In my classroom the end of the year tend to mean that it is time to start reviewing. One of the skills that the students still had trouble with and wanted to practice was reading graphs and tables – something we had been doing throughout the year. So I decided to think CL and get them practicing in pairs. So I turned to my trusted paper slips.
This year in one of my classes the biggest challenge has been to get the students to practice talking the class work out loud – so that they have used the words and so that they have tried to solve the kinds of tasks orally that they need to do for the oral exam. I know, I know, in most classes the problem is to keep the noise level down – but here the worrying thing was how quiet they were during team work exercises. Left to their own devices what they would do when they were given team or pair work was: Solve it alone, write the answers down and then and only then if there were anymore time they would talk to each other. Toward the end of the class I realised how much they did this and went figuring out about ways to solving it. I turned to CL structures to give them structure that would encourage them to talk to each other. I have noticed that if I print questions on colored paper, they are now apparently fun and get them to talk. What this class will worry about though is getting notes for the class if they are forced to solve a talk orally.
Here is what I did:
- I looked at all the graphs and tables in their core book and made a question for each of them. With clear references two which graph they were to look at. I framed the questions so they looked as much as the oral exam questions as I could make them.
- I put one question on each paper slip (I got a template for making them).
- I printed three sets of questions on colored paper – each set was a different color (because apparently colored paper makes things fun – don’t ask me why)
- Cut the each set into slips
- I started by asking my students to divide themselves into two groups – those who felt that graphs and tables was hard and those who didn’t
- Then I made pairs out of each group, so that the students who felt confident was with others who felt confident and those who didn’t was with others who wasn’t feeling as confident either. The confident ones got one set to work with and the others got the two other sets.
- I then told them to pick a slip and go sit together and answer the question on the slip. Once they were done they were to go up to my table and get a new slip. They were told that they could only pick questions from one color pile.
- If they had a question they could write their name on the board and I would come help them.
- All the students were active
- Everyone was practicing to read and talk about graphs and tables
- The energy level was really high as everyone tried to get to all the slips
- Some of the groups really tried to get a deeper understanding of each graph or table.
- After the allotted time was up I talked to them about the exercise and they all agreed that it had been great practice and fun.
- Nobody had any problems reading a graph or a table for the oral exams.
Here is the questions slips I used. They are of course in Danish, but perhaps you can use them as inspiration. They are for “Luk Samfundet Op”, second edition. Grab it here