Going ‘SOLO’ with an intro to Gothic Horror

This is going to be messy – but it’s time to make a start.

Today, with huge thanks to The Learning Spy, I tried to get my meagre think-tank around something I had seen bandied about Twitter for some time: SOLO Taxonomy.

Here are the basics of what I’ve read:

PRESTRUCTURAL

solo1 

The student knows nothing about the subject.

STUDENT: I don’t know anything

UNISTRUCTURAL

solo2 

The student knows one thing about the subject. Many students may share their knowledge which will move the group on.

STUDENT: I know one thing.

VERBS: define, label, match, select

FEEDBACK: How could you demonstate ‘multistructural’ knowledge?

MULTISTRUCTURAL

solo3

The student knows several things about the subject

STUDENT: I know several things.

VERBS: list, describe, complete,

FEEDBACK: How have you demonstrated ‘multistructural’ knowledge? How could you demonstrate ‘relational’ knowledge?

RELATIONAL

solo4

The student can link knowledge to make new ideas

STUDENT: I can find links and connections between the things I know to come up with new ideas.

VERBS: sequence, classify, explain (provide hexagons/triangles), question, analyse, apply, predict

FEEDBACK: How have you demonstrated ‘relational’ knowledge? How could you demonstrate ‘extended abstract’ concepts?

EXTENDED ABSTRACT

solo5

The student can apply knowledge in hypothetical ways.

Student: I can go beyond the subject and link my knowledge to other concepts to come up with new ideas (depends on BIG multistructural base of knowledge). I can suggest reasons why…

VERBS: evaluate, justify, generalise, argue, design, construct, perform

FEEDBACK: How have you demonstrated ‘extended abstract’ concepts?

(Images from http://www.amazon.co.uk/SOLO-Taxonomy-Guide-Schools-Bk/dp/192714356X )

EXAMPLES:

  • UNISTRUCTURAL – Who is Shakespeare?
  • MULTISTRUCTURAL – What did he do and why?
  • RELATIONAL – What things did he write about?
  • EXTENDED ABSTRACT – Does he influence modern writers?
  • UNISTRUCTURAL -What is Macbeth?
  • MULTISTRUCTURAL – What do I know about power in Macbeth?
  • RELATIONAL – What were the consequences of seeking power?
  • EXTENDED ABSTRACT – What can we learn about misguided ambition from this play?
  • UNISTRUCTURAL -What is a sentence?
  • MULTISTRUCTURAL – What are the different elements of a sentence?
  • RELATIONAL – What are the effects of varying the order of those elements?
  • EXTENDED ABSTRACT – How can writers use sentence structures to make their work more interesting?

And here is my attempt at the EXTENDED ABSTRACT:

The Thrill of Gothic Horror

A lesson introducing Victorian reactions to the genre

(Fighting back against the annual plethora of ‘Zombie Killer’ stories)

Starter

  • The answer: Bats, gravestones, ghosts, arched windows.
  • What is the question?

Share objective

  • To explore the context of the gothic horror genre

Share outcomes

  • I know some features of the gothic horror genre
  • I can link the features to events in history and society
  • I can generalise on the popularity of the genre at that time.

Multistructural

Relational

  • T models the ‘making links’ game on IWB
  • Sts play in groups (weaker sts play in teams, directed by T, on IWB)

1213 L1 links

Extended Abstract

  • Sts create a poster ‘Why the Victorians liked Gothic Horror’.

Sts RAG outcomes and discuss learning.

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Do Children want to learn?

The Guardian posed the question ‘Is the curriculum putting students off learning?’ which lead to ‘Do children want to learn?’

Isn’t it a condition of basic survival that we are created to learn? So, of course children want to learn but, should it be enough that we say ‘You need to know this’ and they sit down and learn it? Isn’t it our job to put them in a situation where they realise they NEED to learn something – other than to pass a test?

I’m new to expressing these ideas but… isn’t the process of learning and wanting to learn cyclic? We use something until we exhaust its possibilities and then we look for something more appropriate/sophisticated which we use until we exhaust it. If a replacement doesn’t exist, we have to be creative and invent it. For example, we use apps until they no longer satisfy our needs when we look for a new one. If the new one doesn’t exist, then (if we know how) we create it – and if we’re lucky, we’re quids-in.

Similarly with punctuation (got a problem mixing semi-colons and 12-year-olds at the moment), we use full stops capital letters until we can do joined up thinking then we need something more and the more our thinking becomes joined up, the broader our need of punctuation.

Maybe I think like this because I raised sons who were very selective and economical with their commitment to school work but quickly learned computer games, musical instruments and software, photography and graphics programs from Youtube, blogs and forums – and books. They needed to learn for a project they’d set themselves (nothing to do with school) – so they learned. And I’m sure this contributed to them becoming more literate young men – building on what teachers had started of course.

I will have to develop this idea further with more joined up thinking, but at the moment it meets my needs. And, although it exposes the limit of my ‘achievement’  in this area, I know where to find it when I feel ready to show ‘progress’.

If you got this far, thanks for reading.

APP WAF6 – Competitive Punctuation Points

How DO you get the ‘darlings’ to punctuate without the dispiriting ‘I’ll put it in when I’ve finished, Miss’?

In my experience, the stats that say boys don’t like to write is wrong. Speaking generally, they like to write IF they can write about something that interests them but, it seems they’re not too concerned about helping out the reader. They have something to say and they want to say it as quickly as possible – no time for distracting technicalities such as punctuation. However, adding a competitive element is always conducive to encouraging desired behaviour and for that, I am always on the lookout for good ideas.

Skimming through Twitter the other day, I came across this fab idea that is being promoted by @DeputyMitchell. And, although it was presented as a primary resource, I NEED it in my KS3 and KS4 classes – especially for encouraging those C/D borderline students who are just on the cusp of moving into using a variety of meaningful syntax.

It’s quick, it’s easy and more encouragingly, it generates winners. Also, on laminated sheets, they can be used over and again.

punctuation points

And futhermore, it generates conversation and uses numeracy.

Blog Awards – Rewarding good class blogs.

Boys love winning.

On the sports field it’s easy to see who has been the best at something but in the classroom success isn’t as obvious. I like to be able to reward for effort and presentation as well as content and posting these images (alongside formative comments when appropriate) is a great way to make someone a winner for the day.

Here are my first attempts at making blog specific trophies. Better may follow when I have better mastered Brushes on the iphone. Or, when I have treated myself to a tablet.

trophyblog of the week trophybest blog trophy qull blank quill blog of the week quill best blog award

 

 

I can’t take credit for the original artwork – I’ve only adapted the images to suit my purpose. I would be more than pleased to credit the original author if they get in touch.

The Reading Strategies – Getting Started

‘I know how to read!’ they declare indignantly year after year.

‘Yes, I know you know how to read the words.’ I reply. ‘But, do you understand the significance of what you’re reading?’

It’s a battle (which DOES have something to do with the all boy cohort) to get a lot of them to read independently but getting them to think about their reading skills helps.  Sharing the reading strategies listed in the reference section of this blog encourages them to think about more than just enunciating the letters on the page. It gives them what many boys need – short term goals. They can see how to progress.

Regularly (because they forget) I use these reading strategies to discuss how they are going to approach a new text. We start by skimming and scanning for ideas we understand, then we move on to asking questions of what we don’t understand and reading backwards and forwards for clues. This naturally leads to inferring and interpreting and finally, they feel confident to develop their own ideas about the text. This also works really well in small group guided reading.

With non-fiction and media texts, this can be followed up with ‘What I knew, what I learned, what else I want/need to know’ which can prepare them, with clear goals, for independent research.  When reading fiction, starting with the reading strategies gives them a lot more confidence to proceed with voicing their own opinions about writer’s point of view and how readers might react

I’m open for discussion, but in long term planning I try to structure the reading strategies alongside Bloom’s taxonomy – progressing through continuous and overlapping arcs of learning.

  • Knowledge – skimming and scanning
  • Comprehension – asking questions, reading backwards and forwards
  • (Application – categorising, organising, re-presenting facts)
  • Analysis –  interpreting, inferring, visualising, predicting. empathising
  • Synthesis – Synthesising to develop own ideas
  • (Evaluation – judging effectiveness of own and others’ texts)
Learning arc

Learning arc

I like this diagram from headguruteacher.com which illustrates how I like to think I progress, using the reading strategies, through a unit of work

Planning KS3 with Bloom’s Taxonomy

3d blooms As much as the concept of Bloom’s hierarchical structure really appeals to my quirky need to find structure in most things, I HATE that ‘some’ think every lesson should be a 60 minute dash to the top of the mountain.

And, why does it have to be a mountain? I quite like it flipped; it’s fun to start with the creative and then work backwards, exploring why things might not have turned out as well as they could. I like it circular: jumping in at any point and I like it in 3D which combines knowledge and the cognitive process. I need to think more about the relationships of creating order out of chaos and chaos out of order but either way, both are welcome in my classroom.

Something I can’t seem to tame into my fundamental need for structure is the way verbs are listed under each of the Bloom’s stages. On the Bloom’s page under the Progression tab on this site, I have included one version of verb classification if only to remind myself that I’m not happy with it; surely ‘infer’ should come higher up the scale than ‘comprehension’ – trying to teach it daily, I find it is a higher order thinking skill that exists way down, deep in the subconscious of a lot of my students. Do boys find this harder than girls? I’m open for discussion on this.

Much to the detriment of my appalling OFSTED observations (I assume but never asked), on my journey through the unit, I like to meander across my mountain over a 6 week period; I want everyone to appreciate the landscape, the flora and the fauna and have a broader understanding of their environment before, if not reaching the summit, then hopefully coming in sight of it. How else can they feel enthused, knowledgeable and motivated enough to commit to their own opinions and have the courage to adopt opinions on the ideas of others?

‘Wisely and slow. They stumble that run fast’

Lots of Bloomin’ stuff on Pinterest

APP Assessing Pupil Progress

APP – love it or hate it? I know people who fall into both camps and I change my mind daily.

Having been washed up in the English department, from MFL,  just before the publication of the grids, I was at a loss to understand just what I was trying to achieve each day in the classroom.  Then one enlightening day the APP grids arrived in the department and all became clear – ‘so that is the difference between a level 5 and a level 6 reader’. And for that, mostly, I love them.

Once the learning objective has been set using the strands, I use versions (student friendly where necessary) of the APP descriptors to let the students set their lesson outcome. Deciding what target to set themselves often gives an opportunity for valuable discussion on achievement. They can set on or above their target grades depending how confident they feel and lesson by lesson, it gives them a sense of either success or understanding what they need to do to progress. Using short term goals in an all boy’s school is a powerful motivator.

As per the norm, .gov.uk posted them as PDF files and as PDF files, they are a nightmare to manipulate. Using the tabs at the top of this page (AFL/Assessment), I can easily access, copy and paste these descriptors to the IWB for classroom activities.

The APP grids, do you love them or hate them?