Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Collaborative Learning Activity to do After Marking Past Papers - 'Ask An Expert'


Here's a collaborative activity I do with a class after I've marked an assessment or past paper for them.  It's perfect because it can address their different needs, I can only be in one place at a time and peer explanations are fantastic!

If I can we move to a larger space than a classroom so that they have lots of room to spread out - the dining area is one of my favourites.

The explanation below is longer than the activity takes to facilitate, so please bear with me:

1) Students fill in how many marks they achieved for each question on a sheet (see below) - the versions I have at work also have the grade boundaries on them. 

 2) They work out how many more marks they need to move up to the next grade and the one above that - it really motivates and encourages them to see how quickly they can improve.

3)  Each student is then given 3 pieces of post it note - I cut the square ones into 3 vertical strips so that each has a sticky bit on the end.

4) Working from the back of the paper (it does make sense, honest!) they find the last question they achieved full marks on (for example Q 25) and write the number 25 along with their name on one of the post-it strips. 

5) They then continue forwards through the paper until they come to their next 2 full-mark questions (Example Q 22 and Q 19) and again write their name and the number on their remaining 2 post-it strips.

6)  Students then come out and stick their little strips next to the question number on big pieces of paper (see below)

7) The large pieces of paper are displayed and then students are given time to find other members of the class who can help them with the questions they couldn't do - the only rule is that they must be able to explain their new learning to me - that way real understanding is actively encouraged.

8) At the end of the session they can admire their progress and success from the beginning of the lesson.

9) The big sheets of paper can be kept for future reference by the class whenever they need to find a friend who can help on a particular topic.

I'd love to hear of any ways you think this could be modified or how you get on if you try it with your group.


  1. write the names of the 'topic' next to each question on your large sheet to help them familiarise with the topics they can/can't do.

  2. I've doing this for over a decade. Hardly new!

    1. Great to hear I'm definitely doing the right thing then. I've never come anyone else using questions starting at the back of the paper going forwards. Can you think of any ways it can be improved? Other things that can be done with it?