Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Year 9 Poetry - Final Week of Term AKA..."Assessment Week"

Right... Assessment Week... Way to finish the year!

In fact, it worked out fine.
GCSE link unit, poetry exploration climaxing in group exploration of an unseen poem and presentation to class: a reading of it and  'teach' the poem. Higher ability groups told to link to other poems (studied together) and level 7 students told to compare / contrast with at least 1 other poem.

I clearly went for ability groups there. Each group had to explore and analyse a different poem.

I used some of the poems from the old NEAB specs (though most feature in the AQA Anthology it seems) as the unit also focuses on language use.

I also went for the whole SOLO thing this time.

PREVIOUSLY: Discussed meaning of culture, identity etc...
We looked at immigrants from the 40's onwards (the vast majority of students would have immigrant parents and I am one too) watching old news reel, listened to extract from The Arrival of Bright Eye (LOVE IT),  studied Island Man (in detail as they had to write a last essay for Progress Check 6...) and  Search for My Tongue.

The latter poem was used to create this model to show SOLO levels of understanding and act as a model.

SOLO Model (adapted from existing resource)

Poems included, in order of "ability" (vaguely):
Mum, Dad and Me 
Unrelated Incidents extract... Not the 6 O'Clock News
Night of The Scorpion
Not my Business
Presents from My Aunts in Pakistan
An Old Woman

Groups were directed to sit as per the seating plan. Groups were given a folder each with a range of resources including some of the slides from the ppt, including the SOLO progression/differentiated LOs, a loose grid for those who are stuck with what to do with a poem, some more specific questions on their respective poems (mostly used in lesson 2 for most groups), a copy of the 5 Learning Stages model (see above) and clear copies of the poems of course. I added a couple of post-its for the starter and plenary=exit ticket showing progression).

At the end of the first session, each group set themselves homework, such as memorizing some of the lines doing further reading on the poem or the poet, or annotations/answering specific questions.

Before the 2nd session, I added more specific questions on themes in each folder. Students could also have access to GCSE notes for part of the lesson but because it was limited, they had to choose WHEN it was most needed to support and stretch their understanding.

Buzzing for 2 lessons...

Extra support was given to the first group: I had prepared picture cards to help them visualise the images in the poem Mum, Dad and Me and to split them in 2 to see the contrast between Jamaica and London. I DID HAVE TO EXPLAIN THE WORD CONTRAST but it was great as it was THE word they needed at that point (they were using 'opposites'). They then used some questions I provided at that point to dig deeper and finally a writing frame to analyse the poem more closely, particularly some language features.
The group with the Scottish poem were given a recording of it and of Leonard talking about his poem.

All groups were asked after a while to decide which pictures from the pack cover was/were relevant to their poem as a quick understanding check.

Great presentations in the last 2 lessons, filmed, with my 2 level 6/7 groups delivering a magnificent lesson on their assigned poems, the most able group (studying An Old Woman) drawing interesting and detailed comparisons and contrasts with Blessing (I did provide a frame to help them with that).

Happy teacher - Brilliant progress for all.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Talking to the staff - 10 minutes of hell

Well, it had to happen at some point. My colleague and I were asked to talk about something we worked on this year in front of the whole staff in a 10 min slot on Wednesday morning.

We decided to talk about hexagons having used them in several lessons and in different ways, and having read many great blogs from fantastic tweachers. We also both experimented with SOLO and some of the lessons were delivered in that context... but neither of us feels expert enough on SOLO and a 10 minute-slot calls for 1 main idea.

So we pulled together several pictures we took in lessons and decided to simply talk through some of the things we'd done. I added a few pictures borrowed/stolen from other teachers' blogs to suggest that hexagons can be used in other subjects beyond English and Media. They can be used to encourage rich discussion and to allow students to make links between different bits of content/knowledge. The focus was also to make students work and test ideas more independently of the teacher and to rehearse ideas / try out vocabulary before an extended written response.

We have both felt that classes responded REALLY well and produced good written work. We also loved circulating and listening to some fab contributions, challenging and stretching as we went...

I hated talking to the whole staff though. It took me a whole hour afterwards to go back to a normal heartbeat. Can't stand the idea that anyone would think I am arrogant enough to dare to lecture them on anything...

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Useful resource for planning LOs / progression

Someone brought this into the office today. It's another way of planning for progression / planning LOs.

In comparison, this is the SOLO verbs (as found on Tait's Prezi @Totallywired77) and very similar to David's grid in his book (@LearningSpy):

Finally, this is another slide from tait's Prezi where SOLO and Bloom's taxonomies are compared (useful to keep)