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A handful of quick ideas

Well, I blinked and half term vanished. There’s a pile of half finished posts here (along side the half finished lesson plans, powerpoints, marking and ironing), some of which I might get to soon. In the mean time I thought I might cheat and post an email I sent to one of our ex-PGCE students on the subject of trying to liven up some otherwise fairly dull A Level content. There might be an idea here that someone else can steal, and I can cross ‘blogging’ off my half term to do list!

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History Party – Hand out names of key characters and get the students to research them. Next lesson throw a party – students take the role of the their characters, mill out and introduce themselves to others. Pause, discuss who’s who and who they’ve met they quite like / dislike. They then have to get themselves seated for dinner – who would they want to sit with and why? When I had some time to spare I got mine to play party games as well – matching up with people with the same interests / party / view etc etc.
At the end, get them each to submit a brief (2 sentence) biography (via the Learning Platform if you’ve got one), put them together on a sheet on A4 and students have to add the name to the correct description,
Fakebook (http://www.classtools.net/fb/home/page) – Create a facebook conversation between key people over the duration of a particular event
Cartoon strips – give them 7 slides worth of information (causes, events, whatever). They have to draw a 6 frame cartoon strip to go along with the information.
Diamond 9 – Good for the section B question – which was the most important feature and why
Group presentation – Give each group one topic (and the relevant pages photocopied from the text book if necessary). They have to prepare a talk (with ppt) and handout that outlines the causes, main events and significance. First version they get peer feedback on, then they have to deliver it a second time for a formal assessment from me.
Optional extra – give out an essay question from each presentation. Everyone else in the class answers the question based on the presentation and they mark them (following a lunchtime ‘moderators meeting’ with me).
Quiz Quiz Trade – A good one for getting over some dry information. Produce a series of questions and answers and print them out so each student gets a question AND the correct answer. They go around the room asking their question to other people. When the person their asking doesn’t know, they read them the answer. The other person does the same and then they swap. Rpt until all the questions have been asked multiple times, then either get them to answer the questions or read through an extract with the information in.
The unbelievable truth – Each team gets a topic they have to read up on. They then have to deliver a brief talk on their topic into which they have to smuggle 5 lies. (This is the opposite of the radio show, but it seems to work better this way). They deliver the talk twice, and each group needs to write down what they think the lies were. Award points to teams that spot the lies and to the speakers for each one they smuggle in. Homework – Get each team to post their list of key facts, including lies to the VLE. Everyone downloads and deletes the lies. Check carefully next lesson!

Dave Stacey

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