How Children Succeed: grit, curiosity and the hidden power of character by Paul Tough
Chosen by Nicky Morgan, secretary of state for Education and Minister for Women and Equalities
“There should be no tension between academic success and character education – the two are mutually dependent. Paul Tough’s How Children Succeed offers an important contribution to the debate around the role of character education in schools and, in particular, the value it can have for disadvantaged pupils. I want all children, no matter what their background, to leave school well rounded, with a range of interests.”
These ideas are intended as quick fire warm-ups to activate the brain into a mood for reading, writing and performance. They help to establish a creative atmosphere and prepare the ground for more in-depth and longer periods of work. They can be used as a stand alone activity in their own right in the lesson starter or introduction, but the initial ideas generated can also be used as a stimulus for the main teaching activity or may even be extended into a whole lesson. The talk or writing generated by the warm-ups and games can also be stored away for future use as, whilst they are part of limbering up, they may also produce thoughts and writing which may be useful elsewhere.
Lesson introductions are vital!
The space shuttle metaphor is useful here; the shuttle uses 90% of its fuel in the first 30 seconds of launch. Lesson starters are similar; if students are engaged at the outset, then the learningis more likely to be successful throughout the lesson. See the links below for excellent ideas and resources:
Students counted out how many letters they had in their names and gathered the corresponding number of squares to make their rocket. Students then wrote the letters on the squares but some chose instead to write the letters first. Then the students arranged the squares on the paper, adding details to their rockets.
Pie Corbett provides some hints and tips to help your class write a shape or observation poem. This video is taken from the Igniting Writing 'Waterworlds' interactive whiteboard CD-ROM. This book has been ordered for Barra and Botafogo - along with many others. For great ideas in supporting teachers in the teaching of poetry, see Pie's writing here: Talk For Writing-Learning to craft language-short-burst poetic writing.
All the links and resources shared at the Learning Technologies Primary INSET sessions last week have now been posted on the TBS Google Site. The links to the webpages are here: Barra: http://bit.ly/1ZrUbsIBotafogo: http://bit.ly/1RkAfCH (Please note: These sites are only available to staff with a TBS email account)
A big thank you to all the teachers who shared their Learning Technology experiences in the 'Failing to Succeed' Teachmeet during the INSET. Please don't forget to visit the Social Tech Staffrm blogging platform for inspirational ideas to try in the classroom.
Bill Rogers is a guru in Behaviour Management techniques. He is a real teacher with extensive expertise in behaviour management. Bill’s advice cover’s everything from preventative behaviour management techniques, to consequences and one-on-one programs with particularly disruptive students. I like all of Bill’s work, and recommend it to all of you. However, it was his work on positive correction that impressed me most because it filled a void not covered by many other approaches.
- A great strategy for checking understanding, reinforcing learning and engaging your students!
A teacher recently asked me to name my 3 “Desert Island Teaching Activities” – I thought it was a really interesting question, and knew immediately that “The Rule in the Room” would be one of them…
One of the loveliest things about this versatile strategy is that it really doesn’t require much preparation – and no resource-making at all. The fun begins by sending one volunteer out of the classroom to wait outside the door where they can’t hear the discussion that’s about to take place between you and the remaining pupils. Whilst the volunteer is out of ear-shot, you will establish with the class, a rule in the room to which they must all adhere. The rule will of course be linked to what the pupils have been learning about. For example, if you have been teaching them about different poetic devices, you may want to test their understanding of one of the devices by setting a rule like: “You must use alliteration somewhere in your answer”.
When the volunteer re-enters the classroom, he or she must select classmates at random and ask each of them in turn, general “small-talk” questions, such as “What did you do last night?” “What did you eat for breakfast?” “What is your pet’s name?”, etc. Each pupil chosen to answer a question must do so by adhering to the rule in the room. - So if the rule was to use alliteration, they might make up an answer like: “Last night I went for a walk in my wellies because it was wet and windy” or “For breakfast I ate crunchy cornflakes with custard” or “My pet’s name is Twinkle Toes Toby”. The volunteer must, of course, listen carefully to classmates’ answers and try to determine what the rule in the room might be.
What you’re doing here, is requiring that the pupils give an understanding performance – a demonstration of how well they have understood and can apply a concept. After all, it’s one thing to be able to repeat back to you parrot-style that “Alliteration is where two or more words starting with the same sound are used in quick succession”… it is a different level of learning altogether to be able to usethat technique in context…
The possibilities for the rule in the room are endless! Perhaps pupils have to cleverly include as many key terms from a particular revision topic into their answer as possible. Perhaps they have to answer the question as if they follow the customs of a particular country - or a particular historical era. Perhaps they have to answer as if they are a given fictional character or famous figure. May be they have to use a particular grammatical device or persuasive technique - or they have to answer in a particular rhythm. Maybe they have to include a prime number somewhere in their answer!
More great things about this strategy? It promotes pupil led-learning; in fact the pupils pretty much take over the lesson with this activity! It is also an activity which ensures that there are no “passengers” – every pupil is obliged to be hyper-alert because no-one knows who is going to be selected to exhibit the rule in the room! In this way, this enjoyable activity forces participation from every pupil – in a fun and non-threatening way.
Conveniently, the activity allows us as the teachers to see who has understood the concept and can apply it and who will need some tactful intervention. Most important of all, this technique engages and intrigues the pupils, embeds learning and gives them a positive learning experience that they won’t forget in a while! Have fun with it!