UKED Magazine June 2015

Page 1

June 2015

Issue 18

Supporting the Educational Community

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Learning for

p14 26 Strategies for Meaningful Manageable Assessment

All

p17 Knowing your Starting Points p11 Superstructures SEN-D & behaviour management Write for UKED Magazine Email editor@ukedchat.com e in az ag d /m te m rin he .co r p t at e of ne ch ord ies zi ed o p ga uk t co ma

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Celebrating the SENDco

06

Poetry Please

12

Social Eclipse


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Issue 18: June 2015

Subscribe by email for free at ukedchat.com/emails Subscribe to the print edition at ukedchat.com/magazine 4 Being a new SENDco

Sheli Blackburn shares insights into her role as a new SENDco and the very special role SENDcos play in the wider school community.

6 Learning Differently

Andy Knill writes about how every teacher approaches CPD and their own learning differently, suggesting tips for everyone.

8 Trust to Good Verses Then

Christopher Simons discusses the value of poetry in the classroom and his personal insights into crafting poetry.

10 Choices

Ben Waldram argues that giving pupils choice improves the learning experience for both teachers and pupils and boosts progress.

From the Editor As teachers we meet a varied bunch of people each and every school day. The classroom is truly the most dynamic social, emotional and academic environment there is, and catering for the needs of 30+ individuals is no easy task, even when everything is going right.

11 Superstructures

Feedback, behaviour management, and careful planning all play a role, but it is assessment, knowing where students have come from, where they currently are, and where they are going, that is key.

12 Are we Entering a Social Eclipse?

In this issue of UKED Magazine we address some of the factors which allow teachers to ensure learning for all - for both their students and themselves.

Nicole Dempsey explores how SEN-D and whole school behaviour management systems have made her school a beacon of good behaviour. In our UKEdChat feature we discuss how the educational social media landscape is shifting and why we should be worried.

14 Meaningful Manageable Assessment

Ruth Powley brings together a range of evidence and sources to explore 26 assessment ideas and strategies for your classroom.

17 Knowing your starting points

Mark Burns writes about the importance of knowing what the learners know and can do before the learning in your class begins.

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23 A little Feedback on Feedback

Xiong Fu discusses how feedback should be at the fore of educators’ drive to improve learning opportunities for their students.

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Being a new

SENDco

in a Mainstream Primary By Sheli Blackburn

Making the decision to move schools and change roles can be both challenging and rewarding. Becoming a Deputy Head and SENDco with class responsibility requires a lot of ball juggling and the need for an efficient and organised approach to paperwork, which can be the biggest challenge for some. It is an exciting time to be a SENDco. The new SEND Code of Practice brought with it a positive culture shift and made the implicit explicit – that all children deserve high quality first teaching and high aspirations so that they achieve their potential. In some schools this is normal practice, in others it is a gradual change from children with SEN being taught in small groups or 1:1, outside the classroom, with teaching assistants, sometimes with ad hoc activities. The new code makes it very clear that interventions do not compensate for a lack of high quality teaching or high aspirations and thus makes class teachers more accountable for SEN provision. It sets out the principle of a graduated response, which asks whether children need support that is additional to, or different from, that which is part of the usual, differentiated curriculum. Children needing additional support should be included in the school’s SEN register, but SENDcos need to consider whether children really have special educational needs, or whether they are falling behind because they have missed out on first high quality teaching – from a teacher.

04 UKED Magazine

Good practice in a primary school should be based upon a rigorous ‘assess, plan, do and review’ model. It is essentially a simple approach: monitor progress through tracking data and pupil progress meetings; find out what the teacher has put in place to narrow the gap; follow the graduated response for children who have made less than expected progress and match intervention to need. Trying to coordinate interventions can be difficult unless you are a full time SENDco, so it could be better to reduce it to those few proven quality interventions that you know will have an impact. Assessing children before they access the intervention, then again afterwards, can show how effective it is and whether it is value for money. Of course, there is another aspect to this, one that can cause confusion. Yes, children all deserve high quality teaching, from the most qualified person, but with certain interventions it is likely to be a TA who delivers this. It is therefore the school’s responsibility to ensure TAs are appropriately trained and to carefully monitor the impact. The ‘assess, plan, do and review’ model works here too: observe practice and gather evidence (don’t discount children’s views), measure impact, feedback to TAs and discuss CPD needs/requests, and put these in place then review.


There are many books and articles that support new SENDcos with best practice. Here are some simple tips in the meantime: • Know the children on your SEN register – you may not know them as a class teacher would, but talk to them when you can. Know their needs, what inspires them, what progress they are making and what interventions have been successful. Be aware of the resources available to support their particular needs - and draw on them. • Know your interventions - monitor the impact and thus the value of them. Replace if they don’t do what they say they will do. Observe practice regularly. • Know the external support that is available to your school. Use it! • Know the data – not off the top of your head, but monitor it carefully. A child who has not made academic progress, but has made huge steps with personal, social and emotional skills may need to have a case study written that accounts for this.

Make Students’ Voice Heard

In Brief

Expectations of teaching assistants have increased considerably over the years and it can be difficult to keep asking more from those who already go above and beyond. Some schools have gradually shifted away from TAs being attached to specific classes to a model whereby they are trained to deliver quality interventions and are given appropriate time to prepare and review. The time has come where parent volunteers provide the ‘cutting and sticking’ support, leaving TAs to support teaching and learning.

In the early years of learning languages, many teachers can struggle to get their students to speak and let go of their fear of making mistakes. I used to be one of those teachers until I started using Adobe Voice (standout.adobe.com/voice) in my classes. Using this app, my students find it easy to create videos in a presentation-like style, and record their voice for each slide. Compared to other similar apps, I have found this app to be the most useful because it is designed in a way that forces learners to focus on language production rather than waste their time on formatting and animation, and the product is always worthwhile. The app can be used for many kinds of language learning projects: reflecting, setting future goals, learning vocabulary, IELTS and MFL speaking and a lot more. @mssebah United Arab Emirates - English faculty

Take a Plick-ture

Having considered and reflected on self-assessment in the past, it became apparent that the practice could be informative as long as it was straight-forward, quick and easy to refer to. I was made aware of a website and app at Plickers.com which allows you to print a unique code for each child in just a few minutes, which can be stuck into the front cover of a child’s book and used by pupils to answer multiple choice questions which are collated instantly using a smart phone’s camera. This is completely free and allowed me to utilise a quick, effortless method to gather student’s instant feedback on a topic. Feedback which could then be acted upon there and then, eradicating any misconceptions that could embed themselves whilst I take time to mark their learning. @Mroberts90Matt Manchester, UK - Year 6 Teacher

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Sheli @SheliBB is the SENDco and Deputy Head at East Harling Primary School, and self confessed computing geek. As a relatively new SENDco, she has blogged about her journey on her blog Carry on Learning at carryonlearning.blogspot.co.uk Image credit: pexels.com/photo/creative-desk-pens-school-2091 used under Commercial Creative Commons 2.0 License. Other images provided by Sheli Blackburn.

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Learning for all...

we all learn

By Andy Knill

Learning for all...we all learn differently... Everyday when I am in the classroom my challenge is to find a way to communicate skills, facts, strategies with my pupils so that they can learn and progress. Nothing unusual there, learning styles came and went, pedagogies wane and rise, government ministers pass on their ideas on their preferred styles to beat other nations test scores in international rankings. So what do I try? I have forgotten more things than most as my career goes on. I find it intriguing and slightly unbelievable that I have stood in front of 11-16 year olds for the last 27 years. Have I found the “perfect strategy�? No, but then I do not teach a one-size pupil that never changes, who always favours the same method of learning. In the last two years I have invested lots of time in the use of solo taxonomy (see more details at bit.ly/uked15jun02), I like the ease with which I can use the terminology and concept to demonstrate how to develop answers in a language that is easy to access for any age, group or subject. I am so convinced I led the development of a global network of teachers to share ideas. I have recently passed that on to Pam Hook the solo guru from New Zealand. The Twitter account @globalsolo continues through Pam so I can focus on my current role. I use differentiated tasks and outcomes through the solo language mentioned above, I have conversations where I challenge my learners to identify and tell me what the next step is rather than I spoon feed the answers. Teachmeets have seen me extol the virtues of teacher networking be it on Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Blogging, Teachmeets, and of course, UKEdChat. We are in a golden age where educators are open to the idea of sharing and collaborating - get on board - it really is worth it! Many teachers feel nervous about using Social media. Use it professionally if you feel comfortable with it. Personally, I think you would be mad to pass up the opportunity, but I admit to being biased. Colleagues who do not feel comfortable should be encouraged to learn their own way, just like we do for our pupils / students. My revision lessons for GCSE are active. I feel that energy and passion are important. I recently presented one such 06 UKED Magazine

differently

energised session titled Teaching physical geography through interpretive dance. If I can use a song, action, mini drama, dance that makes something memorable, then I shall - yes it can be a little embarrassing, but it works. I am still reminded about the waterfall recession dance I taught over 5 years ago by ex-pupils who are now graduates who still remember it. During revision sessions I believe I am a resource for my pupils. I am there to be interrogated, searched, challenged to find those little gaps in their understanding which takes them into the exam with confidence and a knowledge that they know how the exam structure can work to their benefit. As the countdown continues, so to does their confidence. Currently, I am using learning outdoors as a vehicle to develop all of our Key Stage 3 geography classes as we discover, explore, conserve and share our school grounds as part of the John Muir Trust Award scheme. We are developing fieldwork skills for GCSE fieldwork in the future, we are observing our surroundings and discovering things that have been hidden in plain sight. By the end of term, 485 pupils will be aware of the proposed plans for a National Park City for Greater London where I teach. We have raised awareness, we have tapped into current affairs and the media. What is my teaching about? It is all about the fact that, like my pupils, we are all lifelong learners. The learning never stops, we can all pick up points from each other. If after a year with me as their teacher a pupil enjoys learning, is open to at least listening to others before drawing their own conclusions, preferable substantiated, then I have succeeded. But I will continue to learn in any case. Where are you on your learning journey? Image credit: flickr.com/photos/bigganbivi/16895955525 by Birgitta SjĂśstedt used under Commercial Creative Commons 2.0 License.

Andy Knill is Head of Geography at The Albany School, Hornchurch, Havering. Find him online at mishmashlearning.wordpress.com and globalsolo.wordpress.com and on Twitter at @aknill.


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verses

Trust to good

By C. E. J. Simons

then

Formal poetry is challenging to read, to write, and especially to teach. But the investment pays enormous dividends. Teaching formal poetry is a lot like teaching computer programming: both are challenging subjects, and both require technical skills, but both are also essential to the healthy intellectual life of individuals and society. And like computer programming, teachers and students need to understand the potential of formal poetry now more than ever. An interview with Oxford Professor of Poetry Geoffrey Hill points to recent problematic definitions of the word ‘creativity’ in the media: take a word like “creativity”, or “creative”: …that used to be associated with creating things of intrinsic value. It now has come to mean, “believed to possess entrepreneurial skills”…. it is not the writing of music, or anything like that. Entrepreneurial skills are important, and not every person should feel that they need to devote their life to ‘creating things of intrinsic value.’ Yet poetry, like music, requires an important set of technical skills (linguistic, visual, and mathematical) to understand. These skills do not relate only to poetry; they can strengthen and enrich any life, from the educator’s to the entrepreneur’s. As an educator who has studied both arts and sciences, poetry and computer programming, I enjoy pointing out the connections between them. Formal verse, like computer code, requires an internal logical and linguistic architecture in order to ‘work.’ A good poem, like a good computer programme, is usually written in reverse: the writer starts with the functional goal in mind—in the case of poetry, the effect of its final lines—and then works backwards in order to produce this desired result. Language teachers and debate coaches can use analysis of formal poems—such as many of Shakespeare’s sonnets, or Andrew Marvell’s ‘To His Coy Mistress’—to show students how effective self-expression requires thinking in advance, and the careful formulation of logical and emotional arguments. There are excellent poetry resources available for teaching primary school students the basics of rhyme, metre, and figures of speech like onomatopoeia and synecdoche. At secondary level, the problem for educators and students becomes removing the training wheels: making the leap from reading, to reading Shakespeare. Formal lyric poetry (the building blocks of Chaucer and Shakespeare’s narrative and dramatic verse) has been gradually losing its place in a curriculum increasingly crowded by STEM subjects and skills for workplace-oriented reading and writing. But some educational practices in the humanities over the past few decades have made a bad situation even worse. 08 UKED Magazine

Trust to good verses then; They only will aspire When pyramids, as men, Are lost i’ th’ funeral fire. (Robert Herrick)

What not to do One dangerous strategy is to simplify poetry for secondary students by teaching only ‘accessible’ free verse and prose poetry. (Anthologies of modern poetry published with the curriculum in mind bear some blame for this trend.) Students then read poetry without gaining the fundamental skills and knowledge it requires. This is like learning maths only by using a calculator, or learning music only by watching music videos. As an even more dangerous strategy, time-pressed teachers might attempt to simplify poetry by buying into a common myth of artistic creativity: that poetry is a mode of pure selfexpression rather than a skill-based practice. In this case, there is no right or wrong interpretation of a poem or image; no evidence-based critical reading; no knowledge of history or literature required to read or write; nothing to poetry apart from ‘inspiration’ and a pen or a keyboard. Of course, the past 450 years of enduring English poetry would not exist without deep feeling and ‘inspiration’— but nor would they exist without their authors’ extensive reading, long thought, and above all, rigorous technical skill developed over years of practice, like any good painter, musician, architect, or engineer. One More Civil Gesture: formal verse for literature students Contemporary poets rarely write with a market in mind. The poems in One More Civil Gesture, however, share a common goal: despite their variety of subjects and forms, they try to demonstrate how contemporary poetry can be simultaneously formal and readable, technically challenging and accessible. The poems are formal, but not written in outmoded grammar and style. They delight in images from modern culture, and language that can catch the ears of secondary students tuned to the ingenious off-rhymes in hiphop and R&B. The book’s subjects and themes are accessible to secondary students, and a few poems (such as ‘Moray’ and ‘Pink Dog’) might be suitable for primary level. There are poems on ancient history (Genghis Khan; soothsaying in the late Roman Empire), modern history (the breakup of the Soviet Union; Cyclone Nargis in Burma), nature and wildlife (coelacanths, sea urchins, cuttlefish, magpies, stoats), Eastern and Western mythology, and Japanese culture (from sushi to kabuki theatre). A number of poems explore the afterlives of characters in well-known Shakespeare plays such as Othello, Hamlet, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The book includes examples of poetic styles including ode, elegy, and pastoral. Brief notes at the end of the volume provide clues to exploring the poems.


Poets, for their part, have a responsibility not to tell educators and students that poetry is ‘easy’: this ultimately proves a losing strategy, since it creates a cycle of lowered expectations and diminishing returns for readers, society, and the arts. Instead, understanding that poetry is an exciting challenge with clear rewards encourages both teachers and students to enjoy mastering technical skills like scansion, rhyme scheme, and allusion. These skills are applicable far beyond the ‘creative’ life. Formal poetry connects literacy, numeracy, and subject knowledge in ways that make poetry an ideal medium for interdisciplinary teaching. Maths secondary students can marvel at how the 44 stanzas of Paul Muldoon’s ‘Incantata’ (in The Annals of Chile, 1994) sound conversational while using a single, symmetrical rhyme scheme. History students already read the poetry of the First World War, but they can experience the chaos and dismay of World War II in wellknown formal poems like Auden’s ‘The Shield of Achilles’ and Louis MacNeice’s Autumn Journal, or rarer gems like the poems in Raider’s Dawn by Alun Lewis. And no history textbook can communicate the first-hand experience of the French Revolution and the Terror like Book 10 of Wordsworth’s epic poem The Prelude—written in language as fresh and natural to our ears as it was in 1805. Nor are poetry and science mutually exclusive: science students may share the feelings of a young Seamus Heaney in ‘Death of a Naturalist’, or they might be inspired by the exactness of observation and terminology in Marianne Moore’s animal poems—compare ‘The Pangolin’ and ‘The Jerboa’ to hear the difference between free verse and formal verse, by an artist skilled in both.

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I hope that the poems in One More Civil Gesture help encourage a new generation of readers and writers of formal poetry in English.

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bit.ly/civilgesture One More Civil Gesture by C. E. J. Simons is priced at £10

C. E. J. (Christopher) Simons is a Senior Associate Professor of British Literature in Tokyo. He holds a D.Phil in British Romanticism from Oxford. His criticism and poetry have appeared in publications including the Independent, Oxford Poetry, and the TLS. Find him on Twitter at @cejsimons. Image credit: flickr.com/photos/mshipp/11900538294/ by mshipp used under Commercial Creative Commons 2.0 License.

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Choices:

Putting it together... together

By Ben Waldram

“Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black.” - Henry T Ford Probably one of the most famous quotes about choices, or the lack of, there has ever been. Choice is important, very much so. We want to have choice in our lives; we don’t want to be told what we’re having; we want to choose. That is one of my approaches to learning. I like to give children the choice about how and how much they learn. When I mentioned the theme of this article to two pals, @ICTMagic and @pwallen1985, they both said jokingly: pupils learning - don’t give them a choice! And they’re right, sort of children, and adults, need to learn, but how can we give them ownership of it? One of the ways in which I give children the choice or ownership of their learning is during maths - we may be looking at a particular operation: addition; I’d have taught the skills needed and the method, the children will have attempted them on whiteboards or in books then they will choose which level they want to work at. Red if they find it tricky and they want support; amber if they are more secure, but aren’t confident enough to try the challenge, and green if they are confident in the method and could even explain it to someone else. The beauty of giving children this choice is that they set themselves on a colour they think they can handle and are more willing to push themselves for a challenge once they feel secure in it. They don’t have to stay on the same colour for the whole lesson. The danger of boxing children into a particular colour is that they may find it too hard and confidence in the method is lost or, worse, a child may underachieve:

idea, a simple choice, but one which gives children genuine ownership of their learning. They feel more empowered by the fact they have chosen their questions and I believe that a greater understanding comes because of it. This idea is not revolutionary. It’s just simple, yet clever and often missed. Scrap the workbooks and give it a try. Another area where choice works well is through homework. Mark Creasy (@EP3577) is a massive advocate of unhomework - getting the children to be so enthused about learning that they bring in work from home despite nothing being set. I still set homework, but with a twist - a choice. The children are given a grid at the start of the term and they have to choose one piece a week from the maths, English or other column. They also have to choose one piece of digital learning a week. The children really like this, they love the fact that they can decide which piece of work to do first; they love that they can choose which of the pieces they can avoid; they love, once again, that they have ownership of their work. Many of them bring in extra pieces and often complete some of the tasks beyond the expected.

“Mr Waldram, can I try the amber questions?” “No, of course not! You’re in the circles group.” Straight away, I’ve capped that child’s learning. If children are to truly excel and make progress, we can’t give them a ceiling.

So, are you a teacher that gives your children choice? If so, I’d love to hear what you do. If not, try one of these ideas, give your children some ownership of their learning. Step back and watch the learning take place. Twitter is a powerful tool, in my opinion, the best social media platform there is, especially for educators. Check out Bring A Teacher To Twitter (@batttuk) to see/read more of the benefits of how it can work for you. Image credit: flickr.com/photos/horiavarlan/4574290856 by Horia Varlan used under Commercial Creative Commons 2.0 License. flickr.com/photos/horiavarlan/4273168957 by Horia Varlan used under Commercial Creative Commons 2.0 License. flickr.com/photos/horiavarlan/4519955517 by Horia Varlan used under Commercial Creative Commons 2.0 License.

I often finish with a star question too; a question that will normally involve a word problem. I have a secure and an extension - for those that need to, the secure that has to be completed to secure understanding of the objective and an extension for those that worked on green and have achieved beyond the expectations for the lesson. A simple 10 UKED Magazine

Ben Waldram - Dad and Deputy - two incredibly hard, but incredibly rewarding jobs. Ben teaches in the heart of Derbyshire and has had 14 years at the chalkface. Read his blog at benwaldram.wordpress.com and on Twitter at @mrwaldram


Superstructures: SEN-D and whole school behaviour management systems By Nicole Dempsey I’m going to start with a question: if we design a behaviour management system to ensure learners can learn and teachers can teach, and that students are supported to do the right thing and be the best that they can be, why would it be acceptable for any child to sit outside of that system? Don’t we want these same things for our SEN-D and vulnerable students? Equally, don’t our perceived nonvulnerable students also deserve our guidance, tolerance and flexibility? There should be no one above the system and no one beneath it; it has to work for everyone. And so we are back to this idea of ‘true inclusion’; a school fit for purpose for all of its students. There is no ‘children/SEN-D children’ dichotomy; there are just children. None of them arrive in our classrooms as a tabula rasa and all of them have individual needs of some kind; some more challenging or longer term than others. Any systems that are intrinsically exclusionary, i.e. designed in a way that means some children sit outside of it, foster a community based on internal segregation and an ‘us and them’ mentality. It implies that there are lower expectations for some students’ behaviour. It creates grey areas in which children are more likely to get things wrong and some students may feel a sense of injustice if rules apply to some and not others. It isn’t fair, and it certainly isn’t equality. In short, a fair behaviour management system treats every student the same whilst, at the same time, acknowledging that every student is an individual. Every student. So, I have been prompted to consider how the behaviour management system in operation in my own school corresponds with my ethos on inclusion – true inclusion – and the equality revolution. Ofsted described behaviour at my school as ‘exemplary’ and highlighted our values driven approach, rigorously upheld systems and culture of mutual respect, as the reasons behind this. Nevertheless, I often find myself explaining and justifying our behaviour management system as it is perceived to be excessively strict – the phrase ‘military boot camp’ has been used more than once – and particularly unfair on our lowest ability and most vulnerable students; but this simply isn’t true. Allow me to explain: • It isn’t revolutionary. We expect students to be in school and on time every day, dressed appropriately and with the right equipment, meet deadlines, work hard (on task behaviour) and be polite and respectful (including zero tolerance on answering back). That’s it! • It is routine based. The school day is highly structured and runs like clockwork, and this supports students – all of them – to meet our high expectations. The structures and routines have safety nets built in; there are lots of opportunities for students to be proactive and autonomous in resolving any issues that arise. • It is values driven. Our core values (hard work, trust and fairness) and academy drivers (mastery, autonomy and purpose) underpin every policy implemented, lesson taught and decision made. These six elements are part

of the common vocabulary of the academy – staff and students – and give meaning to our high expectations for both behaviour and learning. • We do what we say we are going to do. The line has been drawn and we stick to it. If you start bending the rules or making exceptions it creates a grey area in which students aren’t sure whether something is acceptable or not, teacher authority is undermined, and both staff and students may experience a sense of injustice if they’re working hard at something and others are ‘getting away with’ not bothering! • Restorative practice is an expectation. If a student fails to meet one of those basic expectations, and also fails to respond to the aforementioned ‘safety nets’ that are built into our routines and structures, they will be given a ‘correction’; a 30 minute, same day, after school detention. This isn’t a punishment but an opportunity for a student to reflect on the core values and academy drivers, and how they can move forward from the situation successfully. There is an expectation for the teacher that issued the correction to be a part of that process by ensuring that the student was given opportunity to avoid the correction, that they fully understand why the correction was issued, by discussing ways forward and by repairing their relationship with the student so that future lessons are not affected. This conversation could take place at the end of the lesson, during the correction itself or at break or lunch time… and it turns a one-size-fits-all system into something else entirely; a one-size-fits-one system. This is what I would call a superstructure; a whole school policy/system that is suitable for the whole school, and a win for true inclusion! Talking about how behaviour is managed for our vulnerable learners is to talk about how behaviour is managed for all of our learners because the system was designed with all in mind. Accordingly, to talk about the system from a non-Individual Needs Co-ordinator perspective is to talk about how it works for all students, including the most vulnerable. For a succinct, honest and truly inclusive non-Individual Needs Co-ordinator perspective on this same topic from @danicquinn, another Dixons Trinity Academy insider, go to bit.ly/uked15jun07. The Individual Needs department remains instrumental for all students at the ‘safety net’ stage of the process. So I get to keep my job.

Nicole Dempsey is the Individual Needs Co-ordinator at Dixons Trinity Academy, a secondary free school in Bradford. She blogs about inclusion and equality in education at inco14.wordpress.com and can be found on Twitter as @NDempseyDTA. ukedchat.com/magazine 11


Are we Entering a Social Eclipse? UKEdChat Special Feature

It may still only be in its infancy, but Social Media is having a big impact on modern lives. Twitter updates and comments are trawled over by news organisations who no longer scoop the exclusive updates from around the world, whether it be earthquake, war stories, or royal babies. Most announcements are exclusively made via social media and this shift in information consumption is easily accessible to anyone with a smart phone, tablet or computer. Let’s face it, technological developments are not slowing down, and the access to information on social media platforms is now easier than ever. Teachers have embraced Twitter as a means of gaining professional development, and we previously shared 25 pedagogical tools that colleagues have found during interactions online that have made such a positive impact in the classroom. Interestingly, this engagement in professional development with teachers on Twitter appears to be exclusive to the English speaking world, noted by Graham Newell (@Graham_IRISC) during the #UKEdChat session on ‘Modern Approaches to CPD’ (bit.ly/uked15jun08), who commented that teachers in Europe are aghast at how teachers gain so much by engaging on Twitter here in the UK.

View

25 Pedagogy Ideas that Teachers found on Twitter bit.ly/uked15jun09

Yet something is amiss. Something is changing with teachers on Twitter that is less collaborative than it used to be. On the surface, in the publicly available social media landscape anyway, there is a feel of reserved comment, sharing and discussion by teachers. What is happening? Are we approaching a social media eclipse of hidden conversations due to a fear? This feeling was pointed out by Canadian teacher Andrew Campbell who blogged (bit.ly/uked15jun10) that a notable collective of educators have caught up on what is happening on Twitter, and their involvement is causing a behaviour shift with early adopters of the platform. Who are this mysterious group of people who are having an unnerving impact on

Social Media usage? School Leaders! Campbell notes, “Tweets that express an unpopular opinion, or are critical of the Status Quo, suddenly have a new audience, and a new set of consequences. Teachers are now under greater scrutiny for their online activities, and are increasingly asked to ensure their tweets are in line with what their school leaders approve.” It is evident to see how many teachers protect their tweeted comments, inviting selected followers. Or the sudden ‘disappearance’ of an individual from your timeline as the surveillance upon the comments are increasingly scrutinised by school ‘managers’ who are trying to protect their image and reputations. Campbell shares the story of this pressure now placed upon teachers, “A teacher explained to me that they’d been called into a meeting with supervisory staff and asked to defend a tweet they’d made about a board policy, which was taken out of context.” Context is key here, as ill-perceived comments can quickly be pounced upon and evidenced easily against and individual. Campbell continues, "Whether teacher social media is actively monitored or not, the fact that teachers are worried that they might be monitored, indicates the chilling effect on teacher expression." As a result, Andrew Campbell asserts, “In response to this pressure some teacher PLNs have gone “underground”. The PLN is active, and functions in the same way, but instead discussion take place on private messaging networks or though or group DMs. The discussion and sharing continues, but in a private space, where the risk of saying “the wrong thing” is eliminated.” The public communities that were built up are slowly eroding yet evolving into an arena that is considerably safer for individuals. Lurking in conversations and leeching classroom ideas continues - and should be encouraged - but paranoia and fear is holding certain individuals back from dissemination of practice or sharing experiences. In our 2014 extensive survey (bit.ly/uked15jun11) 16% of respondents claimed they were aware of their school leaders watching their tweets, but we could never know how many people are unaware of any surveillance of their comments. How can you tell that your school leaders are spying on you? You can’t, but it is happening and a trait of being human and paranoia. You just need to be aware of what you are broadcasting and how comments could be twisted or used against you. Let’s hope we can emerge from this social media eclipse positively, but Campbell warns, “If school leaders want to leverage edutwitter’s culture, they must ensure that they can participate without undermining. They need to be willing to join the discussion as equals and put aside their administrative roles. If they don’t, they may soon find that they are simply talking to each other, and everyone else has left.”

Image credit: flickr.com/photos/nicholasjones/8195008803/ by Nicholas Jones used under Commercial Creative Commons 2.0 License.

12 UKED Magazine


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26

Strategies gful Manageable Assessment Meanin By Ruth Powley

In the old days we compartmentalised. First we planned our schemes of work in folders that lived on shelves. Then we taught our lessons. Then we marked our students’ books retrospectively writing comments like ‘good work, keep it up’ or rhetoric questions like ‘where is your underlining?’ Then came Assessment for Learning. Dylan Wiliam the ‘guru’ of Assessment for Learning explains it at bit.ly/uked15jun12 as: • Questioning to clarify where the learners are • Feedback to move the learners forward • Activating students in helping each other to understand success criteria • Activating students as teaching resources for one another through peer assessment Activating students as owners of their own learning through self assessment However, it should be noted that the AfL model has not been uncontested. How do we find out where learners are? The OED describes ‘assessment’ as “to evaluate or estimate the quality of.” To assess learning we have to make it visible by questioning it through oral or written questions that are constructed to accurately evaluate the quality of the learning. However, assessing the quality of learning is problematic because there are stages to the learning process. Students do not meet a new concept in a lesson and leave the lesson 50 minutes later having ‘learned’ it. Tom Sherrington (@headguruteacher) talks about the Learning Arc at bit.ly/ uked15jun13.

Ruth Powley has had a number of roles in education over the last 22 years, including history teacher, senior leader and senior leader consultant. She is passionate about helping teachers to reclaim their pedagogy. Her blogs on this can be found at lovelearningideas.com or follow her on Twitter at @powley_r 14 UKED Magazine

How to Assess 1. Consider the 6 stages of learning Initial understanding: Do the students GET IT. This is the first crucial step in learning. In Principles of Instruction (bit. ly/uked15jun14), Rosenshine found that “Less successful teachers ask fewer questions and almost no process questions... [whilst] the most successful teachers spent more time...asking questions [and] more time checking for understanding.” Ideas on assessing initial understanding: 1. Introducing hinge questions @HFletcherWood bit.ly/uked15jun15 2. How to construct an effective hinge question @HFletcherWood bit.ly/uked15jun16 3. Hinge questions hub @HFletcherWood bit.ly/uked15jun17 4. My Favourite No @HuntingtonLHub bit.ly/uked15jun18 5. Pose, Pause, Pounce Bounce @TeacherToolkit bit.ly/uked15jun19 Task fluency: Can the students DO IT? In Principles of Instruction, Rosenshine suggests that, “A success rate of 80 per cent shows that students are learning the material, and it also shows that the students are challenged.” Harry Webb pointed out the importance of simple as well as complex assessment. He argued on his now deleted blog site that, “by mimicking the performances of experts we obscure the areas that novices need to develop.” He advocated “a mixed economy of assessment. If you have an independent means of assessing, say, history content knowledge then you will be better able to isolate the particular issues surrounding the writing of a history essay.” Ideas on assessing task fluency: 1. Using Quick Key for in-class assessment @dmthomas90 bit.ly/uked15jun20


Five Minute Flick @atharby bit.ly/uked15jun21 Using multi choice questions to assess understanding @joe__kirby bit.ly/uked15jun22 Using multi choice questions to assess knowledge @joeybagstock bit.ly/uked15jun23 Using multi choice questions to assess complex knowledge @mfordhamhistory bit.ly/uked15jun24 Using hinge questions at the end of the lesson @Benneypenyrheol bit.ly/uked15jun25 Process fluency: Can the students DO IT DIFFERENTLY? In Why Don’t Students Like School? (bit.ly/uked15jun26) Daniel Willlingham points out that only shallow understanding has occurred while “knowledge is tied to the analogy or knowledge that has been provided.” In order to develop deeper understanding, students must be able to practice across examples. Research (bit.ly/uked15jun27) found that “assessment which encourages students to think for themselves – such as essay questions, applications to new contexts, and problembased questions – shifts students... towards a deep [learning] approach.” Understanding of deep, rather than surface, structure: Can the students UNPICK IT? Do students have an expert understanding of the underlying principles? In Why Don’t Students Like School? Daniel Willlingham points out that, “to see the deep structure, you must understand how all parts of the problem relate to one another.” Sweller and Tricot argue (bit.ly/uked15jun28) that this demands a different approach to the task: “novices work backward from the goal... using a means-ends strategy... while experts work forward from the givens.” Ideas on assessing process fluency: Using multi choice questions to assess process fluency @daisychristo bit.ly/uked15jun29 Using closed questions to assess higher-order thinking @daisychristo bit.ly/uked15jun30 Colour-coded assessment @chrishildrew bit.ly/uked15jun31 Consider tracking assessment by concept. @LeadingLearner bit.ly/uked15jun32 Ideas on assessing deep, rather than surface, structure: Self-Assessment Frameworks @powley_r bit.ly/uked15jun33 Adventures with Gallery Critique @atharby bit.ly/uked15jun34

Permanent learning: Can the students RECALL IT from their long-term memories? ‘Learning’ is not enough. As Nuthall points out in The Hidden Lives of Learners (bit. ly/uked15jun35) “as learning occurs, so does forgetting.” Information only becomes ‘learned’ rather than ‘learning’ when it is transferred to the long-term memory. Brown et al. write in Make it Stick (bit.ly/uked15jun36) that, “to be useful, learning requires memory, so what we’ve learned is still there when we need it.” Ideas on assessing permanent learning: Considering the benefits of multi-choice questions @Kris_Boulton bit.ly/uked15jun37 Using student self quizzing @memrise memrise.com Closed questioning for retrieval @atharby bit.ly/uked15jun38 An assessment strategy to embed learning @BodilUK bit.ly/uked15jun39 Assessment to elevate learning @RonBergerEL bit.ly/uked15jun40 Creating flashcards online bit.ly/uked15jun41 Synoptic learning: Can the students DO IT ANYWHERE, for example when it is interleaved with other tasks? Brown et al. write in Make it Stick that, “mass practice give[s] rise to feelings of fluency that are taken [incorrectly] to be signs of mastery.” For secure understanding, students need to be able to apply learning in circumstances that are: • Varied • Delayed • Interleaved Ideas on assessing synoptic learning: Spaced Testing of Everything @dmthomas90 bit.ly/uked15jun42 Formative use of summative tests @headguruteacher bit.ly/uked15jun43 Assessing the big picture @kenradical bit.ly/uked15jun44


2. Use feedback to move the learner forward Examples of each type of feedback can be found at Meaningful Manageable Marking (bit.ly/uked15jun45) and Reclaim Your Marking (bit.ly/uked15jun46). 3. Consider tests for learning as well as assessment Roediger et al. point out (bit.ly/uked15jun47) that “The act of retrieving when taking a test makes the tested material more memorable, either relative to no activity or compared to restudying the material. The size of the testing effect... also increases with the number of tests given.” Richland et al. suggest using pre-testing before explanation to improve learning, explaining (bit.ly/uked15jun48) that “tests can be valuable learning events, even if learners cannot answer test questions correctly, as long as the tested material... is followed by instruction that provides answers to the tested questions.” David Didau (@LearningSpy) outlines the benefits of testing as learning at bit.ly/ uked15jun49. 4. Keep the process manageable Ideas from @TeacherToolkit at bit.ly/uked15jun50 on keeping the marking load sensible

5. Remember the pitfalls Treat peer and self-assessment with caution: As Nuthall points out in The Hidden Lives of Learners, 80% of what students learn from each other is wrong. Beware of your own bias: Alex Quigley (@HuntingEnglish) writes (bit.ly/uked15jun51) about the danger of the ‘halo effect’ when assessing students’ work and considers randomised marking. Cristina Milos (@surreallyno) outlines (bit.ly/uked15jun52) the various ‘effects’ to be taken into account when marking. @Chilledu reports (bit.ly/uked15jun53) on research that suggests that personality similarity affects teachers’ estimation of student achievement. Keep it real: A warning from Tom Sherrington (@headguruteacher): “As we seek to measure learning with some degree of accuracy, we risk losing contact with the meaning of what the nature of learning is.” Assessment Uncertainty Principle (bit.ly/ uked15jun54) Don't overemphasise assessment @MissDCox bit.ly/uked15jun55


Learning for all

Knowing your starting points By Mark Burns

Some years ago, I was observing a music teacher working with her class in the north of England. The bell rang to signal the end of the lesson and the learners filed out. I’d just finished videoing her lesson as part of her Outstanding Teaching Intervention course and from her perspective it had gone well. There was a smile on her face. She thought all learners had made good progress in developing their musical skills. One boy lagged behind as my colleague, Andy Griffith, and I chatted to her. ‘Please, Miss, I use violin, OK?’ ‘This is Adnan,’ she explained to us. ‘He’s recently arrived from Albania with his parents.’ Keen to nurture a love of music in one of her learners, she took a violin from the cupboard and handed it over to him. What happened next challenged the teacher to completely revise her assessment of how well her lesson had gone. Adnan started to play. He launched into a virtuoso performance of the theme from The Godfather, with the all the panache and passion of Nigel Kennedy. It earned a round of applause from all of us when he finished. The teacher was stunned. ‘I had no idea he could play like that. Had I known I’d have given him a lot more challenge in the lesson.’ She paused a moment to reflect and then her eyes opened wide. ‘I wonder if any of the others have got musical skills I don’t know about?’ This is yet another powerful argument for the importance of pre-assessment in meeting the needs of all learners. Our most recent book Teaching Backwards maintains that, if a teacher doesn’t really know his learners’ starting points, it’s going to be a whole lot more difficult for him to teach to close their gaps. Without this crucial knowledge, how can any teacher plan for progression in the subject-specific knowledge and the learners’ current skills and understanding of it? An alarming number of lessons that we’ve observed over the years have fallen at the first hurdle because the teacher has not known learners’ starting points. Often, this isn’t because the teachers are neglectful or uncommitted. Indeed, these teachers may have put hours of thought and planning into what and how they were going to teach. The problem is that they’ve made too many assumptions – assumptions about their learners’ subject knowledge and understanding, as well as their literacy and numeracy skills. And, subsequently, many of these assumptions have turned out to be wrong. These assumptions have often been based upon the learners’ scores/data from the previous year. Rather than over-rely on data that may well be out-ofdate and not necessarily representative of all aspects of a learner’s competence, a better approach is to carry out a pre-assessment towards the end of the previous module, so that teachers have sufficient time to adapt their planning according to the feedback they gather. The pre-assessment can take different forms. It could be a written test, a structured observation carried out by teacher/TA to see whether a learner possesses a particular

skill, or even the completion of a graphic organizer such as a flow diagram exploring the stages of a process. The results enable teachers to establish their learners’ true starting points on the relevant subject-specific skills and knowledge. Pre-assessment will also identify where any of the learners will have come across the content before, outside school. Indeed, without pre-assessment we are actually in danger of punishing children for showing an interest and reading around or ahead in the subject! Pre-assessment and planning Primary and secondary teachers alike talk about the shortage of teaching time. ‘There’s so much to get through’ and ‘there’s never enough time to ...’ are common and heartfelt complaints. But perhaps a more useful question that teachers could sometimes ask themselves is: does everything need to be taught? Pre-assessment can often take as little as 10 minutes of lesson time and is best done a week or so before the topic is taught. Yet the time saved in the long run can be many times more than that. By doing so, teachers can quickly identify what needs to be taught and to whom, and what doesn’t. This enables the teacher to re-allocate their teaching time or their TAs (where available) to those individuals who need more support. It will guide them in finding what support and/or extension materials different learners might need, such as glossaries and writing frames. On the other hand, if it turns out that the learners already have a good grasp of the necessary skills and concepts, they don’t need to waste time going over old ground. The teacher can then move quickly on to the next step. This was typified by Debbie, the head of a maths department. The results of the pre-assessment of her Year 10 class really helped her to focus her teaching time. Most of the class were already able to do 80% of the new module’s content. This saved her three hours of teaching time, enabling her to focus more time on the remaining 20% of content and to give individual attention to those learners who needed extra support. She was delighted. She saw that pre-assessment really could help her to tailor her teaching much more accurately to the needs of all her learners. Now she is in the habit of pre-assessing before every module. The results are that her teaching is more engaging, more differentiated and has more impact on the results that learners attain.

Read our review of

Teaching Backwards

bit.ly/teachbw Follow Mark on Twitter at @OTeaching ukedchat.com/magazine 17


Book Shelf The Spider Strategy: Six Steps To Outstanding by Marcella McCarthy

There are so many considerations with teaching, add in the constant pressure from changing guidelines, new curriculum structures and the constant threat of observation or inspection. It is always helpful to have a strategy in place that can support you in the daily toil of teaching that will give you poise and confidence when suddenly under scrutiny. This is where Marcella McCarthy’s Spider Strategy comes into its own, as each part of the SPIDER (Surprise, Purpose, Investigate, Differentiate Evaluate, Record and Reflect) strategy is a key aspect of innovative good practice which is explored in detail, with tips and examples of proven classroom effectiveness. The book is a digestible, nicely formulated guide for teachers at any time of their career and relevant for colleagues in different phases of education or curriculum departments. The key aspects of teaching are shared, with the strategies shared within the book being practical and easy to implement, helping with questioning, managing work effectively, guidance on using Bloom’s taxonomy for task-setting and much, much more.

View on Amazon at

www.bit.ly/spiderstrategy

A Creative Approach to Teaching Rhythm and Rhyme by Marcella McCarthy

Poetry has incredible power, and is able to express messages in unique ways, with rhythm or rhyme being some of the most formidable creating images and feelings that go beyond that of other works of literacy. This new addition to the practical Creative Approach series aims to help teachers with poetry through using words, sounds, echoes, patterns and rhythm and celebrating the music of ordinary speech. Compiled by Andy Croft, this collection of poems and lesson ideas - which support primary teachers - show the power and joy of poetry. Scattered with ideas, the various focus includes: word games; repetition and rhythm; using rhyme in the classroom; whole-class improvisations; sound and rhythm; syllables and patterns, and; non-rhyming poetry. In this respect, ideas from the book could easily be adapted for use in the reception classroom, as well as with a Year 6 cohort. View on Amazon at

www.bit.ly/creativerr

Read many more book reviews at

bit.ly/ukedbooks

18 UKED Magazine


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Exam Tips Style

Designed by Carddies [carddies.com] co-creator Raquel , who shares some exam tips given to her which helped her through.

Mens sana in corpore sano. Go and study some Latin child!

Me

I am a happy brain

ow

Fun n

ovel

an Ahem... I me und ro a study, run ll, e w a bit, eat ore m e study som ra te ce rest, et

‘Mens’ what?

Tip One Stay Balanced: Factor in relaxation time, as well as breaks for nourishing meals, treats, exercise, fresh air and sleep.

Tip Two Positive Attitude: Exams are going to be with you for a few years, so you might as well enjoy them. They are a chance to show off what you know.

Repeat after me.. .

Exams are fun, exams are fun, exams are...

It ’s daytim e silly!

Why are your eyes shut?

Get studying!

OK, keep your hair -I mean feathers on!

Shhh ! stud I’m ying .

It

20 UKED Magazine

ans It me ver o to go again! s thing

ho u wa ght s o rev I’m ve isi to r? on os lee py .

t ha W you are ing? do

Lo m ok e u ‘re ani p t vis ng he io of n’.

Tip Three From the start of the academic year, stay on top of things.

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22 UKED Magazine


A Little Feedback on

Feedback

By Xiong Fu

Effective communication is crucial in education and feedback is superficially an extension of this idea. But this would completely miss the nuanced interaction between the teacher and students.

and is able to assess the student’s needs to a large degree, it is highly beneficial for learners and for the teacher to have this interaction to discuss their work and where it fits into their wider learning.

Marking and feedback are intrinsically linked and form part of an educator’s wider assessment strategy. I would draw the distinction that marking refers to the practical identification of errors and the search for acquired or consolidated skills or concepts. Feedback begins when the reviewer, whether teacher or peer, begins to engage with the learner about their learning and initiates communication about how the learning him or herself may improve the work or how their past errors may form targets for future developments. Feedback, whether written or verbally conducted, formally or informally, during a lesson or away from the students, is the act of engaging the learner in discourse about their learning, encompassing past progress, present focus and needs, and future areas of development and elicit the student’s response. In Visible Learning (bit.ly/uked15jun77) Hattie writes, “It was only when I discovered that feedback was most powerful when it is from student to the teacher that I started to understand it better.”

Naturally, within a busy school and an even busier curriculum, it is vital that appropriate time is invested. This is where written feedback can be of most value. A piece of work should be seen as a working document which gradually moves towards an advanced state, allowing students to dispel errors and improve their understanding, knowledge and skills in an editorial collaboration between pupil, teacher, and other members of the class.

The methods and requirements of feedback will differ greatly between different teaching contexts. For example, the manner in which feedback is conducted by a primary school practitioner will differ from how it is initiated by secondary colleagues, where science educators may choose different feedback techniques to foreign language specialists. An important idea stems from the realisation that effective feedback consists of a continuing evolving discussion and reflection about the learner, of their work, what aspects to development next and what they need to move forward, both materially and in terms of support from the teacher. Gill and Thomson (bit.ly/uked15jun78) write, ‘Understanding what constitutes an improvement and why it counts is the most neglected area of student feedback.’ They continue by stating that it is vital that the pupils have access to models of improvement for similar work and gain an understanding of why particular improvements were selected by the teacher to highlight and examine the wider trajectory of learning. Therefore, the teacher needs to develop a learning environment and routines that allow for this continual conversation and synchronisation between teacher and pupil. It is easy to frame learning in terms of an individual piece of work and it is essential that any feedback should reflect on the objectives and success criteria set out at the beginning of the lesson or task. However, the teacher should put the current lesson and learning into the wider continuum of learning over the longer term, so not just reflecting on what has come before, but also allowing the student to co-construct future learning and ensure they understand their next step. While the teacher has an overview of the curriculum as a whole

In my own teaching I have found that the benefits of verbal feedback vastly outweigh the short amount of lesson time taken to engage with the students in feedback dialogue. This type of feedback can be categorised in two ways. Firstly, there is the continual oral feedback that punctuates a lesson as the learning is happening. This is multi-directional and each member of the class, including the teacher, is continuously gathering information as the interplay of dialogue permeates the lesson. Each comment further develops understanding by consolidating an idea, or exposing an error or misunderstanding which can be developed. While this can appear random and can be achieved to a certain extent in a reaction to an idea or error as it arises, the teacher should be able to predict many possible sources of error during the planning stage of the lesson, informed by profession knowledge, past experience and previous feedback from the student themselves. The second form of verbal feedback is usually seen as a more formal form, on which the educator has considered previous work and would like to discuss the work with the pupil to further understanding. In my own lessons, as I hand out books to the students at the beginning of class, I often use the opportunity to discuss points of interest with them individually to clarify and expand on any written feedback, allowing the students to internalise my guidance before using it to aid them in the current lesson. I also encourage students to clarify any points they wish to make and to think carefully about their own ideas to discuss with me later in the lesson. In an environment where expectations are high and risks to push students out of their comfort zone are taken. The students and teachers will fail on occasion and mistakes will be made. But in reality a teacher should not attempt to balance success, but they should seek to manage failure to its educational optimum so to use the potential of feedback, of learning from mistakes, to its full.

Xiong Fu is a teacher of Mandarin from Essex who works in a London school. Find her on Twitter at @xiongxiaofu. ukedchat.com/magazine 23


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1 . Find 100 of 3km. (in meters)

30m

What is ¾ of 60ml?

45ml

What percentage of integers between 1 and 10 are even?

50%

How many halves are in 8?

16

Calculate 2/5 of £3.30

In a box of 72 Skittles 3/8 of the £1.32 sweets are orange. How many orange sweets are there in the box? In a day David spends 2/6 of the 27 day asleep. How many hours is this? A man spends 3/5 of the year at 8 work. How many days is this? 219

What is 20% of 680?

136

Calculate 98% of 400.

What percentage is the same as 392 2 ½? 68 . 250% 120 of Year Five pupils are going to France. Simplify this fraction? Fractions & Percentages Treasure Hunts by @PrimaryIdeas Get the children up and moving with these treasure hunts. The same principal as loop cards, but on a larger scale. Download and see answer sheet at ukedchat.com/PMA00020

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