This summer I did the one thing I always struggle to do, read a book (or two). Well in fact I’m still reading them but still… You see it’s not that I don’t enjoy reading, I’ve just always found it difficult to just take the time to sit and read. I’m no good at switching off.
I love research and as a result I’m very much a skim reader. I tend not to read fictional books, if I do it really has to be something that draws me in to keep my attention (suggestions welcomed).
Anyway I decided to purchase two books this summer, the first a fairytale book crossed with a biography of Britain’s forests called Gossip from the Forest by Sara Maitland. A magical read so far. The second a non-fiction very inspiring book entitled Outstanding Teaching: Engaging Learners by Andy Griffith and Mark Burns.
The first thing I’ve tried from Outstanding Teaching: Engaging Learners is the idea of a learning grid. I did a search for them on-line but didn’t find anything in relation to History or Geography so I decided to give it ago for my first topic of the year with year 8 – The Battle of Hastings.
The idea behind a learning grid is that the pupils are given (or create) a 6 x 6 grid with information in each square. There are a variety of ways for using them but the easist format seems to be that the pupils roll a dice twice giving them a grid reference, they then roll the dice again to give another grid reference. The pupils then attempt to connect the information in the two squares. Another way could be to roll the dice twice to produce a grid reference and then the pupils categorise the information or pictures in the grid with predefined choices. There are a variety of other possible ways of carrying out the task suggested in the book.
The levelled assessment I’ve created requires my pupils to answer the question ‘Why did William win the Battle?’. We’re going to study the events leading up to the battle, re-enact the battle and investigate the profiles of the two armies in order to answer the question. In the lesson prior to the assessment I’m going to give them the Battle of Hastings Learning Grid that I’ve created. Now obviously having only just discovered this technique I don’t know how well it will work, but I’ll let you know once I’ve tried it. I’m optimistic it will engage them, particularly the more verbal pupils.
I’ve made two versions the first is simply the 6 x 6 grid with information relating to either the Anglo-Saxons or the Normans. This will require the pupils to firstly decide whether the information refers to the Anglo-Saxons or the Normans, this will require the pupils to consider their learning from previous lessons. Following the first step they will then discuss how this information would have related to William winning the battle.
The second version provides a bit more support for the lower ability pupils. I’ve colour coded the boxes into 3 categories – Saxons, Normans or Other. The pupils will be discussing how each piece of information contributes to why William won the battle. I’m also going to provide some images to help the more visual learners but can’t include those for copyright reasons.
These were really easy to make and I believe they will be very beneficial to my learners. I look forward to using them and will let you know how they went in a few weeks times.
If you’d like to give these a try, click on the images to download the documents. If you’d like an editable version feel free to email me.
If you use them let me know how they go. I love feedback and love to hear your comments (good or bad).