Online learning

Shakespeare blogging with Year 7

Over the course of the year my timetable was changed to include 2 year 11 classes, this unfortunately meant that I had to give up my Year 7s and have my lessons with them reduced from 5 a week to just one.

Still wanting to do something useful with this hour I decided to embark on some projects with them, encouraging them to work in groups outside of the hour that we have together. Last term worked well with Non-Fiction writing but this term I wanted to give them (and myself) the opportunity to have a play about with online learning, especially since most of them are so technology proficient already.

At the start of the half term the students organised themselves into groups of 2/3 so they were paired up with at least one ‘critical friend’ who they could turn to for advice in the time between lessons. During this introduction lesson we focused on the skills of group work, what we had learned from working independently in the past and then students set themselves a personal goal for the project. Some students felt they still needed to build their confidence presenting to the whole class for example and so will endeavour to do so before the term is up.

Focusing on our goals, we then constructed a series of Shakespeare Challenges together. The students came up with some imaginative suggestions, from reinventing scenes of the play as a rap to creating an information leaflet they may give out if curating a Shakespeare museum. When I spotted the advice on Edutronic/Chris on meaningful homework tasks over the weekend, I decided to create a few extra to keep them going as I couldn’t help but set them some of the great suggestions.

Today’s lesson required a quick recap for some students about how to log in to their KidBlog accounts but on the whole students were confidently accessing their blog and adding to it in what was only the 2nd hour on the computers together. The ‘Preview’ button was pretty powerful, with one student pointing out that we wouldn’t want to publish something that doesn’t have “good grammar and stuff like capital letters” else we might be seen as “well lazy and a bit dumb when we’re not”. Couldn’t have put it better myself…

What was especially great to see was their commenting on other students’ posts the end of the lesson. I have set them the challenge of commenting on 2 posts each week, ensuring everyone has feedback on their work to guide them in the time between lessons. All that 2 stars and 1 wish stuff we’ve done in class seems to have paid off!

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I’ll update with some more screenshots as the students continue posting. If anybody has any top tips on how to proceed and ensure the initial excitement doesn’t disappear I’d love to hear from you!

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