Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Literacy in Action

I was lucky today to visit Panmure Bridge School to watch +Robyn Anderson with her class. She very kindly offered to be teaching a maths class when I visited so I could watch how she approached literacy and vocabulary in a subject other than English.
I have just started working on literacy strategies in my inquiry as I have realised that this is holding them back in progressing in the SOLO levels and are unable to move onto analysis. I have been working with the English Department on some strategy ideas and was delighted to be invited to visit Robyn's Year 7 and 8 group to see what they do.

My key take outs from this session are ...

  • Make the new vocabulary words the focus before they even know the meaning of them. Let them get used to what they look and sound like.
  • Working in groups to encourage talking and sharing the new learning.
  • Making the students use the word straight after researching the meaning, so they see it in context and are not worrying about writing and typing it up with a definition that they are copying and pasting.
  • Short, fast paced activities that kept their interest and encouraged competition and group / team work.

Here are the notes I made at the time, during the lesson (unedited) :-

Key words are written up on the board
To recognise the different types of angles

They met angles for the first time a couple of days ago and are now going to learn some maths language to do with these angles.

New words are introduced
All angles have a name like the students do.
The correct name for elements is important.
Recap what they already know together - they all call out the words they know together when asked questions.

Challenge - working in teams - find out the names of angles.
Move to work in groups of 4.

This is a brand new topic to them today so there is a lot of teacher support at this point.

 Words are given to the class that are new. The teacher says the words to the class.
Class are given time to say the words to each other.
The vowels are taken out of the words and the class are to say the words to each other again.
The teacher then points to words on the list and the students say them all together.

Class to set an online timer.
See how long it takes for them to each say all of the words in the list - using the words with the vowels missing.

The class are mostly ESOL so this activity was a fun one to get them used to the new words. Seeing what they look like and sound like. They raced each other saying the words while timing get each other.

Next challenge is 15 minutes and they have to find what the words mean.
They then have to label the diagrams with the correct name. They have not been told what the new words mean yet.
The class are to put the new words on post it notes and stick them on the board next to where they think they are to go on the angle diagrams.
Working in small teams - they don’t all have to work on the same word at the same time.
The students do not have to write the definition anywhere for this activity, so they don’t have that pressure of writing or getting the wrong definition from the dictionary.
They have to talk in their groups and decide which word goes with which diagram.
The teacher physically takes herself away from the students so they are encouraged to talk together about the problem.

The students have also drawn the angles in their books and are adding labels to them there too so they have this to refer to afterwards. They go through the angle answers together at the end of the activity and the students label the drawings in their books with the correct names.
Definitions are written with the labels so the students are clear what each one is after their own research.

The teacher is encouraging the students to let all of the team join in.

The key words about line types at the start have been repeated about 6 times during the session with the teacher demonstrating different types of line with pens and rulers and getting the students to shout them out.
This is happening while they are learning the new words about angles.

The students then got out protractors and could see the angles and degrees for themselves and compared them to the definitions.

Summary exercise - in a set number of words summaries one of the angles they have learned about.
They can compare one with another one so they can see the difference.
25 summary to explain.
They were given research and preparation time.
Then given times to make the 25 word summary.
Students given options on how to present their summaries - online how they want, paper and pens - whatever they are more comfortable with to show what they have learned.
This is not pretty work - it is working notes so they don’t have to spend time making it look pretty - the content is the key.
Working together to create the summary means they have to talk and collaborate.
The class are paused while putting together the summary to emphasize the need to use the correct vocabulary and words. Use the new technical words they have used in context.

Lots of conversations about the best way to summarise what they have been learning.

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