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1. 1. Challenge Wall Assign an area of your classroom called ‘Challenge Wall’ or ‘Challenge Corner’. In that area, put up laminated puzzles / activities that…
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  • 1. 1. Challenge Wall Assign an area of your classroom called ‘Challenge Wall’ or ‘Challenge Corner’. In that area, put up laminated puzzles / activities that relate to your topic and the Year group. When a student finishes the set task ahead of the rest of the class, they can go to the corner and select one of the activities. If the puzzles are laminated, the students can attempt them with a felt marker. When completed, the teacher simply wipes the sheet clean with a cloth and returns it to the wall. The puzzles / activities can be changed every term or half-term. 2. Video clips If you are due to show a short video clip to your class, why not show it twice: once with the commentary / sound, then again with the sound off but with commentary from a more able student (warn them first!!) 3. True or false? One student reads out a passage, which contains truths and errors. Listeners say ‘true’ or ‘false’ after each sentence. Award points to the listeners if they guess correctly or to the reader they are wrong. The less able students tend to spot the lies, the more able tend to spot the truths. You could arrange your class into teams with different passages to be read out, making it more competitive. 4. Big Question For questions that require long and detailed answers, or a number of shorter separate ones, write them down on sheets of sugar paper (one question per sheet). Each pair, or individual has a limited amount of time to answer the question before they pass that sheet to the person or pair in front (or behind) them. The next person or pair has, again, a limited amount of time to continue to answer that question. They should be encouraged to read through the answer already given and cross out anything they feel is incorrect. This process is continued until you think they have had enough time. Blu tack the sheets on the wall at the front of the room and go through the answers. The sheets can then be passed back to the students who take them away to ‘polish up’ for homework by word processing and producing enough ‘model answers’ for the rest of the class.
  • 2. 5. Last Man Standing A more able student stands at the front of the class. Everyone else stands and is asked to think of a word or phrase associated with a particular topic. The more able student then proceeds to name as many of those as possible. The class members sit down when their word or phrase is mentioned. If you have a number of more able students in your group, make it competitive by timing each of them to see how long it takes to get the class to sit down. 6. Fantastic Nine!! Similar to ‘Last Man Standing’ but – give your more able student a clipboard* with a piece of paper to draw a simple 3 x 3 grid. In each box, they write down a different word or phrase that is associated with a given topic (they should try to think of things the class would find difficult). The rest of the class then have to eliminate those words/phrases by shouting them out. Again, this can be made competitive by timing the activity and comparing against another more able student. *if you had a flip-chart this would work well. 7. Verbal Football Divide the class into two teams. Appoint team captains (more able student). Ask a question. The first team to answer correctly gains possession. Their team receives another question, which they* must answer correctly within 5 seconds. If they do, they receive another question. Three questions correct = three consecutive ‘passes’ and therefore a goal! If a question is incorrectly answered, or not answered within the allocated time, possession goes to the other team. Yellow and red cards can be shown for flouting the rules. *the students should answer in order of seating (ie no random shouting out). If he / she does not know the answer, they can nominate the team captain to answer on their behalf by shouting ‘nominate’. However, only allow one nomination per possession.
  • 3. 8. Verbal boxing Divide your class into teams of 3 to 6 pupils. Set up home and away matches and give each home team a motion to ‘propose’. Away teams oppose the motion. Give pupils time to prepare their arguments for both the home and away match. Each match begins with two teams sending one of their members into the ‘ring’ (a space created in the classroom) for the first round. After two minutes of robust debate in which each ‘boxer’ tries to out argue their opponent, the round ends and the ‘boxers’ return to their respective corners for one minute: either to tag a fellow team member into the ring or to collect new ideas to use in the next round. The best argument over three rounds decides the winning team. Your more able pupils could take a lead role by speaking first, entering several rounds or acting as coach in the corner between rounds 9. Differentiation By task: Use an able pupil to quickly recap on the previous lesson’s learning for the other pupils. If you are taking feedback during the lesson, enlist an able pupil to record ideas on the board while you lead the discussion. Use more able pupils to provide the plenary. Alert them at the start of the lesson to be ready to present their findings. By outcome: Try to use the ‘must do’, ‘should do’ and ‘could do’ tasks for classwork or homework. If you have not seen an example of this type of work, let me know. By support: Whilst other pupils may be working on a simple starter, use this time to explain to your more able pupil(s) which lower-level tasks they can by-pass and which tasks they should tackle to stretch themselves.
  • 4. 10. You Say, We Pay!! i) Normal game: select a student to sit at the front of the class. Behind them, you show an image or a word / phrase that is relevant to your subject*. The class (I suggest you do it table by table to avoid unnecessary calling out) then give clues to its identity. Repeat this process as appropriate. To prevent anyone ‘mouthing’ the word to the participant, you could blindfold the student. ii) G and T version: split the class into teams making sure that you have more able students in each team. The more able student comes to the front and looks at a series of images / words / phrases that the rest of the class cannot see. These could be on the staff computer or a sheet of paper or on a series of flashcards. The student then has to give clues to his team in order to identify them. Give each team an appropriate amount of time. *You could use an interactive whiteboard by entering images / words / phrases into a template from 11. TV Screens Divide your class up into groups of approx. 6. Five of the six should have ‘show me’ / ‘wipe boards’. The other student has a pen and a wipe. The groups should stand in a line with their backs to the other groups. For example, one facing the back wall, one facing the front wall, one group faces a side wall and so on. Having prepared a series of questions related to the relevant topic, you now ask the groups to answer them in the following way: The student with the pen in each group writes the answer to the first question on the first board in line. This student then moves down the line to the next board to write the answer to the second question. This process is then repeated until all questions have been answered. Anyone in the group can assist with the answers, taking care not to be heard by other teams. The number of questions should match the number of boards in each team. If there are fewer students in a particular team, one student could hold an extra board. Once all the questions have been answered, the teams turn around to face each other, thus revealing their answers. You go through the answers with them and announce the winners. The above process is repeated according to however many questions you have. The teams may swap the ‘writer’ if they wish after each round of questions. This activity can be made more challenging by insisting that only the person holding the board can assist the ‘writer’ in answering that specific question.
  • 5. 12. Give us a clue!! Divide the class up into an appropriate number of teams. One person from each team takes turns to come to the front to ‘act’ out a key word or phrase from the topic you are studying (you show them the word/phrase from prepared cards or a list). Give them a set time to ‘demonstrate’ their word/phrase. If their team cannot guess correctly, points can be awarded to the opposition. 13. Taboo! Prepare a set of ‘post-it’ size cards*. At the top of each card should be a key word or short phrase from the topic(s) you are studying. Below, there should be two or three words associated with the top word/phrase. The game: students sit in pairs. One student from each pair has a set of cards. On the word ‘go,’ that student has to describe the word/phrase at the top of the first card without using any of the words/phrases on that card, ie the key word at the top and any words below. If the other student guesses correctly, move on to the next card and so on. The guessing student can ‘pass’ at any time. At the end of a specified time, (I suggest two minutes) the students swap roles and repeat the process. At the end of the game, the students compare how many cards they have each – the winner is the one with the most cards. You can set up a system of promotion and relegation within your class – winner moves up one table, loser moves down. The new pairings then play another game. *photocopy, laminate and cut out enough sets for one between two in your class. I suggest approx. 20 cards per set. You can produce sets of cards which cover the same topic or several topics. Make sure you either colour code the cards if you are covering several topics or number the backs of each set – some of these cards can end up on the floor! 14. Connections Use the sets of taboo cards from ‘Idea 13’. Students sit in pairs and place the cards face down on the desk in a grid. (if there are 20 cards, place in a 5 by 4 grid). The first student picks any three* cards and attempts to provide a ‘connection’ between them. The connection must be a valid one! If correct, the student keeps the cards. If incorrect, the student places them back in the grid. The next student takes their turn and so on. After a specified time (I would suggest 2 - 3 minutes), stop the game. The winner will be the student with the most cards. As with ‘Taboo’, you can set up a promotion and relegation system in your room. *more able students should be able to cope with three cards, less able students pick two.
  • 6. 15. Headbands! Use the same cards as Ideas 13 and 14. Students sit in pairs. The cards are in a pile, face down on the desk. One student lifts a card and, without looking at it, places it on their forehead. They should keep it there with a finger. The word/phrase should be showing. They must then ask their partner as many questions as possible to identify the word/phrase. If successful, they take the next card from the pile. They can pass on any card if it is taking too long to guess correctly. i) The questions must only elicit a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response ii) They cannot simply ask ‘What is it?’ After a designated time, the students swap roles. As with Ideas 13 and 14, you can play a promotion and relegation system. 16. The Weakest Link! Divide your class up into two teams A and B (or name them). Give both teams sufficient bits of paper (I suggest quarter A4 size) to write down questions and answers to a particular topic. Each team should be given a different topic from which to generate questions. Give the students 15 minutes (or longer) to provide questions and answers on the bits of paper – one question and answer per piece of paper. Collect the questions in, making sure you keep them in two separate groups. Team A will now face the questions that were compiled by team B. Give a time limit for team A to amass as many points as possible (the powerpoint has ‘smarties’ but you can change it). They* can bank at any time but obviously lose any current points if a question is answered incorrectly. This process is then repeated for team B who will answer questions compiled by team A. * I suggest having an order in which the team answers questions e.g. table by table, to avoid unnecessary calling out.
  • 7. 17. Revision cards Give each of your students some index cards (alternatively, they could make their own). The number of cards given should match the number of topics within your module / syllabus. On one side of each card the students should write the title of one of the topics. When all cards have been titled, the students can then begin to complete the other sides. They should write down, in note* form the relevant / important points from that particular topic. When all cards have been completed, students can then carry out the following task. Place all the cards on the desk in front of them with the topic title facing up. Then try to visualize what is written on the first card. Turn the card over to check that what they thought was on the card was actually on the card. If yes, leave the card turned over and repeat process with the next card. If not, turn card over again and try again. This process is repeated until all cards are turned over. This activity could take place over a series of lessons (with homework to complete the cards). Obviously, less able students are likely to cope better with less information on their cards. *could be a mini mind map 18. Speed dating The basic idea is that pupils will move around the room from table to table, swapping information about the topic they have prepared. Materials needed: revision cards (you could use the revision cards from the previous activity or pre-made ones like the topic cue cards from Philip Allan Updates which cover a variety of subjects). Each pupil also needs a pen and a sheet of A4 lined paper. Students sit in pairs. The first pupil is given one minute to speak* about a particular topic whilst the other listens. The listening pupil then has one minute to write as much as he/she has remembered. (a bit of prompting can be allowed from the other pupil). After one minute, the roles are reversed. One pupil in each pair then moves around the classroom in a direction of your choice. This process is repeated. *homework in preparation for this lesson could be to produce a short speech about a particular topic which lasts approx one minute. Or, the speech could be prepared at the start of the lesson.
  • 8. Teaching more able learners A handful of useful web-resources National Strategies The gifted and talented focus area provides a range of guidance, materials and resources to support teachers in meeting the needs of gifted and talented learners. Young, Gifted and Talented A key site that hosts the Learner Academy and the IQS and CQS with user guides, plus information and advice. LGT: London Gifted and Talented Cutting edge e-resources and online tools. QCA Tasks for the more able Key Stage 3 at: Guidance for teaching pupils gifted and talented in the arts This guidance has been produced specifically to help schools identify and support pupils talented in art and design, dance, drama and music. The Secondary Framework for English, mathematics, science and ICT National Competition Framework for PE and sport The talent ladder website for the Youth Sport Trust is a source of information that enables support to be given to gifted and talented sports people in schools. and
  • 9. Contents: 1. Challenge Wall 2. Video Clips 3. True or False? 4. Big Question 5. Last Man Standing 6. Fantastic Nine 7. Verbal Football 8. Verbal Boxing 9. Differentiation 10.You Say We Pay 11.TV Screens 12.Give Us A Clue 13.Taboo 14.Connections 15.Headbands 16.Weakest Link 17.Revision Cards 18.Speed Dating 19.Alternative activities to copying from text Useful websites Although all of the above activities are specifically aimed at the gifted and talented, they can still be used effectively when working with pupils of lower ability, either in their existing form or with slight variations. Dave B (Feb 2009)
  • 10. 19. Alternative activities to copying from text 1. A simple ‘conversion’ exercise Ask the students to take material that is presented in one format and convert it into a different format. Eg • A mind map • A flow diagram • A storyboard • A chart • A key word plan • Ranked bullet points Give students a choice of formats. Over time, the students can practice them all. They can then choose the ones that suit their learning style independently. 2. A ‘hierarchies’ exercise Each student draws a page-sized pyramid. In pairs, or individually, the students should find the ‘big idea’ in the text and write this in the apex of the pyramid. Students then work out the next level of information – the main points – and note them down in the next ‘layer’ down. This process continues until the details are written within the base of the pyramid. The students could be asked to memorise the material by covering up different layers, attempting to recall what they contain, then looking to check. In time, they should be able to work from just the higher layers, which prompt the recall of detail. 3. A ‘filtration’ exercise. Draw a large filter funnel and beaker on the board. Students work on the given text in pairs. You challenge them to find the five (or ten, or appropriate number) most important words. As soon as a pair is ready, one of them comes to the board and writes their proposed five words in the filter funnel. Other pairs follow and from their selection can only add words that are not already in the funnel. As soon as every pair has contributed, lead a debate with the class about which five (or ten, or….) words to let through into the beaker. The agreed filtered words then become the basis for notes, which everyone can make individually.
  • 11. 4. ‘Market Place’ activity. 1. This exercise is conducted through a series of strictly timed stages. The number of stages and timing of each stage will vary according to the topic. Here is a typical example. 2. Students work in groups of 3. Each group is allocated a sub-division of a topic and given resource material on their sub-division. Each group also has a large piece of sugar paper and 3 / 4 differently coloured thick felt pens. In a regular class there might be 8 or more groups, so each sub-division is given out twice, to different groups in different parts of the room. 3. Write up the sequence and timing of the stages on the board so that students can follow the exercise easily. 4. Have a gong, bell or buzzer to signal the start and end of each stage. Stage 1 (1 minute) Show the students the learning objectives and the test that they will take later (on interactive whiteboard if poss). Give them one minute to read through the test, then switch it off. Make sure that they understand that they will sit the test under exam conditions without reference to any materials. Stage 2 (15 minutes) Each group converts the resource material for their sub-division into a visual display (a poster) using the large paper and pens. The poster must be designed for visitors to view and understand (at stage 3). The poster can have up to 10 words and no more – abbreviations count as whole words. Numbers, diagrams, symbols and pictures can all be used. Remind the group at this stage that, as a minimum, they must include material that can be used to answer the test questions. Stage 3 (10 minutes) By now each group will only have a fraction of the info. needed for success in the test. Therefore, groups will need to learn from each other at this stage. One member of the group will ‘stay home’ and be the stall holder, the other two members will go out int
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