Tag Archives: Solo taxonomy

EdchatNZ inaugural meeting 8 and 9 August 2014

Twitter is a wonder, last Thursday and Friday evenings and late into the night I sat up in the UK and followed tweets from Hobsonville Point (@HPSS) in Auckland, New Zealand. They were hosting a first time face to face (some twitter speak is nonsensical) meeting for NZ educators. I had heard about it through a few twitter sources including Steve Mouldey (@GeoMouldey) who I have tweeted with for a while and seen the new developments as Hobsonville Point has developed as a new school.

They included challenges for participants including presenters, some of which had been used by The GeoCollective at the Geographical Association conference 2014 in Guildford, UK. My favourites were the presenters “dance” challenges which I had embraced wholeheartedly and led 60 geographers dancing to start my own Easter workshop, anyway I digress.

The Saturday workshops included Pam Hook (@arti_choke) presenting about Solo taxonomy in the primary and secondary schools. If you read this blog I am sure that you have come across Pam’s work and HookEd site. This was the closest I have ever been to participating in / hearing Pam live. Nuances of presentations are missed being on the other side of the world, but very gratifying to feel included, to renew acquaintances and make new friends.




Keep an eye out for such events around the globe and then send a post to share it with our network. All links for EdChatNZ appreciated.


NRocks2014 – Saturday 7 June, Leeds, Yorkshire



Northern Rocks made a point that education events when well organised do not have to be London-centric. Leeds was the setting, the weather on Friday was superb, Late afternoon Saturday the weather was superb. 09:00 to 16:00 it poured with rain, did it dampen the   Enthusiasm of 300 educators? Not at all. They sheltered under coats, umbrellas, NRocks bags, folders, but they rushed from workshop to workshop to get there before doors closed and no spaces left were declared as happened on several occasions.

i was lucky (@aknill) to be there presenting in the workshop one slot with Andy Day (@Andyphilipday). We introduced solo taxonomy, how a variety of practitioners are using it and the growth of @globalsolo. Currently over 1300 network,embers and growing still. We thought about 25, we got 48 and we turned people away- the offer to return for a follow up in 2015 has already been made.


Later, on Thursday 12/6 #ukedchat held a discussion about solo taxonomy.  We arrived late in the form of @aknill. In 30 minutes the network had grown by another 30 followers.

A great week for the case for solo taxonomy use in the UK.  Today, Friday 13/6 @aknill has an article published in the June edition of UKEdMag (see @ukedmag on twitter) proposing how the taxonomy could provide a framework to follow. The demise of levels in the English National Curriculum.

All feedback welcomed on any one of these events – what a week this has been.




















Have an idea? Want some answers? Ask our network…

A common language to discuss how to make progress and add detail …

I have been looking at this for a while, especially as the UK moves towards a period without a standard national scheme to identify progress. In my geography lessons, in between levelled assessment pieces I use solo stages to explain how to add more depth in extended writing pieces especially.

Pupils quote mantras from English lessons which I have no issue with until I find myself talking with classes where 4 different English teachers use 4 separate naming strategies and my role in a cross curricular literacy policy becomes much harder.

Why not a common language across all subjects where extended writing is used? My proposal would be to use solo stages, not surprisingly but I thought I’d ask the globalsolo network their views.

In 24 hours the following have favourited,  RT’d or answered – a great example of teacher collaboration across subject and international boundaries. The discussion continues:

@globalsolo          Essex, UK.                       Geography

@MartynReah.    Petersfield, UK.           Geography

@carljphillips.      Notts., UK.                      Geography

@rosmaceachern. Auckland, NZ.           ?

@Claire_Gillgogs.  Liverpool, UK.           English and Drama

@BgsDt.                     Bucks., UK.                   Design Technology

@mrjcassidy.           UK.                                     English

@AKeenReader.     Wellington, NZ.        .English

@historychappy.    South Asia.                    History

@DTcyoung.             Hants., UK.                   Design Technology

@DnTTaL.                  Yorks., UK.                   Design Technology


… Want to join in???












Would you use #solo taxonomy stampers in class?


This is an important learning post for me as network facilitator. Recent posts on Twitter have emphasised the need to recognise authors, owners of intellectual ideas/ designs. This was one such example. Superstickers have since re contacted me – this is NOT an item for discussion.

March 2014


Superstickers.com are interested in making a set of stock solo taxonomy stampers after discussions on @globalsolo in the last two months.  They want more feedback and I have made it clear I am but one voice. What do you think? I have agreed to feedback by Mon. 17/3/14.


My marking at Key Stage 3 (11-14 years) and links to Solo Taxonomy

Since I started at my current school (in 8th year) I have often been criticised or told I mark in too much detail. To be fair at times I have been guilty of that. I am always seeking a balance between a method that allows me to keep up to date and gives detail to pupils on how to progress in my lessons. Recent policy updates means that on my 2 x 50 min. lessons a week and one homework every week I am expected to mark books at least once every four lessons or two weeks. 

My marking ideas were recently mentioned in a post I wrote on my personal blog (http://mishmashlearning.wordpress.com). My lessons are differentiated  around the 5 solo taxonomy stages. I cross reference the stages to levels in geography approximately as;

Level 3:   Unistructural to a list at Multistructural

Level 4:   Answering tasks using complete sentences at Multistructural

Level 5:   Explaining answers, providing supporting materials at Relational

Level 6:   Comparing / contrasting answers and linking the geography of their  answers to named case studies 

Level 7:    Evaluating answers, developing solutions to issues and showing independent learning skills through

                Use of their own case studies or localities

Our pupils’ individual targets are based on their Key Stage 2 APS (Average Points Score) plus two levels progress as a minimum. By the end of the key stage in year 9. Each term they are reminded of their upto date target for that half of the year and the corresponding solo stage their classwork should be at consistently. Work above target is scored as 1, work on target is scored as 2 and work below target is scored as 3. Two consecutive 3s triggers an after school recap where work from those lessons is reviewed and developed to at least the target standard. I am the only one in the department applying this against Solo but so far so good.

My comments are threefold:

FB     Feedback               This comments on that lesson’s work and aspects done well.

FF     Feed Forward.        This is about an aspect of their work or a repeated error or specific correction required.

         Task.                       This is a read and reflect, spelling corrections, redraft an answer – the aim is to prompt student

                                         Reflection and action.


The pupil response  time is allocated as Direct Independent Reflection Time (DIRT) either after the ‘mindfulness’ starter or in the teacher’s

stage of the lesson. To check comprehension of standards expected pupils are involved in:

SA.    Self assessment solo stage identification

PA.     Peer assessment solo stage identification

FF.      Feed forward in different combinations in individual lessons.


Thoughts / feedback is appreciated and thanks for reading.