Here are some ideas I’ve gleaned from teachers in online workshops:

  • Every presentation students complete has a peer assessment component – students must offer comments on the content as well as the presentation skill of their peers.
  • Students read their creative writing aloud to the class and then we have a discussion. Students are graded for their participation.
  • Students are regularly quizzed on the content of recordings of interviews, video clips of documentaries, and video recording of past student presentations.
  • Right before the IOP, students choose a partner and lead a class lesson on an assigned chapter of House of the Spirits. Students receive a grade when they teach the class, but they also receive a grade based upon their engagement and speaking when they are their classmates’ “students.” The class is later quizzed on the content of these presentations.

I have “taught” how to take notes effectively in the past as I found that some students really weren’t sure how/what to record. We then followed up with students “practicing” this rather old-school tool in a range of listening scenarios.

ABC questioning: I ask a question, a student Answers, I pick another student to Build the point, then a third Challenges the point.

Socratic seminars: As discussed in previous posts.

Learning Spy: One student is chosen to monitor learning in lesson, I give them a clipboard to make notes, at the end of the lesson that student will discuss their observations with the class.

Peer monitoring: Each student is given the name of another student in the class (it’s important to emphasis the anonymity of the person who is doing the feedback); they watch them during the lesson and make notes of their performance, as they leave they give me their notes. I type them up and give them back to the students for reflection time and goal setting.

Within the collaborative groupings I use, there is a role for Listener/Synthesizer and groups quickly learn to rely on this role (a role that rotates through the group). When students present to the class, I typically have required commentary and questions from the ‘audience’ members of the class, either in written or in oral form (some students are great listeners and have wonderful comments and questions but either can’t get ‘air time’ during class or are nervous to do so). Commentary and questions can also be used by students to fill out their Exit Cards.

One, rather cheeky, activity I do from time to time, is to get students to record language errors from staff speaking on assemblies. (Some senior staff are underwhelmed by the attention, however.) Their favourite is the misuse of the reflexive pronoun “myself.” A little more sophisticated version of the exercise is to get students to identify the rhetorical strategies employed by guest speakers, the principal, etc, on assemblies. They get good at it very quickly and it requires close listening and evaluation of what is being said.

Image: Wikimedia