A typical A level lesson

How an A level lesson works with Craig’n’Dave resources

Stage 1

Before the lesson for homework

Students should watch one or more of our videos before the lesson for homework. We have a video for every bullet point of the specification, exactly matched to a specific course. Unlike our GCSE videos, there is no “take notes” icon. This scaffolding has been removed to prepare students for University. Students should make their own notes in an exercise book, ideally using the Cornell method of note taking.

We now have official Craig’n’Dave Cornell notebooks available!

Those that have followed the approach with our GCSE resources will be very familiar with the requirements, and those new to Computer Science are mature enough in year 12 to learn quickly. If students struggle to make notes, here are some tips:

Making notes from A level videos

Videos are provided on our student website and hosted on YouTube for FREE.  Your students don’t need access to YouTube in school because they watch the videos for homework. However, if you want to host them locally, they can be purchased on a memory stick from our shop. Our videos are also available on the ClickView platform.

Watching a video in advance of the lesson is a great way to teach and learn because:

  1. More time in the lesson is created because there is less chalk and talk.
  2. A teacher can start with questioning from a baseline knowledge.
  3. Encourages independence.
  4. Students can pause, rewind and rewatch if they don’t understand.
  5. Absent students are never left behind.
  6. Each video is ~12 minutes long or less, so there is no irrelevant waffle!
What if they don’t watch the videos?

If students can’t watch the video for homework, an alternative is to set them pages to read from a text book and take notes from.

If students are unable to watch the video at home, they could watch the video in class with headphones. What’s important is that students can work and learn independently and you aren’t tethered to the front of the classroom working at the pace of the slowest student.

Don’t forget it’s not unreasonable to expect students to complete homework, so having high expectations and ensuring students meet them by following school procedures helps too!

Stage 2

Quiz mode using Smart Revise

Our revision platform is great as a course companion. Teachers can unlock topics as they are taught allowing students access to an increasing amount of content as the course progresses. Spending 10 minutes on the quiz mode at the beginning of every lessson vastly increases knowledge retention.

Stage 3

Introducing the key question

Students have an empty workbook for each topic that we call a structured learning record (SLR). There are two versions of our workbooks. A scaffolded A4 and unscaffolded A3 versions. Each page of the A4 learning record is titled with a key question. These are matched to the theory content of the specification and any clarification documents. Key questions challenge students and help them to see the bigger picture too.

Key question

Stage 4

Bite-sized theory activities

Each topic includes a set of bite-sized theory activities for students to engage with. Students don’t need to complete all the activities, and teachers should be selective about which ones they would like to use with their class. The video that students watched for homework will give them a big head start. Sometimes they might provide the answer and sometimes it will need more thought and application of knowledge. Encouraging students to help each other and ask questions will help them.

Once answered, these activities provide students with what we call “assets” to use later when they complete their SLR.

Whilst students are working, you can spend time with individuals checking their understanding, asking them questions to support and stretch.

There are hundreds of activities included in a Craig’n’Dave membership, most in PowerPoint format for easy presenting and editing. Model answers are included too!

No more boring theory lessons!

With a typical Craig’n’Dave lesson you don’t need to stand at the front of the class going through endless PowerPoint slides of theory content. Students get bored with this way of teaching. They want to be more active beyond simple Q&A.

To deliver outstanding A level lessons that suit all learners you need students to be able to learn independently with self-starting activities that allow you to spend more time with individual students and less time talking at the front of the class.

With Craig’n’Dave lessons the theory content is taught through the videos so you can start with activities immediately. With this approach students are bringing a knowledge of the subject to the lesson already so the pace is accelerated.

This approach is ideal for students who miss a lesson because they can easily catch up.

Stage 5

Class discussion & recap

Once students have spent some time on the individual activities you may choose to stop the class and work through some of the answers with them so that they don’t record incorrect information in the next stage of the lesson. This is also a good opportunity for whole class Q&A. You could also choose to recap some of the knowledge to ensure a sound understanding.

Stage 6

Putting the assets into a structured learning record

Students should now have sufficient understanding to enable them to answer the key question in their SLR. They do this by adding the assets they created from the bite-sized activities and supplementing these with additional notes, descriptions, explanations, annotations and illustrations. The notes they made for homework will help with this too. Students won’t need all the assets and they will need to be selective about which ones to include.

Students should be encouraged to complete this independently so the work is differentiated by the students themselves. Students can add additional pages to their SLR to include as many assets as they need to answer the key question.

We suggest students complete their SLR at their own pace, only starting it in the lesson and completing it during private study periods.

A good SLR would capture all the required knowledge and understanding succinctly, creating what is known as a knowledge organiser. Encourage students to use short sentences, bullet points and annotations to make revision easier.

Stage 6

Programming / Project

Many lessons should include some time for programming. A Craig’n’Dave membership includes lots of tasks and challenges for students to self-select and attempt. At A level we encourage students to have another go at the same programming tasks and problems they tackled at GCSE in a different programming language. Due to the way the programming problems were differentiated at GCSE there will be plenty of new problems for students to tackle that they haven’t attempted before using the same resources.

To make lessons more interesting and to prepare students for a wide variety of projects they may undertake for unit 3, we also teach Lua and the Defold IDE for 2D games development. All the resources you need including in-depth tutorials are included in a premium subscription.

We teach console programming in the Autumn term of Year 12. In the Spring term our students undertake the Defold tutorials. In the summer term they experiment with their own game/program ideas and write the analysis for their programming project coursework. In year 13 all programming time is spent working on their project and writing it up.

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