Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Loud OR Quiet Lesson?

My good friend Loic has a great short-term strategy for classes who are acting up. It's particularly effective at this time of year with fidgeting, worn-out students. Each time he plans a lesson he equally prepares two ways of covering the same material - i.e. an active way and a 'quiet' way. For instance, if revising materials he might plan a kinaesthetic card sort activity where students move around the room matching up cards. Additionally, he plans a 'matching worksheet' and written questions around the same topic.

When students get to class he is able to either assess where they are in terms of energy and pick the most suitable activity. Or, and here in lies the genius, he will explain to the students about the two prepared lessons and genuinely ask which one they prefer. They have to think through which lesson will provide the most learning and give reasons justifying their answer. In doing so students invest in the planning process, realise what needs to happen for them to learn and - generally - they are much better behaved.

Of coure, planning TWO lessons is a lot of work and I'm not suggesting this as a long-term strategy. But in the short-term, if a class are a little off-task, it really can help.