TLA Berkhamsted – TeachMeet


The Herts Beds Bucks TeachMeet was the pre-event to the TLA conference Berkhamsted. The first thing I liked was that it felt as if Nick Dennis had been waiting for our arrival before kicking off. Greeted at the door, ushered in for refreshments, sat down, then click. On. Very efficient. After an overly long journey it would have been easy to not quite focus, but there were so many different presentations and nano-presentations that I was happily engaged. At some TMs I’ve been to, it’s felt like there hasn’t been a balance in terms of subject / pedagogy / topic – sometimes they feel too primary focused for me (a secondary teacher) or sometimes they are only about using a new piece of kit/tech. So it was refreshing to have a balance.

The one thing I will be trying asap from #TMHBB is the Sentence Auction idea. It was explained from point of view of an MFL teacher trying to improve grammar/vocab use through peer assessment but I see no reason why it couldn’t apply to other subjects. This is the premise:

1) Before lesson. When marking books, teacher copies out an example sentence from a variety of books. Some sentences are correct, others are incorrect.

2) In lesson. Group students, and give each group a set of each of the sentences you copied out (a mixture of right&wrong examples). The group then has to debate which answers are correct or not, and choose which ones they wish to ‘bid’ on in the ‘auction’.

3) Each group is given a budget of x amount (say £500) and they can allocate this budget to bid on different sentences.

4) Show the sentences one-by-one (e.g. on the board / on screen) as if exhibiting items at an auction. Groups then have to decide whether they wish to bid to ‘purchase’ said sentence. (You could even take this up a notch and link to MFL if you like by asking students to bid in a foreign language 😉 .)

5) At the end of the auction, once each group has purchased their sentences at whatever cost, you then reveal which ones are correct. Depending on how difficult it is to determine the correct ones you could actually assign a value to each sentence. Then reveal whether the groups had bid correctly for the right sentences, and decide whether they would have made a profit or a loss had this actually been real.  The team to make the most money from having correctly identified and purchased the right sentences is the winner.

I think this could be a great tool for GCSE, perhaps especially for picking out key facts / processes / place-specific detail for learning case studies. And I will be trialling it as such in revision sessions with Year 11 after Easter. It will be time-consuming, and we were warned that it can take the whole lesson doing this, but it is AfL and reinforcing. So I liked the sound of it. Something to try, and I’ll let you know how it goes.

What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?Vincent van Gogh

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