Teaching approaches: Language

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Teaching Approaches

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Astronomy Recreating the Big Bang
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An introduction to the creation of the Universe.
This presentation offers a tour of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) and explains why it is worth spending money on one experiment. It then delves into particle physics, looking at sub-atomic particles to offer analogies for what these particles are. The session focuses on whole class(ta) dialogue(ta) and higher order(ta) thinking skills as well as exploring scientific language(ta). This 4th session and the 5th are together the most theoretically complex and they present challenges to young peoples world views. As such they are led as much by their questions(ta) as by the presentation.
Astronomy It's full of stars
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Using a telescope and considering how those early astronomers may have worked
Astronomy(topic) has been practiced for centuries and doesn't require expensive equipment! This first session aims to train the whole class(ta) to use a telescope and, hopefully, to provide an opportunity to engage in some active learning(ta). The lesson includes some naked-eye observations and describes how modern technology helps scientists know where to look. You can explore the scientific method(ta) and language(ta) at this point, using targeted questioning(ta)/differentiation(ta). Students may be able to engage in an inquiry(ta)-based project around this work, perhaps for homework(ta).
Blogs Getting a buzz out of blogging
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Starting with the basic principles of blogs(tool) and blogging, this primary course looks at their use within education and how they can be used to improve teaching and learning. The focus is particularly on blogs as an ICT(i) tool for collaboration(ta) which encourages the effective use of reasoning(ta) and language(ta). The unit also discusses practical elements such as e-skills(topic) and copyright(topic) issues you might encounter in blogging.
Blogs Telling Stories about Farm Animals
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Children using technology on a visit to a local farm
This activity uses technology and the development of e-skills(topic) in young children, in order to create opportunities for speaking and listening, and language(ta) development.

The specific trip provided a great stimulus for the children's stories. Equally, however, this approach could be applied to any trip or event in or out of school. The use of a blog(tool) gave the opportunity for children to share their ideas with a wider audience, and also gave opportunities for real-time feedback on their work. The use of hand-held technology also enabled active learning(ta) as the portability of the iPads and cameras allowed them to be used outside the classroom, on the farm. The accessibility of the technology meant that this activity promoted inclusion(ta) and the visual nature of the photos and pictures was used effectively to help extend the children's vocabulary(ta).

CPD Directed Activities Related to Text (DARTs)
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Developing good pedagogy in using text based activities for learning
This resource covers a range of Directed Activities Related to Text, highlighting the importance of language(ta) and visualisation(ta) in activities, and their role in active learning(ta) and study skills(topic).
CPD Subject Specific Vocabulary
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What's that word? Thinking about the language used in your subject
This resource highlights the importance of subject-specific vocabulary(ta) and its consideration in teaching as well as offering some practical tips for encouraging its effective use, and remembering in classroom contexts.
CPD Establishing Purpose for Writing
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Why do we have to write it down? Thinking about why we write...
This resource highlights some key types of text, and asks teachers to think about the key texts and language(ta) in their own subjects, and how tasks can be well designed to illicit purposeful writing in their classroom practice. Teachers should consider learning objectives(ta) for purposeful writing.
CPD Approaches to Reading
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Do we have to read it? Thinking about using 'reading' effectively in the classroom
This resource highlights a range of approaches to reading in the classroom and the reasons we ask pupils to engage in reading activities, including the importance of subject language(ta), study skills(topic), and conceptual reasoning(ta) and visualisation(ta) arising from subject based reading activities.
Classroom management Classroom Management
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Managing a classroom for learning
This resource is a longer DfES document on classroom management(ta), from which some shorter more focused documents are drawn (see related resources). It highlights the importance of constructive language(ta), Ground Rules for learning, and the role of clear expectations in building a constructive classroom environment for interactive pedagogy.
Environment Our Living Environment
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Wise up on ecology
This study module, an online booklet, deals with the particular ways of thinking about and studying of the environment. It is a useful homework(ta) resource to encourage pupils to engage with key scientific vocabulary(ta) and use their knowledge of the scientific method(ta) to engage with inquiry(ta) learning.
Forces Force in the early years
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Thinking about the language of force
This lesson idea highlights the scientific language(ta) around the topic of force, and through group work(ta) and whole class(ta) dialogue(ta) engages pupils in inquiry(ta) and the scientific method(ta) surrounding force.
Genetics Human Genome Project: from Sequencing to Sharing Genomic Information
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Discuss and share economic, political and ethical issues.
This resource provides guidance on how to use whole class(ta) discussion(ta) and/or small group work(ta) to engage students with the science and the economic, political, ethical(topic), legal and social issues of a scientific project such as the HGP. Its focus is on the scientific method(ta); language(ta) and the nature of scientific inquiry(ta).
Genetics How DNA is sequenced: the stages
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The complexity and scale of genome sequencing
Students match diagrams of the stages of DNA sequencing with a list of text descriptions of the process. The lesson can involve students discussing in pairs / group work(ta), followed by a teacher or student-led plenary. Students would share ideas, come to a consensus and check the ‘whole class(ta) response’ with their version. The teacher's questioning(ta) can focus on scientific method(ta) and use of scientific language(ta). The lesson idea provides opportunities for the effective use of assessment(ta).
Graph Variation of human characteristics - Visualising Class data
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A big survey of ourselves, measuring hands, feet and more
The lesson offers the opportunity to explore measurement, relationships between measurement, and ways to visualise and summarise this data. The use of ICT(i) allows the teacher to enter data and for pupils to immediately see the impact this has on the pie chart and frequency tables (which are automatically updated). This also allows the teacher to change the 'range' for the frequency counts, and discuss with pupils the impact of this on the pie chart, and whether this is a good representation - encouraging the use of mathematical language(ta) and scientific method(ta) throughout. In collecting the data pupils have opportunity for some self-directed group work(ta) - to measure various lengths as described below - and the teacher could use whole class(ta) questions(ta) to explore the strategies taken to conduct this investigation(ta).
ICT Monsters using Scratch
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Children using a computer programming language to create moving monsters
This activity developed the specific e-skills(topic) of programming and digital animation. It could be considered the first step towards enabling children to design and create their own games(tool) using sprites and user-input controls. Computer programming helps to develop investigation(ta) skills as it requires the use of a previously unknown language(ta) to execute commands, which also develops the skills of mathematical thinking(ta). Computer programming also involves the use of modelling(ta) and planning(ta) techniques. Because Scratch is an open source programming language, this also creates opportunities for homework(ta), as the children are able to download the software for themselves at home.
Investigation Persuasive argument and evidence-based conclusions about the best car
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Got a new motor? Talk about your investigation like a scientist
This activity involving inquiry(ta)aims to develop children’s ability to support their conclusions with evidence. The teacher will model(ta) and encourage the use of the language(ta) that children require to discuss or present their data. The teacher can explain their rationale using the lesson below.
Language Exploring shape and its mathematical language through sorting activities
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Using mathematical language to discuss shapes of objects either printed or hidden in 'feely bags'. Can you feel the forks?
The Investigation(ta) of shapes and geometry can be very rewarding. A practical approach using objects from the pupils’ environment can increase their motivation and interest. In this unit, you will be using everyday objects to help pupils develop geometrical skills, such as recognising, visualisation(ta), describing, sorting, naming, classifying and comparing.

Through games(tool) on the properties of shapes, the activity engages pupils in group talk(ta), mathematical thinking(ta) and vocabulary(ta). This open ended(ta) task encourages higher order(ta) thinking, and could form the basis of whole class(ta) discussion(ta)/questioning(ta) and inquiry(ta) projects. It can be used as a lesson extension, or as a preliminary task.

Language Jargon - the language of science
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What colour is lime water? How the science language confuses
This resource was made for general public interest but may find use as a discussion starter in teacher education.
Learning objectives Writing Learning Objectives in Primary Science
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How are learning objectives supposed to work? How can one achieve mastery in writing learning objectives?
This resource encourages teachers to think about ways to link learning objectives(ta) to the curriculum which also helps to conceptualise their teaching schemes. It also helps children to understand what they are learning and what they are aiming for. The resource brings together key ideas, looking at specific outcomes from activities, vocabulary(ta), differentiation(ta), resources and curriculum development(topic) and short term planning(ta). It could be used as a 'refresher' on ideas when planning lessons.
Literacy Developing Language in Primary Science
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The resource would be particularly useful for PGCE students thinking about incorporating cross-curricular(subject) strands, or teachers looking to do the same, either in their own practice or in new curriculum development(topic) work.

Language development and the use of appropriate vocabulary(ta) is highlighted as important across the curriculum. Incorporating this consideration into science planning(ta) is important for meeting the target of developing language. The importance of language and talk in science – including through group work(ta), and Whole class(ta) dialogue – is highlighted elsewhere (and in the resource) but includes the ability to explain concepts, understand synthesising ideas (including those from other people and texts), and the need to read and write for different purposes, (including conceptual understanding, data presentation, etc). These are key ideas in communicating the scientific method(ta)

Living things Classifying and organising living things using images
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Find different ways to classify living things
This lesson offers opportunities to explore ways to classify living things as well as characteristics which might be relevant, and how to address difficulties that may arise when trying to classify things in this way. The activity may be enhanced by the use of ICT(i) software (e.g. Picasa) but could be carried out with paper-based resources.

This lesson presents a good opportunity for small group work(ta) and some inquiry(ta) into how we classify; and why some classification methods might be more useful, or more scientifically interesting than others. There is also a good opportunity to use different sorts of questioning(ta); to encourage pupils to question each other; to engage in peer assessment(ta) and to focus discussion(ta) on the scientific method(ta) using key vocabulary(ta).

Modelling Modelling Scientific Writing
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How do we help pupils to express themselves adequately when they write?
This resource discusses methods for modelling(ta) scientific writing, and the structure and kinds of language(ta) used in such writing. It provides exemplars and suggests activities to assist teachers to apply these methods to their own practice.
Patterns Exploring Pattern
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Exploring patterns in mathematics
Each chapter of this tutorial highlights the study skills(topic) required to work through the real world examples and activities given. There are problems to be solved, some of which involve higher order(ta) thinking skills (for example, being asked to correct a set of instructions), and all of which encourage the use of mathematical language(ta) and mathematical thinking(ta). The resource could also be used in class, or as a useful homework(ta) pack.
Polygons Exploring properties of rectangles: Perimeter and area.
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Do two rectangles that have the same area also have the same perimeter?
A problem to inspire higher order(ta) questioning(ta) especially in whole class(ta) dialogic teaching(ta) encouraging pupils to engage in mathematical thinking(ta) and language(ta). You could use Geogebra(tool) in this investigation, as an example of same-task group work(ta).
Progression Progression and questioning techniques in primary science projects
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Measuring force and measuring progress.
This resource provides an overview of the Year 6 scheme of work - 6E Forces in action and includes some experiment examples. The experiments could be run in class, with increasingly advanced objectives(i) including students' use of language(ta), the factors they discuss, the way they use equipment, assessment(i), etc. This resource can work as standalone lesson ideas / science projects /inquiry(i), or to illustrate progression of concepts through a scheme of work or curriculum planning(i) document.
QR codes Using QR Codes to Link to Pupil Created Information
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Children creating digital resources for use at Magna
This series of lessons provided opportunity for active learning(ta) though the visit to the Science Centre. It enabled the development of E-skills(topic) through the creation of the media and the use of QR codes. It encouraged collaboration(ta) between students, teachers from different subjects, and between the school and the wider community. It also provided a

cross-curricular(subject) opportunity for the development of language(ta). E-safety(topic) was developed through discussion with the students about ensuring that their work was appropriate for a wider audience. It also provided opportunities for whole class(ta) and whole school collaboration(ta) on a project where they were able to share practice(ta) and examples of their work with others.

Reading skills Reading and discussing popular science articles
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Read. Get the world's view and see how science works for real
The resource relates to the importance of:
  • Scientific literacy(topic).
  • Science citizenship(topic) - understanding science in its context.
  • Literacy - understanding the role of different media in dissemination.
  • Scientific understanding of particular concepts chosen.
  • scientific language(ta).
  • scientific method(ta).

It can be delivered through a combination of homework(ta) (perhaps to find an interesting article), group work(ta) to explore various articles (perhaps in a carousel), and/or use of ICT(i) including PowerPoint files to encourage students to present an area they are interested in.

Reading skills Developing Reading
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This resource is a longer DfES document on reading(i) and language(ta) development, from which more focused resources (including Approaches to Reading in the Classroom, Directed Activities Related to Text (DARTs), Subject Specific Vocabulary) are drawn
Sampling Sampling techniques to assess population size
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This lesson offers students an opportunity to use their existing knowledge to analyse a ‘real scientific publication’ and its language(ta) and link this to scientific method(ta).
  • They use study skills(topic) to skim read, make sense of complex language, and use visualisation(ta) to select relevant information
  • They engage in collaborative(tool) group work(ta) using reasoning(ta) and skills in peer assessment(ta)
  • They engage in dialogue(ta) and questioning(ta) to explore ideas together
  • They also think about how to present information using ICT(i) tools)
Standard Index Form An Introduction to the Standard Index Form
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Working out the rules according to which a calculator displays large numbers
The Standard Index Form is a key idea for mathematicians and scientists. The notion that we choose to write numbers in this way requires some explanation. So in this activity, pupils take part in an investigation(ta) on how standard index form works. This is a higher order(ta) problem solving context where students are encouraged to engage in mathematical thinking(ta). They may be involved in whole class(ta) or small group work(ta) discussion(ta), so they have a good opportunity to practice using mathematical language(ta) and questioning(ta).

This means that students do not need to be able to explain their ideas in full: they can use the calculator's feedback to discover whether their ideas are correct or not. This is also an exciting way for pupils to realise an initial idea that fits the data may need to be extended when new data arises. This resource therefore aims to develop investigative skills, as well as introduce pupils to standard index form in a memorable way. The pupils can later use their knowledge of indices in discussion(ta) and group talk(ta) as they explain what is happening.

Statistics Analysing the performance of Olympic runner, Usain Bolt
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Exploring real world statistics using the GeoGebra program
Using real world data to engage pupils in mathematical thinking(ta), language(ta) and reasoning(ta). This resource provides opportunities for group work or whole class exercises, with engaging questioning(ta).
Statistics Cubic Equations and Their Roots
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To interactiviley explore and understand complex mathematics with GeoGebra
This lesson features a ‘real life’ example for students to explore using visualisation(ta) via GeoGebra. The focus on ‘real life’ increases student motivation.

The activity engages pupils in group talk(ta), mathematical thinking(ta) and vocabulary(ta). This open ended(ta) task encourages higher order(ta) thinking, and encourages whole class(ta) discussion(ta)/questioning(ta) and inquiry(ta) projects.

VLE Using a VLE in the Classroom
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Using a VLE to support the teaching of French
This activity uses a VLE to help pupils develop their language(ta) and vocabulary(ta) skills using games(tool) and a range of teacher-produced digital media. These resources were also available to the pupils out of school to support them with their homework(ta), thus equipping pupils with more independent study skills(topic). The teacher also used the VLE to support their own classroom management(ta), using data from the VLE to record which tasks the pupils has worked on.
Visualisation Solar and Lunar Eclipse
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To show and explain how a Solar and Lunar eclipse occurs
This lesson features a ‘real life’ example for students to explore using visualisation(ta) via GeoGebra. The focus on ‘real life’ increases student motivation.

The activity engages pupils in group talk(ta), mathematical thinking(ta) and vocabulary(ta). This open ended(ta) task encourages higher order(ta) thinking, and encourages whole class(ta) discussion(ta)/questioning(ta) and inquiry(ta) projects.

Visualisation Radioactive Decay and Carbon Dating
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Using 'real life' data to explore exponential graphs
This lesson features a ‘real life’ example for students to explore using visualisation(ta) via GeoGebra. The focus on ‘real life’ increases student motivation.

The activity engages pupils in group talk(ta), mathematical thinking(ta) and vocabulary(ta). This open ended(ta) task encourages higher order(ta) thinking, and encourages whole class(ta) discussion(ta)/questioning(ta) and inquiry(ta) projects.

Visualisation GeoGebra STEM Exploration
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Develop 'real world' GeoGebra mathematical modelling applications which reach out to a wide range of users both students and teachers
The half-term activity consists of 3 half-day workshops interspersed with home-working and on-line collaboration. Each workshop is part tutorial and help in GeoGebra, part development, presentation and feedback on their emerging work. The three half-day sessions become gradually less structured as students become more confident taking the initiative in developing their own work:

An initial GeoGebra tutorial session features ‘real life’ examples such as mathematical modelling(ta) and visualisation(ta) from photographs of patterns and structure in flowers and architecture; exercises such as “math aerobics” where students model algebraic functions kinaesthetically; and data analysis and exploration such as from astronomy (Kepler's 3rd law) and athletic performance (Usain Bolt’s 100m sprints). Realistic examples such as these, or from students’ previous work, are essential to get the ball rolling. Following this, the onus is very much on the student’s own initiative. The focus on ‘real life’ and student ownership of ideas and project development increases student motivation.

The activity engages pupils in group talk(ta), mathematical thinking(ta) and vocabulary(ta). This open ended(ta) task develops higher order(ta) reasoning(ta), and encourages whole class(ta) discussion(ta)/questioning(ta) and inquiry(ta) projects.

Visualisation Flying paper planes
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Very visual and interactive and simple to understand
This lesson features a ‘real life’ example for students to explore using visualisation(ta) via GeoGebra. The focus on ‘real life’ increases student motivation.

The activity engages pupils in group talk(ta), mathematical thinking(ta) and vocabulary(ta). This open ended(ta) task encourages higher order(ta) thinking, and encourages whole class(ta) discussion(ta)/questioning(ta) and inquiry(ta) projects.

Writing Developing Writing
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Understanding the importance of writing
This resource is a larger DfES document on writing(topic) and language(ta) development, from which more focused resources (including Establishing Purpose for Writing) are drawn.