After teaching English language and literature for 4 years in UK schools, I have created a bank of resources and acquired pedagogical insights from my colleagues.
This was an idea I came up with while listening to the Chris Moyles breakfast show on Radio 1. Radio shows are great ways to pick up on fun game ideas for revision. On the show, they play the tedious link game where one of the presenters, Dave, must introduce a track by making a series of links from a given start point. (Have a listen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8wwO_M6pw4.)
So I adapted this idea for plot revision. I show a chain of pictures related to the text and students must explain the links from the first image to the last. As well as serving as a useful revision tools, it prompts students to think about the deeper links between characters, events and themes. For example, the Of Mice and Men tedious link below encourages students to comment on how the dead mouse in Chapter 1 foreshadows the death of other animals and ultimately Curley’s Wife.
- This task can be made more challenging by only having a start and end point so students have to create the chain of connections.
- You can introduce keywords for students to use in their explanation.
Diamond 9 is a tool that many teaching professionals are aware of and use frequently. It is a tool for ranking ideas. Below I have included my diamond 9 for Blood Brothers. Students are asked to ranking the cards according to which one sums up the play best. They then had to justify their selections. This was a useful activity before I asked the class to write an introduction to an essay on the play.
The problem with a diamond 9 activity is the cutting involved to create the resource. Either you are stood at a guillotine with thousands of tiny pieces of paper and equally small envelopes during valuable PPA time or your classroom becomes awash with white hundreds and thousands when you ask students to cut the shapes themselves.
This alternative avoids the need to create a card sort but is still a visual resource to engage students. I use a Blob Tree (often used for social and emotional development) to rank and organise characters within a text. The Blob Tree is an image of a tree with various ‘blob people’ taking positions at the top of the tree, falling off a branch, helping another to climb the trunk etc. I number the blobs and ask students to attach a character to each numbered blob with an explanation. This has worked well with Holes after we have read chapter 11 and we start to learn about the hierarchy among the boys at Camp Green Lake. For example, X-ray might be near the top of the tree as he orders Stanley to give him everything he finds while digging.
This is an idea I picked up from TES and unfortunately with the wealth of resources available on there I cannot find the contributor who shared this resource. I will update this post when I find them so they can be attributed here.
To find out more about the Blob Tree and its uses see here: http://www.pipwilson.com/2004/11/blob-tree_110181146915869209.html