Wednesday, 11 March 2015

7 Monkeys - An old #ililc idea revisited

A couple of years ago at the annual ICT & Languages Conference at the University of Southampton, (affectionately called #ililc among the #mfltwitterati) I was introdcued to an idea called 7 monkeys.  Being that the session was a couple of years ago now, and my memory not being the greatest, I had a little google and luckily found a very good explanation of the activity here

The 7 monkeys themselves are not in fact primates causing havoc in your classroom but rather 7 stages of an activity. This can work well in language lessons, or in fact any lesson, to deliver a completely new concept, grammar topic or vocabulary. It works best when sharing something completely new, as each stage demands students to become more and more familiar with the content on offer and in going through the stages, decipher for themselves the meaning or key point that is being demonstrated. I have uploaded the slides I have created which I have used to share this idea with staff during our Teaching & Learning Tuesday slot. 

Monkey 1 asks students to read a description. This could be an explanation of a key term, as in the slides above, or for language teachers an extract demonstrating some new vocabulary or a new grammar point. Once students have read and digested, Monkey 2 asks that students highlight the key words, enabling them to pick out the new vocabulary or key points. Monkey 3 allows students to start to engage on a deeper level, by drawing a representation of what they have understood. You can see my beautiful doodle of Code-Switching in the example slides! Monkey 4 is the stage of the activity where students seek to explain their drawing, and hopefully through this dialogue with their partner, the two students can start to establish what they think is the key idea and pick apart any misconceptions. For Monkey 5 you would introduce an activity to enable students to practise the skill they have hopefully been developing, perhaps via a reading comprehension task or a card sort activity in MFL and then the final two stages consist of students having  go themselves. At Monkey 6 students will attempt to answer a question themselves using their newly acquired knowledge and Monkey 7 is the assessment of that answer, perhaps peer assessment if it suits your subject area. I'm sometimes unconvinced as to the merit of peer assessment in languages unless it is for a quick reading or listening comprehension task as sometimes students are lacking in the language skills required to pick out what is necessary to make an accurate judgement, (but we will save that for a whole other blog post!).

Thank you to Rach (@lancslassrach) for reminding me that it was in fact Tom Hockaday's session that we discovered this little gem!

Monday, 2 March 2015

Creating independent learners... Step 1! #ililc5

The gorgeous @lancslassrach delivered a thought provoking and intuitive session all about creating more independent learners in MFL. I have a million and one #ililc5 ideas that I will share, but as always after a conference, I like something I can do quickly and get going with straight away, so here is my poster! 

Rach's first slide asked if we had ever felt like a walking dictionary - unfortunately for me that was all too familiar. I had been thinking just last week that my class are constantly waiting for me to answer their questions, particularly KS4, so following Rach's example I intend to reinforce that pupils are welcome to, and in fact encouraged, to try and make sense of something they are trying to create themselves before they ask me for help or assistance. 

I shall keep you informed as to my progress... but there's always a good excuse to download a cool new font, right?