This term 8X3 are studying The Tempest, which is not the easiest play to teach a noisy middle-set, but fortunately I am an eternal optimist. After a starter, to which a third of the class are late and enter noisily, we have a quick preamble, when I reiterate behaviour expectations and they vote for cake as a class reward.

Lesson objective is as follows:

AIM: TBAT comment on how and why Shakespeare creates effects in Act 1.1 of The Tempest (RAF6)

We start off with some activities trying to get them thinking about life at sea – clips from Pirates of the Caribbean and The Perfect Storm, respectively trying to get them reflecting on how sailors were probably quite drunk, rude and uneducated and how being in a boat in the middle of a thunderstorm is very frightening indeed. This involves a small drama activity, which inevitably ends with a number of my energetic boys in a heap on the floor.

Still, they seem to be enjoying themselves.

I give them an exit ticket with three questions on, and it is brilliant. Two of them don’t complete it, and I am able to see this immediately and ask them about the Lesson Objective before they leave, checking that they understand; four of them complete it only partially, and I am able to send them back to finish. I have a PPA period straight after I see 8X3 today, and so mark them using coloured dots and it takes me less than five minutes. It also allows me to monitor and target specific students next lesson to check they are on-task and that they understand.

Writing up appropriate DIRT questions for next lesson, however, takes me substantially longer (25 minutes maybe?). I’ve always found this with English, and it’s the ‘Matthew effect’ in action again. Most of the time they don’t understand how to answer the questions that will bump up their level and so DIRT time is almost useless for them. Here’s what I’ve got:

  • RED – Summarise what happens in the first scene of the Tempest and predict how the audience could feel watching it.
    • In the first scene of the Tempest…
  • YELLOW – We find out in scene two that the storm has been caused by Prospero, to get revenge on the sailors. How does starting the play in this way make us feel sympathy for the people on the ship?
    • Starting the scene in this way…
  • GREEN – Antonio calls another sailor a “whoreson” (son of a whore) and an “insolent noisemaker”. What does this tell you about what these men are like and what does Shakespeare want us to think/feel towards them?
    • We learn from what the men say that they are…

I’d be lying if I say I’m entirely happy with them, though.

Visual tracker is filled out, and this will go up on the board tomorrow. Fingers crossed.

All in all, a good start. That said, it is only the first day back, and it was a relatively easy activity. The acid test will come when we get to language analysis.


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