Active strategies to check progress in lessons
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Active strategies to check progress in lessons. Follow me on Twitter – @ Jivespin. John Mitchell The Hemel Hempstead School. Introduction. These strategies I have gathered from a range of INSET courses and books which I have found useful in checking student progress in lessons.

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Active strategies to check progress in lessons

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Active strategies to check progress in lessons

Follow me on Twitter – @Jivespin


The Hemel Hempstead School


These strategies I have gathered from a range of INSET courses and books which I have found useful in checking student progress in lessons.

They can be used as starters, plenaries or mini-plenaries in lessons and add engagement and curiosity to lessons. I have tried to give examples to each strategy and these examples I have used in my History lessons.

I hope you find these strategies useful and please feel free to contact me on Twitter [@Jivespin] if you need more information.

Tagxedo images

Tagxedo images are images that are like word clouds but rather than sticking to clouds you can use any image you like to form the shape.

I have used various speeches, key words of a topic and poems to make up word clouds summarising a lesson or a source.

This one is of Hitler’s first speech as Chancellor in 1933. I used this as a plenary and for students to pick out a word in the cloud and to explain its significance in one sentence.

Target practice

This activity requires each student to have a copy of the target sheet – usually A5 size.

The teacher then reads out ten facts, statements or key words relating to the topic studied.

The students then must sort out these into two categories – those that are a ‘hit’ [which usually are true or correct statements] or a ‘miss’ [which usually are false or incorrect statements].

The following two slides show this in action for a Year 7 class on Roman towns.


  • Write the following features of a town on your target sheet-

  • If you think the feature would exist in BOTH a Roman and a modern town write it in the HIT area of the target.

  • If you think the feature only exists in a modern town, write it in the MISS area of the target.

Which of these features exist in a Roman AND a modern town?

  • Take away food shops.

  • Pedestrian crossings.

  • Public lavatories.

  • Blocks of flats.

  • Shops of all kinds.

  • Public baths.

  • Policemen.

  • Sport stadiums.

  • Theatres.

  • Town houses.

Answer ........

  • All the features exist in both Roman and modern towns, so they are ALL HITS!

Tweet me!

Ask students to write a Tweet to summarise their learning in your lesson. Limiting students to writing a message of only 140 characters really gets them thinking and to consider what real progress they have made in your lesson.

Facebook Statuses

Ask students to write a Facebook status for the historical figure they have studied in that lesson. For example – what would William the Conqueror write as his status after fighting the Battle of Hastings?

One step further – has Fakebook, where students can write whole profiles for historical figures.

Mixed doubles

Taken from a Question of Sport, this strategy involved creating a numbered grid and filling the grid with twelve images or words that are links to a particular topic.

Students then roll two dice [if you can get them with 12 sides all the better] and looking at the grid they have to explain a link between the corresponding words or images.

This gets students talking about the topic studied and the following slides are examples of the grid. A great revision exercise is getting the students themselves to create the grids.

The New Deal

The First World War - Overview

Bingo card

Taken from the icebreaker, Human Bingo, this activity requires students to complete a bingo card by asking each other the questions on the card. They need to get up and walking about in the classroom and aim to get a different person for each question.

A-Z of a topic

Taken from the icebreaker, A-Z, this activity requires students to complete an A to Z card of a topic or what they have learned in the lesson.

I use an A-Z spinner from the Tell Me Game to randomise the classroom discussion bringing together their words from this activity which can be done either individually or in pairs.

What’s inside my head?

This is activity involves the teaching thinking of a key word/event/idea related to a topic. The students need to write 1/2/3 on a piece of paper.

The person who is giving the clues asks the group to guess the key word/event/idea they are thinking of by giving three clues to the answer. On each clue, the group members writes down beside their 1,2, 3 what they think the word is.

The clues range from the very broad to the last that is highly focused. Each clue is a separate round.


Key event – Dunkirk Evacuation

Clue one – Event in the Second World War.

Clue two – Happened in 1940

Clue three – Involved the BEF crossing the English Channel.

What is the question?

The teacher gives the class an answer, such as The New Deal. The class need to think up a question for that answer.

This can be differentiated easily by challenging the group members to create two or more questions that all generate the same answer.

This can encourage effective discussion as well as check understanding.

Choose a number

Student picks a number – the rest of the class summarise their learning by creating a sentence with the number of words chosen by the student.

Choose a number AND a letter

Student picks a number and a letter – the rest of the class summarise their learning by creating a sentence with the number of words chosen by the student. All the words must start with the chosen letter.

Useful websites – some great and simple tools to use in the classroom on this site including a random name picker and Fakebook. – an online post-it note notice board. Can be used as a platform for students to contact you about revision and setting homework. – probably the best word cloud tool available. – a website that helps you create posters. Great for revision.

Thank you for reading

For more resources follow me on Twitter – @Jivespinor my blog at –

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