Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Simon's Character - Classic jigsaw

Always a winner - hard to fail this one.

My aims: To keep working on cutting down spoon feeding. They are getting better, certainly in terms of confidence and practice in articulating ideas in increasingly sophisticated ways.

Well, really doesn't need explaining.
Resources - see below.
1. Expert groups focus on 1 box
2. Home groups to teach the rest and learn from them.

After the first 10 min in expert groups collating ideas and quotations, they could access extra notes (from a selection, including printed online notes and revision booklets) to allow them to become real experts.

I made notes available again for the last 10 min of the lesson with students in home groups to clarify anything needed.

Verdict: As successful as usual. They've learnt much and feel ready to write about the character of Simon having rehearsed much of what to write orally.


Sunday, 6 May 2012

Working on making year 11 a bit more "independent" and interdependent

Lord of the Flies - Consolidating understanding of key chapter

Mission: To keep going trying to make them less spoon-fed/ dependent on me.

My aims:
- To get students to consolidate their understanding of the events and of characterisation in this chapter. - To have students able to discuss key linguistic features as well as analysing the structure of the chapter and its function within the novel so far.
- To have students able to discuss, prioritise, agree and divide tasks.
- To have them show their learning visually - producing a resource that can be used for revision.

So I found this picture online (WHERE FROM????? I cannot remember. Even asked Twitter but got no response.) summarising and analysing chapter 7 of Of Mice and Men.

It looks great and I wanted my students to be able to produce something just as good.

I had to make do with a last minute room change (a DT Textiles room). Anyway, I ended up printing a number of resources, including simple and more detailed summaries, revision notes from different sources and some notes on characters. All aimed to support and extend the discussion we'd had as we read the chapter in the previous lessons. I knew the simple summaries would come in handy for the least able and the few students who'd missed the previous lesson.

I quickly organised groups of 3 or 4 across these massive tables, handed out a set of notes to each group, some sugar paper and felt tips. I projected the image above and we briefly discussed why it was successful and a useful revision tool.... Quick list of Success Criteria then they were away.

I honestly couldn't believe how motivated they were to produce something as good. It was an afternoon lesson in a strange room and the level of engagement was astounding.

Groups swapped notes as and when. Not all had finished before the end but all had contributed, including those who had been away as they focused on tracing events whilst others discussed how best to sum up how themes were developed, what imagery was significant in the chapter and what the key quotations were.

It's a weird experience to feel redundant but I had ample time to circulate and support, as well as check students' learning.
I would repeat the lesson although it does involve doing a fair bit of photocopying and I couldn't help feeling like a bit of a fraud - it's hard to step back and not "teach".
The other positive was that we had great revision tool and groups were able to peer-assess and critique each others' work.

Pictures of some of the work at different stages:

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Chapter 7 - LOTFlies / Authority

Task: Work collaboratively to create a visual response to address the struggle for authority between Jack and Ralph.

Well, slides are self-explanatory..

Initial response: Lots of discussion and first step/LO fairly easily accomplished by most, I'd say all.
Some groups obviously spent more time on this.
Next, fairly pleasing distribution of tasks with students looking for agreeing to look for certain quotations then dividing the load, including copying them and analysing (post-its do help here as all can write at same time)

Later: For a couple of groups, that's really where the struggle started - How to display the quotations and notes in a way that would show the struggle for authority, which character had ascendancy over the other at different points in the chapter.
For them, time was running out so they simply spread the quotes in chronological order with a plus or minus sign for each one (quite a good idea but not clear enough to be seen from afar)

Me: Circulating, and mainly playing devil's advocate to make students rethink or justify their answers and quotations. Plenty of time to question them about the author's language choices etc...

So each group lifted their piece of sugar paper in the air and had a look at the others... Without my even asking for feedback, group members were already whispering to each other about ways to improve the impact and clarity of their response. We had a quick vote about the most striking/accurate one so far and briefly discussed why. we listed a few more ideas to make their response more easily understood at first glance (that is, their plotting of the struggle between the 2 characters).
More groups decided to position their quotations/comments either above/ below / on the timeline to represent which character had the most power/authority and why.

Finishing off:
Show of work produced - Up in the air again. Class commenting on improvements made.
No hands up - answer the question - going round groups for their oral responses. Just about time to clarify a few points...  (of course, in an ideal world, it would not be me doing this but time is precious and I'm the expert)

Ch 7 Group Work Blog Version