Ssshhhh… Silent Lesson in Progress

After various inspiring posts from other Tweachers, I found the idea of a silent debate intriguing to say the least.

So, this week a little later than planned, I tried it (and it wasn’t solely to do with the fact I had a migraine).

As soon as the students entered the room, they started writing their impressions so far of Iago in ‘Othello.’ I then fed them Christopher Ecclestone’s performance of Iago to generate further ideas:

We then read a written analysis of Iago’s character that explored various interpretations around whether he was a genius or a gambler. Lots of verbal discussion was had to get them all engaged.

During the whole of this students were adding quotes from the reading/ ideas generated from discussion to the paper on the floor.

The silent video was then shown and students had to find quotes from the play to match the ideas presented on the sheets already.

My students seem to be more than used to my amateur video making by now. In fact, I even think they provide that little extra charm to any activity. Queue raucous laughter this week as I couldn’t flick the paper smoothly and was desperately trying to get hold of it- take a look for yourself! (and this was the BEST version!)

The video did have the desired effect though and eased them into a silent state, ready to get analysing. I am convinced that if I had told them about the task in any other way, there would have been deviations from silence almost immediately.

The first thing they had to do was select quotes that would match some of the interpretations that were already on the sheets. They then had to add terminology and interpretation. I dived in and added questions as soon as explorations were completed and they had to respond to others’ interpretations and ideas too.

I think paper on the floor was the best approach for my students- it created a relaxed, exciting and more kinaesthetic environment.

These are some images of what the students produced throughout the lesson. Students were focused and it took them away from verbalising everything coherently- they had to write it coherently too. I intend to give longer to the task next time and add more stages so that it can be built up and the work peer assessed too.

PS. These rolls of ‘play paper’ from Wilko’s are marvellous for this kind of activity #poundlandpedagogy

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