Term1, 2018 starts with a new Mantle of the Expert!
I am collaborating with a science teacher for this selected offered to Year 9 students called PROOF! This selected (option class) runs for one term with two sessions of 100x minutes per week. It is based around forensic science - something I know nothing about - and students will learn how to dust for fingerprints, analyse different fibers, analyse information and make conclusions about various crimes that are presented to them. The teacher I am working with experience MOTE last year when I was working on a connected class (check out my previous blogs for my reflections on that) and he is keen to try it again on a smaller scale and now that he has some understanding of the ways of working.
In our first class, the students were met by the science teacher taking on a frozen effigy. He was sitting on a stool, with a box beside him (they could see a document with fingerprints on it), looking seriously at a piece of paper he was holding and he had a 'VISITOR' badge on. Learners were asked to give their observations; "he looks concerned" "he is visiting someone" "he looks professional". I then gave them a letter from the 'Police' (we made up our own logo - I advise not to use real businesses, names or logos!). They read the letter and then I asked them, what else do you know? "He is here for our help" "a crime has been committed" "his name is Pavan". The learners were then told they could ask him three questions, so as a group they discussed what they needed to know from Pavan and decided on three questions. This gave them further insight into the character and the crime that had been committed.
From here, the learners then had to create a timeline, analyse physical evidence and decide on motive to give back to Pavan in order to keep the case open. The group decided that they needed to split into three groups to do this, and that they needed to keep communication open between the groups as they found out important information. It was also suggested they have a company meeting at the end of the day to ensure that all the information is shared across the company. Each group split off to work in different spaces, but there was lots of movement between groups with questioning and justifying when they thought they had found the culprit.
This hook for me went quite well. There was engagement and discussion about the company, and some initial set up, such as the company meeting is a fantastic starting point.
When I started to build belief in the following class, thing started coming undone a bit.
I warmed up with some drama games based around accepting and offering ideas. I had great engagement from the girls, but the boys were a bit reluctant and bit chatty. Maybe I needed to adjust my games when this started, however I carried on wondering if they were testing the boundaries a bit as it was only class two.
In small groups, we listed characteristics of a detective and then did the 'handshake clumps' to decide what our top characteristics as a group were. We decided we: think outside the box, are intelligent, problem solvers, are persuasive, focused and we are sneaky and stealthy.
From these, I reminded the company that we have a long history and reminded them of some of our successes - again, the girls were really eager, nodding their heads, agreeing, some saying that was a hard case. The boys however, couldn't remember and swore that we didn't. I set up the task of creating some of our interviews about our success before I had a quiet word to the boys about accepting the world we are creating. They nodded and created an interview with Batman. After they performed, I summarized their performance by saying we are a company who work with many agents of good, we have a strong sense of justice. However, I felt disheartened by the lack of engagement. It's been a long time since I have come up against such resistance.
Because of the way I was feeling, I deviated from my original plan - which was whole group work around our name, and mapping our space. We had a brief discussion before the performances about our name, there were three being floated around and I was going to come back to this to lock it down and then move onto mapping. However, because of how I was feeling - I moved them into the classroom space and had them individually create a logo or advertising poster for the company using a name they liked from the performances. Now that I have done this, I regret it and I'm not sure how to bounce back. I need to find a way to bring all these elements together in the company because by setting this task, I have added more investment and attachment to the name each learner choose.
My challenges for next week are capturing the engagement and belief of the boys, and finding a way to keep building our team and company for all the learners.