Selena wrote in response to my post titled "My Dream Classroom". This was a very cool experience and I was happy I participated. Without further ado, here is Selena's blog post. Her blogging, writing, and lesson planning skills are second to none. Thanks again Selena!
Pupil Centred Learning with an IWB
Pupil Centred Learning with an IWB. A Dream or Reality?
My blog Swap partner has written a post about his dream classroom in which a small group of pupils is each gathered around an IWB investigating a problem and using their independent and group work skills to get information from a variety of sources. This is his dream classroom. I love the idea of pupils working on groups to achieve a goal together. I advocate the idea that the IWB should be pupil centred and applaud his imagination for considering how pupils might be empowered by the technology.
I have used my IWB in a similar way in an English classroom. My flipchart was written in Activ Studio and involves many of the same learning skills and aims that Jason has talked about in his dream classroom. My students are exploring together, using different sources and media rich texts to come to conclusions. These conclusions are guided by me, their teacher, but it is entirely up to them how they draw these conclusions together.
Unlike, Jason’s dream classroom my actual room has only one IWB. It’s at the front of the room, in what is typically known as the teacher’s domain; a domain that I have gradually learnt to share over the last 7 years. It’s now a place where teachers and pupils learn and share ideas.
Inspired by Jason’s dream classroom, by his ideas of collaboration at the IWB and of pupils lead and pupil focused use of this technology I thought I would take the opportunity to briefly share with you how I planned and taught this lesson. You can download my lesson plan and the flipchart if you wish.
You’ll see that there is one flipchart and that it takes 3 lessons complete. You may also notice vague phrases in my plans where I am not sure what is going to happen. Why? Because the pupils are deciding. This is something that I am sure Jason would agree with. Teachers need to allow the pupils to take control sometimes. In fact here I am in complete control. I have designed the flipchart in such a way that it contains everything the pupils need to reach a level of understanding that will match their target grade. I have pre-prepared links to website, video clips, images to explore, close exercises and worksheets to assess, maps and virtual tours. All in one flipchart in which the wording of objectives and hyperlinks lead pupils on a journey of discovery which feels like their own and is their own. It’s a journey they can take which has boundaries which guide them back to their learning outcomes and objectives.
The British educations system helps me with this. Its curriculum is so driven by assessment and outcome that is very easy for my pupils to understand what it is they have to achieve and
how they will know they have achieved it. In fact, to help differentiate the resource I have placed the grade descriptors on the objectives slide for pupils to look at. One click on the grade will tell them what they have to do to achieve that
All objectives are clear, are the focus which drive the lesson and are differentiated
This page contains 7 hidden resources for pupils explore
Once they have completed that objective they might like to find out more about the place in which the poet lived. This will help them to “develop an awareness of the history of district 6 and the culture that Tatamakhula Afrika shows us in his poem.” Again the objectives and the
Using "magic ink" pupils are looking through a map of the district 6 as it was to a Google earth image of what it is like now. What's changed?
walk”. Pupils lead themselves around the district completing questions given to them which will allow them to note the changes to the place where this poet lived. Again, they are in control, they are collaborating and they are focused on a learning objective. The teacher should be able to sit back and act only as support for complicated questions. At this point it would also be useful to have one of Justin’s notebook laptops connected to the net for extra fact finding missions.
The Taktamkhula slide contains information about the poet himself with hidden questions in shortened
Six different resources to explore are hidden on this page.
All of this is made possible through the creation of a flipchart which guides students to sources of information which are relevant. Of course, they then need to apply this information to the poem. That’s where homework, small group work and presentation come in. Pupils then use the skills they already have in literary analysis and begin to explore how all of this information and all of the poet’s emotions are represented in the poem. Of course there are games and activities built into the flipchart to support this.
When a teacher is fully trained to use an IWB they can start to use their own professional skill to create resources which allow pupils to take full control of a whole lesson. To feel in charge and empowered as they learn. Despite the fact the teacher has full control over what they are learning and how they are learning it – using their own professional judgement and training – the IWB allows the pupils to work together as a whole class and in small groups to solve a problem; the problem, in this case, being to answer their objectives at their target grade.
I would welcome any comments you would like to make about how this lesson went. I can see so many opportunities for lessons like this in all subjects across the curriculum; lessons where teachers are not simply imparting information but are empowering students to find it themselves.