It’s been a while again. Darwin and Lamarck   Leave a comment

I’m teaching a year 10 group biology at the moment.  I am struggling a little, being a chemistry teacher by training I miss the practicals which are easier to find in C1.  In attempt to make evolution more interesting and “active” here is a play what I wrote.  Its a short script for a fantasy science meeting in 1850 where Lamarck and Darwin are invited to speak.  (I have played fast and loose with the history please do not moan.)

The show is gate crashed by time travelling Brian Cox and David Attenborough.  In the middle you will need to show this video clip

giraffe fight video BBC

Darwin and Lamarck

Please find me on twitter with comments please @agittner


Posted November 4, 2015 by agittner in Uncategorized

Take Away Homework Menu   1 comment

Take Away menu side 2I’ve been using this with my GCSE Chemists. This is a good group with many self-motivated students.Using this sort of homework where they have the choice has enabled some of them to produce truly wonderful pieces of work. Work that they would have grumbled about if I had set it as something that had to be done. It is working less well with the middle ability who on the whole try to choose the easiest ones. Getting some of the less motivated students to produce work of the level of challenge required has also been a challenge.


Take Away menu side 1
What I really like about this type of homework is its ability to save me time and work load. I set these up at the start of term and it produced good quality homework without me having to think about it each week. When we did a student voice survey on homework many students said they like choice and also homeworks that are directly related to the classwork and going over it again. This helps with this no end. I also set other specific homeworks on some weeks where there is something specific I want them to learn. (For example I am helping them learn to use flashcards for revision)

I will be re-launching it with this new revised menu. I’ll let you know how we get on.


Below is a pdf version, contact me through twitter @agittner if you would like an editable version.

Chemistry homework menu version 2

Posted February 22, 2015 by agittner in Uncategorized

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School Improvement.   1 comment

Our headteacher, Steve Davies, is a great proponent of the thinking of William Edwards Deming. Given half a chance he will delight in sharing his enthusiasm, for hours.  Deming was the American industrialist mathematician whose thinking revolutionised the manufacturing industries of America and Japan.  Deming’s thinking also developed into the ideas behind Total Quality Management. With it we are making profound but sustainable improvements in teaching and learning. It goes against the grain of many leadership styles and is totally against the thinking of some of the academy chains. Its power for change is profound; so profound I don’t fully understand why it is not cited more often for improving schools. He summarises his ideas into his 14 Points for Management.  These are taken from; here

1. Create constancy of purpose toward improvement of product and service, with the aim to become competitive and to stay in business, and to provide jobs.

2. Adopt the new philosophy. We are in a new economic age. Western management must awaken to the challenge, must learn their responsibilities, and take on leadership for change.

3. Cease dependence on inspection to achieve quality. Eliminate the need for inspection on a mass basis by building quality into the product in the first place.

4. End the practice of awarding business on the basis of price tag. Instead, minimize total cost. Move toward a single supplier for any one item, on a long-term relationship of loyalty and trust.

5. Improve constantly and forever the system of production and service, to improve quality and productivity, and thus constantly decrease costs.

6. Institute training on the job.

7. Institute leadership (see Point 12 and Ch. 8). The aim of supervision should be to help people and machines and gadgets to do a better job. Supervision of management is in need of overhaul, as well as supervision of production workers.

8. Drive out fear, so that everyone may work effectively for the company (see Ch. 3).

9. Break down barriers between departments. People in research, design, sales, and production must work as a team, to foresee problems of production and in use that may be encountered with the product or service.

10. Eliminate slogans, exhortations, and targets for the work force asking for zero defects and new levels of productivity. Such exhortations only create adversarial relationships, as the bulk of the causes of low quality and low productivity belong to the system and thus lie beyond the power of the work force.

  • Eliminate work standards (quotas) on the factory floor. Substitute leadership.
  • Eliminate management by objective. Eliminate management by numbers, numerical goals. Substitute leadership.

11. Remove barriers that rob the hourly worker of his right to pride of workmanship. The responsibility of supervisors must be changed from sheer numbers to quality.

12. Remove barriers that rob people in management and in engineering of their right to pride of workmanship. This means, inter alia, abolishment of the annual or merit rating and of management by objective .13. Institute a vigorous program of education and self-improvement.

14. Put everybody in the company to work to accomplish the transformation. The transformation is everybody’s job.

Initially when I started to think about this blog post I intended to re-write each point into education speak and develop each principle and comment on its relevance to schools. In the end I decided that they deserve to stand on their own.

Posted February 13, 2015 by agittner in Uncategorized

The play what I wrote.   Leave a comment

A short play that I have put together to use with year 10 students doing B1 AQA. They need to know about Ignaz Semmelweis and how he introduced hand washing to prevent patients dying from the dreaded Childbed Fever. It has a cast of around 18 people though one or two of the nurses and narrators lines could be split. please let me know if you use it how you get on with it. Thanks


Semmelweis and childbed fever

Posted October 2, 2014 by agittner in Uncategorized

Not going to lie…I’m rubbish at keeping a blog up to date!   Leave a comment

Still its better than nothing. A few links from my recent reading.

I am still struggling to introduce SOLO into my routine work. The carousel of teaching our specialisms to Year 10 and 11 means I just get going with a group before they have to move on to their next teacher. Still here is a link to more SOLO resources .

Some stuff on DIRT from the Learning Spy.

Yet more on DIRT.

Posted January 15, 2014 by agittner in Uncategorized

My weekends findings   Leave a comment

Hard water revision.

This is a good revision summary of hard water, suitable for GCSE chemistry C3 papers.  AQA and Edexcel both have this on the specification (not sure about OCR)


Paper foldables were a big hit at the ASEconf.  This web-page is as good a summary of available resources on the topic.  I find students really like these.  When given the option how they create notes an increasing majority are opting to use these.

Look out also for resources from Dinah Zike who seems to be the doyenne of foldables in the US, here is one of her pdf booklets

My role within leadership is teaching and learning, so those two are teaching and learning orientated.  The next two are useful check lists of things to do for leadership groups on preparing for Ofsted.

Finally look for Pete’s Lesson Toolbox resources on the TES website

A huge list of resources for revision and ideas for learning in different ways.


Posted April 21, 2013 by agittner in Uncategorized

Two in a week.   Leave a comment

Its amazing what a holiday can do.

So here are some more resources;-

Sound advice on the traits of being a good teacher from Tom Sherrington who tweets under the name @Headguruteacher. one of the regular contributors to #SLTchat and one of the growing headteachers who are using twitter to share and discuss good practice.  Look through his other posts for more sound reflections on school leadership and further good advice.

RI channel

The next link is to the Royal Institutes video channel on YouTube.  I particularly liked the one on limestone and calcium carbonate.  Many of them are done by Peter Wothers who did the wonderful 2012 Christmas Lectures.  Some useful and informative clips that might find a place in your lesson.

Manchester Science





Now a link more aimed at primary science.  Manchester University has created some very useful animations that cover a range of science topics for KS2.  I like the microbes one and could even see me using it for KS3 in the introductory lesson.  Each resource has an introduction which often includes an interview with a real scientist from the university before some straightforward visually interesting animations on each topic.


Posted April 11, 2013 by agittner in Uncategorized