The Learning Journey

Along one of the walls in my classroom, is a long orange arrow; it’s my class’ learning journey.

In The Perfect Ofsted Lesson, Jackie Beere talks about differentiated learning outcomes and using an arrow as a visual image that represents progress towards a bigger goal. Children can then mark where they are along the arrow to show progress (or not, if that’s the case, too).

Immediately I could see how this might be particularly useful in literacy, where we often work in units towards a final outcome. So I stuck up the big orange arrow and wrote our current unit learning outcome at the end of it: ‘I can write a biography of Warhol and Lichtenstein.’ Then I gave each pupil a post-it note on which they wrote their name. Now at the end end of each lesson, they think about how close they are to that final outcome and adjust themselves along the arrow accordingly.

It’s made for some interesting viewing. In particular some children deciding they were halfway towards the final outcome after just the first lesson and then reviewing that choice after they realised that actually they weren’t quite that close, quite that quickly.

I would say children need the opportunity to practise assessing their own learning and progress in lots of different ways and this is just one possibility. How do you encourage and develop self-assessment?



  • Great idea, love it, will bookmark and steal it! 🙂

    I love the way this makes the goal explicit and you have a quick at a glance view of where people feel they are at. I wonder if clusters will appear so you can target interventions at groups at a similar self-reported stage.

    Interesting some were over-confident too and then readjusted.

    And Pop Art is such a fun topic too!

  • What a great idea! I am going to have a go at that in my music classroom. It is hard for kids to assess their progress and they need plenty of opportunities to practise. They can be so eager to please that they simply trot out what they think you WANT them to say.

  • I do something similar but it’s a whole class approach rather than individual progress. Start has what we can already do and destination has what we will be able to do. Each lesson we write on a piece of paper what we have learnt to do and decide how much closer we are now to reaching our destination. I use it as part of my working wall as put examples up around the learning. It works really well. Interesting to consider an individual approach. Thanks 🙂

  • I stumbled across this idea somewhere else & used it with great success during a science observation.
    I love the idea of setting long term objectives with respect to a literacy genre/topic. Do you put smaller objectives along the arrow to aid them & some past the end to extend others?

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