The Hunger Games Technique

I remember the days when I use to go to the cinema and sit back, trough popcorn and enjoy the entertainment. Now I’m not so lucky. If my mind is not inundated with philosophical links or religious connotations it is lesson techniques. The Hunger Games was no different (thankfully Bond was just James Bond.) An idea started brewing that I could utilise a bit of ‘healthy’ competition if I pitched my class against each other during an assessment homework. The challenge: write a better answer than the students on the other side of the classroom. Simple really. Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 19.19.21.png

I set the scene (and yes i did link it to the Hunger Games). I split the class in half. I explained that points would be deducted for any team member who handed the work in late.  I set each side a different but related question. The teams could work together but needed an individual piece of work to hand in. Finally (and most importantly) the best side wins a prize – other than just knowing they are the best (Chocolate Dips worked a treat).

The result: Well I would’t be blogging about it if it hadn’t of worked. Give it a go!

Adding the ‘power’ to your PowerPoint

I’m sure by now using powerpoint is so passé and there is a new ‘fashionable’ technique taking the world by storm (I’m just learning what snapchat is – still not really sure the point of it?) but as i live under a technology stone I’m going to stick with powerpoints. Using powerpoint is an easy resource to display a significant amount of material in creative and memorable way. So here is what I have learnt over the years…

1. Picking the perfect background: I always try to find a background suitable to the material being covered. The reason for this is that your background will play as a memory trigger as well as looking more interesting. If you google: free microsoft templates powerpoint this gives you a lot of websites to browse. I use https://templates.office.com/ but has a limited range so I often turn to www.smiletemplates.com/free/powerpointtemplates/0.html for more variety (only the first three slides are free but just copy and paste). Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 18.36.50.png

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Welcome to the Boardroom: Discussion Activities

Discussions are a fantastic teaching tool to engage all students, through connecting the subject material with the students’  own thoughts and experiences. This means that their learning is memorable.

  1. Conventional Discussion with a Twist. Students present their perspectives either verbally, written or physically in a discussion line then the teachers role (or a very confident or high achieving student) plays Devil’s Advocate. The students know what to expect (so the points are taken seriously but not offensively) and the students must justify their views in light of the further ‘controversial’ points raised. Review: very good for challenging high ability or verbal students.

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“But Miss it’s the end of the lesson!”: Perfect Plenaries

The end of a lesson can creep up on you like the rain in Scarborough (those of you familiar with the sunny seaside town will know that however well prepared you are the rain always catches you off guard.) I find plenaries exactly the same. However well I plan, however much I closely monitor the length of tasks, I just never seem to get round to my plenary (probably why I have so many starters – as my plenaries often become my starter activity for the next lesson. See post: Starters that Never Fail!)

But on those occasions when your lesson is rounding off nicely, you have five minutes left  to fill (while you desperately wait for your next caffeine fix) these plenaries I have found work a treat (by ‘treat’ I mean put students on the spot to test their learning from that lesson):

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Give them a try!

For further ideas why not try:

 

Starters that Never Fail!

Starting your lesson in the right way is crucial. You must capture your students attention, settle them into their learning , engage their interest and motivate them to want to continue. In a five minute starter that is not an easy task to accomplish.

Here are some well known starter activities. Why are they well known? Answer: Because they work.

Minimal preparation + maximum impact= a great start to your lesson.

The first two activities are ideal for new topics – exploring what your students know in order for their learning to progress more efficiently. With Anticipation (each of these images links to the topic of conscience) I would only use one as these as a starter activity – not all three.

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Leaving a Lasting Impression: Personalised Holocaust Memorials

With the events of the Holocaust it is not just a matter of whether the students can recite answers to text book questions, it is about enabling your students to process the information in a more meaningful way. I believe it is important to allow your students the opportunity to express their own thoughts and feelings on what they have learnt. There are many ways to achieve this from: poetry, story accounts and book reviews but another option is to create a class memorial – a physical object that remains within the classroom as a reminder to the students.

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