Dinner Party Lesson

This week was week 5 in proceedings. I’ve had some ups and downs and I’m still struggling to juggle everything but I’m trying to cut myself a bit of slack on that front.

Week 5 meant me finishing spoken language for now, until we return to it before the exam. I’m aware that not all students have fully grasped everything before moving on but I wanted to do a final revision lesson, filled with mini assessments, that would tell me where they were all at.

The dinner party lesson was born! I had planned this into the scheme of learning over the summer and it grew from an idea my wonderful colleagues in the A levels and Access team (@RoxyLewisGeog , @emberlinP and @richard_duckett) had created on the #poundlandpedagogy Pass It On CPD day I had organised in June. Their lesson was far better, but then my only excuse is that there were a number of teacher brains on the case at that time!

Here is my spoken language dinner party:

Pre- party snack- JAM
This is an excellent game for students to play when studying spoken language. If you aren’t familiar with the show, it’s on radio 4 and it’s really funny! The aim of the game is for contestants to speak for 60 seconds about a given topic without hesitation, repetition or deviation from the topic. When I play it with students, they are required to press a bell in the middle of the table if they hear any of the above. It requires them to analyse the features of language and apply the terms we’ve been looking at. It can also develop their fluency and vocabulary in stressful, timed situations (the exam!) One issue I encountered was that a lot of my students were reluctant to play. Officially, if the bell is pressed, the presser must take over the time left on the clock. If students are nervous to have a go then they’re reluctant to press the bell. So I changed the rules and anyone who presses the bell then has to select the next contestant from the lollipop stick pot and this worked much better!

The starter- a boiled egg (because the cook ain’t up to much!)
These were kinder eggs (because nearly all of my plastic Poundland eggs were stolen from my classroom!) They contained slips of paper. There were definitions on one side and terms on the other. Students had to read out their definition and then the person with the matching term went to sit next to them. They then read out their definition… and so on, until all students were stood in a circle. This is a ‘follow-me game and works well for many subjects to revise terms and definitions/ questions and answers.

The fish course
This didn’t have a fish theme… I had a task I wanted to do with them and didn’t know what else to call this ‘dish.’
Students were given 3 mini spontaneous speech transcripts and were required to find as many terms as they could in 4 minutes. I often find that students, in the pressure of the exam situation, are unable to annotate as quickly and as confidently as I might like. There was a competitive element and this spurred them on. They all got lots but there are some who still need to work on terminology so I’ll be working in some activities to develop this; through homeworks and/or Friday lunchtime support sessions.

The main course- meat and two veg
This activity was designed to develop students’ planning skills. They were required to take a larger sticky note (the meat) and write a point about the two exam extracts they had been handed. On two smaller sticky notes (the veg), they were required to find evidence from each extract that would match the point. These were stuck to their dinner plate that was then passed to one of their peers for them to provide some feedback on the ideas.

The pudding- cupcakes!
Yes, this was actual, edible cupcakes but they had to be earned. Each student was required to apply a piece of terminology to one of the extracts we’d been looking at. They then had to explore why it was appearing, what it suggested and perhaps (if applicable) what the intended effect was.

The dinner party lesson is perfect as an end of topic review as the activities are short. I’m sure that it could be used in other ways, so please let me know!

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