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Hot and cold tasks - Advice please

Discussion in 'Primary' started by did21uk, Jun 13, 2017.

  1. did21uk

    did21uk New commenter


    I am hoping someone can help me - my new head has asked us to find the 'best' way forward for hot and cold tasks and I thought what better way to do this than posting here!!

    In maths we currently do a 'cold' task n a Friday to inform our teaching for the following Monday - we then do another brief test at the end of the week to assess if children have got this and then record the data as 'achieved' - this does not mean that they are able to retain it.

    In English we do a blind 'cold task' e.g. 'Write a play script on a Greek myth' for ten minutes. The hot task will be at the end of the unit and will contain an assessment ladder. I find that English cold tasks to be less than useless as they do not allow the children to demonstrate any of the specific skills we are to be looking for on the learning ladder.

    I would love to know what other schools do - have you used hot and cold tasks? Do you find them useful? Have you given up on them entirely? Do you guide children through a cold task? Literally any views would be appreciated to guide our assessment policy for next year.

    Many thanks,

  2. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Star commenter

    I'm not sure what your head means when they say find the best way forward.
    I'd step back and consider what the purpose of them is - which is just a name for what most teachers are already doing to improve learning.

    The cold task should relate to the area that you are going to be teaching. The output from that should inform you what they need to learn to improve. So, using your English example you may notice that they need to learn how actions are shown. Or in your maths, you can see that this group understand how to use arrays to solve a questions so need to develop a more formal method. You then go through teaching them the things they need to know and then do a hot task which should see if they can apply all those things you've covered.

    Consequently, I'd say that a cold task only needs to be done when you're approaching a topic/subject where you're not completely sure what the children don't already know. For example, if you know they've never done any programming before there's no point asking them to do a cold task to write something in Scratch using loops. If they had done some programming a term ago though you might want to do one to see how much they can recall and to inform if you need to recover anything before moving on.
  3. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    The best way forward in my opinion is to abandon the stupid system entirely and use the time gained to teach.

    Two sets of assessments every week in maths is nonsense.
    rek45 and abacus1982 like this.
  4. abacus1982

    abacus1982 Established commenter

    Not a fan. Used in literacy at the start of a unit and they don't tell me what I didn't already know. I think it's a fad. Do a cold task and don't give them any help, do it like an old SATS writing task. Then teach for three weeks and give them a similar task so you can show progress. I've found people naturally set the cold task up so children struggle with it. This means they then show great progress.
  5. rek45

    rek45 New commenter

    I agree with the above entirely. AFL should be ongoing to inform teaching. Just talking from a writing point of view, I hate the hot and cold tasks approach. It leads to a very 'genre' and content focus heavy based approach to delivering the curriculum rather than constantly developing them as writers. When I have seen books of schools which use this approach, progress looks strange, as every 3 weeks they seem to go backwards (in their cold task at the start of a unit). I think it usually looks like they are not developing much as an overall writer but make some progress over a 3 week period before going backwards again. This is just what I have observed. I think all teaching time should be used to teach them! Summative assessments and ongoing assessment for learning will help establish the gaps.

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