Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Student Voice: The Concept Box (Worley)

Today I gathered some student voice data in a google form about learning using 'The Concept Box' by Peter Worley. Below are the results from this. I have highlighted key words that were mentioned.

1. Explain what you have to do in this type of learning.

Key words from responses:
- Learn
- Words [Vocabulary]
- Making sense [Comprehension]
- Describe, explain
- Talk [Converse/Discuss]
- Think

2. How does this way of learning help you?

Key words from responses:
- Learn
- Words [Vocabulary]
- Listen
- Describe
- Understand [Comprehension]
- Deeper thinking [Critical thinking]

3. What do you get out of this way of learning? (Tick boxes)

Most popular responses:

- Introduced to new words (5/5 responses)
- Summarising - explaining the ideas in a text using a small number of words (5/5 responses)
- Adding more detail to my or others ideas (4/5 responses)
- Confidence (4/5 responses)
- Sharing ideas (4/5 responses)

What might this mean?

The children are implicitly aware that they are critically thinking. This is clear through the children's responses to their thoughts around the process of learning using 'The Concept Box' (Worley). Responses which include the concept of having to listen, explain, learn new vocabulary, making sense and thinking deeper suggest they are aware they are learning to think critically.

This is really positive for going forward with a focus on critical thinking. The next step will be to analyse the children's online blog posts and/or comments to see if this level of critical thinking is also visible in their online blogging. I then need to ask the question as to why or why not it is present in their online blogging. 

Wednesday, 16 September 2020

The Concept Box - Session 3

Text: The Patience of Trees (Once upon an If, by Peter Worley, page 118-122).

Once Upon an If: The Storythinking Handbook: Peter Worley: Bloomsbury  Education

During the free speech section of the comprehension stage of 'The Concept Box,' the children talked about freedom to do things. River - a statement was made about the river not being able to choose when to do things - Is this freedom?

During concept fishing, these words were brainstormed regarding the story:

First step

During concept funnelling, the children reduced these words to the following words:

- Control - this was removed because they can't control themselves. It goes with freedom. The ones who were 'free' also were being controlled. What does this mean?
- Happiness
- Friendship
- Ability- isn't this a bit like control and freedom?
- Courage
- Confidence
- Strength - get rid of
- Determination - because little tree tried to get out when he had no hydration. Should be cut as was only in one part of the story.

Finally, as the children explored central concepts, the narrowed the above words down to these final words. Note: They added 'control' back in. A lot of the discussion revolved around the face that the characters in the story who appeared to have freedom were in fact being controlled. The word 'potential' was also added in to summarise a number of the words decided upon during concept funnelling.

- Control-freedom
- Potential (decided that covered ability, courage, confidence, determination)

The Concept Box - Session 2

Text: Matilda, the Fireless Dragon (Once upon an If, by Peter Worley, page 92).

Once Upon an If: The Storythinking Handbook: Peter Worley: Bloomsbury  Education

In today's session of 'The Concept Box' by Peter Worley, these are the words the children reached during the concept funnelling time. For some words, I have made notes with children's responses, comments or arguments.
Bravery - dragon was brave to fight the water monster. King was brave to ask dragon to help. I don't think he was brave to fight the monster. Dragon tricked the water monster. The princess was the brave one as she went to the dragon in the first place.
Stereotype - plays a big part in the story. Dragon didn't breathe fire but villagers believed he did.
Manipulation - I would say trick. | But trick is like manipulation.
Ignorant -
Annoying - not part of the story. | Only describes a character. |

During the exploration of central concepts, one of the children added in the word, 'unique.' His explanation for this was that she (the dragon) was unique because she didn't breathe fire. Also, the werewolf didn't have teeth so was also unique. Unique is like a stereotype. The children discussed how they are opposite.

Through doing a 'Concept Box' session once a week, I am noticing that the children are extremely capable of thinking for themselves and pulling deeper ideas and concepts out of the texts they read independent of the teacher. This is really positive as I develop the learning programme for these children who are reading to learn.

Wednesday, 2 September 2020

The Concept Box (Peter Worley) - Attempting this in class

Today I trialled using the Concept Box, a teaching strategy which comes from Peter Worley's book, Once upon an if. It was a huge success! The children were engaged and I saw a vast difference in the amount of critical thinking occurring. We trialled it using the poem, The Square that Didn't Fit In, on page 172 of Once upon an if. Here are some of my observations/ notes from the learning experience. I have broken it up into the different elements of the Concept Box.

Comprehension Stage
Here are some of the comments that children made and questions they asked in this open conversation about the text:

- Couldn't the monster eat small circles? They'd fit.
- How did the monster get fooled?
- There are those crackers called shapes which come in lots of different shapes and sizes.
- Started talking about which shape they would like to be.

Lots of questions were asked by the children during this comprehension stage. I need to remind myself to sit back and observe rather than take part in the conversation.

Concept Fishing
Most children found this section of the Concept Box difficult. One child did a really good job of describing text however used a lot of detail. Here are the words they came up with to describe the text:


Concept Funnelling
I got a bit confused at this point and combined this section with the final Exploring central concepts section. Next time, I will work at splitting these two sections up.  I need to remember that this section gives children a chance to share which one word they think is the best and why. Once have shared 5 words, move onto the last section.

The children gave some great explanations for and against the above words. We then filtered it down to:


 The children found it really trick to get the list down to five words. They finally decided to take 'feeling' out as they felt 'expressing' incorporated 'feeling.'

Next time, I will do a better job of splitting up Concept Funnelling and Exploring central concepts.