Friday, 27 November 2015

IKEA / Flatpack Essays

Flatpack Essays

As a DP Teacher, I have a lot of difficulty in the earlier stages of the course getting the students to structure their essays correctly. I have had success by getting them to assemble a correctly structured essay through giving the class sections each. This activity works as a good 20 minutue thinking task, although some of my students who are ESL students, took between 30 -35 minutes to do it. But I think it was a worthwhile endeavour. 

1. Members of the class are given an envelope each, each envelope contains a paragraph of a model essay that have been cut into sections.
2. As an entire class the students must assemble each section of the essay using the segments provided in the envelopes.
3. On a collabouritive document (google docs) the class have to type a paragraph each to assemble the essay. One student is given the introduction, another student is given the conclusion.
4. The segments in the essay don't fit perfectly, therefore the class have to fill in the gaps to use every segment but create a flowing essay.
5. The end product is one essay that the entire class have collabourated in writing.
6. I then get each member of the class to grade the essay and to write three justifications for the grade that they have assigned.

This task puts pressure on the kids to formulate the paragraphs and incorperate all segments of the clues in the envelope, it also gives them a realistically idea of the level of depth and detail required at DP Level in writing an essay. Each paragraph contains a quote from historians or a reference to a school of thought and this is good for getting the students to think about when to include interpretations in their paragraphs.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Pass the Parcel!

For this Plenary or Starter, I use the youtube video below as music, the class must pass around a box that contains a list of Keywords from the list. When the music stops the student with the 'parcel' must select a keyword from the parcel and talk about it non stop for 30 seconds. To make it competitive, I usually play the girls against the boys and add points for every successful description of a keyword.

Podcast Making

As an alternative to essay writing and to increase media literacy, I am a fan of the programme Audacity. I have used this successfully in a number of lessons but I particularly like using it as an assessment tool.

1. I ask the students to download the programme Audacity, there is a Mac version and a Windows version that doesn't require installation.
2. I have the class write a script, usually I assign the topic to the class.
3. The class hand in the script, once approved they record the information as a sound recording.
4. The next phase is editing, where the kids take out the background sounds, add back tracks, audio sound affects to make the track come alive.
5. I then have the class upload the file onto Soundcloud and embed it into an  Eportfolio which I then grade by leaving the grade and comments on the porfolio page.

This has potential in all topics, teachers can assign different topics to different student and create an entire class 'series' which can be used later as a revision tool.

See the video below on how to build a podcast with Audacity.

Speed Dating

I always try to find alternative ways for the class to read large amounts of information rather than reading it all on one go. Therefore I like the setup of Speed dating.

1. I set the room up similarly to the photo above.
2. Each student is given a section each to read.
3. Each student has about 20 minutes to take notes and prepare to speak about the section.
4. Everyone sits down on the dating table and a timer of 5 minutes is set up.
5. The left side have 2.5 minutes to share their section while the right side take notes.
6. The right side have 2.5 minutues to share their section while to left side take notes.
7. They rate the quality of their presentation out of 5.
8. When the fives minutes is up and both sides have shared, one side moves to another person.
9. As an incentive, the student with the highest points overall by the end is given a price (usually a Mars Bar.)

I like this activity in DP History, but it has potential in all subjects.

Make a Meme

There are a couple of great meme making websites out there. I think it makes a great lesson Starter or Plenary to get the class producing a meme.

It could be a funny way of summarizing the main ideas in the lesson, or a thought provoking way to get the class to project one of the concepts from the lesson. As a starter it could be something that gives a clue to the students about the topic of todays lesson.

Obviously there is also great capacity for this in other subjects such as Maths, Languages and Science.

Some websites making memes are: