I made blackboards to hang at the back of the classroom for illustrated quotes and word walls. I bought exercise books for students to use as journals that were kept in the classroom.
Consumption was the subject of one lesson and developed arguments for and against technology using a thumbs up/thumbs down template.
Greed is good
“Show me you and the universe” is an activity from a book about teaching gifted children but it proves entertaining and insightful with students generally in English or Humanities.
Students work in small groups or pairs to devise a representation of themselves and the universe. They may choose to express their idea in any form: drama, text, drawing, spoken word … it is a lovely way to connect the personal to the big picture. Explore the connections between part and the whole, microcosms and macrocosms. Often their presentations are delightful and insightful.
Week 3-4: Source questions from students on post-it stickies
After explicit instruction on definitions of dystopia and utopia, the social, political and technological changes wrought by the Industrial Revolution, source essential questions from the class. Collect post-its and read them out. Class votes for Best Question prize (bookmark) and the winner picks several others for prizes to celebrate success. The questions guide inquiry for the rest of the unit.
I made this alphabet resource to reinforce spelling in a Year 8 unit on digital media.
I randomly distributed the letters to the Year 8s and gave them a vocabulary list. Their job was to mingle amongst themselves until they could spell a word on the list.
More recently, my Year 7 and 9 students played more traditional Scrabble-like games on desks. However, as the board expands as needed using the emoticons as spaces, it might be easier to play this on the floor.
I introduce the concept of letter values by asking students to add up the value of their own names using the table provided.
Wordplay Cowboys is a learning activity based on transforming Shakespearean language into cowboy slang from Hollywood Westerns.
First read and summarize the play.
Moving onto the Student Scribe activity, start by giving students an example. Make the example interactive. Here they are introduced to the activity and asked, as a class, to offer up verbally some possible dialog. First they must identify the scene.
This is a nice way of reinforcing students’ understanding of wordplay and checking for understanding of plot and character.
Students then divide into groups with a handout on cowboy slang and the script for the scene they must translate. To make it easier, choose a well-known scene – The Balcony Scene. If they are confident, they may choose their own scene.
Suggested scaffold – list of cowboy slang:
* reload gunslinger * pilgrim * hit the trail gringo * fancypants * Hell of thing, killin’ a man
* burnin’ daylight * we deal in lead, friend * deed to the ranch * will, coffin, grave, grace
* dead in the dust * Bounty, Reward, Price on yer head * meltin’ cowboy’s heart * coddle
* Pretty as a picture * fancypants * cinch * We may not get out alive * humdinger
* like spittin’ in yer eye * cowboy up or bleed * yep * Howdy partner * what’s that stranger?
* Easy gal * I’m gonna blow yer head off * there’s right and there’s wrong * God dang
Students may be daunted from the start, however, it is a reasonably good formative activity to coax their performance and language abilities out before assessment tasks requiring these skills.