I'm afraid I do like a flutter but, as a teacher, I can't afford to spend more than a few pennies (literally) each week. I decided to introduce this idea to the classroom. I've only used this in my Year 12 English Language class but I expect it could be easily applied to most classes and would result in interesting conversations in most contexts.
It allowed my Year 12 class, who have target grades from A-D, to choose the differentiation they required. Each scaffold was given 'a mark'. These scaffolds included being given the mark scheme, getting examiner comments about successful responses and working in a pair. There were about ten different scaffolds available and each scaffold would cost the students marks in their final mark for the question from 2 marks for the least useful scaffold to 20 marks for the most useful.
The Christmas holidays should be a time for mulling wine and pulling crackers. But many teachers will spend at least some of the festive period wondering - and worrying about - how well their pupils are preparing for January exams.
To assuage the anxiety, here are six YouTube videos that should help your pupils maximise their memories.
1. The “Method of Loci” or memory palace
In this video, Andi Bell demonstrates a simple technique for easily memorising and recalling information. His example involves memorising a sequence of random words, but the approach should work equally well for learning mathematical formulae, abstract facts, or a sequences of dates and events.
I thought I would revisit Wikispaces with my Year 9 class this week. We have internal examinations next week so it was a revision lesson on Unit 1 AQA GCSE Physics. I thought, wouldn’t it be good to set up a wiki of revision notes in an hour? I set up a page for each section of the specification, which corresponded to a double page spread in their text book. I made the wiki publically editable to save them having to join up and be approved.
Each student was allocated a section of the text book on which to make summary notes, add images and weblinks to further resources, all of which I explained how to do (5 minutes).
I tried this out today with a Year 7 group of students. I am sure you remember using one of these when you were at school to predict who would be your next girlfriend or boyfriend! Here is a giant one some students made today.
What did we do?
Instead of predicting your future love interest, we replaced the names with science revision questions, then each student tested each other using the fortune tellers.
Every year group for the next few weeks will be completing end of year exams in all subjects here at the International School. I have been exploring with a group of students how they revise. We then discussed how teachers and our parents support us to revise. As a result, we have produced a document below which we have made available to all students across the school.
There are so many different ways of revising. The default technique, that most students adopt, is one of just reading their notes. This is a good starting point, but is not necessarily effective as it isn’t active. It does work for the small minority of people who have a photographic memory, but most of us are not that lucky!
Today I trialed something different in my classroom. Over the past month, my GCSE PE class have been involved in directed revision classes for their forthcoming exam. I wanted to do something that freshened this up and caught the students off guard, taking them way out of their comfort zone. I had decided on my drive into school this morning that I was going to trial a student led revision lesson that involved the students presenting different areas of the syllabus to the whole group. I wanted to make it similar to a TeachMeet event, having presentations strictly timed, hence the name 'TeachMe'.
Students were told that they would be selected randomly via my name selector on the interactive whiteboard and that they would have exactly 3 minutes to present to the group, with a clock counting down on the whiteboard behind them. Each student, once selected, had to come out to the front of the class, pick a topic from the Wonderwall of topics and then deliver it. To make it fun I downloaded a free app (Big Buttons App) on my iphone that gave me access to lots of funny sounds (air horn, desk bell etc). Students were instructed that as we were all sportsmen and women, that we needed to make it competitive. Therefore, every time a student made an 'A Grade' comment or statement in their presentation, I would hit one of the sounds. The total number of sounds they received in the 3 minute time allocated would result in their personal score.
As the end of this academic year draws ever nearer, our GCSE pupils may be in need of a little guidance in preparation for their forthcoming English exams. I can remember being unsure how best to revise for English when I was at school. It is not always as simple as learning facts and regurgitating them in order. Once you know that poem or that story, what do you do with that information? Once you have the names of all of the writing types and their language features under your belt, what do you do with them? Having spent the last year teaching pupils how to use SOLO effectively, I am now using SOLO as a tool to help them revise. I will share as many ideas as possible over the next few days including: reading, writing, contemporary texts, poetry and finally some in class, last minute revision ideas. I hope you find it useful.