English teacher Leor Holtzman has been working with one of our Learning Development Groups trying out some techniques for everyday differentiation and engagement. Here she shares some more of her work in progress:
This is a really useful and creative idea from Engaging Learners by Andy Griffith and Mark Burns, available in our staffroom T&L Library. I’ve recently tried it out in class to introducing using persuasive techniques to create sentences, although it could be used for so much more.
In a nutshell the technique is as follows: you create a 6×6 grid of images and/or key words connected to your topic theme – in my case it was looking at the effects of natural disaster. You also need a dice per pair (soft ones if you can – stops the noise!)
My students rolled dice to identify which box of the grid they were going to work on. When the box was selected, the students then had to identify a language technique they were going to use and create a sentence from it. The photo isn’t mine (thanks to Mrs B’s bag of tricks for that) but it was a very similar idea.
Why it worked for me: Students were engaged from the word go because they were in control with what they had to do. There was a level of challenge because the tasks kept changing (both the image and the technique), forcing the students to keep on their toes and be creative. All selections were made randomly by the roll of a dice, but to differentiate further you could offer some students the chance to choose (e.g.) the row once the column was selected.
The students said that they throughly enjoyed this approach as it forced them to be more creative and develop a higher level of thinking skills to ensure they met their challenges.
How could this be used in other subjects:
- solving a range of maths problems
- developing definitions based on key religions
- incorporating key plot points in Drama.
For some further ideas see the book or this blog by Jo Debens!