Students Lead a “Celebration of Learning” Evening – Then Quiz Their Parents!

A number of our Year 6 classes have moved away from the traditional Parent-Teacher interviews towards a “Celebration of Learning Evening” which was held recently and the students grouped together to present their learning to around 90 adults who attended.

Preparatory School Inquiry Learning Model

Preparatory School Inquiry Learning Model

The students had completed a unit on various aspects of Chinese culture, including calligraphy, fan dancing, paper cutting, cookery, lion and dragon masks, children’s games and kung fu. This was the same unit that our Year 12 students had filmed and presented in their Fusion TV Show that I blogged about earlier.

The learning had taken place within the new inquiry learning framework developed by the Preparatory School for their students, and the children were excited to be presenting this learning back to their parents.

The adults moved around the various displays over the course of the hour, with numerous groups seamlessly including technology into their presentations, using a range of tablet devices to show how they had collated their research into sections in their MS OneNote notebooks, along with sharing cooking clips, kung fu moves and music. The parents could also try their hand at calligraphy with different apps being used on the tablets to support this.

Nearing the end of the performing arts section, one of the students ask Mr Dekkers if they could create a quiz for the parents using Socrative.com, a tool that allows for real time quizzing within a class and one that I’ve blogged about before here. The aim of the quiz was to check parents had been reading all the work the students had on display, and included a number of multi-choice and short answer questions:

  • What does the colour red mean?
  • When were the first Chinese masks made?
  • China is a country with up of about ___________ years of culture and history?
  • What are the dances that are well known in China?

Parents were then asked to use their own smart phones to access the quiz online (the students guided them through this process, showing how simple the technology actually was). You can see some of the answers below (parent names removed!):

The parent answers to a quick Socrative.com quiz created by students during a "Celebration of Learning" evening in the Preparatory School.

The parent answers to a quick Socrative.com quiz created by students during a “Celebration of Learning” evening in the Preparatory School.

When I heard about this from Mr Dekkers I was delighted by the initiative demonstrated and that our students are starting to see technology as “just another tool” that can both help with their learning, but also to demonstrate their learning. I mentioned in this earlier post that:

Whilst the phrase “ubiquitousness of technology” is over used, this lesson did demonstrate that when used effectively, the technology is not at the forefront of the lesson.

I see this example from the Preparatory School as reinforcing this – it was the student voice and presentations that was the true celebration of learning, the technology used merely augmented this.

As the confidence of students increases and they identify a wider range of applications for technology in their learning, I anticipate more examples such as this emerging from our classrooms.

Identifying Prior Learning With Socrative.com

Socrative.com

Socrative.com

Today I introduced my Yr9 Religious Education students to an overview of the Old Testament. I recognised there would be a wide range of prior knowledge and so I wanted a fun and interactive way of identifying what the students actually knew at this point.

I decided to use the great tools from http://www.socrative.com and posed the question:

If you were asked to explain what the Bible was to someone who had never heard of it, what would you tell them?

As a starting “Do Now” activity, this worked effectively, because the students needed to come in quietly, get out their laptops, connect to Moodle and then click the link on our class site to Socrative.com, before answering their questions. The students were engaged immediately, especially when they saw their answers starting to scroll up the projector screen at the front of the classroom.

I had chosen to allow the students to provide their answers anonymously for two reasons:

  1. For those that didn’t know much about the Bible, they would not feel uncomfortable due to their limited knowledge.
  2. An opportunity for me to talk about Digital Citizenship and remind the students their replies needed to be responsibly worded.

I then gave the class the opportunity to vote for the answer they liked the best, requiring them to read through the 27 responses and then select what they felt was the best explanation. Here are the top answers with the amount of votes each received to the left:

Student responses to the question "How would you explain the Bible to someone that had never heard of it

Student responses to the question “How would you explain the Bible to someone that had never heard of it (click to enlarge)

The lesson continued with the students watching a short animated DVD explaining the broad sweep of the Old Testament, before they were required to work in groups of 3, using their laptops to identify the four main sections of the Old Testament and share some verses from within these sections in a Moodle Forum.

Instructions students needed to follow to complete the task

Instructions students needed to follow to complete the task (click to enlarge)

This was experimental for this class – they had to carefully follow a few instructions, move around the room into their groups, and then quickly locate the information they required. I was pleased that this mostly went without a hitch, although it took slightly longer than I anticipated, so I could not use the “Exit Pass” functionality in Socrative.com to receive student reflections on the lesson.

I think that as students become more familiar with some of these activities, such as logging into Moodle, looking for the task they are required to start, then speed and fluency will increase, making these viable activities for both in class and completion at home.

The different groups and how many replies they made with their answers

The different groups and how many replies they made with their answers (click to enlarge)

One of the things I particularly like about this is the record of learning that is retained – the work completed by each student is recorded in one place, their name automatically associated with it, and where appropriate, becomes a great resource for revision when assessment requires it.

I am going to continue to explore different ways Moodle and Socrative can be used in combination in lessons with this class.