Archive | November, 2016

Fresh Comedic Talent

23 Nov

My Year 8 students have been studying sitcoms, with a focus on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.  After spending a lot of time discussing ideas, I wanted to move to a discussion of language.

To do this, I first asked each student to come up with a potentially humorous scenario and write that scenario on a piece of paper.  Then, I collected these scenarios, and redistributed them so that each pair of students had a scenario.  Finally, I asked each pair to come up with a funny exchange that engaged with the provided scenario.

A number of my students found this task difficult, struggling to construct witty exchanges.  As such, we had to discuss HOW humour was created through language.  After a discussion of stereotypes, subversion of expectations and diction students were better able to tackle the task.


Ping Pong Sales Pitch

20 Nov

One of my junior classes is about to embark on a unit in which they hone their persuasion skills.  As an opening activity I want to play a game that I have termed ‘Ping Pong Sales Pitch’.

In this game, students are provided with basic information about an exciting new product.  The first student standing is given 1 minute to use AT LEAST ONE persuasion technique to convince someone to buy the product.  The next student standing can extend that point, making their pitch using a different persuasive technique, or offer a new reason (supported by persuasive technique) as to why the product should be purchased.  This pattern continues until the pitch ideas are bouncing around the room like an out of control ping pong game.

This game would be a good follow up to a class discussion of Have I got a book for you!

A Fresh Take on Social Issues

18 Nov

It came as a surprise to my students that sitcoms, such as The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, can convey important social messages.

To get my students critically engaging, we played a game of ‘Agree/Strongly Agree/Disagree/Strongly Disagree’ in which students had to move to the side of the classroom that best described their response to a set of deliberately provocative statements.

Statements included:

  • The sole purpose of a sitcom is to entertain.
  • It is impossible to communicate perspectives about important social issues in 22 minutes.
  • Sitcoms serve important social purposes.

It was great to see students engaging with their wider knowledge when defending their viewpoints.  It was also great to see students changing positions as they became convinced by the arguments of their peers.

After the game we watched a selection of Fresh Prince episodes, stopping after each one to revisit and explore the questions in light of what we had watched.


15 Nov

I have been on a picture book buying spree and happened upon an awesome text entitled CLICK, CLACK, MOO – Cows That Type.

The text begins with a group of cows who like to type.  They annoy the farmer by spending all their time at the typewriter.  They then start making requests.  These requests multiply, with the cows typing notes on behalf of their fellow animals.

I love this book!

I think it would be great as an introduction to Animal Farm as it explores ideas about agency.  For this same reason, it would be an interesting introduction to units exploring activism and identity.

‘Have I Got a Book For You!’

14 Nov

I recently happened upon an awesome picture book entitled Have I Got a Book For You!  I hope to use this book as an introduction to a unit about persuasion and marketing.  In particular, I want students to test drive some of the strategies and evaluate the effectiveness of each.