Are you in the learning zone?

A tweet from @mathequalslove during the week caught my eye; in it she shared this poster:

I liked the premise so the next day I floated the concept with my Y10 top set via a hastily drawn copy on the board.

They really embraced the concept whilst tackling some tricky NRich problems “OK, Miss I definitely need a hint I’m in the panic zone.” and my favourite at the end of the lesson “That’s cool, Miss, I’m back in my comfort zone now. That means I’ve learnt, right?”. I definitely didn’t expect them to embrace it that well, that quickly. It remains to be seen if it’s a novelty factor or something they will continue to refer to and use as a guide to gauge the learning process.

A quick Google search shows that this isn’t a new idea by any means; the model was devised by Senninger in 2000. However all the graphics online are a little bit uninspiring so I’ve thrown this together to hopefully be a bit more eyecatching:


You can download a PDF copy here. I will continue to use and update to let you know how it goes


  1. jennoppie · October 5, 2014

    I love this idea. I hope your students continue to use it. This is something that I would love to try in my classroom many of my students are in the panic zone and do not ask. How did you introduce this to your students?

    • ideasfortheclassroom · October 5, 2014

      Thanks! Just said I’d seen it online, that the middle zone probably still felt a bit panicky but was productive and they could only ask me questions (we were doing a thinking task in groups) when they were definitely in the outer zone.

  2. Pingback: Halving It: Going from Too Much to Just Right | The 1-and-1-and-1 Plan

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