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Stretch & Challenge 2

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Susan Blakemore

on 18 September 2013

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Transcript of Stretch & Challenge 2

Quality of Teaching in the school

When observing lessons, inspectors may find the following prompts helpful:
Are pupils working independently?
Are they self-reliant – do they make the most of the choices they are given or do they find it difficult to make choices?
To what extent do pupils take responsibility for their own learning?
How well do pupils collaborate with others?
Are pupils creative, do they show initiative?
Are pupils developing habits of good learning? What are they?

High expectations
Pupils learn exceptionally well
Systematically and effectively check pupil’s understanding
Anticipating where they may need to intervene
Teaching of reading, writing, communication and maths is highly effective and cohesively planned
High levels of engagement
Commitment to learning
High quality marking
Constructive feedback
Well–judged and often inspirational teaching strategies
Sharply focused and timely support and intervention

Evaluations please
Independent Learning – staff meeting slot, Training Day input
Introduction to Coaching – two twilights with 6 weeks in between or Training Day slot and a twilight

Thank you

Fact or Opinion

Separating fact and opinion is an important skill in everyday life – when in contact with the media, talking with others, at work etc.

Ask pupils to pull apart articles, reports or other texts in order to discern which aspects are factual and which are opinion.

Extend by:
Challenging pupils to think about the comparative validity of fact and opinion.

Asking what ‘facts’ can be definitely known.

Getting pupils to analyse what authorities the facts and opinions rely on.


Interpretation is a hard skill to develop in any area of life. It requires knowledge of the subject, whatever that may be, a critical, analytical approach to evidence, the ability to question oneself and one’s own motives and much more besides.

All the better to challenge pupils with then!

Give a piece of text which is difficult or ambiguous and ask pupils to interpret it as best they can.

Or, give pupils evidence along with a set of questions that are not directly answered in the material. This means pupils must interpret and infer from what they have.

Extend by pushing pupils to justify their interpretations and contrast them with alternatives.


Set pupils deliberately ambiguous tasks or questions and offer them only limited help in completing them.

The vague nature of what is going on may lead pupils into difficulties, however it is here that they will be forced to apply problem-solving skills, try different approaches and develop a response they feel to be appropriate.

Give pupils the confidence to experiment by:
Telling them it is good to fail as they can then explain what they have learnt by it.

That answers are valid as long as they can be justified by the pupil.

Ideas for written tasks

Divide into groups of 2/3/4 people
Each group looks at their example activities
Carry out the activity or read and understand the activity
Think of how this could be used in your classroom


Gimme 5

Link to independent learning:
a pupil-led plenary that can become part of classroom routine
encourages self-reflection
Gives pupils a tool for self reflection, encourages pupils to think about their progress and celebrate their success
How it works:
Gimme 5 can be used at a very basic level. Give pupils 5 minutes at the end of the lesson to consider the progress they have made.
They should list 5 things they have learned during the lesson that they did not know before.
This strategy is excellent if you are pushed for time!
However, Gimme 5 is best used with greater structure. Try asking pupils to consider these five simple questions:
What did you learn this lesson that you did not know before?
Which part of the lesson did you most enjoy?
Which part of the lesson would you like to look over again?
What skills do you think you have used today?
Which of your achievements this lesson are you most proud of?

The example opposite shows the Gimme 5 hand that can be used to present pupil’s answers (or they could just draw around their hand!)
Pupils should share some of their answers with
the rest of the class. It is often best to ask for
volunteers as the answers can be quite personal.

By task. Gimme 5 is both accessible and challenging

Sue Blakemore
School Improvement Adviser

Stretch & Challenge 2


Set pupils the task of influencing others in the class. This could be over an idea, a perspective or a particular way of viewing the work or learning.

The task itself could take various forms –
Pupils must write a speech promoting what they believe;

Produce a presentation to persuade the audience of the veracity of their ideas;

Speak to other pupils individually and try to convince them face-to-face.

Extend by asking pupils to evaluate their attempts at influencing others and how they would advise others to go about it.


Making good decisions often requires careful thought and consideration, weighing up of options and an understanding of the motives of ourselves and others.

Set pupils decisions which they have to make and ask them to explain and/or justify the reasoning behind what they have chosen.

For example;

How should taxes be spent?
What should we learn next lesson?
Is it better to conduct field or laboratory experiments in this topic?

Big Picture

Often in school, knowledge can become compartmentalised and lose its connection(s) to the real world.

Challenge pupils to re-forge these connections by transferring knowledge out of the classroom and into society and the environment.

Ask them to analyse how what they are learning might link to jobs, ideas, actions, beliefs or relationships. Or, where it might have come from originally and why it might now be deemed important for schoolchildren to know.

Extend by asking pupils to think backwards from their own bigger picture and develop a plan for what they think should be added to the curriculum.

Choose a pupil to sit and observe what is happening in the class (this might work particularly well with debate, discussion or group work).

Their role is to assess what is happening and offer suggestions for change, ways to improve, examples of excellent work etc.


Ask the pupil to produce a set of criteria they will use for their assessments.

Get the pupil to justify their decisions, including the criteria chosen.


A great game to use in all manner of subjects.

Pupils are given a consequence (or cause) for which they must develop a defence. This can be done individually or as a group activity.

The most important consequence of not listening to your parents is…

You save your ears from being worn out
You miss potentially life-changing information
You fail to get a complete picture of their world
They might not listen to you
If you don’t listen, how can we say that they have really said anything?

Defend Your Consequence

This works well if pupils have been constructing an argument or engaged in debate.

When they have finished their work, ask them to change perspective and develop a line of reasoning that counters what they have already written or spoken. Extend by telling them that the new perspective must aim to undermine all the key points of the first.

Extension: Ask pupils to synthesise the two arguments and produce a final thesis, stronger for its more rounded view.


Ask pupils to produce questions for the topic they are studying. These could be scaffolded by criteria or left open.

Pupils go on to create model answers to the questions they have set
Pupils swap questions with one another and then answer these
Questions are taken in by the teacher and redistributed at random. After writing answers pupils meet up with the question author to mark the work.

Jackie Beere Author of Outstanding Lessons

Student centred activity
Students construct questions/challenges
Students co-designers
Students judge success, self correcting
Creative opportunities
Success and failure equal partners for learning
Reflection/ metacognition
Develops habits/dispositions
Language for learning
Recognises diverse needs……

Fount of knowledge ‘filling empty vessels’
Didactic – teacher guides students
Teacher questions
Outcome focus
Intelligence is fixed
Teacher talks

Laminate newspaper, journal or magazine articles relevant to your subject area or topic. These can be kept to hand for when pupils finish their work.

Supplement with questions or tasks that give the pupil’s reading purpose, e.g.
What is the main argument?
Is their an element of bias in the text?
Do you agree with the article? Why?
How might you summarize the content of the article for a peer?
How might we follow up on the article’s content?




The ideas in this kit come from a variety of places including my head, the head’s of colleagues and the websites listed to the right...

In this toolkit there are a variety of ways to challenge pupils intellectually. All will work as extension activities to be slotted into an existing lesson - thus minimizing teacher workload whilst stretching student thinking. There is scope to develop most of the ideas into whole-class activities.

Throughout, the ideas are presented as generic. They can be used across the curriculum and adapted for specific subjects or topics. Usually this will involve inserting relevant content into the generic shell of the activity.


Miss out a letter
Retell in exactly 50 words
Summarise for Twitter – maximum of 140 characters
Genre clash - rewrite as action/horror/romance film or football commentary, cooking programme, Hello magazine article, write new sub-titles

Give students a list of five random words,
e.g. Box; Cow; Sunshine; Beyond; Fence

And ask them to:

Show how any or all of the words connect to one another
Explain how they may influence one another
Suggest how they might link to the learning
Create a story encompassing all the words
Mind-map the connotations of each word and then analyse the links between them

Test Questions
Adapted from an idea by Edward De Bono – a super author for all things thinking.


Random Words

Give students a list of five random words,
e.g. Box; Cow; Sunshine; Beyond; Fence

And ask them to:

Show how any or all of the words connect to one another
Explain how they may influence one another
Suggest how they might link to the learning
Create a story encompassing all the words
Mind-map the connotations of each word and then analyse the links between them
Full transcript