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Pedagogy Blog – Graphic organisers.
As a teacher I am keenly aware that students need to own their knowledge. Recasting their knowledge through graphic organisers gives students creative space to reshape information in a way that helps them retain it. I decided to trial this approach with my Year 9 class who has just completed a section of work on the Elizabethan poor. As well as knowing who the poor were, I wanted them to be able to recall the causes of poverty ,the responses of the authorities to the poor through legislation, and the impact of these changes.
I challenged the class to present this information through the illustration of a tree. I asked them probing questions to get them thinking such as
What key information forms the trunk?
What underlying information makes the roots?
What are the important branches?
What subsections of information become the twigs and leaves?
What will your tree look like?
I modeled some examples of what their tree might look like, but wanted them to create their work in a way that made most sense to them.
After some initial planning, and peer feedback, the students used the remainder of the lesson to create their trees. This was an accessible task for all students. Those who seemed to struggle the most were some of the most able, keen not to make mistakes. Once they realised that it was their own piece of creative work, they relaxed into the task.
I was very impressed with the results. All students were engaged and proud of what they produced. The level of precise and relevant detail was impressive across the whole class. The task reinforced prior teaching of the links between causes of poverty and the actions of the authorities in managing the treatment of both the deserving and undeserving poor. Subsequent recall checks have shown good retention of knowledge. .