Questions, Questions…..

Intel training has led to thinking about questions and how to ask good ones. Specifically how to ask open ended questions for units that are sufficiently broad so that students can take them in a few different directions. I am trying to create a unit for year 12 English, which of course is a prescribed course and a lot of the content has to fit into some pretty tight restrictions. This said, the questions should still be thought provoking enough to allow, in fact encourage, students to want to take them further. I have settled on ‘How do people’s environments affect them?” this is fairly broad but still leads to the unit focus, which is Orwell’s world and how it relates to his fiction.

Intel Reflections-Part 1

While looking at the ideas in the intel master trainer course we are thinking deeply about teaching and learning through projects. Projects are based on constructivist models of learning. As I predominantly teach VCE students projects, while certainly desirable, are not always suited, mainly because of time constraints. I have decided to modify the project somewhat to fit it with the study design as a result of these considerations. I originally wanted to create something that would help my students to improve their outcomes in the ‘Reading and Responding’ area of study. This outcome will be addressed through the text ‘Nineteen Eighty Four’ and this is a complex text. I am hoping, after reading through the intel material, to be able to create a project that is based around this text and that will enable students to write at a deeper level about the text as they read it. I read a lot about the collaborative nature of project based learning and so thought that peer reviewing and assessing would be a good way to do this. So far, what I have read through the course has not contradicted my belief that this is possible. So lets see…..

Intel tools for the classroom

I’ve just finished creating a few more intel tools for the classroom to use with my year 12 English class. There is a new assessment area that allows you to create and print rubrics based on your individual needs and to learn about assessment strategies and use rubrics already created.

I created a visual ranking tool for the year 12s doing Area of Study three, using language to persuade. The issue we’re discussing is dredging so I created this tool with a set of reasons for why we shouldn’t dredge Port Phillip bay. Students then have to rank them in order of importance and add short notes explaining their reasoning. They can then check their reasoning against the other groups and are given a correlation score.

I have also created a Showing Evidence tool for the same issue. Students need to provide evidence for the claim that we should not dredge the bay and then justify their reasons for choosing that particular evidence. This assists them in writing their analysis, as they can evaluate the arguments used and then print out their own arguments and those of the rest of the class.

Students are doing a Point of View piece about a current issue, they were encouraged to do this on the dredging issue, but we also wanted them to do their best and so we thought we should let them choose an issue. It will be interesting to see how many choose the issue that they’re analysing as this will give them a much greater understanding of the issue and should help their analysis to reach the necessary depth. We have very little time on this so students will have to be independent. I wish the VCE year was longer!