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As an English teacher the demonstration of understanding is in the written outcome (most of the time, and particularly when preparing for a literature exam)SOLO thinking (as I use with my students) is the students own checklist of their development… and to make it visually clear I added the ‘thrill’ of making paper chains. My year 11’s were enthused! (no hint of sarcasm I assure you!)I began the lesson with a development of Ian Gilbert’s THUNKS – my own question that tied in with AN Inspector Calls; and also a rubric that forced the students to test how deeply they could development their own opinion.This connect activity begun the use of SOLO and reminded the students of the depth needed when answering any question within English. We then moved onto a practice exam question and used stage 1 of SOLO to consider the focus and what was needed:The students’ first paper chain link was the question – becoming the beginning of their thinking and the focus for all the next comments. Stage two was therefore about finding an idea and quote: The needed to be able to find at least three quotes and ideas to reach the Multistructural stage but I wanted to expand on these too so our paper chains took on another dimension: Using this stage to link back to the C grade criteria and showing the students how SOLO was helping them hit their expected grades (this was for a middle set in year 11) What I like about SOLO is the freedom to make different comments about the quotes – there is no prescription or force to follow a script (PEE, CAT, SAIL) and all the other acronyms that we had created. SOLO puts the students thinking together with the criteria; no middle man needed for the students to understand the HOW, WHY, WHAT.The relational stage was created through each paper chain link being a different CONNECTION they had found between their quotes and the question – thus the longer the chain, the more connections, the better their answer:Finally, the extended abstract stage. This was a stage the students in my class needed more guidance on – thus the introduction of the jigsaw pieces I was using with key stage 3: ME, WORLD, BOOK. The students had to show they could make a connection between the question and book to personal experiences, and reflect on the impact as a reader; then towards real life situations occurring in societies around the world; what impact had it had of any? Lastly the book image was any links they could make with similar things that they had read – was this a movement, was the author being controversial? This, being the final stage of SOLO pushes the students in their thinking and I feel I could create a whole separate SOLO stage within extended abstract to help the students develop this area; yet the results of the paper chain / SOLO paper chains had had its intended impact: students knew the depth they had to go through to answer a literature question, without the prescribed acronyms and therefore rehearsed answers. That, in my opinion is what real learning is about. Not just knowledge but the ability to transfer the skill of learning to which ever path the students want to follow. Category:EducationTagged with:I have been entrusted with a small intervention group on English. Knowing the students in this group, I knew before I even entertained the idea of going over, again, the key skills; I needed to make them aware of what they were [or in this case weren’t] bringing to the table in English.So I began by asking them what they would do with 10 million pounds. I watched how long they thought about it. We discussed what made them come to that decision. I asked them to physically draw out their thinking. We found some had only one arrow and one thought, others had two, some had none.This is when I introduced SOLO “thinking” to them. I explained that this was a strategy they can use anywhere and with anything. It was a training exercise for the brain.I used my trusty curry example [example to the left] to explain the different stages of SOLO. They worked out where each element of the thinking belonged.I asked them to then stand on the stage they honestly thought they were up to in a typical lesson. Not surprisingly they all stood around stage 1 or 2. One student even said I don’t even ask any questions to get me started. The plan was working, already they were realising that they were not engaging their brain enough to fill their potential – they also recongised the reasons they were doing this was simply – “it was easier and quicker to ask the teacher.” After a small discussion on the benefits of thinking for themselves I got them to test themselves. They chose their own topic [mostly they choose food, but some choose a vdeo game] and they had to go through the stages of SOLO to see how deeply they thought about something the liked. I gave them a blank copying of my version of the rubric with the GCSE grades linked to the steps of the thinking. After about ten minutes I stopped them and asked them to go through their thinking and where they got up to. Because this was a topic of their choice, something they liked already this gave me and them a good idea of the level of thinking they chose on a daily basis. The students were happy they had all got further than they felt at the beginning when I was explaining the process but knew that they perhaps were not thinking deeply enough to reach their potentional and beyond. I then threw an English skill into the mix to show how it looked. I showed them this slide. We took it one stage at a time. Each box was removed showing an element of the picture behind it [image was from an article on blind football] I encouraged the students to focus on the small ideas within the “bigger picture” [please forgive the pun]They came up with one idea for stage one, then when they had more of the picture a few more ideas along with the connotatations of what they had spotted.When it came to linking their ideas together and connecting with the abstract thinking – it was like a miracle. The students were able to say that the blood they saw and the sweat on the picture both indicated a fast paced and contact sport which showed that blind football was perhaps more aggressive than “normal” football! Amazing they had managed to link their ideas AND to a bigger comment on blind football.They felt empowered through SOLO Taxonomy, this was not anything that I had led them to say -this was their learning and thinking, built up one stage at a time. It was a lovely experience to observe.I just hope it continues when we move onto the language of the text. Fingers crossed!! Category:EducationTagged with:On my Independence Teaching journey the next academic year is the move from encouraging my students within my own classroom to expanding independence whole school.With six school teacher training sessions based on encouraging our students to be independent and resilient learners; I really want to provide training that is not only interactive but shows the importance of this initiative for our students. I need to be able to transfer my passion for this topic to teachers: a breed that even by our own admittance can be resistant to change [especially as we are constantly being asked to change from one initiative to another by government, theorists and schools too!]But first I have a training session to run the first week back for ASTs and excellent teachers based on SOLO Taxonomy. I have scoured books, blogs and Twitter for ideas and ways into introducing SOLO in as active and convincing way as possible. I have used SOLO in a few ways within my own classroom and really found it of benefit but how to deliver my belief in it to a variety of subject teachers and leaders?Here is my plan for the session – any comments or improvements would be welcomed. Once I have taken feedback on their answers I will display the learning objective as suggested in “The Perfect Ofsted Lesson” which I have used for the past 6 months. The progression steps link to our whole school approach.My idea with this is that I am constantly displaying other ideas gathered from books on independence to encourage the use of the techniques as part of their teaching pedagogy without having to spelling it out. I have also used the SOLO symbols to link to the progression steps. I want to incorporate SOLO in as many as I can so the second connect is a group task asking “What questions do you have about SOLO Taxonomy and independent learning?” and “What do you know about SOLO Taxonomy and/or independent learning? Both linking to the prestructural and unistructural elements of SOLO straight away.I have a brief 1 minute explanation on the meaing of SOLO and a basic overview before using Tait Coles idea of getting the staff involved in the explanation but having them stand up with A3 cards of the steps. I have created a sheet that staff can fill in as I go through the meaning of each step:This will be followed by and example. This I found difficult I know I had seen an example with Volcanos used but trying not to simply plagiarise the idea I went for the topic of making a curry.Each step I coupled with a student speak version of the steps and prompt questions. I also like the prompt verbs too which I want to add in.After the example given I want the staff to spend some time reflecting on any ideas they have come up with to use SOLO before I gave them any ideas.Within the booklet I have created for staff I included the reflection sheet. This follows three examples: one that I have used within English for my students. This I hope staff will get involved with. So I will give them a poem and show them how SOLO can be used to yse.I will show them the example that I used with my year 8 students before they have a go themselves.The other ideas I will show include links to LO and then and ART and Science example looking at progression, then cause and effect.The Dropbox and pamhook.com were brilliant here for rubrics and other examples to share with staff so I thank the people that use this and keep that going! BRILLIANT!This also provided me with the links to other theories such as Bloom’s Taxonomy and De Bono as these are initiatives already used within my school. I wanted to show that SOLO is not stand allow and it is not something to replace other ideas – it is about they are used in harmony and another option to add to the teaching repetoire.The final acitivity will take full circle from the beginning group activity that used the first two stages of SOLO. After all the ideas I want the staff to consider how they can use SOLO for themselves. So I created a sheet for them to fill in that links to the OUTSTNADING progress in the LO.By this point I am hoping there has been enough examples and ideas being generated between the staff. This is ultimately the end of the session – just an evaluation to follow.So what do you think? Any ideas, comments, criticisms really would be appreciated. Thank you Category:EducationTagged with:After reading so many fantastic comments about SOLO Taxonomy I thought I would test it out with a few of my classes. The approach I have found words in a number of ways.I have essentially taken this as a thinking structure for the students to help them in preparation for their English exams coming up. I asked them to consider how they thought about what to do when faced with a question / challenge. My top sets jumped straight to links and abstract thinking and felt they got stuck here, whilst my middle to lower ability sets couldn’t go beyond one idea.Teaching them a step by step guide to thinking meant that the higher sets were able, when stuck, to trace their steps back and chose another path rather than abandon their answer all together.In English the SOLO Taxonomy has worked fantastically well for teaching reading skills; inference and deduction more specifically. So when faced with an article and the question: What does the writer feel about….? The students can begin with the question – understanding what to find out; then move onto finding one quote as evidence to support the points in the question [or step one]; then move onto finding three or four quotations to support stage one. Once they have their quotes the students are then tasked with step four: linking – that means [for me] finding a key word and linking back to the exam question and step one and also finding a common link [or in this case feeling] between the quotes. Finally they students were challenge to compare this ideal with something else [the bigger picture] so for example how did the writer come to this conclusion? Can it be connected with society in any way?What worked particularly well was the link to progression – as you can see by the example below I’ve generalised the thinking steps to grades and in turn the national statistics for progression at key stage 4. Of course this is a generalisation, you can individualise for each student but the thought process in terms of GCSE criteria is about the same.As an independence tool this has worked really well and as you can see from the example I have simplified the wording for the students to route this theory into their independent skill set for the exams.Any other ways of using SOLO taxonomy would be great to hear. I like the idea of using the stages as “stations” and creating experts of each which I have read.Category:EducationTagged with: Search: Go! Blog at WordPress.com.