Monday, 11 July 2011

#LW2011 Greg Horton Active learning and Raising achievement

This was a more active session than I had anticipated, yet I should have guessed from the title, and from what I had heard about Greg in advance. We started with PE warm ups, with instructions in the target language. Greg suggested that pupils adapt their own model and lead future warm-up sessions. He also said that he uses this at any time to re-engage pupils in a lesson eg he walks round the room and will randomly shout an instruction to anyone not paying attention.

Kagan Timed Pair Share
Greg had a slide with pictures of different coloured eyes and the Spanish beside it: Tienes los ojos.. with colours. Put the music on, pupils circulate, having agreed in advance who talks first when the music stops eg the person with the biggest right hand, highest playing card, tallest person. Another option is to either do word lists when the music stops or person B gives feedback in TL to what person A says eg A gives personal details, B repeats it back to them in the 'you' form.

Greg's approach is making a physical response a routine part of the learning in his classroom. In this sense, it ties in closely with Rachel Hawkes' approach to teaching phonics, subject pronouns and verbs. Greg talked about levels of active learning:
o Word level (fun but..)
o Sentence level (manipulation and creativity)
o Conceptual (tense and grammar)

He teaches connectives with gestures in Form 1/Year 7, early on. Anytime anyone uses one, the whole class has to do the action. If you teach with gestures then read a text, they should do the actions.

Human word chains
These are particularly effective for a starter or a plenary. Give teams pieces of paper, so that each pupil has one word. Pupils can repeat their word but not show it, and the teams have to organise themselves into a sentence which makes sense. This activity reinforces basic sentence structure. If you wish to repeat the activity in the next lesson, make pupils guardians of their word, so that they need to remember their word and where they were in the line. At a higher level, the tecaher can add detail such as "I’d like the two adjectives to sit down” Then you can have runners run down the back of the line and shout the missing word(s) out in the appropriate gap in the sentence as the remaining 'sentence' pupils shout out their word in order. To take this to a higher lecel, construct, deconstruct, adapt and extend – invite the rest of the class to be extra words or punctuation. Kids can also choose the words they want to be.
Add gestures to this activity to make it more active; eg someone acting a connective or sequencing word does windmill action. The last person needs to be punctuation, eg the full stop sits on the floor, whilst the first person stands on a chair to illustrate that they are a capital letter.

PRONOUNS
Greg teaches his pupils Subject pronouns gestures, eg ointing to himself with one hand for I, pointing with two hands in front for You plural. To add to this, he suggests you use these with We Will Rock You music, where the teacher says the word on one beat and the pupils then do the gestures. Once pupils have got this, you can mime the pronoun and the verb, adding past or future once advanced, and pupils shout out the answer.

The clock times ballet
This is done to classical music, where Greg says the time, then pupils use their arms to represent the time on the second beat. This proved quite hilarious for our group, some of whom lacked the coordination to become a prima ballerina.

All in all, this was a really really useful session in terms of practical, immediate methodology which you could do at any time with little or no preparation, but which I think will prove to have a maasive impact on learning in the classroom.

2 comments:

Fred Lane said...

Thank you so much for that. I was very desappointed to have missed Greg Horton's session.

Raija Chapman said...

I appreciate your notes here - I've just discovered Group Talk (Im in OZ) and am thoroughly hooked!