Digital Learning Environments Teaching and Learning

The role of Formative Assessment in our return to physical school. Learning Intentions. (2)

In the last article, I explored my common practice in sharing Learning Intentions. This article will explore what I want to change, why I want to change it and how I will go about that change to benefit the learning environment.
I have also shared how I will do this with the aid of our digital environment. Frankly, I do not want to go back to being at the mercy of the photocopier in September. And you should not either!

Learning Intention revamp and how I use digital aids to share Learning Intentions.

In the last article, I explored my common practice in sharing Learning Intentions. This article will explore what I want to change, why I want to change it and how I will go about that change to benefit the learning environment.

Although I do routinely share Learning intentions on the board, and occasionally with a fun activity, I know that this particular formative assessment practice needed some attention if I wanted to create a learning environment that got the best out of all of my students from the start of September. If my aim is to make my classroom into a Talent Incubator, I need to use all of my resources wisely. At the bottom of this article I share the digital resources I will be using when Term one begins.

The Model Method of clarifying Learning Intentions.

I found Harry Fletcher-Wood’s article on developing lesson intentions incredibly useful in his article Showing What Success Looks Like: The Magic Of Models.

“Concrete descriptors are problematic because they use words, and, as Lewis Carroll emphasises, words are slippery.  “Do your best”, I tell my student.  “I did my best”, they announce later; I disagree.  A word means just what you choose it to mean… adjectives you can do anything with.” 

Harry Fletcher-Wood, 2018

Words alone to describe an idea are at the mercy of your student’s schema and then your own schema, and only sharing words will causes confusion. Displaying a model along with the words of intent provides the student with a visual cue to form a clearer mental picture of how to succeed. Oliver Caviglioli’s extensive tuition on Dual Coding has hugely influenced how I have decided to present my Learning Intentions to my students. My Learning Intentions will now model success at the same time as presenting the words to the students. Based on Harry Fletcher-Wood’s extensive examples of how to model Learning Intentions, which can be found here, I decided to create my Learning Intentions on a PowerPoint slide to make it easier to edit and share the material.

A copy of what I want to provide my students to share the Lesson Intentions

I have deliberately avoided colour to avoid cognitive overload.

A student copy annotated to display why each part is included.

I have also deliberately provided a full sentence for the last Success Criteria to model what a full Success Criteria should look like.

My understanding is that models of success do not mean models of perfection, or models of finished work.

A model of success using student’s work, with questions at the top to encourage students to critique the work to, hopefully, guide them towards unpicking the elements needed to create their own piece of work.
For this particular lesson, some students might already know parts of the explanation, but not all. By the end of the lesson I might put this image back up so they can reflect on their own progress.
A similar question to the one above, but with a more obvious focus on the change in habitat.

Whilst the students are talking to each other about the Learning Intentions, my plan is to circulate the room and listen to them. As much as I can, I will NOT get involved in the discussions, I will only listen. Any misconceptions I pick up we will address to the whole class afterwards.

Once they have used student-student discussion to fill in the Learning Intentions with the model of success on the teacher’s board, we will them go through and correct the Learning Intentions as a class. I will also ask them if they have any comments about the model on the board.

A completed Learning Intentions sheet to curate discussion.

I hope that this method would also serve as the plenary at the end with the revision of the Learning Intentions and their own reflections on how far they have come by filling in the “End” box with their own annotation.


The sheer amount of paper that this method would create. This method is designed to create the maximum useful cognitive engagement for the learner with the opportunity for the teacher to use their time wisely to listen and then decide where to go from there. If I printed these as handouts it creates:

  • A dependency on daily, hourly photocopying for every single lesson
  • A copybook that looks more like a scrapbook
  • Lost sheets
  •  A dependency on gluesticks

Do I really want to go back to my unhappy and unsustainable marriage with the photocopier in September?

Is there another way?

Digital Aids to help Learning Intentions.

I am planning on using OneNote to share my Learning Intentions with the class instead of physical handouts. This creates a dependency on technology; however, we have just come out of a full term of trialing OneNote in all of our classes. This method of delivery will build on an existent student skill. Additionally, these are all the benefits of using OneNote to capture their reflections on Learning Intentions:

Creating a page on OneNote and clicking “Distribute” is WAY faster than waiting for a frequently jammed photocopier. For best distribution results, I always recommend you distribute at least half an hour before your lesson starts and making sure your students are syncing their OneNotes daily.

It is much easier to keep the OneNote notebook looking neat. Your floors will also no longer look like someone has exploded a giant party popper after every lesson because there is no cutting out involved.

You also free yourself from gluestick dependency.

Look at all this free time you have just created!

Bitmoji Image

Additional pros to the OneNote method are:

You can easily view all student reflections in one go, without collecting their books in. This can be done after every lesson, to build your next Learning Intentions. To learn how to review and mark student work on OneNote, click here. Sorry for the sound quality, I had a terrible cold at the time 😦

If you make the template in PowerPoint, it is easy for the students to write in. Even without a stylus. … provided you follow the below instructions.

How to create editable Learning Intentions in OneNote.

Please find below the template that I am going to use for my Learning Intentions starting in September and a video of how to copy and paste tables and text into OneNote in a way that does not turn it into an image.

Learning Intentions Template

 I hope to revisit this article at the end of the year to feedback on my experiences with changing how I show and clarify Learning Intentions.

Up next: Reviewing Previous Learning


Fletcher-Wood, H., 2018. Responsive Teaching. 1 ed. Abingdon & New York: Routledge.

Fletcher-Wood, H., 2018. Sharing learning objectives: Humpty Dumpty changed my mind. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 20 July 2020].

Fletcher-Wood, H., 2018. Showing what success looks like: the magic of models. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 20 July 2020].

Jeffrey Czarnec, M. G. H., 2018. Schemata and Instructional Strategies. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 21 July 2020].

Myatt, M., 2020. researchEDHome Mary Myatt: Back on Track: 10 suggestions to ensure we focus on making a difference. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 20 July 2020].

Paul Black, D. W., 2010. Inside the Black Box Raising Standards Through Classroom Assessment. Phi Delta Kappan, 80(2).

Rosenshine, B., 2012. Principles of Instruction Research- Based Strategies That All Teachers Should Know. American Educator, pp. 12-39.

Wiliam, D., 2017. Dylan Wiliam Embedding Formative Assessment SSAT/EEF celebration event keynote. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 20 July 2020].

Wiliam, D., 2020. What formative assessment is and isn’t. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 22 July 2020].

By Linda Scaife

Author of Digilin Learning.
Follower of Educational Technology enthusiasts, of all subjects. I am an MIE Fellow, Apple teacher and Google Educator. If it can be used as a learning tool, I will be keen for it. Currently a science teacher in the UAE.

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