Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Intervention #2: Increasing the number of Iterations for learning

In a previous blog, I discussed my inquiry with Jannie who shared one of the effective ways to support my learners in understanding their learning.

"One of the Principles of learning is that you need a number of iterations.  You're building in those iterations.  Teachers are overlooking this need that we all have that you don’t learn things and do the same things over and over, you crank it so that in a different way or a little bit more challenge or you go back to it again, not only to your partner but to each other.  They are all ways that (you are) consolidating and creating iterations of their learning" (Blogpost, 10th August, 2019)

Research that supports these principles within my specific learning area of Social Studies, can be found in the Best Evidence Synthesis (BESs) report, commissioned by the Ministry of Education.  It was found that 'students need sufficient, related opportunities to revisit learning through a variety of activities that will embed that learning in their memories'.  (p12, Sinnema and Aitken, 2008)

I used these principles when I planned my lesson for my year 9's recently.  To put this into practice, I allowed for more time for learning and the context we were learning about was to understand what parliament does.  

When reflecting on my previous lesson, I used the ideas of slowing down the learning by focusing on key words and concepts, to guide my lesson.  To crank my lesson up slightly, I used lots of different images and simple definitions to support new words and concepts.

Lesson structure:
1.  Pretest and post test:  I created a pre and post test that asks students to connect a word/phrase related to parliament, an image to support the word and a definition or example of that word.

2.  Powerpoint presentation:  I created a powerpoint that had limited wording, an emphasis on key points and big images and pictures.
3.  Video:  On the powerpoint, there is a short video discussing what I will be talking about on my powerpoint. 

4.  Mix and match exercise:  I cut up the words/phrases related to parliament, the image that supported the words and a definition or example of that word and asked students to match them together by turning the cards upside down and playing 'go fish'.  

5.  Kahoot!: I created a quick spot quiz on Parliament in kahoot.

6.  Blog post:  I wanted to get kids to write a blogpost on their learning. 

7.  Survey:  I created a survey that asked 4 questions: 
  • Did you enjoy today's lesson on Parliament?
  • What part did you enjoy the most?
  • Is there anything else that Ms Apelu can do to help you learn better next time? (write one thing if you think there is something)
  • Is there anything else that YOU can do to help you learn better next time? (write one thing if you think there is something)
Actual lesson:
I made the kids do the pre and post test on paper and supplied their pens and pencils for ease of collection.  I asked for devices to be off and to focus on my explaining the powerpoint.  I emphasised the key words and sounded out words that students may not understand.  I tried to use phonetically sound out key words and write the words on the board.  I made the students say it out loud, clap out the syllables and turn to a partner and say the words to each other.

When we moved into doing the mix and match exercise students seem excited to do the activity.  Unfortunately my instructions weren't clear so some students lay all the words out and tried to put them in groups, others did 3 columns and other played 'go fish' (I know for next time to model what I want them to do and have it on the ppt).  Although lots of kids were doing different activities with the same words, I felt there was lots of mixing and matching going on and that students were mostly engaged.  The first student who got the answers matched up correctly was asked to go around and check other students.

The class really enjoyed the kahoot as they got to challenge each other - the boys were the most excited but the girls got the better results.  I noticed we had run out of time towards the end of the lesson and didn't get a chance to start the blog.  Just before the bell, students were asked to complete the survey and the post-test. (I will report on the results in my next few posts)

Quick reflections:  
I was pretty exhausted by the end of the lesson, mostly because I think I stood at the front and had to encourage the talking and rephrasing and modelling of the language.  There were so many components to the lesson that I had to keep track of the time, of the activity and monitor the behaviour of the students especially in the last 30 minutes.  Overall I think the lesson went well and judging by the quick survey answers, I can use their feedback to modify my next lessons.

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