A bit of design thinking and some co-construction.

Ok so I have been completely inspired by the deign thinking approach from notosh (notosh.com) and as I have read Tom Barrett’s book. Now what to do with that inspiration….yep apply it to a unit of work and see what happens. Right now I am full of enthusiastic expectation, visions of high level thinking and amazing progress being made by every student. The reality? Well who knows as I haven’t put my plan into action, in fact my plan is still being formulated. Seizing my class slogan for this year, “fail to succeed” I am ready for the off!

So what is the plan?

In year 8 we currently do a unit of work exploring who Jesus is. The danger of this unit is that we gather information, grow in knowledge but achieve very little else.  My plan at the moment is that having established with the class that Jesus existed as a human being ( we looked at and evaluated source material from Josephus, Pliny, Tacitus and The Bible) the students will be given a googleable  (G) or non-googleable (NG) task.

There are eight groups of four in my class. Each group have their own wall space in the room. Each wall space will have up  G and NG  laminated headings. The group will have card strips and they will be given 15 minutes to generate questions about Jesus, each question needs to be placed under the right heading G or NG. Weaker students will be given a selection of questions already typed out, they can use these as their starting point, sorting them into the two categories, then they can add some of their own.

At the end of the 15 minutes the students will then have 2 minutes to go and read what other groups have written. In this time they have the task of moving any questions which have been wrongly placed.

The next step is the bit I am uncertain about, I mean I think it can work, not sure if it will.

In their teams the students need to select a non-googleable question which they are going to aim to answer over the next three lessons. having selected their one non-googleable question they have to identify what G questions they will answer to help them develop an answer to their NG question. Each student in the group needs to record what their NG question is and what G questions they will answer to help them in their quest.

The types of NG questions that the students chose is really unpredictable but I think some possibilities may include;

Is Jesus alive today?

Does Jesus’ life have any impact on my life?

Does it matter what I think about who Jesus was?

The students then need to allocate G questions to each team member so everyone has responsibility for part of the research. They can then use in class resources to begin to gather their answers. Homework time can be given too so they have better access to ICT than they do in the classroom.

At the start of the next lesson every group will be allocated half a lesson to teach the class what they have found out and the answer they have arrived at. Students will be given modified 5 minute lesson plans to complete for the delivery of their lesson. We will discuss the important elements of an outstanding lesson and they will be equipped to use the language of learning. This lesson will certainly involve a lot of development of their meta-cognitive understanding.

The class will then be given a lesson plus homework time to plan and prepare their lesson before we have four lessons of pupil led teaching & learning.

I will provide students with feedback both on the quality and level of their work as well as their presentation ability, hopefully tying it into the speaking and listening element of literacy.

So, that’s the plan in a nutshell…

I shall report back,warts and all once I have delivered the first few sessions in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime any constructive comments on the plan, advice or questions would be most warmly received!



About Learning to Teach Lorraine Abbott

Deputy Headteacher in a Surrey School Author for Hodder Education
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