Increasing Pupil Engagement

This was a tricky post to write as I wouldn't really consider myself to have any particular area of expertise! I have led literacy in my school before but currently lead math, I love teaching phonics but fins myself teaching more RE each week these days than anything else, I deliver a lot of staff training, but this is on a whole range of different topics - definitely not just literacy. 

So I looked back over the posts I have written for Adventures in Literacy Land over the last year and realised that pupil engagement strategies was a common thread...

Making Writing Special: one way I set up the classroom environment to engage and motivate writers.

Using Story Sacks: a way to help children get exited about and explore different aspects of stories.

Learning Grids: a great and easy strategy for making learning more hands on and fun!

Consensus Activity: engage children by developing speaking and listening and collaboration skills.

This year I am cover teaching one day a week for a particular class and I am struggling to hold their attention for any significant amount of time. I am not used to this! I'm finding it hard. I need to cut my teacher talk time down even more.

The jigsaw strategy for imparting information is nothing new. I've read about it, been told about it on courses, watched video clips even. But for some reason I've never really used it as a strategy in my classroom.

Last week we celebrated World Religion Day and I wanted to give the class time to explore some of the main religions represented in our school. There are lots of lovely PowerPoint presentations out there that I could have talked through but instead, I thought I would try out this strategy with the class.
I set children in home groups of 6 and paired them up with each pair assigned a different religion. Each pair of children was given time to explore the religion using the information sheets I provided and a laptop to read the always useful information pages on the Woodlands Junior site!

After a short time, I moved the children to form their expert groups - pairs of children from different home groups who had been researching the same religion. They got together and discussed what they had found. Pairs had discovered similar information but each also seemed to have something new to share that the others hadn't read yet or taken in.

I then asked these expert groups to create an interactive poster to share at the end of the afternoon.

I gave them access to some lovely interactive notebook templates by Meredith Anderson and off they went!

I deviated from the traditional jigsaw strategy in that I didn't have them report back and share their expert knowledge in home groups again but rather had them present to the whole class...

 And there you have it! Very little teacher talk, lots of learning and lots of pupil engagement!

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