Decisions, decisions – a teaching game for differentiation – webinar round-up

Higher order tasks help weak learners develop real understanding (known as 'deep learning'). In this hour-long webinar, Geoff discusses a learning method which can be used in any subject and involves card sorting.

This is a highly effective and highly adaptable teaching method and is brilliant for high order concept development.

Resources

 

Your say

  • Students can play each other online in Quizlet.
  • I teach ESOL to adults and I use this method online using Google Jamboard and Post-It notes.
  • I now teach in adult education and my students love games as part of their learning.
  • In English, you can use it to teach differences between formal and informal language.
  • Thank you, this is brilliant and will work very well with British Sign Language.
  • I use this for my with learners with SEND and they engage really well.
  • Nearpod has a matching cards activity and the option to sort and classify as a question.
  • I am using Microsoft Teams, so I could upload the resources prior to the lesson for them to access. I have also found a way to do the card sort on PowerPoint, which is a very easy way to get the work handed back in.
  • For sorting online, you could create four grids and colour code them; ask the students to tell you which colour grid each term/topic relates to.
  • You can mark live in Google Classroom.
  • Wordwall has label the diagram drop and drag matching sorting.
  • I have used Poplet for this, which is compatible with Zoom and Microsoft Teams.
  • Open University has some good activities for Functional Skills English
  • MIRO is a good collaboration tool which uses sticky notes etc and allows people to add and move about the screen
  • For Microsoft, the equivalent to Jamboard is Microsoft Whiteboard, but you need to download the app. My GCSE English adult learners are loving using that as a collaboration space in their breakout rooms.
  • My maths colleague has recently started using Desmos, which looks really good.
  • Kahoot is quite interactive.
  • This has helped me to see how learning takes place during the activities. I love card-matching activities, but now I can see that I can use ranking activities too.
  • You can see learners doing their work in real time on Google Slides. You can also make a drag and drop document on here, which can then be sent out to each to student on Google Classroom and they can share it back with you to be marked.
  • In Microsoft Teams, students can be grouped into the breakout groups and can then discuss their set of cards together and feed back to the whole class after their given time.
  • Thank you for reinforcing the importance of how our learners’ brains are wired and how we can make learning active and create the memory link to them.

 

Your questions answered

Sometimes I struggle to think of different games that can be used. Do you have any advice on this?

Geoff: "This game plugs in directly to the way the human brain works. The human brain matches things, it sequences and classified things; that’s how language works. There is always a way to get it to work in your subject or syllabus, but very often you will need to go away and think about it. Once you’ve done the first four or five, it will get easier to think of more ideas – the more you use it the more you can see how to use it.

"The most powerful thing you can do is to think about what you are doing next. With drama, for example, you could show different faces with emotions of sadness, anger, happiness, and so on. You could give them a play and a set of cards could show the sequence of the plot. You could put statements about characters and the students need to say if that is true or not. You mustn’t just make the game up for the sake of it – you need to think about what you are trying to achieve, what must they learn and what do they need to know by the end of the lesson – always focus the game on your objectives."

Do you have any examples of how you could use this for art?

Geoff: “I’ve seen it used for art in a number of ways. For example, with art history learners are given postcards of paintings and the students have to classify them as modernist, impressionist, and so on, and critique them. Or they can be given different images showing uses of shading and rank them as to how well they think they have been shaded. It’s a way of analysing things – it’s about understanding art, rather than doing it.”

Aside from online tools, do you have any suggestions about how to send games like this to your learners before and after a lesson?

Geoff: “The most effective way is to email a document with the cards as text boxes or placed on top of each other for them to drag and drop. They can do their card sort and the ‘ping pong’ with them sending you their process and you then sending them back the correct way it should be. You may want to number the cards as it makes it easier to communicating. Self-assessing against the sorting being done correctly is a good way of learners understanding why they may have got something wrong. They will remember that better than just telling them they got one wrong. Not everyone will have a printer or a pair of scissors, so it is good to be able to keep it electronic.”

Does game work well for adult learners and is there a lot of adaptation required to make it relevant?

Geoff: “It’s brilliant for adult education and adult learners usually really enjoy once they get to know each other, especially if it is non-competitive. If it is competitive, not everyone will enjoy that, but it depends on the context. You can give them a challenge and see if they can do them together. It could be putting all the nouns in one pile and all the verbs in another. Doing it together gives them the opportunity to discuss and tutor each. I’ve seen it being used with solicitors learning about a new child protection law – for example, they were given a case study and they had to place it in order of how and when things could happen. I’ve even seen it being used to train doctors and how to use antibiotics for different conditions.”

I am a drama teacher and I teach a BETC for SEN learners. What would be best use of the game for my learners?

Geoff: “This game plugs in directly to the way the human brain works. The human brain matches things, it sequences and classified things, that’s how language works. So it has got to work in your subject or syllabus, but very often you will need to go away and think about it. Once you’ve done the first four or five, it will get easier to think of more ideas. The most powerful thing you can do is to think about what you are doing next. With drama, for example, you could show different faces with emotions of sadness, anger, happiness, and so on. You could give them a play and a set of cards could show the sequence of the plot. You could put statements about characters and the students need to say if that is true or not. You mustn’t just make the game up for the sake of it – you need to think about what you are trying to achieve, what must they learn and what do they need to know by the end of the lesson – always focus the game on your objectives.”

What other games would work for learners with SEN?

Geoff: “You may be teaching learners domestic skills, so you could take photos of one of the learners making a cup of tea, cut them off into cards, shuffle them and then saying here is the ‘making of tea’ cards. Get into pairs and put them into order of how to do it in order to make the cup of tea. If the students can’t read there are lots of image-based sequences like this that you can do for various skills.”


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  1. Where can I find the on-demand version of this webinar?
    You can access the on-demand webinar via the webinar page on the SET website or at the top of this page. This will usually be available within a day of the live webinar ending.
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    Yes – slides and on-demand webinars are available to all, whether you are a SET member or not. Live webinars are exclusive to SET members only.

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