Pete Goodyear from our Science department kicked off the first of our 7 minute presentations at Magic Monday 2, with this simple yet great example of deliberate practice.
Pete outlined for us how through a number of small, deliberate changes to one area of his teaching he has managed to engage his students with learning intentions to a far greater degree, securing greater understanding of them.
In our school, like most, it’s an expectation that all our staff supervise movement around the buildings by standing in corridors or outside their classroom during change of lessons. Having a “bell-task” planned for each lesson ensures that students can get straight on as soon as they arrive, without the need for any further instruction from the teacher.
Pete began by sharing with us an example of what one of his typical bell-tasks might have looked like previously.
One of the problems he identified with this sort of bell-task was that it wasn’t differentiated enough – meaning that some students found it difficult to get on with and some students found it too easy. Precious time then had to be spent after this explaining the task to students – thus negating its intended purpose.
Pete began to experiment with simple word search grids for bell-tasks which students had to use to find key words associated with the topic or lesson. They then used these words to identify what they thought they would be learning about in the lesson in very simple terms, for example “photosynthesis”.
This idea was then developed further so that students had to find slightly fewer key words but now had to use them to create their own learning intentions for the lesson. This also stimulated discussion between students as to what the learning intentions might be, for example, “radiation and risks” or “what we do with radioactive waste”…..
…however the link between the key words and the learning still wasn’t being articulated by students as clearly as he wanted it to be.
More recently, Pete has started to include key learning verbs in his word searches to try to make this more explicit to students, for example, describe, interpret, explain…etc.
The result being that not only are all students now able to engage with the bell-task, but that they are also much more likely to be able to articulate what they will be learning during the lesson or will be able to do as a result of it.
To create the word searches Pete uses the Word Search Maker on the Teachers Corner website (available here)
For his next step, Pete is going to trial the use of different creative tools to introduce the learning intentions……we look forward to hearing how he gets on!