At the beginning of term three I set a challenge to my Year 9 Religious Education class - to design aspects of their learning and adapt to barriers that arise. We started by looking at what GRIT, Growth Mindset and critique/ feedback look like. This provided the opportunity for students to realise learning is an on going process and that because they do not succeed the first time, it did not mean they were not developing their skills/ knowledge.
I asked them to design a challenge that they would complete focused on religion. To begin with students selected their own topic (I had a range from the Crusades to Secular Humanism). We discussed how to present their learning and one student offered the idea of a presentation style format. They researched different presentation formats and agreed on an Ignite presentation format. A basic run down of the Ignite Format:
- Google Slides with a maximum of two words per slide - a focus on visual information.
- Each slide would change every 20 seconds.
- Students would complete a three minute speech focusing on three questions they had designed.
- Parents and community members were asked to view the presentations and provide feedback for the students.
I introduced the class to the Inquiry Spiral which was the process we would complete in order for their Ignite presentation. This had a range of steps that I will briefly outline.
Scanning - Students were given time to identify key things related to their topic. This could involve factual information, key individuals or information about potential sub topics.
Focusing - Students formulated questions about one of the areas related to their topic. We focused on creating three Inquiry questions that followed the below format:
Developing a hunch - Students selected ONE of the questions they had created and imagined some of the answers or solutions to this particular question. This was a highlight in the process as individuals were able to draw on prior knowledge or ideas they had from another curriculum area.
Learning - Students were asked to think what they needed to learn about in order for them to test their hunch. Key question prompts included - Where will you find this information? Is this information reliable?
I found students were engaged in this process and produced amazing questions that they answered. I was surprised by their willingness to share their learning with their family and other students. When we had our presentation night students were given feedback through the rose, bud, thorn model. I wanted students to enjoy their first Inquiry for the purpose of developing skills/ knowledge rather than receiving a mark. Feedback provided from this model was honest and identified next steps for the students. They felt encouraged by this and commented on the skills they had developed through this process. We celebrated their success and they produced individual learning reflections which we shared on our Google Classroom page.
Through this process I saw a massive change in the students attitude to learning and their willingness to take risks with their learning. For term four we are looking at the development of the Catholic Church in New Zealand and look forward to presenting Museum displays.