Just one more thing…

OR…Thinking inside the box.

Nearing the end of the Pedagoo Christmas Party we asked participants to ask any questions they would like us to discuss at the after party. Questions were put on slips and posted into a black box.

I like using a box in lessons to post questions and ideas as it promotes honesty and curiosity through the anonymity. If no one knows who wrote the question, no one can judge.


We had a few fun ones and I can answer those here:

1) It depends on the type of bear; natural habitats impact on these habits.

2) Don’t worry it was shading, Columbo didn’t have a beard.

The thing is, if you use a box to generate random questions and ideas in a lesson you’ll get some fun and silly responses. I’m ok about that as I like a little humour and when you draw the questions out you can filter the madness in a lesson if you wish.

Fast forward to the after party…

We’d already had some great ideas shared over fabulous food at Blake’s in Newcastle, all paid for by @VisionForEd. Then we opened the black box, what happened next was a passionate and intriguing debate on the first two questions. There was so much to discuss we didn’t really touch the pile of great discussion topics. It seemed such a shame we hadn’t debated all of these wonderful questions.

The solution…
To keep the learning going I’m suggesting we post each question to Twitter for a slow chat. That means using the hashtag in your post, but any time you like over a week rather than feeling rushed. As Pedagoo was the reason for this wonderful event I’d like to suggest we launch each one via the @pedagoo Twitter account to allow a wide range of people to engage and reflect on the following hashtag:-

(Thanks to @lisajaneashes for the hashtag idea.)


The Many Questions…

1) What makes an inspirational teacher?

2) How do we move away from exam based assessment towards a more holistic and skills based form of assessment?

3) One good way to stretch and challenge the top pupils in your class?

4) What is one quick way of assessing pupil progress in your lesson?

5) How do we value ALL subjects on the curriculum?

6) Where do you get all of your enthusiasm from?

7) How do you persuade “some” SLT to stop being negative and smile?

8) How do we embed information skills into a packed curriculum? Who’s responsible?

9) “I don’t do Excel” – How do you help this middle leader? (Tips for using Excel in Education.)

10) How can we address apathy towards the Arts, and the notion that the only worthwhile subjects lead to financial success? (Slightly edited to protect the innocent.)

11) How do we deal with “Lesson Stoppers” where there is an immediate child protection issue?

12) Why do some kids do their homework and some kids do not?

13) How do we ensure that EAL learners are included and accepted by native English speaking learners in our classroom?

14) How can we better share what we do as professionals?

15) How do we best include EAL students within a mixed ability classroom to make progress?

16) Convinced of the value of homework, why?

17) How will the changes to GCSE be valuable?

So that’s 17 weeks of chat…we’ll see what happens after that.

Final Thoughts

I’d really like to thank @lisajaneashes for organising the event and the hugely generous sponsors that made it happen:
Vision for Education
Newcastle University
Crown House Publishing
It’s organisations like these giving back to the teaching community that allows a lot of special things to happen in our area and I’m truly grateful for that.


Bits and bobs from the day are on the following:

There will also be a few blogs coming out soonish on http://www.pedagoo.org to share ideas from the sessions held.

Hopefully see you on the chat…

Barry Dunn – @SeahamRE



  1. gwenelope · December 7, 2014

    Reblogged this on The Echo Chamber.


  2. David Theriault · December 16, 2014

    That’s a way better origination story than my idea for #slowchatED http://thereadinessisall.com/2014/01/24/things-that-suck-twitter-chats-lets-fix-them PS you guys and gals know how to party. We need to step our party game UP in the “states.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • barrydunn · December 16, 2014

      Reading the blog you obviously put a lot more thought into it. We judt had 17 questions that we felt ought to be put out there.

      So is there much of a Teachmeet scene in USA?


  3. David Theriault · December 16, 2014

    We do the following in order of impact and regularity:
    1. edcamps (Saturday all day unconferences based on conversations not sit and gets)
    2. Informal Pub/Restaurant meetups
    3. CoffeeEDUs

    I’m hoping to get a rally car type of unconference started and a train meetup started. F2F is where my best learning/ideas come from. PS Thanks for being willing to blog and put your ideas out there. The more we share the more we reduce the public’s need for “data” to justify our impact and commitment.


    • barrydunn · December 16, 2014

      Sounds like there is a great sharing scene over there. Good luck with the rally cars:)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. David Theriault · December 16, 2014

    PS… that’s a rad header you have on your blog. Just that picture earned you a follow.


    • barrydunn · December 16, 2014

      Very kind; it’s the prop the technician team made to store the “thought bombs.”

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: The spirit of #pedagooxmas: Pedagoo Xmas Party, 6th Dec, 2014 | hblanchett.com

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