Time spent explicitly teaching and modelling planning is time well spent.
It never feels like it, when we have so much content to cover, but plans that originate as mind-maps won’t have that clear argument throughout.
Knowledge Organisers are useful tools, but the presentation of them in hierarchical lists can be a little unhelpful when trying to organise them into more complex conceptual ideas.
In our Animal Farm Knowledge Organiser, we have placed key quotations next to a line of argument in order to reinforce the idea that we don’t just memorise a quotation or a fact about a character in isolation.
Instead of memorising a quotation about a character, they are memorising a quotation that supports an idea about that character.
These can make very simple Do Now activities in class.Does this contrast, parallel, echo, develop from, lead to something else? It’s quite easy for students to do this themselves, and this allows them to develop an ‘extract to whole’ approach.If studying poetry, students can easily come up with thesis statements for individual poems and memorise quotations for each poem.The main characters are Snowball and Napoleon, who represent Trotsky and Stalin, are two opposing characters whose conflict is presented in a number of linguistic and structural ways.An example of this are the different ideas of ‘Animalism’ which Snowball and Napoleon have.That way, any lesson can start from the whole rather than a part.We cannot have a full conceptual understanding without knowing the whole text.’ (This is also a useful strategy for remembering the quotation itself: see this blog on memorising quotations I wrote for Bradford Research School) We can provide statements and exam questions for students, but the goal ultimately is to ensure that they can do this for themselves.Another activity is to pick two (or more) quotations from the stack at random and ask which argument would be supported by these quotations.“Critical, exploratory, conceptualised response to task and whole text.” But the statement can’t come until the idea is fully conceptualised, so how do we get students to the position where they can conceptualise the line of argument, then create the thesis statement?Lessons A good approach when teaching an individual lesson is to frame it around a thesis of its own.