Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Simple Games to get them thinking

In the 2nd session of my Pre-IB course I was talking to my students about research questions. So, in order to get them thinking about what sorts of questions they could I ask I first got them to watch a short clip on Windsor Castle (they were all off there on a trip during the 3 weeks) and to write down any questions they could ask based on the information provided in the clip.
We then had a class discussion on all of the questions they had written down and I asked them to think if any of them could be suitable research questions and why/why not. We soon came across open and closed questions etc.

Then, to get the students talking to one another again, and meeting people they perhaps didn't get a chance to yesterday I got the class to line themselves up in order of their age. This naturally got them asking each other about their birthdays etc. I then paired them up so the youngest person was with the oldest, 2nd youngest with 2nd oldest etc etc. I then explained the rules to the 'Why?' game.

The 'Why?' 'game' is a simple conversation in pairs where one person starts by stating something i.e. I really like Arsenal football club! Their partner then asks them...Why? they may then respond with because I've supported them all my life! Their partner would again ask them...Why? This repeats until the timer sounded or they got themselves in a natural loop whereby they end up restating their original statement.
The students seemed to like doing this and we swapped around a few times so each person in each pair got to both ask the Why? questions and give responses. I also tried to get students to repeat the statements given in their Why question. So...'Why do you really like Arsenal football Club?', 'Why have you supported them all your life?' This not only helped them with asking questions but improved their communication skills.

Next, we played the 'Yes/No' game where students, again in pairs, had to respond to their partners questions without saying Yes or No. In addition, after a go each in pairs, we added the 'no repeats', 'no gestures' and 'no pauses' rules to the game to make it trickier. There were still some students who remained in the game without breaking any rules though - impressive!

To finish off the lesson I gave each student 1 minute to talk about themselves. This part of the lesson I called 'it''. I gave the students a good 15 minutes of so to plan what they were going to talk about prior to the presentation part and emphasised the importance of planning, which we would look at later in the course.
I put the online timer on the board for each presentation and got each student in turn to come up and present themselves to the rest of the class. We had a brief feedback session after each presentation for other students to volunteer positive responses to what they had heard and how the person had presented and then we moved on. The presentations were great and it really did allow the whole class to get to know each other better. It also gave me a much better idea of my students and after the 3 weeks and a bit I really did feel as if I had been teaching them all for the past year. It was this intense 3 weeks experience that I wouldn't get elsewhere, the length of time we had in class each day also aided the amount to which I got to know my students - after all, I had to write a report for each of them at the end of the course!

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