#11 ‘Analysis Connectagons’

I came up with the idea of ‘Analysis Connectagons’ after trailing the ‘SOLO Squares’ which I have seen others use Twitter. The ‘connectagons’ are a pretty simple concept once you get your head around them and lead students to deeper thinking. Again, this task is ideal for group work and gives students the additional challenge of making connections and justifying how they arrange and position each shape.

Here’s how it works:

Students cut out two of each ‘Theme’ and ‘Character’ hexagon and work as a team to answer the layered questions in the spaces provided. As you can see in the example, the ‘Theme’ hexagon has three stages linked to the SOLO Taxonomy strands. The stages develop as follows: ‘Multistructural’ requires students to ‘Identify’ parts of the text where the theme is addressed; ‘Relational’ challenges students to ‘Apply‘ and link their ideas to at least three important quotations from the text. Finally, the in the ‘Extended Abstract’ space, students are to ‘Reflect’ and evaluate why Steinbeck used this theme in the novel.

The process should then be repeated for the ‘Character’ hexagon which contain slightly different questions. Instead of ‘Identify’, the ‘Multistructural’ task is to ‘Describe how Steinbeck presents this character’. Once again, the last two strands require students to ‘Apply’ by linking ideas to three important quotations and subsequently ‘Reflect’ on their ideas by referring to Steinbeck’s intentions/views and his message about 1930s society.

Once the shapes are filled in with top-notch ideas, the final challenge is to put them together (like a big jigsaw). This concept reflects the original SOLO ideas whereby students make links between each concept. This task is separate to the original and does not require students to link comments written on each hexagons. For example, in ‘Of Mice and Men’, the ‘Candy Character Connectagon’ can be placed next to the ‘Loneliness Theme Connectagon’ because Candy is a lonely character. What’s more, this connectagon can also link to the ‘Dreams’  as Candy buys into George and Lennie’s proposed plans.

This task is a great way of making progress visible and stimulates effective group discussion. Furthermore, it is a fabulous tool for revision and recapping themes and characters. I would like to see this in action on another text such as a Shakespeare play. If you use this resource in your classroom, please tweet a picture of it!

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#3 Five-a-Side Fantasy Football

This is a top resource adapted from John Mitchell (@Jivespin), who created ‘1st XI’ for History lessons. You can find resource this posted on @ASTsupportAAli excellent Teaching Toolkit blog! As you can see, I’ve cut the original idea down to five-a-side to make selection more difficult and to encourage students to think more carefully about their choices. Let’s face it, anything involving football is a fantastic and fun way to engage boys! Even I got a bit addicted.

This version is great to use when considering characters in novels. As you can see from the example, students have to manage a fantasy team based on the strengths, weaknesses and characteristics of individuals in the narrative. ‘SOLO Tactics’ have been added so that students have to think strategically about their team selection, explaining reasons to justify their choices. What’s more, player selections should also be justified using evidence from the text. Considering a team captain/player-manager also raises great class discussion and debate. Slim is a great example here… a definite leader.

I’d love to see this used on characters from a Shakespeare play! That’d be ace. Please tweet any pictures of this resource being used… it’d be fab to post.

Download here: sellfy.com/JamieClark85