Would you dare to watch the TV in the last lessons of term?

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Since we are now telling all pupils how important attending as many schooldays as you can, it would seem hypocritical to spend a day or two in the last week of term watching DVD’s and colouring in. Also if your headteacher happens to be predisposed to dropping in just to see how things are going on the last Wednesday of term you may not have considered slipping in a DVD and pressing play. But then again, you are screamingly tired and can’t even get order out in the right words.

Well fear not! Here is a plan that means you can educate, engage, play a DVD (well BBC iplayer) AND tick some boxes toward achieving your whole school literacy policy.

Next week I will be re-using an old plan that always worked well with Key Stage 3 classes. Thanks go to Julia Skinner (@theheadsoffice ) for her original idea of the 100 word challenge which this is all based upon.

I use the following resources:

  1. BBC iplayer and the Planet Earth 2 series, though a box set of planet Earth (1?) works just as well
  2. One pen and one exercise book per pupil

Here’s how it goes:

  1. I ask the class to write down 6-8 words that come to mind when they think of “deserts” or whatever the title of the episode is that they are to watch. They have to draw a line under those words.
  2. Then I tell them we are going to watch a DVD on this topic for about 30 minutes and afterwards they are going to produce a piece of descriptive writing on the landscapes they have seen and what happens there. (I emphasise landscapes because as a geography teacher, this works better than the animals they would go for without any guidance, but you could choose any other facet of the programme). I say they should write down some words and ideas for this during the DVD, but not many as actually watching and listening is more important than taking lots of notes.
  3. I stop the video with about 20 minutes to go of the lesson (ours last for an hour) and tell them to complete their piece of descriptive writing. The only two rules they have to follow are:
  • It must not exceed 100 words (I am strict on this)
  • They cannot use any of their original 6-8 words they wrote down at the start of the lesson

As this is the last lesson of the term chances for peer and self assessment are not available, but I know this idea could be extended further to allow for more redrafting and improving of their work.

But as a stand alone end of term lesson that both challenges my pupils to learn and think and is also a bit different, this has so far worked very well.

and it has David Attenborough in it – so you cant go wrong

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An end of Term Lesson; with Learning and a DVD

There has been some strong hints dropped this year from my SLT about not just playing a DVD in your last lesson of the year with a class; and I can appreciate that. We have an activities week in the last week, so the ‘fun’ part of the end of term has already been catered for. However, we are all tired and personally, my ability to string many coherent sentences together is greatly diminished at the moment

So I have struck upon a plan which seems to be working well with Key Stage 3 classes. I have used the following resources:

  1. Planet Earth Box set DVD
  2. Julia Skinner’s  (@TheHeadsOffice )100 word challenge idea see www.theheadsoffice.co.uk

Heres how it goes:

a) I ask the class to write down 6-8 words that come to mind when they think of “deserts” or whatever the title of the DVD is that they are to watch. They have to draw a line under those words.

b) Then I tell them we are going to watch a DVD on this topic for about 30 minutes and afterwards they are going to produce a piece of descriptive writing on the landscapes they have seen and what happens there. I say they should write down some words and ideas for this during the DVD, but not many as actually watching and listening is more important than taking lots of notes.

c) I stop the video with about 20 minutes to go of the lesson (ours last for an hour) and tell them to complete their piece of descriptive writing. the only two rules they have to follow are:

  • It must not exceed 100 words (I am strict on this)
  • They cannot use any of their original 6-8 words they wrote down at the start of the lesson

Because this is the last lesson of the term chances for peer and self assessment are not available, but I know this idea could be extended further to allow for more redrafting and improving of their work.

But as a stand alone end of term lesson that both challenges my pupils to learn and think and is also a bit different, this has so far worked very well.