A Taste of PEEL - extracts from PEEL resources
(Even young students are able to identify strategies or procedures that can help with them their learning. In this article Tanya describes how her students (who she had been working with for some time) discussed which strategies would be the most effective for particular learning tasks Ed).
ach week at the whole school assembly classes are judged on how well they are behaved at assembly. At the end of each term, the scores are totalled and the winning class gets a fun day with either the principal, assistant principal or our leading teacher. Our class had won first term, and now they had again for second term! For this particular day they chose to have Mr Wigney, the school principal.
On the Friday after the fun day, I suggested to the children it might be a nice idea to write letters to Mr Wigney about the day, thanking him for all the fun things they did. We had done this for Mr Painter (leading teacher) on our last fun day. The children agreed. I told the children that they would need to select a procedure that would help them to reflect on the day before they started writing their letter. I asked them to take 30 seconds of wait time to think about this carefully. I set the timer so they knew when 30 seconds was up. At the end of this time, quite a few hands went up. The children started to make suggestions and then went to our class display and pulled off the procedure and bought it back to the board.
We put each procedure up on the whiteboard so we could discuss how / if it would be helpful. The children suggested ways of using each one - I drew it up on the board while they spoke.
They came up with :
Think pair share
Make a list
When we talked about the Think, Pair, Share I asked how this would work.Will: "You need someone to pair with".
As a class we discussed this one and we thought about how
many children we would need doing this one in order for it to work. We
came up with four. If we had four people interested we could use that
The Venn Diagram was interesting. When I asked how this one could be used, Amy suggested:
"You could do ice cream and free time".
We talked about why we would want to compare two activities from the day and whether this would help to reflect on the whole day. I needed to prompt the children with this one as I could see a way to use it.
Teacher: "Have you ever had any other days like the one you had yesterday?"
Sophie: "The day with Mr Painter! So you could do Mr Painter and Mr Wigney."
We came to the KWL chart. It seemed this one had been chosen by a child who was really only interested in putting up a suggestion rather than thinking about how it might be helpful. Nonetheless, she was making a contribution to the discussion and sharing her ideas. When I asked her how she thought this procedure could help, she was unsure and couldn t explain it.
Another child, Taeyah said;
"We can t really use it because we didn' t really do any learning on the dayÂ (paused here - I wanted to jump in and say "Hey! We learn something every day!" but I refrained, allowed the wait time for her to think, and then she went on) - Â well, we might have learnt things but that s not what the day was all about."
Sophie: "KWL is more for when we are learning topics."
Tom: "It won' t really work but the PMI would. You could say the Plus, Minus and Interesting things of the day". With that he got up, pulled the PMI card off our display and put it on the board with the others.
Tom had made a good link - the KWL and PMI both have three columns and look quite similar. The PMI would also work well for this activity.
The rest of the class agreed with this, so it was decided that this time the KWL would not really help us plan for our writing. The child who suggested it was thanked for contributing it.
This discussion about how to use the procedures went on for around 25 minutes. At the end of this, the children had no hesitation whatsoever about what they were going to use. I had no templates organised, so I told them they had to draw up their own procedures. Everyone got to work immediately and stayed on task for the remaining 40 minutes, working on their procedure and then moving on to the writing of the letter. Only two children needed support with moving from the procedure to the letter - I suggested to Lauren that she probably needed to think about getting some of her letter done as she had done half of her fish bone and there was only 15 minutes remaining. The other child is new to our class this term and he is still very much settling in. He also has significant diagnosed difficulties with following more than one instruction at a time.
Three children had decided to do the Think, Pair, Share. I asked the class if there was anyone who was making a list that might like to then become involved in the Think, Pair, Share. Several children were doing a list. Only Emily wanted to join the group, so now they had four. They made their own list, went to a partner, then all got together on the floor to share their ideas - independently of me instructing them at each step.
Sophie used the shell container to trace around to make the circles for her Venn Diagram - she independently thought of this.
Brayden: "Mr Painter is a tricky one to spell".
The usual thing for me to say is "have a go at sounding it out." I thought about how I could help him without giving him the spelling myself - I was thinking about the time they wrote letters to Mr Painter and wanted Brayden to remember this too.
Teacher: "Have a think about where you might have written his name before."
Brayden: Pauses. Thinks. Finger in air, says "Writing book".
With my prompt, Brayden remembered we wrote our drafts for our letter to Mr Painter in our writing books. He got out his book and copied the name onto his Venn Diagram.
When Jesse was finished his writing, I asked him to edit his work and perhaps use a dictionary. I had not asked this of him before, but I knew he was very capable of it. James overheard this conversation. When he finished, he didn t ask, he went and got a dictionary and was checking the spelling of the word chocolate . He recorded it in a red pencil on his writing on top of his first attempt at spelling it.
Soon after others were getting dictionaries off the shelf and checking their work. Several were trying to look up the word Chinese as they had made Chinese Dragons on the day, but unfortunately it was not in this childrens version of a dictionary!
Jesse and Zoe were finished. They came to me with their work. I simply said to them, "Can you please work out how to move on now." Without hesitation they packed up and moved on to busy beetle early finishers activities. They needed no help to work out it was beetle activities they could do, not butterfly (beetles are for literacy, butterflies are for maths). When others finished, they did the same, this time without coming to me.
The children had been very unsettled earlier in the week leading up to their fun day . They were unconsciously excited and were very rowdy and quite off task. This Friday morning, the children were as on task and engaged I ve seen them. They are proving what good learners they certainly can be.
We reflected about the use of the procedures the following Monday and this is what the children had to say in answer to the question How did the procedure help with your work?
Tom: Because you, um, make a plan before you do your work and it gives you nearly everything you did on the fun day.
Lauren W: Because we had everything down already and it helped us to write it on the letter.
Taeyah: It helped us organise our ideas and then put them down and then when we forgot what we did, well kinda forgot, we could look on our procedure.
Nathan: It helped writing stuff down before you were writing the letter.
Sophie: It helped us if you did a Venn diagram to remember what we did with Mr Painter and Mr Wigney and remember what you did.
Brayden: Because if you just said write a letter you won' t be able to think what you did and the procedure could help you what you did on the other day.Caelan: The thing, the procedure helps us to plan before our work and helps us and makes us think better and we get to copy it onto our work.
In this article by Ian Mitchell, Ian describes how to use different teaching procedures. It is important for students to know why they are using particular procedures for different tasks. In two following articles, Sarah Foley and Tanya Whiteside show how they have practised this in their classrooms. (Ed)
There are well over 200 generic teaching procedures documented by PEEL and each of these is intended to stimulate and support particular aspects of quality learning. (All of the procedures can be found in Teaching for Effective Learning: the complete book of PEEL teaching procedures and PEEL in Practice the online database). It is important that students understand the links between the procedure and learning. This has two aspects; the first is that students build understandings that procedures such as Venn diagrams have purposes in terms of types of thinking and learning behaviours as well as an understanding of the value of these. The second is that they understand and displays the particular aspects of thinking/ learning behaviours intended by the procedures being used and link these to the content at hand.
Many teaching procedures require at least some GLBs (Good learning behaviours - Journey 1): a procedure such as P.O.E. (Predict, Observe, Explain) or Think Pair Share, for example, will fail if students are not prepared to offer and defend ideas and listen and react to the views of other students.
2.1 There are many aspects of quality learning and different teaching procedures promote different aspects
Concept maps promote linking, POEs promote retrieval and restructuring of prior views, for example. When selecting procedures, you need to think about the aspects of learning that you want for this lesson; the way the procedures are grouped into 8 groups as well as the list of teacher concerns on the database are two ways of doing this.
2.2 Select teaching procedures that will promote aspects of effective learning relevant to the activity/topic (PEEL principle 9) and debrief on both the teaching procedure and the aspects of learning. In other words, start talking about aspects of effective learning/GLBs after they have experienced them, not before (PEEL principle 11)When we began PEEL, we began by talking to students about learning in general, this failed badly and we quickly learnt students had to experience good thinking/learning before we could talk about it.
2.3 Expect that the first time you use a new procedure it may not go as smoothly as it will with a little more teacher and student experienceFor example, you get better at selecting a set of terms for a concept map with practice. Moreover the first time students do one, they often see the purpose as to get every term linked, not to think about each term with each of the others. This means you commonly lose a bit of time the first time you use a new procedure. Capitalise on this teacher and student learning by trying to use any one procedure more than once during the year.
2.4 Often students need to see an example of the output from a new teaching procedure to be able to get a sense of what they are going to do.Student need to be able to imagine the destination. They do a better concept map if they have seen one with terms linked to many others, they do a better (more creative) piece of translating content points into a creative story if they see/hear a couple of examples of writing that is creative.
2.5 Where needed, acknowledge that you are asking them to think more/harder, look for opportunities to point out the value of thisConcept maps (to continue with this example) require quite a bit of thinking, students may grizzle at this. it is better not to dismiss these complaints out of hand, agree that, in one sense you are calling for more and take opportunities to show how they have benefited (for example by clarifying something they had not understood).
2.6 PEEL procedure require energy, so variety is important ( PEEL principle 8)The issue here is the same as in 2.5, we learnt early in PEEL that we needed more variety when setting tasks that required more thinking - we literally ran into problems setting concept maps too frequently when we first became aware of them - use a range of procedures that stimulate linking.
2.7 Teaching procedures reported as useful early in the year include ones that get students offering ideas and questions (PEEL principle 1)These are not the only ways of getting off to a good start, but they do allow teachers to build a sense of shared intellectual control by valuing and using students contributions and questions.
2.8 Build to the point where students can be asked to choose which procedure to use from a short list
This takes several months as students need to be familiar with a range of procedures, but several teachers then get students to decide on what they will use to, for example, plan a piece of writing. When making this use of procedures, the term teaching procedure is much less appropriate, we are still searching for a better label: procedures, learning tools and thinking routines have all been used.
Relevance to later journeys
Teaching procedures form part of the language for learning (Journey 3). With appropriate debriefs, they can build shifts in students perceptions of teacher and student roles (Journey 6) such as the students having shared control over what contexts, questions and issues are discussed.
There are a number of procedures that scaffold different types of reflection such as POE and community circles. The way the teacher debriefs and operates during the procedure can also help build Journey 7 (understanding teacher s purposes) as, for example, students build understandings that the teacher sees wrong answers as often more valuable than right answers. This last point is an example of Journey 8 that all (or nearly all?) classroom tasks have a purpose in terms of big ideas/key skill - they are not just tasks to be done for their own sake.
Some procedures will promote and perhaps scaffold Journey 9 (active monitoring), though in the end this should be often done independently. Similarly, some procedures provide opportunities and intellectual space for Journey 10 (decision making and independence).
One of our 10 Journeys of Change is students building the range of procedures that they use. Early on, these procedures are teacher selected, but Sarah has got her class to the point where the students can now make sensible suggestions and decisions about which procedures would be appropriate for a particular task. (Ed)
This term the theme for Year 8 is Challenge. In Communication and Culture we look at a variety of challenges including:
A part of the term also involves reading the play version of Two Weeks with the Queen.
When we had finished reading the play the students complete a variety of activities designed to help them investigate the plot, themes in the play and analyse the characters in greater detail.
At the beginning of the session I told the Yellows (Sarah's class is 8 Yellow) that the first job we needed to do was make a list of the main events that happened in the story. I asked them how we could best do this. After providing the students with some wait time Jaymee said We could do a think - pair - share (their favourite response, usually pretty safe)
Yes, we could do that Jaymee, well done. Why would a think - pair- share help us in this situation?
It could give us ideas if we are stuck and can t remember,
Great Trent, thanks,
Or if we have missed some of the story if we were away, other people can fill us in, Jared added.
Great, any other ideas?, I asked.
So we can remember on our own in the think part, added Meaghan, so we do the hardest thinking and remembering on our own.
Fantastic Meaghan, that s right. Any other ideas apart from a think - pair - share?. There was silence at this point. O.K. think - pair - share it is, go for it guys.
The Yellows spent the next two minutes thinking and writing on their own before pairing up and sharing their ideas. Each pair then joined with the other pair on their table and they shared as a tribe. Following this we shared as a whole class groups.
After asking for responses from each group we ended up with the following list:
I told the Yellows that this was a great list, but not everything was a main event. We discussed the idea of a main event being something that keeps the story moving along.
As a class we decided to remove:
Great, I said. Now we are left with a great list of main events. All these things help keep the story moving forward. Then I asked But - what is the problem with our list?.
Not enough answers?, Rob offered unsurely.
Hmmmm, I said, I think we have a comprehensive list up there.
Can we have some wait time?, asked Reece.
Yes!!! Great idea, have a minute.
After a minute I asked for ideas - silence. They seemed a bit awkward and agitated that they couldn t give me the answer that I wanted. They were focussed on what they had said. I asked Ash to read out the list, and she did. What do you notice about the list? I asked.
I know I know!, said Ben, with his arm straight up in the air waving around.
Tell us then,
They are all jumbled up and wrong, not wrong but out of order
Right!, I said, Thanks Ben. So, what do we do about this? What is a procedure we can use to help us order this information?. More wait time.
Reece put his hand up. I dont think I know what one to use, but I know ones we can,t do.
O.K. that s fine, what are they?
Um, a mind map, or the other map, a semantic one. They won't order the information, just organise it differently.
Brilliant Reece, you' re right! The maps would just represent the info in a different way. Great, you really understand the purpose of the maps, well done.
I did a mind map when I was brainstorming what the main events could be, Trent piped up, I know about the maps too, he teased.
Good, I said laughing.
Ash put her hand up at this point and said What about like a time - line, but without having like dates and stuff at the bottom?.
Good!, I said excitedly.
What the word?, Mollie said while waving her hands up and down um .. ah ..you know!?!?
A continuum, Julian offered Like the one we did in science.
Perfect Julian and Ash! Why, why is a time-line/ continuum a good idea?.
It will put the events in an order. So if you haven 't read the play you can still know what happens, Julian said.
Fantastic!. The Yellows then set about putting their list of events into a continuum.
Following this the Yellows went onto looking at the themes that are raised in the book. They were instructed to use a mind map to do this.
Students had examples coming off each of the themes, not just Challenge.
Following this students were required to analyse the relationship between the characters using a Literary Sociogram. Below is a copy of the template they were given.
Students wrote connections on the lines such as:
Colin - Luke: Colin and Luke are brothers. Colin thinks Luke is a bit spoilt and annoying.
The Queen - Colin: Colin tries to contact the Queen to get his best doctor to save Luke. They never actually meet.
The last activity students had to complete involved them thinking about what it would be like to be a particular character at different points of the play. I told the Yellows they were required to put themselves in the situation of one of the characters and reflect on what that would be like. I gave the example of being Luke's parents when they hear the cancer diagnosis. Ainsley suggested that we could use a mind map, and everyone agreed that could work.
What would that look like I asked.
Ainsley suggested that the middle part of the circle said Luke s parents finding out about the cancer and around we could right things like Being sad, Being angry and worried
At this point Trent put his hand up (and yelled out) No a Y chart! Like we did for the poverty thing. In a previous lesson the students had to imagine what it would be like to live in a situation of poverty. We has a great discussion about using a Y chart to put yourself in different situations. Trent had remembered this.
Great Trent! Ainsley gave us some ideas for the Feels like section, can you give us some suggestions for the Sounds like and Looks like area? Looks like crying, hugging, and talking to doctors maybe.
And sounds like crying, asking questions of the doctors, saying Its O.K. to Luke.
The Yellows offered a few more ideas for each section of the mind map and then went to work. Before the end of the session the students were introduced to the topic of the essay that they would be writing the following week:
The characters in Two Weeks with the Queen face a variety of challenges. Discuss.
When we reflected at the end of the session I told the Yellows that they had just completed a sequence of learning activities. I asked them to respond to the following:
List the learning activities that we completed. Choose two and comment on their purpose and how they helped.
How did the sequence help?
I felt that some of their reflections, in particular about the sequence were really good. When we shared our reflections in Community Circle it was apparent that the students knew what the procedures were. They were able to list:
Reflections on how the sequence helped them included:
It got us to think more and more as we went, from the events to themes which are harder - Ben
It took us through everything we need to think about to write our essay. Events, themes and characters, and we probably need to write about all those - Meaghan
The sequence helped because every activity is one that made us think, not just copying the main events off the board, They were all ones off the back wall Reece (we have the names of procedures on the back wall with the GLBs. Quite a few students made comments that they all made you think - SF)I feel like I have started planning my essay Kim
One feature of this article is that It can be taken as a small external validation of a claim that PEEL makes a difference: Tanya had been in many classrooms during her four years of training and, for her, Amanda s classroom was very different. A second feature is her use of what we call a sequence, as well as metacognitive debriefing on learning during a teaching round. The idea of linking a string of PEEL procedures into a teaching sequence was first developed by Jill Flack and Jo Osler in 1994; at the time, it represented a culminating point in what had been a very intense two year journey. To work, time has to be invested early in the year building up the range of procedures that students are familiar with. This includes not just what the task requires, but why and the learning purposes of each task. Only then do students see how each part of the sequence links to and builds on the earlier ones. This is a high level of metacognitive awareness and for some years, we were not aware of any other primary teachers using this approach. We wondered whether it was something that was so involved that it would remain idiosyncratic to Jill and Jo. In recent years however, a number of teachers in the PEEL primary group have started using and extending Jill and Jo s ideas. Amanda has broken new ground in her use of De Bono s thinking hats to scaffold post activity conversations with her students about learning and teaching. It is sometimes argued that beginning teachers should concentrate on mastering the basics before trying something differen . What is interesting is that Tanya, as a student teacher, watched Amanda and then felt comfortable with using this complex approach all she needed was a vision of the possible. (Eds)
Being in my fourth and final year of university, I felt I was yet to see what a GREAT classroom was like. I had seen some good classrooms, and even more that I'd rather forget, but I had never seen what I wanted for my classroom, how it could be. I had been introduced to PEEL during my first and second years of university, and while I thought it seemed great in theory, I didn't quite know how I could actually use it.
My placement with Amanda Saffin at Oatlands Primary School , and her Grade 5 class, was the pinnacle of my degree. The children in Amanda s class were amazing, and worked so differently, and spoke so differently to that of other children I have worked with at primary schools. They spoke a language of learning - they were aware of the good learning behaviours , of how to help themselves, of how to move on. The children had been taught to be reflective, to openly make comments, to react towards other people and not just accept everything they are hearing...they ask questions, they make links, and they are independent. This was what I had been waiting 4 years to see!
During my placement I explored with the children a sequence of procedures . In continuing with their Gold Rush theme, together with Amanda, I created a project for the children to think about the lives of the people on the goldfields. The children researched a gold rush character that they had some choice over (preferences were taken from each student in the form of a 1, 2, 3 vote, each student got either first, second or third choice). For each character, there were either 2, 3 or 4 people working on it.
Through the sequence the children were asked to think about what they already knew, research and read information and books provided to learn more information, and work with others to gain further knowledge of the character. The procedures lead the children into writing a letter/journal/diary and then into sharing their work, with further procedures following this to conclude the sequence. This sequence was going to help me see how the procedures could be used, and their effectiveness on learning.
The project started off with a group Semantic Map (all the procedures mentioned in this article can be found in either of two PEEL resources 1 and 2). All the children were familiar with semantic maps as they have done them in their class previously on many occasions. The children worked on the map, firstly with what they already knew and experienced at Sovereign Hill, and then added to it with what they found from the information provided.
Following this, informal discussions took place individually between children and myself to gain an insight into why they thought we did a semantic map, and how it helped with their learning. They also reflected on working in a group.
It helped because you had to think more. (Regarding the usefulness of the Semantic Map)
Because it's easier to get down all the ideas in words instead of sentences. (Regarding the Semantic Map)
The next step in the sequence was a PMI , Plus, Minus, Interesting Chart . The children were asked to use what they noted on their semantic maps to sort it onto a PMI, and to add extra information they found from researching and from their prior learning of being at Sovereign Hill. They did this initially individually, and then paired/grouped with others who were studying the same character to compare and share what they found and thought about.
Again, following this procedure, I chatted informally with each child to see what they thought about the procedure (the PMI) and if it helped them in their learning about their character. Their comments were most insightful;
It gives us more learning, we are writing what is happening, the interesting, good or not good. When I was thinking I was thinking of learning the information as it was really interesting. (Regarding the PMI)
Instead of learning about interesting things of our character you also learn good and bad so you re not just doing one. (Regarding the PMI)
It helped organise positive, negative and interesting things and we can put it on our semantic map next time. The PMI was to help us think and remember things about the people that we are doing that are positive, negative and interesting. - (Regarding the PMI)
Using what they had learnt in the first two procedures, they were then asked to write a letter or a journal entry or a diary to share with the class. In doing this the emphasis was on the fact that every class member would gain knowledge about each character from the gold fields, and be able to decide which character they think they would have wanted to be. There were criteria for the writing, and what needed to be included so the children knew what the expectations were.
The letters, journals and diaries produced by the children were FABULOUS! The children went to much effort to include the information from their semantic map and PMI s to write an interesting and realistic recount of the characters life on the goldfields. The presentation of the letters, journal and diaries was phenomenal, with children going to much effort to make their piece of writing look old, they used tea bags, ripped the paper and some children took it home and burnt it with help from their parents. It was totally up to each child how they presented their letter/journal /diary, it was a chance for their imaginations to run wild. Each child then had the chance to read it out to the class. This is when the third procedure was introduced; the Information Grid .
The information grid was a useful tool for the children to collect information about all the characters on the gold fields. They took notes while their peers read their recount. Being the good learners they are in this class, they also noted down questions on the grid for individual people, and we held a discussion at the end, with children asking really positive and thoughtful questions, and responding well to each other. This was initiated by children, as they wanted to clarify points raised and seek more information on certain characters. The children took exceptional notes and asked useful questions, and were then able to think about which character they would most like to be, and which character they would least like to be. The responses were thoughtful and included reasons.
Following this was the final procedure; the 3/2/1 . The children had not done one of these before, but responded well. The task involved them writing down 3 things they learnt, 2 insights they had, and one question/wonder they still had. We then placed these into a hat, and at the end of the day we drew it like a raffle, answering three lucky (though anonymous) questions, as a group.
To help myself evaluate the sequence of procedures the children wrote about it, using questions I had asked to guide their thinking. The responses were amazing, the children had put quite some thought into what they had done. They reflected on why we used the sequence, what parts were important for them, and what they had learnt.
If I were the teacher I would keep it (the sequence) in the same order because if you do it that way it builds up your knowledge.
The procedures helped you to learn about that person and help you think like that person.
The PMI and the Semantic Map helped me to do my letter a lot because I put all the information I d learnt into my letter. If I hadn t found out all that information my letter would have been really, really boring.
I learnt about myself also that I don t always need to go straight to doing what the task is but to do some sequences first to help me.
Certainly, PEEL did enhance the children s learning. The learning that takes place through the procedures is significant - to have asked the children just to write a letter/diary/journal straight away would have resulted in a far less interesting outcome. And the children were aware of this with many realizing how difficult it would have been to write a recount without first having collated their thoughts and research.
Overall, the sequence worked extremely well with this class on this topic. I would recommend using a sequence of procedures, not necessarily this sequence, or this order of procedures, but one planned and designed to meet the learning needs of the children in your class.
Personally I can't wait to introduce some procedures into my class next year. As I mentioned, previously, I didn't really know how I could incorporate PEEL into a classroom. I now see how the many procedures can slide into any topic, theme or interest, and how the children do see them as useful to their learning. By teaching children the many procedures early in the year, it enables you to focus on the content for the rest of the year, you do not have to teach the procedure over and over so you have more time to focus on the topic or theme. PEEL does make learning more interesting and fun for the children. They don t feel as though they are working hard, but they are actually thinking and working harder than they would normally! It is clear that the procedures are a fabulous way to organise information and make learning come to life, the procedures certainly are a tool for effective learning.