PD Sessions (Personal Development)

Over the past few weeks Tutors have been delivering some PD (Personal Development) sessions that I created about Reading (DEAR) and Independent Learning (Information Literacy).

As part of the first Reading session students were asked to create an A4 landscape poster about the MRC, e.g. how to use it and what you can find there.They could then vote for their favourite.

I have received lots of wonderful examples that I have shared via the Academy screens, but here are some of the ones I liked best!

mrc poster winners (1) mrc poster winners (2) mrc poster winners (3) mrc poster winners (4) mrc poster winners (5) mrc poster winners (6) mrc poster winners (7) mrc poster winners (8) mrc poster winners (9)

Research Hints: – The Basics

Information Literacy:

The six stages of Research

This circle can help you to complete effective research and produce your best work.

Start with the planning circle, think about the questions inside it and then move onto the next stage.

You can repeat this process several times before you complete your work.



Year 7 Information Literacy Programme: End of Year Challenge

End of Year Challenge


As an end of Academic year activity I challenge each of my Year 7 students to answer 20 questions – some easier than others.


So they have to pick out keywords; decide where to look; find the subject index; or use Oliver; remember where the encylopedias are; and then remember how to use some or all of these methods of finding information.


Some questions are easier than others; some students remember more than others but they all have ago and it is great to see the change in their confidence from when they first started at the start of the Academic year.




Year 7 Information Literacy Programme: Bibliographies


(not to be confused with Biographies!)


We touched very briefly on Bibliographies when we were evaluating books  – did they have one or something similar for example “Further Reading” usually at the back of the book near the index?


What does Bibliographies mean?

A few suggest that it is something to do with the Bible and we chat about word origins – Biblio being latin for book.


Moving on I share some videos about Plagiarism from Plato online, and emphasise that copying, and copying and pasting is cheating.


Students are amazed that this is the case. “But surely the people who put things on the internet know they are going to be copied?” said one innocent student. I pointed out that this wasn’t the case and gave “creative commons” as one example where the author or creator can give usage rights away depending upon use.


They continue to be amazed when they hear that TDA students have been ‘kicked off’ courses because of this plagiarism or cheating.


“But what happens if it’s a really good idea?”


Then you can use it IF you say where you found it! – put it into quotes and list the book; website; article in your……


wait for it…..





I demonstrate the order


Author, Date, Title, Place & Publisher


and where to find that information before setting them a challenge to create a mini bibliography on a topic of their choice.


Football, cricket and make-up are popular choices, but ghosts, athletics, and scouting are examples of some of the rarer topics chosen.

So a quick reminder about using the subject indexes and then we’re off to the MRC to find books to include in our bibliographies.


Comenius Fairy Tale Project – continued

Our version of Jack and the Beanstalk keeps getting better and better. I went to a rehearsal last week and parts had been given out and most knew all their words.


The feedback I gave them all was about talking more slowly – a really difficult thing to remember when you are nervous and just want to get to the end of your lines. The different narrators were effective popping in and out of the action but they need to ‘make their presence’ larger to gain the audiences’ attention.

Final rehearsal tomorrow and then the real thing, performing to the other schools at Spalding later this week.

Good Luck to you all!




The latest Comenius Project – funded by the Education and Culture DG Lifelong Learning Programme is based upon Fairy Tales – and as soon as I heard that I knew that the MRC should be involved.


It is a two year project working with some of our students (11-18) from Thomas Deacon Academy and other schools across Europe,- Lincolnshire UK;Germany; and Slovakia.


Year 7 Information Literacy Programme: Evaluating Resources

Evaluating Resources


In this session I ask my year 7 students to think about how and why they pick one resource over another.

We ‘brainstorm’ the 5 W’s before using them to evaluate a book.


The 5 W’s are, of course,








How we can use these to evaluate resources….



Who is the author? Why would we look for a particular author?


Perhaps we have a favourite author, or we know they are an expert in that subject. Or perhaps they are a Dr or a professor – this may mean we are more able to trust what they write.






What is a really easy one to work out. What is the book/resource about?


If we need to research Insects then knowing what the book about is probably the easiest way to evaluate a resource. If the book/resource is about fishing or aliens, or the Third Reich then we can quickly eliminate them. We probably do this without thinking about it.





When refers to when the book/resource was published.


Is the book old? Does it matter? How up-to-date is it?

The date a book was published is usually found on the back of the Title Page near the copyright symbol.


Just because a book is ‘old’ doesn’t mean it isn’t useful. However if you want to know about the new species of butterfly; or a newly discovered egyptian tomb, then an old book won’t cover that.





Where can we find the answers in the book? Does the book have a contents page or an index? Most good books do – but have a look at a series like the Horrible Histories Series, these contain lots of interesting information; presented in a fun way, but if you are looking for a particular keyword you have to scan the whole book as they don’t have an index.


Another useful thing to look for is a Bibliography; or ‘Further Reading’; or ‘More resources’ etc. These can be found at the back of the book – near the index and can provide us with more useful resources – or where to go next.





Why should we use a particular book over another?

Does it have pictures? Are these drawings (and subject to an artistic impression) or photographs (more realistic)? On the other hand drawings and diagrams may be more clearly labelled. It’s all about the reason why we are looking for them in the first place.


Another ‘why’ would be what I call the ‘Goldilocks’ question. This relates to the size of the text – is it too big? Too small? Or just right?

It is the Goldilocks question because we each need to find the best fit for ourselves. Perhaps the writing is too big, with not enough information or detail perhaps  too ‘babyish’ or easy? Perhaps the writing is so small that we cannot read it – if so – there is no point struggling – we need to find something better and more suited to our needs.



So evaluating resources is about thinking about why we are looking for; why we need that information and finding the best resource to help us.


Who, What, When, Where and Why are easy questions that can help us find the best resource.







Comenius Fairy Tale Project – continued

In this weeks workshop the students started to map out our modern version of Jack and the Beanstalk.








They had great fun pretending to be armchairs, plasma 3D TV’s and even an apple tree!


By the end of the session we had managed to run through the whole performance.


Next week we firm up parts and tighten up the performance.


Looking good!






Jack and the Beanstalk: Modern version from ideas from Y7 Comenius group.

Jack and his mother live in a small ground floor flat which they rent from their landlord who lives in the penthouse at the top of the building.  They are struggling to find money to pay the rent and so Jack’s mother tells him to sell his comics, his computer and his old Nokia. He goes to Peterborough market and is given an old MP3 in exchange. His mother is furious with Jack and throws the MP3 out of the window into the vegetable patch.


The next morning Jack wakes and hears a stream of music outside. He decides to see where it is coming from and goes into the lift. This is a talking lift and it announces his arrival on the top floor where the landlord, the market trader, lives with his wife. She meets him and takes him to the kitchen where he sees a huge turkey being prepared for the evening meal. He walks around the penthouse and in one room he notices some of his comics, his Slimline PS and his computer games. He realises he has been swindled by the market trader, who has just come home and yells at his wife.  Jack  helps himself to a Rolex watch,  an IPad and the large turkey in the kitchen  so he and his mother can something else besides baked beans on toast.


The talking lift shouts to the market trader that Jack is leaving with stolen goods. Jack smashes the lift controls when he is on the ground floor to silence the lift and hears a terrible scream and bang! The market trader, in his haste to pursue Jack, had fallen down the lift shaft and died.


The residents call the police who arrest Jack. He is taken to court and gets an ASBO for burglary.  The market trader’s wife said the man tripped and fell down the lift shaft so Jack was never blamed for his death.


Jack took over the market stall and is now a very rich man.


The latest Comenius Project -funded by the Education and Culture DG Lifelong Learning Programme is based upon Fairy Tales – and as soon as I heard that I knew that the MRC should be involved.


It is a two year project working with some of our students (11-18) from Thomas Deacon Academy and other schools across Europe,- Lincolnshire UK; Germany; and Slovakia.