recap what they learnt in the taught part of the session.

Using whiteboard.fl , this shows individual whiteboard for students they can label diagrams, answer questions and respond to questions and go-formative an assessment for learning strategy.

Using Chat.

Using the chat function can be a really useful function, but make sure you give the pupils longer to type in the chat that you would give them in a class.

When you can set them work you can track the class as they do it. So when they get to question 2 get them to post ‘2’ in the chat so you can easily track where they are.

Put a Y in the chat if you can see my screen or put a Y in the chat if you understand what you need to do. Or an N in the chat if you don’t know.

Tweet what you know; summarise the lesson in 140 characters or less.

When you ask a question – get all the pupils to prepare an answer in the chat, then give them a 3-2-1 before they hit send. Or get all student to write in the chat but not send until I say, then I pick 3 students to send their answers.

I use quick fire plenary quizzes in the chat before students are set off on their independent work. Multiple choice works well for quickly checking confidence and understanding or addressing misconceptions.

Cameras / use of cameras

There is a reluctance for pupils to turn on their cameras. In some schools this is a deliberate policy, but in other pupils are encouraged to use their cameras, but don’t. so to establish a camera using environment you can get the pupils to show you the work they do on paper on the screen.

Using reactions

Reacting to questions to gauge understanding. Hand up function – hand up if you finished Q1, keep your hand up if you finished Q2 etc this gauges progress. Or write 3 statements in the chat e.g. ‘I understand electronic structure’, ‘I need more practice at electronic structure’ and ‘I do not understand electronic structure’ – then I get them to react to ONE statement that applies to them.

Using breakout rooms.

I use breakout rooms as a multi choice question – e.g. set up the question, and give them 15 seconds to choose a room.

Creating a breakout room for PP or low attaining students to provide extra support

Activities that work well online:

  • Word Document Crosswords
  • Connect definitions to statements
  • Dingbats
  • Anagrams
  • Picture/Diagram drawing
  • Research activities
  • True or False statements
  • This or that
  • Microsoft Forms Quizzes
  • Kahoot!
  • Phet Simulations
  • Fill in the gap tasks
  • Polls
  • Code cracking
  • Ranking sequences of events
  • Wordsearches

What are your reflections or take aways from the last lock down?

I will continue to use Google classroom for homework to reduce the “I’ve lost my homework” stories when back in the classroom. I’ve enjoyed the at home practicals – getting them away from the screen e.g. creating a model of the digestive system with things from around the house.
Making interactive scaffolded mind maps with my Y9 revision lessons works well, they can then keep the Google slide or print it and stick in their books when back at school to have a record of the key points from that topic.

I have made a list of the lessons covered online in each topic alongside the key points and a column for students to rate their confidence for all the modules covered in online learning with a key word glossary at the end. These will be given to students on their return to stick into their books. Students who did attend can remember what they’ve done and rate themselves and those who didn’t attend have a record of the key points for each topic.


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