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The “Top 3” Activity

December 8, 2020

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During a recent coaching session a teacher shared an activity she tried in her class. A simple yet very effective activity. These kind of responses are the reason I became a coach. It is simply so inspiring to see teachers learn from each other! 

Estimated time to read this article: 5 minutes

Sharing your activities is scary

The teacher was looking a little flustered as she shared an idea she thought worked quite well.

And we shared we thought so too, but it is a bit scary to share your lesson ideas right?

Who knows what others might think!

My feedback questions were clarifying the choices she made when thinking of this task, strengthening her idea she did a good job.

Which she absolutely did.

I reminded her she did a great job because the students were motivated: the biggest compliment AND best feedback a teacher can get.

When we discussed the task she gave her students, another teacher provided the feedback saying she thought it was a great an idea.

“I think I am going to steal your idea!” was her response, after which she obviously asked if that was fine.

Which it was.

Be a source of inspiration for each other

This is not just a great compliment to receive but also very motivating.

This type of sharing inspires!

It inspires fellow teachers.

It even inspires me as a coach.

Sharing ideas, or maybe even successes, always leads to more ideas and suggestions.

And inspiration.

Which is exactly what happened during the coaching session!

While discussing the activities, we came up with interesting follow-up activities to try next time.

Surely we should not just constantly look for inspiration and not do anything with it.

It is very easy to scroll Facebook looking for quotes or ideas.

Or read a book with nice activities to try.

But nothing happens if you don’t make things practical. Try them in your own lesson.

That is why I appreciate and really enjoy group coaching sessions like this.

The activities discussed are practical. Ideas and tasks that were done in class, preferably with as little preparation time needed as possible.

With maximum result: motivated students eager to share their ideas.

Key Take Away

Teachers are each others' greatest source of inspiration.

The 'top 3' activity explained

The task itself was about the way graphs are used in mathematics. Students had to come up with a top three of ways graphs are used in ‘daily life’.

This was a great idea, because I received the question ‘what do we need this for’ or ‘why do we have to learn this’ on a weekly basis as a mathematics teachers.

So asking students to come up with this on their own was not just very smart to do to tackle these questions, it is also very motivating for students because they can come up with their own ideas.

Asking for a 'top 3' also motivates students to come up with more than one answer (which could happen if you brainstorm things) and implements student thinking time. In other words: students had to think about this on their own before sharing. A great way to make sure everyone is engaged.

And the students were absolutely engaged: they all wanted to share their ideas.

Allowing for a lot of spoken output, which is an important element of any CLIL activity.

Last but not least: after discussing the ideas, the teacher could ask students to compare their top 3 ideas and discuss why certain choices were made. By asking students to evaluate their own ideas and share arguments, higher order thinking skills are applied.

All of this with a “simple” task like this!

Key Take Away

CLIL activities do not have complicated or need a lot of time to prepare to be very effective

What about your professional development?

This is the reason I became a teacher trainer.

Teachers sharing ideas. Finding inspiration in each others' tasks and activities.

For the record: these were actually teachers teaching at the same school!

In other words: this collaboration could have happened anytime during a week, during a term, during a school year.

Yet this often does not happen.

We are all busy are we not? I completely understand, I faced the same challenges.

Just finding the time to observe a fellow colleagues’ lesson for 15 minutes was hard to do sometimes.

But is was so worthwhile to do!

In the CLIL Community on Facebook this also happens more and more.

Teachers sharing ideas and other teachers asking for details in order to apply it themselves.

Isn’t that great?

I think it is.

Helping CLIL teachers worldwide stop reinventing the wheel” is one of the reasons I started with CLIL Media.

These type of coaching sessions show that this is very much still needed.

But also that it works. And inspires.

Let me know what inspires you below! Curious to hear your thoughts.

Conclusion

Feel free to ‘steal’ any of my ideas you can find on the blog or in the FB group, that’s what they are for!

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