"Walk along the aisles of your local pound shop with an innovative and open mind, and notice how suddenly all kinds of unlikely objects begin to present themselves to you as potential aids for teaching and revising complex concepts in your subject.
Opening up the creative possibilities of a topic in this manner allows you to think about schemes of work that you’ve taught for maybe 10 years in new and exciting ways. Sometimes it can cause you to consider the careful steps involved for pupils in grasping the skill or knowledge, or it can help you to think about how you might reach those pupils who have failed to grasp a concept through your default approach thus far".
So....the challenge was set...the email went out...
Subject: Up for a challenge?
'Anyone up for a fun little challenge around teaching and learning?
It won't take up additional time, it wont put you under anymore stress BUT it will be fun and give you a chance to think creatively.
If you are, please email me and I will fill you in on the challenge...'
Straight away I had a response, then another, then another, the total number of staff was a staggering 10.
The stage was set, I had my 10 items in mind and arranged to meet the staff to do a random draw (the most exciting bit)!
The staff had a week to try and incorporate their random resource into their lessons....
Raffle Tickets - JWS
All students were given a raffle ticket - the matching pairs were then placed in a box (for later).
Tasks were differentiated based on the ticket - odd / even (see slides).
For extra support odds could seek help from other odds (and evens from other evens).
When we came to read the information on Ghettos, again the raffle tickets were chosen to see who read out loud.
Blank Playing cards - EPD
Year 11: as they came in to the class I handed them a card, some had it blank side up some had it, blank he side down. They were told that if it was blank side up they needed to look for a fact in their book and if they had it the other way they had to make up a fact. During the register the students told the class the facts and if the rest of the class was able to guess accurately they had to hand over their cards. Those with cards remaining were given a reward (the higher ability were told to make up the fact and they had to tell the class what the truth was after the vote).
Year 8: during a debate all students were given a card. When they spoke students from the other class had to vote on whether the point was well explained, if it was it was put into the pile on either the for or against side. These were then counted to decide on a winner.
Year 8: used the cards to vote on for and against as a plenary.
year 7: during a whole class debate all students had to speak and once they had the card was taken away from them. No one could leave if they still had a card.
Cups - ECS
Got the idea of using them to put things into order. So I used different types of wood and students had to put the cup In the correct order.
Pipe Cleaners - LWY
Used them with my Year 7 group on making earthquake-proof buildings. Students investigated what countries have done to prevent earthquakes, then designed their own house and added annotations. (see images attached)
I have used them before for rivers - looking at meanders and the journey from the source to the mouth. Can also be used them for Venn diagrams, so the students can see the two differences and comparisons.
Homemade snakes and ladder boards, blown up into A3 and laminated. Used in English lessons from 7-9 to help the students understand Shakespeare. Using the board to tell a story - snakes = villains/bad things, ladders = heroes/good things.
Students had to analyse text and decide whether the love related to family, friendship or romance.
Ping Pong Balls - AMN
Students were split into two teams. 3 students (who got the highest score on their Mock) were chosen as experts.
I used the ping pong balls with a year 11 Philosophy and Ethics revision class. Students were arranged into Experts (3 students selected from Mock Data Results) and the rest of the class divided into two teams each with a literacy expert. They were given two 12 mark questions to answer.
On a separate table I had arranged a set of cups on the bottom of each one was a time limit and a symbol that represented an expert. Students had to bounce a ball into the cup this identified who they got as their expert and for how long. Once the time limit was up they competed for the services of another expert. Experts were informed that they had to provide key quotes, key concepts and key people or organisations linked to the question
Students were given 1o minutes to gather as much information as possible from the experts and then as a group they had to write a 'perfect' answer to the exam question.
There was a lot of collaborative discussion taking place between students once they started to write the exam question using the information, and some heated discussions as to what was the best evidence and explanations to use.
Those who were chosen as experts at the start felt a bit stressed and worried that they might not have the knowledge and in between being selected were discussing and sharing ideas so that if they were called to be an expert they would have ideas to share. They felt challenged and under pressure to think quickly and pass on knowledge.
Lower ability students benefited from the collaborative stage of planning the essay and quickly grasped how they structured from notes to the essay using PEE, they also felt confident enough to challenge the ideas of others in the class.
Interestingly one group liked working together to produce a 'group perfect answer' and another group feedback that they would have preferred to write there own perfect answer individually and not in a group as they felt this inhibited their writing style.
They all stated that they liked the competitive edge and playing for expert time...
Dice - JSL
Year 9's - Mini-whiteboard dice were used to decide groups for presentations on themes from Macbeth. There were twelve groups and between the two dice twelve sides. Each theme was written on a side and the dice were rolled to determine the order of presentations. Once a group presented their theme was erased so it could not be rolled a second time. Students responded positively to this method as it was fair and non-biased.
Dice were also used in another themes activity where each theme in Romeo and Juliet was written on a side of the dice. Each student had to roll both dice to come up with a pair of themes to compare and contrast. Challenge was added as students could not simply pick the easier themes.
I am overwhelmed by how positively this was taken up and taken on. Thanks to all the staff that took a risk and took up the challenge. Some super work that can be used by other staff to promote creativity in their classrooms.
A massive thank you to all the staff that took up this challenge...