The final video challenge of the year was from Beth Ashton who asked us to get students “Acting out” their learning. These are some of the things staff at Beaumont got up to in T&L Video Challenge week:
Acting out myths
In groups of three, the students of 7L were asked to ‘act out’ their understanding of the Chinese creation myth we had read. I specified that only one student could speak during the performance (the narrator) and that the other two students would have to mime and use their bodies. Given the time frame that was allowed, I was delighted and surprised with the performances I saw, especially those incorporating what can only be described as stylised dance.
Students really loved the opportunity to act. Michael Tatham (English)
Rather than just get Year 10 to perform a scene from ‘Romeo and Juliet’ (which would have made the challenge a bit easier!), I got them to use what they knew of characters and events to make suggestions about how a scene should be performed. I chose some students to give an ‘awful’ rendition of a scene: no expression, no movement, no facial expression (I wrote this as a modernised, summarised version for ease).
I then assigned sections of the text for groups to interpret and make notes on how to improve the original, so that it was a better reflection of characters based on their personality / behaviour / previous scenes. The students then performed the scene again, making adjustments as peers gave feedback and advice based on their interpretation.
By doing this, they were able to explore varied interpretations and presentations of character, instead of me suggesting the ideas. It was fairly unanimous- the nurse should be fairly fierce and threatening when meeting Romeo! Frances Jackson (English)
Im Café role-plays
As part of getting ready to go on their trip to Germany, Year 7 German had been learning transactional information, including ordering and paying for food in a café. Perfect opportunity for a role-play!
I gave them certain requirements (e.g. that everyone must have at least four lines, everyone must give an opinion and there should be an element of “polite conversation”).
I was really pleased with the results! Some of the conversations lasted quite a long time and they really focused on their accuracy. I also learned that there are clearly some “drama queens” in that class. Following their visit to Germany, almost everyone said that they went into a café just to practise ordering! Beth Ashton (MFL)
Acting out equations
On Monday, my Year 7 Maths class (top set) looked at solving equations with x on both sides.
For example: 7x – 5 = 2x + 40
Some had difficulty in visualising terms crossing sides and changing from say, +40, to -40. There were a number of mistakes made.
So today we had 5 people at the front with 5 cards with expressions written in large font:
7x (and -7x on the back)
-5 (and +5 on the back)
2x (and -2x on the back)
+40 (and -40 on the back)
= (which never moved)
All lined up in a row to show 7x – 5 = 2x + 40
So when -5 crossed to the other side the pupil (when walking to the other side) flipped the card over so that it became +5. This slowing down and seeing it happen in space embedded the idea much better than simply writing the whole process on paper. Simple but effective. Kevin Taylor (Maths)
Acting out loci
I decided to use this opportunity to do a lesson on loci, a concept that students often struggle with visualising and remembering. The locus (plural: loci) of something is basically the path that it traces out (e.g. the locus of a ball that has been kicked upwards would be an arc tracing out the path of the ball).
I took my class to the back playground to have a bit more space and told one student to stand on a fixed point. The rest of the class then had to stand so that they were all the same distance from the student, without talking about what they were doing. After a bit of miming and communication the students realised that they all had to stand in a circle around the original boy, showing that the locus of points equidistant from a fixed point is a circle.
This process was repeated for a number of different loci that students need to be able to recognize. Once back in the classroom, I could easily refer to our “acting” when completing written questions.
This process worked really well as student can sometimes find this concept a bit abstract to begin with, but when they were faced with a diagram showing a line or two points they could visualise which part of the acting out session that was and draw in the required locus.
I will definitely be repeating this lesson when I teach this topic next year. Fiona Rosler (Maths)
I used the challenge to assess the students’ recall of a story they had seen in an animation the week before. Students were asked to act out the story of Ignaz Semmelweis – a Hungarian doctor who realised that doctors going between dead bodies and the midwifery units in hospitals were responsible for the spread of child bed fever.
They enjoyed acting the story out and each group was able to show how Semmelweis’ insistence on hand washing between patients was of crucial importance. Although allowing them to do this took 10-15 minutes, I was confident they had reinforced the story in their minds and it was a good use of time.
I could move on to the next topic with confidence that they will all remember Ignaz Semmelweis! Sarah Lofthouse (Science)