Thursday, 9 October 2014

Directing DIRT

DIRT (Dedicated Improvement and Reflection Time) has become a huge feature in my lessons over the past year. I'm sure many of you have these routines embedded into your classroom but this post aims to show just a few ways in which you can ensure that every student gets as much out of this time as possible.

Blue, Green and Purple Highlighting

I've written a whole post about Blue/Green highlighting that you can find here with some examples of pupil work. To further support this a colleague of mine has made a supporting mat to help pupils annotate their work in French/Spanish maximising Target Language use in the classroom and feedback. I've also started to use a purple highlighter to add additional tasks for more able pupils. This could simply be 'Trouve le fran├žais...' or 'Traduce...' and highlighting a sentence in a text but it really stretches those more able pupils and serves as an effective differentiation tool.

Second marking here in Pink
Independent Folders

I can't take even the remotest bit of credit for this one. This fantastic resource from Dannielle Morgan has a whole range of help sheets (with QR codes for Technology Savvy pupils) to help them overcome any misunderstandings regarding tenses, grade boosting, adding extra detail and whole plethora of other problems your students may encounter. Pupils are actively encouraged to go to these folders in order to solve their problems and they are easily accessible.


I enforce the 3Cs during DIRT. Pupils must follow the three Cs before coming to me for help. DIRT should be a time where pupils actively seek out how to improve their work with your guidance but without you telling them the answers. In order for them to get the most from this time, enforcing a simple rule like this enables them to become more independent.

DIRT Posters

An idea originally pinched from Carol Stobbs, I adapted her fantastic DIRT poster to reflect practice within our department. These are especially useful for new groups to familiarise themselves with the process of DIRT. This poster is on the walls in my classroom but could easily be reduced down to fit in pupil books. The original can be found here.

Here's my attempt for a stimulus to have on the board:

Give DIRT status

I used to allow pupils 10 minutes or so at the start of the lesson to address targets but began to find that it wasn't sufficient. I now dedicate entire lessons to DIRT with pupils using their Purple Pens of Progress to annotate and improve this work. The pen really stands out against other work. Make sure you mark pupil improvement too and really praise them for their efforts to give DIRT the status it deserves. 



  1. Thanks for the mention. And great idea to do Spanish sheets in a different colour! I'm always getting mine mixed up as the flags at the top aren't very noticeable.

    Lots of brilliant ideas here!

  2. You've done great job! I really appreciate it, cause your blog contains lot's of useful material! Thank's and have a lot of inspiration!