Our strategy of the week idea continues. As I have posted earlier, each week the Learning and Teaching Coordinator posts a good idea for adding interest to classes that different teachers have emailed him. Today I tried one – a strategy to enhance vocabulary. This was contributed by my colleague Kevin. The students were asked to form pairs and use a dictionary. Each pair came up with an unusual word that they thought no-one else would know and one made up, or invented, word. In turn each pair came up to the board and wrote up their two words. The rest of the class then had a go at saying which they thought was the real word and why. Lots of time for discussion about words that might be related, the possible origin of words and words they’d seen before, even if they couldn’t define them without context. After this the pair revealed which one was the real word and what its meaning was, rubbing out the other word. After a while we had a group of student chosen unusual words, which had been discussed and the meanings given. I then asked them to pick one or two of the words from the board, write them in their books, together with the meaning, and commit to using them in writing and conversation over the next few days. The students loved it and wanted to keep doing it.
Another strategy that I will contribute to the Strategy of the Week is one I thought of today and called Roving Reporter. My Year Sevens were reporting on research they had done using PowerPoint presentations in groups. I wanted to add a reflective component to the activity so after they finished I popped up with a pretend microphone (I literally thought of the idea in the class) and said. “Hello, I’m Sandra Sully from Channel Ten News. I just wanted to ask you a few questions about your presentation. Where exactly did you get your information?” (Pause for answer) “Did you find one source more helpful than the others?” and “You have obviously spent a fair bit of time on research. What was the most interesting thing you found out?” And so on. There were a couple of different questions for each group. After a while the students caught on and one volunteered to be Livinia Nixon from Channel Nine. She asked her question (she realised the first one she asked wouldn’t work and she had to think of another one). After a while Livinia Nixon decided to take questions from the audience to those who had just presented. It turned out to be a fun and engaging activity, and achieved its aim of providing some reflective time for the students. Even though they were put on the spot (in a fun way) their answers and musings were surprisingly good.