A great two days, again in Pembrokeshire, as part of their Writing project. Firstly, working with a group of lads (“Here come the boys!” being the cry) and, today, with staff from schools across the authority, both secondary and primary.
One of the fascinating side effects of these two days, has been the encounter with Tom Cox and his Thinking Dice. (More later…).
We are grateful to literacy advisor, Eva John, for recording her thoughts on our time in the region:
Fun, excitement and overwhelming curiosity are all elements that feature in Tim’s lessons and training sessions. Adults are drawn in and motivated in just the same way that children are.
The psychology of stimulating reluctant speakers, listeners and writers (both adults and children) underlies the approach which builds up their confidence and self esteem, positively altering their perception of themselves and their abilities.
Tim uses language in the classroom to deliver subliminal messages which are particularly effective in drawing boys into the writing process because they realise that they really do have something to write and that their ideas and contributions are valued.
Our authority has decided to develop a small team of male classroom teachers who will go in, on an occasional basis, using Myst, to support and team teach in other schools, aiming to raise the standard of writing, with a specific focus on the boys.
Our team had a really productive session with Tim and Sarah where they explored a range of ideas, resources and approaches, focusing on motivational language and teaching strategies. It was wonderful to hear of the successes they had already experienced in their own classrooms, which extended beyond the intended audience in one case: some unmotivated Y10 boys were in one primary school on work experience when the teacher explored the panorama website as a stimulus with his class. When the pupils started to write, the older pupils joined in because they, too, were bursting to write. So, purpose features strongly in this approach and the children are given the language through questioning, role play and verbal jazz improvisation before they are even expected to start writing.
Sharing good practice is also a strong feature of the way in which Tim and Sarah work, via their website and blog and this is something which we are constantly encouraging in Pembrokeshire.
We value and are impressed by their generosity and boundless enthusiasm in sharing their ideas and expertise, building on previous training experiences, tailoring them to meet our specific needs.
Back to the Thinking Dice used over the last two days…
These incredibly simple, but thought provoking, cubes make a powerful tool for use in any classroom, and at many ages.
Thinking Dice is a brand new, fun product which enables pupils to develop higher order thinking and questioning skills.
Teaching children thinking Skills can make a world of difference; research shows that thinking skills are essential for effective learning.
Each set comprises of six large colour coded foam dice. Every dice has a question structure printed on each side. These are specifically designed to promote questioning and higher order thinking, at a specific level of Bloom’s revised taxonomy of thinking. These are: remembering and recalling information, understanding ideas and concepts, applying information, analysing information in order to explore and understand relationships, evaluating ideas, concepts and situations and creativity, making something new with the knowledge.
As I said, Thinking Dice can be easily adapted for a wide age range.
Category: 1) Events and Training days