Activities from our Maths workshop in November are now appearing on line and our recent Maths workshop in Rochdale was also very productive. Our March workshop looked at Human Rights, Citizenship and "British Values". The first activity is now posted.

Keep scrolling down and you will find:


Future events

New Activities

British Values?

Here is the first activity from our March workshop. It has not been tested yet, but given its topicality we invite you to try it out and report back to us. Many colleagues have expressed the desire to be involved in resource development and we are thinking of running our next workshop on line. Please get in touch if you would like to be involved!


Would you be interested in helping us complete our Story Sort Activity. We are looking for more popular stories to add to our list and we would also welcome more suggestions for ways of describing difference kinds of stories. Take a look at what we have done so far and send us your ideas.


We aim to keep you up to date with our current projects and news from colleagues and partners. Most recent postings are at the top. Towards the bottom of this page there is a diary of future events that we hope you will find useful. And right down at the bottom you can find links to recent activities. If there is something you are running that you know we would like to add to our diary please email us.

The LATE conference was a palpable hit and if you were unfortunate enough to have missed it you can download a summary with pictures put up by the Digital Arts Research Education group who featured on the day. Just click the poster on the right!

Guerrilla Teaching!

Change from Below!

Performance Management No!

Collaborative Enquiry Yes!




EMC's recent course on non fiction texts was useful, inspiring and EAL friendly. We strongly recommend that you check out their courses list for 2017. Link to their homepage on the right and on our links page. They are running a workshop at the LATE summer conference (17th June) and at NATE conference in Nottingham on 23rd/24th June.
If you have not looked at the Education Endowment site recently, please do so now. It has been tidied up and related more closely to school themes for improvement. Collaborative Learning still ranks highly for raising achievement and at a very low cost. Collaborative work also impacts on quality of feedback, peer tutoring and metacognition strategies. EEF have also funded some projects to support collaborative learning development and we are watching them carefully. Currently we feel that the EEF has concentrated more on the social benefits of collaborative work rather than the language gains but that is partly because they draw heavily on US research. There is a link back to us from their site.



The NATE conference this year is taking place in Nottingham on 23rd and 24th June. The programme is now published on the new NATE website. Click on the NATE logo on the right to reach the website to book your place. NATE conference is super flexible this year. You can choose to come for one short session or the complete conference. Don't forget that Nottingham offers excellent beer, super trams and R Hood, L Byron and D H Lawrence!


Why not try one of our underpants games to celebrate World Book Day? The book will only cost a pound and the games are free. Click on the pants to get one game and the book to get the other game.

We are delighted that the English and Media Centre, just up the road from us, has invested in a project on examining exploratory talk in English : 'It's Good to Talk - Developing Group Work in English.' There's a link on the right to Barbara Bleiman's most recent blog posting. We hope you will want to read all the previous postings too! Barbara will be running a workshop on this topic at the next NATE conference in Nottingham in June.
Well done OBE providers for choosing Raymond Briggs! He has been tickling our imaginations and stirring our consciences for yonks! Sometimes you think the gong folk stick a pin into the phone book, but this time they must have listened to reason.
We concentrate mainly on developing classroom resources here at Collaborative Towers, but have been worrying about the fact that we have not updated our research pages for some time. Our new research page will appear soon. It has always been difficult for teachers to access research so we are grateful to colleagues like Robin Alexander and the Cambridge Primary Review for self publishing. The EEF has produced a research summary for collaborative learning, but it leans more towards its social value rather than the language gains. Here comes help from Kamil at Building Diversity and Equality Awareness (link on the right!). His most recent blog post has done our work for us and he has provided an excellent summary on the value of talk for learning. And he promises a second part very soon! kamil

We support Kate Moorse and her network of London Primary Humanities Coordinators. If you coordinate history or geography or citizenship (aka British Values) and would like to access the London Humanities webpage, attend network meetings and/or work with colleagues on resource development and planning, please contact us. Even if you work outside London you will find the resources on the webpage useful.




4th January in the UK was Fat Cat Wednesday which "celebrated" the fact that in this country the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Oxfam points out that worldwide eight individuals own the same wealth as the poorest half of the population. Income inequality is corrosive and has a significant impact on education and childrens' lives. This folk tale from Denmark may be the source of the metaphor. We have now removed the book link but you can still use the link to register with us to access the Early Years activities including The Fat Cat

And here is an example of Fat Cat behaviour from Roman history which we have dug out of the archive. They were well ahead of the man with the golden taps. We are currently adding more activities to our Roman History pages. Click on the Gladiators Helmet to take a peek.


Collaborative Learning and Bradford Barnstormers (a group promoting community use of the barn) have produced three teaching activities to make a visit to the Bradford on Avon barn more exciting for children. The activities provide opportunities for role play, careful observation and work with chronology. Click on the right to find the activities which we are currently piloting. Please try them out and send us your comments.

Even if you are too far from the barn to visit, you will find the activities an interesting introduction to medieval building methods.

New activities on Bradford on Avon Tithe Barn

Sheffield University and Sheffield Local Authority have been working together to develop EAL friendly teaching resources for Science that involve parents and employ first language.

We have just added a link (on our links page of course) to the new online EAL course set up by Hampshire Ethnic Minority Achievement service. Seven modules completed and more to come!
Mark Sims, Ofsted lead for EAL in England, has just produced a series of very short video clips where he stresses the importance of opportunities for EAL pupils to hear and respond to the spoken contributions of their English speaking peers. Learning conversations are vital for these learners. You also have here a pdf of his powerpoint presentation on the inspection of EAL.



Gordon Ward at "Racing to English" is producing some very entertaining and useful videos introducing collaborative activities. Click on his shape monsters on the right to reveal his youtube channel. Please feed back your comments to him and encourage him to produce more!

P.S. You can find a link to his website on our links page.



Our Shakespeare activities have been spruced up for the 400th Anniversary.


Activities on the Easter Rising 1916

We have provided here a short one page guide to one of our most empowering kinds of resources. You can find many examples of role play activities on the site and we hope you try them out and develop your own versions.

You can click on the tiny version here on the right to download a full size pdf version which we hope you will introduce to colleagues.

We have also linked the main aims of the project to quotes from James Britton's work: click on his book!



Is your school publishing an account of your collaborative learning work in your pupil premium impact report? We'd like to hear from schools who are. This will help us network good practice.


sutton banks





















The Diary keeps links to resources from past events plus information and links for future events. If there is anything you think should be here please let us know.







4th November: LATE held a celebration of Morlette Lindsay's life at the London Institute of Education . Her obituary can be found on the LATE website which is now up and running again, but has changed its address:

12th November: Our Development Workshop with a focus on Maths and a chance to see our EAL friendly reciprocal reading resources: "Between the Lines" was a great success and we have started posting new activities on our Maths page.

12th January: History and Geography coordinators meeting in Hillingdon. If you are a coordinator elsewhere you might find our dedicated webpage of resources useful. Contact us if you would like access.

14th January: Our free Saturday workshop concentrated on Vikings and Anglo Saxons.

21st February: EAL assessment support group met at Wandsworth Teachers' Centre.

25th February: The theme for our development workshop was language games. We'll post them when they are trialled and ready.

27th February: Collaborative Learning workshop for Worcestershire teachers at their "Fingers on the Pulse" conference. If you were not able to attend and would like access to the dedicated web page please contact us.

9th March: We ran an EAL workshop with the support of the DRB group in Birmingham.

11th March: LATE conference to celebrate the work of Morlette Lindsay. Report can be accessed at top of page

15th March: Collaborative Learning maths workshop in Rochdale. We worked hard and produced some whizzy activities!

27th March: We are working with EU colleagues on sharing resources and ideas on stories and storytelling.

17th June: LATE conference on GCSE texts.

22nd June: Fast Track EAL course sponsored by NATE and run by Osiris Education.

23rd June: We are working with Herts Science teachers.

23rd-24th June: NATE conference in Nottingham.

We update this diary regularly. Go to our links page to reach other websites for the diary entries or contact us if you need information or are interested in attending these events.

In response to the recent decision to test tables (up to 12 times to help with old pence calculations!) at the end of Primary School, here is a chatty way to encourage the learning plus some good folding practice. You will find Chatterboxes (sometimes called Fortune Tellers) useful for scaffolding talk in other subjects. In the meantime here are some mental maths Chatterboxes.