Al-Montazah Cluster Meeting “Portfolios”

First of all I would like to thank all our guests who attended Al-Montazah Cluster Meeting in our school “Ahmed Bin Hanbal Independent Secondary School for Boys”.

The meeting started by Mr. Jameel’s presentation about the school in which he talked briefly about the school vision, mission and philosophy. He also clarified the 5 year strategic plan and pointed out the main aspects of the school which can only be achieved by implementing the National Professional Standards of the Supreme Education Council and the school policies.

Then, Mr. Jameel, the Principal/ operator of the school followed that by presenting his Portfolio. He went through the five sections of the portfolio and how to annotate them in the light of the professional standards for school leaders.

After that, it was my turn to present my own portfolio. I started by informing the audience that we would provide them with certain templates that would help them in preparing their portfolios, templates for leaders’ portfolios and other templates for teachers’ portfolios. I have to say that these templates helped me so much and made it much simpler for me to create my portfolio. I talked about the fact that I went through different stages to prepare my portfolio and ended up with my portfolio as a PowerPoint presentation.

I talked briefly about the five folders needed for the portfolio and mentioned the fact that it is an ongoing process that never ends as it should always be updated. Talking about the fifth folder which is considered the most difficult, I presented the five evidences that I annotated and that aroused a number of questions. There was an argument about using photos as an evidence and that a photo is not a strong evidence. There was a suggestion about using surveys or questionnaires. I gave an example of a survey that I used – Subject Self Review – to collect data about  the various departments of the school and identify strengths and areas that need development. I have to admit that the discussions were really fruitful.

Finally, I would like to thank all participants and those who praised our work and encouraged us to go ahead.

If you are interested, you can download a copy of my portfolio here.

Here are some photos from the meeting.


This week’s professional development session tackled the topic of “differentiation” in detail. We discussed the definition of differentiation, why we differentiate and some ways to differentiate.What is differentiation?
Differentiation can simply be defined as any strategy that makes all learning objectives accessible to all students.Why is differentiation important?

  • To give all students access to the curriculum and the learning objectives of each lesson.
  • Students are different because they have:
  1. different abilities
  2. a range of learning experiences
  3. different learning styles

It is also important to consider the fact that students come from different cultures with different types of experience, education, prior knowledge, personality and background.

Ways to differentiate in your lessons:

  • Set different questions or modify questions for different students.
  • Have  problem solving activities for early finishers.
  • Provide students with choices of activities they can do .
  • Provide different styles of activities.
  • Pair or group students with students who can help.
  • Modify worksheets for students who have different levels of literacy or different levels of English.
  • Use formative conversations to meet specific individual needs.
  • Design the task so that all students can accomplish half of it , then graduate the level of difficulty.

You can download a useful presentation about “Differentiation” here.

Reflection on Semester 1 PD Sessions

Before starting the new professional development sessions for semester 2, it was advisable to reflect on the professional development teachers received in semester 1. The session focused on the following topics that were successfully tackled in the first semester.

  • Planning
  • Classroom Culture
  • Formative Assessment
  • Behaviour Management
  • National Professional Standards for Leaders and Teachers
  • Use of Elearn

The attached presentation sums up all the important points discussed. Click here to download it..


Formative Assessment Comments

In one of the professional development sessions taking place in our school, there was a good discussion about the importance of the analysis of test results and how formative assessment comments can be very effective in the process of teaching and learning. The discussion ended up with the following useful ideas. 


It is true that the analysis of test results help teachers modify their teaching strategies to effectively meet the different needs of their students. (Differentiation). It is also true that formative comments can be very effective in elevating the standard of students’ performance. In fact, effective formative comments take students from where they are to where you want them to be. Formative comments help students on this journey.

Creating a learning conversation on how to improve students’ work

Rule 1: Students need to be working.
Rule 2: Teacher is free to walk around the room and observe. (Look at the objectives and see how students are working).  Meanwhile, a teacher can give formative comments to support students with the objectives.

Differentiation can be considered at this stage and comments should differ according to the level and needs of each group of students. The objective here is to have as many interactions as possible around the objectives. The teacher can encourage students to write comments about their peers. (A positive comment) – how best they can actually improve their learning. In this way the teacher can create a learning classroom.