This is a differentiated task Vic and Nim designed in science.
How to ensure progress for all (challenge/flow/independent learning)
Ensure progress for all by checking their understanding on their individual tasks and either increasing teacher input or directing them to resources (page numbers present on their task sheet) in order to move them on.
Flow will be managed by regular questioning of progress and questioning as to how much longer they will spend on each task.
Independent learning will be achieved through the students working on the tasks set on their “Acid Tankers” levelled task sheet to help them achieve progression
How to ensure progress of LA (challenge/flow/independent learning)
The lower ability students in the class will achieve at least level 3/4 through the manner in which tasks are broken down for them (main task success criteria ladder). LA students will work with HA students to improve their answers. HA will model good answers. I will also help them to model good answers.
How to ensure progress of HA (challenge/flow/independent learning)
I believe that there are some higher ability students within the class (past class work). I have therefore set higher order questions on the main task (success criteria) to help enable these students to make progress. These students will also take reasonability in co-coordinating their groups and present findings near the end of the lesson (presentations)
Computer/video games have no place in education. Or do they?
For the past year students in my upper school lessons have been using the Zondle service to support their learning.
What is Zondle?
Zondle can be summarised as a web-based platform that allows students to learn/check their understanding through playing games. Zondle engages my students really well and the fantastic mobile app means many of my students can use the service whilst commuting or sitting in front of the TV. It takes learning out of the classroom into a fun addictive portable format.
Zondle works by allowing teachers to create question sets which are then transformed into an interactive activity. When students log on they are able to see what topic(s) they have been set and are then presented with a vast range of games which incorporate the question set. Activities available include the very popular penalty shoot-out egg catching in battery chickens through to pizza baking.
Gameplay tends be addictive as the system makes good use of gamification techniques such as collecting Zollars. Students can also see the progress of their classmates which motivates them further to be the best.
As a teacher I am able to access an automatically created mark book which enables me to monitor progress of students and identify areas for intervention. I am also able to add some challenge into activities by declaring my high score on different games – this seems to really motivate them to beat me. Of course in the process of playing the games they have to answer questions correctly and are therefore re-enforcing what they have learnt and hopefully developing their memory of the concepts.
Developing Zondle further
At the end of the Autumn term, one of my classes was set the task to create multiple choice questions for Zondle. There were some teething problems at the time but I would like to do this again. In allowing students themselves to author the questions, they are able to demonstrate higher order thinking along Bloom’s taxonomy whilst also being given a platform to share their work across the Zondle community.
Imagine this. One evening you are eating your Supper, after a long day at work and school, and Sonny Jim suddenly complains that his teacher refused to help him in such-and-such a lesson.
“I’m sure that can’t be right, Sonny. Your teacher wouldn’t deliberately not help you. You must have got it wrong”, you reply.
But, no. Sonny Jim is adamant that his teacher did not help him. When Sonny asked his teacher something, they refused to give him the answer. Shock! Horror! What a terrible teacher. You promise to phone school the following day to find out exactly what happened.
Well, in the coming weeks and months I hope that this might be a familiar conversation around the dinner table. As part of our latest INSET teachers and Learning Support Assistants have been looking at questioning skills, and how we support students to become more independent thinkers. Part of this is not providing answers, but to encourage students to think for themselves and work it out independently. We have looked at the oddly named “Blooms Taxonomy”. In 1956 Benjamin Bloom developed a way of ordering questions of increasing difficulty. At the start you have questions relating to Knowledge (“ Tell me three things you know about…”) and at the end you have questions that ask for viewpoints ( “Can you give me reasons for saying that…”). As teachers we sometimes miss the opportunity to develop these vital thinking skills in our efforts to complete a task, or get something finished. Questioning is also a way of checking understanding, of course, and of challenging students of different abilities.
So, the next time you are sitting around the dinner table, and Sonny Jim pipes up that his teacher has refused to help him, just reply, “ Well Sonny, can you give me three reasons why that might be the case?”!
A copy of the recent INSET presentation on differentiation: