Number one for English language teachers

Digital criteria: Impact of digital criteria

Type: Article, Video

This video looks at the value of digital tools, and the accompanying lesson idea can be used as a reflection at the end of a project, a term or a year.

Lesson Idea 8: Impact of digital criteria

Tools needed for this class:

  • The internet
  • Google forms or any other online form maker, such as:

Device: Anything suitable for students to fill in online forms and share their work (e.g. laptops, tablets)

Other materials: prepare some music (e.g. ‘Celebration’ by Kool & the Gang or ‘Celebration’ by Madonna, or make a playlist with happy and positive songs – see Useful websites below); optional: bring in some bunting or balloons or some other decorations which make it feel like a party! I also usually push all the tables towards the wall in order to make space so that the students can walk around freely.

Useful websites:

Main activity: Sharing and celebrating each others’ work, followed by positive self-reflection.

Time needed: 1 hour

Preparation: In the previous lesson with your students, ask them to bring to this lesson a piece of work or product they have produced digitally which they are positive/proud about (for example, a story or presentation). But don’t tell them that there will be a celebration about it.

Before the lesson, create a form. Use questions such as:

  • Which piece of work did you share with your fellow student and why?
  • What did you think of your fellow students’ work and why?
  • How has your English speaking and writing improved in the last two months?
  • What went well in the lessons in the last two months? 
  • What could be improved? Why? 
  • What makes a good teacher? Write down four things.
  • For each of these things, give a mark out of ten for your teacher (1: very poor; 10: outstanding).
  • Is there anything else you would like to say?

Introduction: Before the students enter, make sure you have the music playing and hang up your decorations beforehand (if you have them). I always play Kool & the Gang first, as it sets the scene. My students always find it funny but definitely not cool! I always find that as long as I keep positive and don’t take it too seriously my students go along with this.

Step One (5 mins)
Stop the music and explain that they are going to celebrate each other’s work today. Put the students in two groups. The first group will share their work with the second group. The second group of students read or watch the work of the first group of students and give a compliment, and the first group of students tell the second group students why they are proud of their work.

Step Two (10–15 mins)
I find that the sharing usually works well with the ‘inside outside circles’ format (see the link in Useful websites if you’re not familiar with this). Depending on the time you have, I would allow students two minutes to talk with each other. I would do this five times so that five group one students have spoken to five group two students. (Normally, I turn the music back on quietly so it’s playing in the background while they speak, to keep the atmosphere happy and positive!)

Step Three (10–15 mins)
Then switch. Now group two students must share their work with group one students. I normally make sure they share their work with students they haven’t spoken to yet.  Again I usually do it five times, however, sometimes the students are enjoying themselves so much that I let them carry on.

Step Four (10–15 mins)
Now the students are going to reflect on their own work and English using the form you’ve prepared in advance. Allow them to fill it in during the lesson.

Rounding off (5 mins)
Thank your students for their hard work and filling the forms in. I usually give the class a few compliments as well to encourage the positive vibes :) Google forms has a tool which creates pie charts of the answers of the closed questions and lists the answers of the open answers. Sometimes I share these with my groups so that they can see what others think, and also it is useful for me to apply the feedback to the future lessons. If you think of the Action Research cycle of Plan, Act, Observe and Reflect, I use these forms in my reflection phase. Sometimes I read things which I haven’t observed directly, so it is very valuable in helping me plan the next phase.

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