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Stretch and Challenge
What do we mean by ‘stretch and
• Discuss ideas with the people on your table.
– Compose a definition of ‘stretch and challenge’.
– Use the Post-it notes to record words that show
‘stretch and challenge’ means to you.
• How has our idea of ‘stretch and
challenge’ changed over time?
• How has our idea of learning changed
• What might learning and ‘stretch and
challenge’ look like in the future?
What makes learning ‘stretching and
• A Year 9 class were working on the techniques of persuasive writing.
The lesson objectives were explained and a starter activity involved
students completing a card sort.
• In the next phase of the lesson students worked on whiteboards and
identified persuasive devices. The teacher them took them quickly
through the criteria for a level 5, 6 and 7 piece of writing. Students were
given extracts from pieces of writing and were asked to choose which
was best and why. They then had to write one paragraph on the topic of
capital punishment, using persuasive devices.
• In the final part of the lesson, students were asked to peer-mark two
other students’ work, then look at and review their own work and check
• One further activity was introduced before students had to say what they
had learnt in the lesson.
• The lesson closed with students revising persuasive techniques on the
• The person working the hardest in the lesson
was the teacher.
• It contained seven or eight activities which
were conducted at speed.
• The sheer number of tasks did not allow
student to consolidate their understanding, or
even complete the tasks.
• Attempting to understand and apply three
sets of level criteria in 5 minutes is
Factors that commonly limit
Overloading of activities
Limited time for
• Concentrating too much, or
too early on a narrow
range of test or
More need to can
Train activities to
feel that the as
respond they should
PEE: write fromthan
read, is thisor discuss
not deviate always
learning, rather their
issues in class.
the pace of the
teachers or not
activities,in the lesson
activities need to have
Need about theto
Think to provide
validity form their last
depart of asking
Activities should plans
opportunities to orare,
students tothey need
if early as peer
provide a personal
self/assess pieces of
for example, that
to to ensure that
work thatis taking
learning know less
short, or incomplete.
place. teacher had
There is an overanticipated.
emphasis on the to
Pupils need time skills
of analysis at the
expense of can
before they personal
valuably discuss and
Activities for ‘stretch and challenge’
Plan questioning – questions that you ask and time for students to ask questions
Use Bloom’s verbs in your lesson objectives
Use images to generate discussion or challenge assumptions – including Wordle
Use on-line tolls to promote discussion – such as Blogs, Edmodo or Lino-it
Plan sequences of lesson that allow students to develop and refine their skills – no need to rush
through meeting exam criteria
When choosing grade criteria, use the optimum grade for that class – so use A* criteria to
challenge students, some will make it others will try
Modelling – this needs to be talked through and explored explicitly
Mentor texts – examples that students can refer to – these could be differentiated
When teaching up to A*, avoid the term PEE – use different terminology and break down the
expectation of what the analysis will be
Students should be taught to create arguments/opinions – rather than structuring their responses
Encourage students to be challenging of the text, of you, of themselves
Peer assessment – what are they doing, how is it working – sharing ideas, collaborating
Encouraging them to be reactive to the questions/arguments, form their own opinions and
Shorten quotations – take them from across the text, make links, embed them into argument
Give students a ‘choice’ of activity, a ‘choice’ of how to present their ideas – ‘choice’ is really
In Voices of the Mind, James Wertsch outlines an approach to mental
functioning that stresses its inherent cultural, historical, and institutional
context. A critical aspect of this approach is the cultural tools or
"mediational means" that shape both social and individual processes. In
considering how these mediational means--in particular, language-emerge in social history and the role they play in organizing the settings
in which human beings are socialised
Set up situations for students to
form their own opinions, discuss
and debate ideas
• Socratic Dialogue
– Text interrogation
AText Interrogation - Poetry
wordle is a pictorial representation of words. The larger the word, the
more times it appeared in the original text.
Thunks the same number of
If words are the same size, it means they appeared
IsCan a justified?
• war ever fly cause
aeroplane to crash?
1. Discuss the content of the wordle you have been given?
2. Which words from the poem do you feel are more significant and why?
3. What message do you think this poem is sending to the reader?
What do we mean by justification?
4. Can you tell which literary period this poem is from – which conflict it
What exactly are we defining as „war‟?
may be in relation to?
Do we have a duty to employed?
5. What poetic techniques do you think this poet protect our country?
How do we decide what we fight for?
Who decides if we should go to war?of this
Socratic Dialogue: Does the writer
poem believe that war is justified?
Do any of your answers/opinions
change if I tell you that this poem:
Is called Charge of the Light Brigade?
Was written by Alfred, Lord Tennyson,
the poet Laureate from 1850 until
Was written to honour the dead cavalry
men from a battle on the 25th October
1854, in the Crimean War?
Of the 637 men, 247 were killed (38%)
and that the suicidal charge was the
fault of miscommunication among the
officers in the British Army?
Embedding ‘stretch and challenge’
• Planning for ‘stretch and challenge’ should
begin in KS3.
• Consider making links with primary
– Visiting children in their primary setting
– Moderating work – particularly reading and
– Joined up trips/enrichment activities
Ways of ‘stretching and challenging’
learning – could you find places for
these in your curriculum?
Wondering & questioning
Exploring & investigating
Giving & receiving feedback
Sharing the product
Sticking with difficulty
Daring to be different
Crafting & improving
Playing with possibilities
• Encouraging a love of reading – develop
policies across the school to promote reading
• Don’t begin test preparation too early –
ensure the curriculum allows time for
embedding learning and creative
opportunities for students.
• Improve transition between KS2 and 3.
• Encourage teachers to be flexible when
responding to pupil progress as the lesson
Ofsted – ‘Excellence in English’
• Schools in this survey ensured that pupils’
experience in English extended beyond the
classroom. They did this first through the provision
of rich extra-curricular experiences outside school,
such as reading groups, theatre trips and working
with creative practitioners. They also ensured that
classroom activities, wherever possible, involved
real tasks, purposes, audiences and issues related
to the local or wider community. In this way, the
curriculum matched pupils’ needs and interests.
Ofsted – Excellence in English
• Good-quality oral work engages pupils, including boys
and pupils who might otherwise take little interest, and
yields benefits in all areas of English. Talk happens in
all English lessons but it is not always well-structured
or taught explicitly. The survey schools planned
carefully for pupils’ speaking and listening, making
good use of drama and group activities. This had a
significant impact on pupils’ enjoyment of English and
more effective provision for speaking and listening
improved pupils’ work in reading and writing. Group
work was often particularly well planned and effective
• Train teachers to respond to the pace of
learning, rather than the pace of the
activities in the lesson
• Activities should last as long as they need
to to ensure that learning is taking place.
Overloading of Activities
• More activities can be counterproductive.
• Students will rush activities, or not
• Teachers sometimes feel that they should
not deviate from their plans. However,
teachers need to have the confidence to
depart form their plans if early indications
are, for example, that students know less
than the teacher had anticipated.
Limited time for independent work
• Pupils need to have extended periods to
read, write or discuss issues in class. Or to
complete the work that has been set, such as
• Think about the validity of asking students to peer
or self/assess pieces of work that are very
short, or incomplete.
• Pupils need time to complete something before
they can valuably discuss and evaluate it.
Concentrating too much, or too early
on a narrow range of test or
• Over-reliance on structures such as PEE: is
this always appropriate?
• Need to provide students with opportunities
to provide a personal response.
• There is an over-emphasis on the skills of
analysis at the expense of personal
Listening focuses for thunks
• Choose someone to observe. What did they
do well? How could they improve their
speaking and listening?
• Who is the leader of the discussion?
• Who keep the discussion going and how did
they do it?
• Who made the most interesting point? Why
did it appeal to you?
• Did anyone change your mind? How did they
Listening focuses for poetry
• Who referred to the text to support their
• Did anyone make reference to poetic
language/terms – how did this help their
• Who made connections between the writer
and the reader? How did this support what
they were saying?
The limits of my language mean the limits of
(Ludwig Wittgenstein 1889-1951)
Ludwig’s father was an industrial tycoon, and by the
late 1880s was one of the richest men in Europe, with
an effective monopoly on Austria's steel cartel.
Wittgenstein and Hitler were born just six days
apart, they ended up two grades apart at the
Realschule a small state school with 300 pupils.
In January 1917, he was sent as a member of a
howitzer regiment to the Russian front, where he won
several more medals for bravery including the Silver
Medal for Valour, First Class
He gave away his entire inheritance. He left academia
several times teaching in schools in remote Austrian
villages, where he encountered controversy for hitting
children when they made mistakes in mathematics.
“Thought undergoes many changes as it turns into
speech, it does not merely find expression; it finds
reality and form”
(Lev Vygotsky 1896 – 1934)
Lev Vygotsky was born in Belarus, then part of the
Russian Empire (present-day Belarus) into a nonreligious middle class Jewish family. His father was a
He was raised in the city of Gomel, where he obtained
both public and private education. In 1913 Vygotsky
was admitted to the Moscow State University where
he graduated with a degree in law in 1917.
Upon graduation Vygotsky returned to Gomel, There
is virtually no information about his life during the
years of the German occupation
He studied a range of topics white attending university,
including sociology, linguistics, psychology and