Wednesday 4 March 2015

#ililc5 Eleanor Abrahams @elvisrunner Challenge and Differentiation

I started to blog about this fab session by the ever-enthusiastic and gifted @Elvisrunner aka Eleanor Abrahams and then realised that my soft-focus photos were no match for her blogpost

Opening with a great quote and a dramatic chair-falling off incident by @lancslassrach, this session was crammed with good ideas for challenge, focusing on 6 key areas.

Eleanor talked about one of my favourite current topics on Twitter, Growth Mindset. 

How do you get their buy-in? How do they say they can do it and believe that? 
 She gave us some tips for having that conversation with the pupils. 

 Eleanor recommended reading "Advancing Differentiation" by Richard M Cash.
She then got us to do the following activity.
1) We had to draw an eye
2) She gave us a set of 5 eyes drawn by hand and told us to select the one that was closest to ours
3) She then asked us did we think we could copy the next-best drawn eye. We set to, with the sample to guide us and the option of a "How to.." photocopied page.
4) Eleanor then asked us did we think our drawing had improved.
This was a way of pointing out how our pupils feel and how we could encourage them better in the tasks we set them. If you put the perfect version on the board at the start, a lot will say "well I can't do that" If you get them to do theirs first then show them how to improve, it empowers them.

Put this map up on the board and ask them to write sentences for the weather forecast. 

Ask them "Which colour best represents your sentence?"
Now give them another go, showing pupils step by step how to improve their work is less upsetting for them. Tapping into Growth Mindset, it's about making them believe they can do it. 

Here Eleanor talked about turning traditional differentiation on its head and providing more of a challenge from the start. 

I used this activity today with Form 2 and it was really successful. It can obviously be used at any level too which is always an advantage. 

All in all, this was an excellent session and I left totally inspired with some wee ideas to put into place immediately as well as more long-term planning to incorporate into our Schemes of Work. 

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