Month: September 2013

Screwed Up

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Normally when pupils throw screwed up paper and paper aeroplanes around the room, it’s because they’re messing around. However, today I asked my pupils to do that, as part of my review. 

Today, pupils learnt nine new infinitive verbs as part of a revision of the present tense. In the review, I asked them to take a piece of lined paper and write their name at the top. Using their verb tables, they created ten conjugated verbs based on the infinitives that they had learnt. Pupils then closed their books and put their verb tables away (this is the review part). Pupils then had to screw the piece of paper up and throw it at another pupil in the room (I didn’t mind that they had 20-30 seconds to throw the pieces of paper around…it broke up the lesson and allowed them to blow off some steam). Pupils then picked up the nearest piece of paper to them, wrote their name at the top of the paper and translated the verbs into English. I then asked them to throw the pieces of paper into a box in the middle of the room. 

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If you wanted to differentiate the task, you could set pupils into groups by NC level and give them a set criteria  by which they create said verbs (all in the Yo form, a mixture, some with ready printed verbs and just the endings etc…). What I really liked about this activity though, was that each pupil did it, understood it, it gives me a way of knowing exactly how well each pupil has learnt today’s topic and, for them, it was good clean fun; a nice way to brighten up lessons on conjugation. However… do have a set of verbs ready on the board… in case one plane/ball of paper goes array. 

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Popplet – versatile, fun and aesthetically pleasing.

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Although I’ve started the new term in my new role as New Technology Leader without my iPad (it’s currently being repaired) I’ve still managed to look into some exciting new apps and Popplet is one of them.

Popplet is a fun way to mind map ideas and share them with others with an easy to use interface. As you can see in the picture below, each new project in Popplet allows the user to create several different spider diagrams/mind maps, colour code them and add pictures and or text. The starting point for each new ‘Popplet’ (the box from which you start a new map/diagram, within a given project) has buttons around the outside that signify the options available for each popplet. You can colour code them, add in pictures and write in each one. You can then touch a button that creates a sub-popplet linking from the original popplet, which in turn you can then edit.

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Obviously, this lends itself to subjects that require mind-mapping in order to plan a piece of writing/essay or for revision of certain topics. However, I have found it particularly useful for my MFL classes (this example could apply to English Language too). When learning animals, I asked my pupils to create a ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ popplet and attached the relevant animals to either popplet. This could work for any kind of word classification exercise and thus is a effective way of showing understanding visually. Additionally, in order to increase your pupil’s word bank, the you could email the pupils of copy of some pictures so that they could research as many different pieces of vocabulary for a given picture (perhaps a sunny beach, to represent holidays). Likewise, pupils could use Popplet in order to increase their knowledge of synonyms; you could supply them with some key, yet overused, words (divetido, pero and me gusta spring to mind) and set your pupils an exercise whereby they look for as many different synonyms as possible in order to boost that all important ‘Range of Language’ strand in their controlled assessment. Importantly, it’s colourful and it looks ‘nice’; something which I feel helps children engage and thus altogether ‘better’ than simply a piece of paper and a pencil.