Learning to explain

800px-Le_voyage_dans_la_lune_drawingSo, we are well into Term 3, “I am Not Esther” is done and dusted but the themes of the novel are not. Some of them come to the fore in this term’s focus which is a film study. We have watched the film “Hugo” based on the novel “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” by Brian Selznick. We are now well underway working on activities that help us to explore the characters, the story and the themes of this wonderful film.

Working at their own pace on activities is all fine and good, but some slip under the radar and are not always challenged to produce under pressure. So, this morning they were challenged. They chose two of several quotes from the film. I divided the class into two halves and each half took one of the quotes. They had 15 minutes to brainstorm the quote and consider four questions;

  1. What it meant?
  2. How it related to the themes in the film?
  3. Why it was important?
  4. Give examples to illustrate your ideas.

One person in the group was at the whiteboard making notes of the suggestions from the group, one person was a scribe on a shared Google Doc and organised the notes from the board into a table in the doc. (one of the groups worked quite well with two scribes to help each other keep up with the pace of the discussion).  One person was nominated as the speaker.  They were to argue the point that their quote was more important in terms of illustrating the themes of the film in a two minute speech.  As the rest were making suggestions, making notes and scribing they pulled the ideas together into a well-constructed speech.  

It was quite clear as I observed that one team was much more organised but I reserved judgement.  However, it was equally clear, once we listened to the speeched that the organised group was the most effective.  As soon as their spokeserson finished speaking the other group chorused; “oh, they win!” 

This was our opportunity to reflect and debrief which they did very effectively.  It was heartening to see how engaged, they had all been during the process.  Great work, girls. I hope you enjoyed the activity.  Maybe you could add a comment below to say what you learned from the activity and how we might be able to improve it for next time.