I began the posters by writing a Form: What is it? guiding question for each part of speech to be reviewed.
- What is a noun?
- What is an adjective?
- What is an article?
- What is a verb?
- Name the parts of a sentence.
Student Choice and Purposeful Grouping
Students were given the choice of which guiding question they could best respond to. This meant there were two or three students for each poster causing small and purposeful grouping. It was also a social experience with supportive learning partners who had a collective strength and therefore high confidence.
Context Specific Tool Kit
Before embarking on their posters, students were asked to think about what they could use to inform their response. Students suggested:
- personal knowledge
- classroom posters
- reference charts
- laptops - internet searches
In addition students were asked to provide what they believed the success criteria for the posters needed to be. To my surprise we actually use the words “success criteria” because we use the term and the approach frequently, however, I also framed it with, “What will you need to have on your poster that will answer the question and help everyone else understand what they need to know about this too?” Because I also made this learning engagement time-bound I elaborated with, “In 15 minutes what will everyone else in the class understand from your response to this question?” Students suggested:
- answer - response must be on topic
- give example/s
- time management / is it complete
- clear - not neat because this is “drafting”
- accurate (I added this criteria and asked a Reflection question, “How do we know if your response is accurate? A poster needs to communicate accurate information.” This sprung another set of success criteria of personal knowledge, reference charts and teacher input/feedback.)
It was pleasing to see that students valued their own knowledge as a tool kit and for assessment. They should too as they have worked hard for it.
Once complete students shared their posters as experts with the whole class (rather than regroup into the usual jigsaw). Then their peers provided feedback for assessment including suggestions of what to improve.
Opportunity to Review
Students were provided the choice to take action with suggestions for improvement. It was wonderful to see the eagerness in which all groups jumped at this chance. I would almost go as far to say that my students look disappointed or cheated if they are not provided the opportunity to immediately revise their responses. This is the value they place on constructing meaning. Constructing meaning belongs to the learner not the teacher.
Not only did each student construct meaning they also took action by sharing their understanding and knowledge with their peers and beyond their peers. We displayed their posters for fellow schoolmates to read and learn.
I happily end better where I may have sadly begun poorly. It seems to come a full circle. To support their review of grammar I summarised their explanations into a chatterbox.
- What is a noun? A noun is the name of a person, place, thing, or idea.
- What is an adjective? Adjectives modify nouns and pronouns. Adjectives answer: What kind? How many? Which one? Whose?
- What is an article? A, An, The. Tiny article adjectives that mark nouns and answer the question: Which?
- Name the parts of a sentence. A sentence must have a capital letter, subject, verb, complete thought, and an end mark.
- What is a verb? A verb shows action, links a description to the subject, or helps another verb.
Chatterboxes are a fun play thing and tactile-visual-verbal learning tool that aids in reviewing knowledge and understandings after a learner has constructed meaning for himself of herself.
It would have been quicker for me to ask, “Does anyone remember what a ______ is?” It would have been better if followed by a Think-Pair-Share. However, it is best practice to pay the cost of time to gain greater or "sticky" learning engagements which, by design, help learners make their own meaning.