Saturday, 14 September 2019

Quick Fire Five


The Quick Fire Five is derived from Doug Lemov’s Do Now in Teach Like a Champion 2.0. In brief, a Do Now should:
  • Involve students putting pen to paper
  • Review previous learning (See also Rosenshine)
  • Be completed in silence without any direction from the teacher
  • Be consistent in delivery format e.g. on paper or on the board as students come in
  • Take 3-5 minutes to complete

For more detail see here

Based on cognitive science, Corinne Flett @FlettMiss designed the Quick Fire Five (QFF) in 2017 whilst working as an Assistant Head in charge of Curriculum and Assessment. QFF involves 5 questions which allow for interleaving and spaced retrieval practice. The 5 questions should be one question from:
  • Last Lesson
  • Last Week
  • Last Month
  • Last Term
  • Any time

Many have asked for my bank of QFF Do Now’s. I have included some examples here and here. However, I would say that QFFs are best designed by the teacher, as they should be based on your own students’ misconceptions and will vary based on your sequencing. Some think it will take too long to make. After a year of making them, I can now modify existing QFFs in 5-10 minutes. Writing new ones take 10-20 mins at most.

For more on cognitive science and research-based practice visit:

Further reading:
How We Learn (Carey)

Disclaimer: Whilst I embrace research, I also value experience. Context will shape your practice as will your own gut instinct as to what feels right. I’m a firm believer that there is no “single best way to teach” – if there was, there would be no innovation and no need for new theories. I think if you’re reading this, you’re open to improvement and hopefully open to the view that many of the techniques in the above texts will work but some may not.

William Lau 
September 2019

Thursday, 25 April 2019

The Little Book of Algorithms

The Little book of Algorithms is designed to help students build fluency in their Python programming. The book would suit students who have already been introduced to the three basic programming constructs of structured programming, namely sequence, selection and iteration.

Following the publishing philosophy of Al Sweigart, "I write books to teach beginners to code. I put them online for free, because programming is too valuable and needs to be accessible to all. (Though I sell print versions to pay rent.) Get started. It's a great journey."

You can buy printed copies directly here  or via Amazon here.

Download the PDF here which you can print yourself

An embedded book is also below:
Full description:

This book is designed to help those learning and teaching Computer Science. The aim of the book is to help students build fluency in their Python programming. The book would suit students who have already been introduced to the three basic programming constructs of structured programming, namely sequence, selection and iteration. The learning curve for programming can be quite steep and this book aims to ease this transition by encouraging practise and gradually introducing more complex concepts such as lists and 2D lists, file writing and using procedures and functions. Originally, the book was written for my 14-16 year old students studying for their GCSE Computer Science programming exam. However, I hope a wide range of students and teachers will find this book useful.