Lesson Idea

Showbie Treasure Hunt

Well this week involved my SLT Lesson Observation and book monitoring from the Head of Faculty. In both of these Showbie came to the rescue. After quite a gruelling few weeks I was not in the most enthusiastic of moods for the lesson ob and had to try and think of a way of getting it done.

This year the school are not actually giving teachers grades for lesson observations, instead it is a case of WWW and IOTI (What Went Well and In Order To Improve). I had my meeting with the member of SLT who was observing me the day before and knew that I had to show progress throughout my lesson and make sure the students enjoyed the learning as well. We had just covered the basics of cells and to be honest I was worried about trying to make sure that students were engaged and enthusiastic about a subject that they never find that interesting.

A couple of ideas came to mind but I know how important it is that students enjoy themselves whilst learning. In the end I thought of a treasure hunt where students were asked a question and then had to find the correct answer around the room. I started planning and got caught up in it and thought I could use the iPads in a new way as well. After a bit more planning and head scratching I had the basis of a lesson.

As a starter I was using Socractive so I could see if students had progressed from last lesson as soon as they walked through the door. Secretive is a staple of the room now and it is an amazing way to show progress and check on the learning of my students, importantly it works! After that I introduced the topic and reminded the students of where they had come from by putting a small dot on the board and getting them to imagine they started smaller than that and how important mitosis is. I then explained what they would do in the lesson.

Students were given diagrams of the stages of mitosis and questions linked to them were dotted around the room in certain coloured card, they then had a variety of possible answers to be found in the room as well. The idea was that they had to walk round the room looking for answers and checking with each other if they were on the right track. Once they had chosen their answer they found a Showbie class code. This code gave them access to a shared folder which either congratulated them on getting it right or gave them advice and extra tips if they didn't. It also helped them for the next question as well. I am sure there are easier ways to do this and a lot of people may say what was the point but for me there were three driving factors for the use of Showbie;

  1. Showbie works, the students know it and are happy with it.
  2. By using different class codes throughout I could again see how the students were progressing through the lesson, as soon as I saw a group enter the wrong class I would walk over to them and see how they were doing and offer advice if needed or see how they had learnt from their mistakes.
  3. Showbie allows me to easily differentiate for the students, I knew one or two students would struggle more than others and I had already put a prepared help comment in their folder and let them know if they asked for help and struggled.

The students loved it, they were active, moving round the room and talking to each other about the task at hand. By the end of the lesson everyone had placed the diagrams in order and using their knowledge gained from the treasure hunt annotated the diagrams. Students who got it done quicker were extended in Showbie again by answering some more insightful questions about the importance of mitosis, linking it to cancer and also why it couldn't be used to make gametes.

As little as three years ago there would not of been a chance I would of ever used this idea in my lesson, but with the introduction of iPads in our school and amazing apps like Showbie I have confidence it will work and that the students will benefit from being able to make more creative lessons as we progress.

Showbie & Book Monitoring

Book monitoring is a part of the school these days and though perhaps not the most popular of processes one which I can see the need for. Good feedback with suggestions on how students can improve their work and a comment congratulating them on something they have done well are both useful things, as long as the students act on the advice and improve their work.

For me Showbie has got to be the clearest and simplest way of doing it. Each class has their own code and within it they are given assignments to work on. The shared folder means I can give instructions, resources and advice to the entire class at the beginning and put material in from Google Drive (very important for myself and the faculty) and also from my own computer.

Importantly I can then look at each students folder and see what work they have done and give them specific feedback to their work. This involves the WWW (what went well) and an IOTI (in order to improve). Students then have to action what I have asked them to do and give evidence in their folder. I can easily see if they have done so and then credit them for it accordingly or give them a little more guidance. Each piece of work is identified as to what type of work I have marked, formative or subjective and what block of work it is from. That way my assessor can see that I have done everything that the school expects from me.

I have also placed assessment trackers for each student, they place in their Key Piece grade, compare it to their target. If they have not met their target they have to say what has hindered them and what they will do next time to reach it. This is again a good way for students to show progress and take ownership of their own learning and results.