Two weeks into term, I interviewed some Year 7 students in order to ascertain which strategies used in lessons they have especially enjoyed. Among them were Ross Haggart and Victoria Ashton.
Ross Haggart is a fan of History and Learning Power. He vividly explained to me how in History, the starter activity captivated the class’ imagination, with an outline of a dead body on the classroom floor, as the students entered. The class had to use their imagination and noticing skills, in order to determine what type of job the ‘character’ may have had. To aid them with this, a leather pouch, some pottery and a dice were used as props. Questioning featured heavily in the lesson, as the students were asked to consider what the ‘character’ did for a job, the possible causes of death and what hobbies they may have had.
In a recent Learning Power lesson, Ross described how their main activity involved a set of pictures relating to famous people. For this activity, the class were asked to spot the difference – once again, putting their noticing skills into practice.
Victoria Ashton listed PE and English as her favourite lessons, “so far” (in her words). For PE, Victoria described how she and her classmates had to pretend they were a flamingo, in order to test their physical balance and strength. Whereas for English, she enthusiastically spoke about the use of a still image that was to be used as a springboard for a piece of descriptive writing, as part of a baseline test.
It became apparent very quickly that Year 7 students have not only been immersed into BLP habits but that they are definite aspects of learning that they enjoy. In more general terms, the following aspects of lessons were commented on, by our learners, as strategies that make learning fun:
- An engaging settler, perhaps something unexpected
- The use of pictures or images to explore, discuss or ‘decipher’
- Clear and concise explanations provided by teachers
- Learning through games or through problem-solving opportunities
- Improving on previous work
In general, it was fantastic to hear our new starters comment so enthusiastically on their newly embarked-upon secondary school experience.