For the last few weeks I have been reading/hearing about SOLO Taxonomy and flirting with the ideas of introducing it to my classes but have had no idea how to do so. Having attended a CPD session in which there was a lot of discussion about learning intentions, and then seeing a prior post on Pedagoo about learning intentions I decided now was the time to revisit this notion of using SOLO with my pupils and using learning intentions as a way to do this.
As an NQT I have been brought through my teacher training habitually displaying the learning intentions at the start of every lesson for pupils but have always had this nagging feeling of
a) giving the game away before the exciting discovery has begun
b) the pupils not actually engaging with them at all
so I have spent this weekend pondering over the notion of creating learning intentions that pupils can actually use and engage with.
Following the post by Callum Mitchell I decided to use the five stages of SOLO to create myself some learning intentions which took the pupils through the 5 stages.
Here is an example of a set I created for a lesson I am teaching tomorrow about the stomata and leaf structure:
As an NQT I am still for the most part trying to plan my lessons in full so the above learning intentions came from my NEW lesson planning template that I created in order for me to think about various aspects of my teaching and new things I’ve picked up through CPD during the planning level… anyways… that’s another story.
Those learning intentions are draft two. Draft one was giving the learning content away too much and as I want the pupils to engage with these learning intentions without being able to use them to superficially answer the questions I didn’t want to do that – I want to encourage them to evaluate where they are themselves and work out how they can move “through the levels” on their own.
My intention for the start of tomorrows lesson is to ask the pupils how much of the course so far they feel is about “recalling knowledge” and use their answers which I am sure will be a lot to explain to them that although recalling knowledge is helpful for the exam it is only “level two” and it is much better to recall things which we fully understand and briefly touch on explaining the five stages of SOLO. I am then going to give the pupils my student version of the learning intentions for this lesson which contains boxes for them to tick which stage they feel they are at. I will then give them a few minutes to come up with questions they need to answer in order to move through the stages — questions which will be answered during the lesson or by them for homework.
As we go through the lesson I will refer the pupils back to these and ask them to re-evaluate where they are.
I am hoping that by the end of the lesson most pupils will be comfortably in level 3/4 and a few in level 5 but I will leave it to them to come up with the steps they need to undertake (as homework) to move from their current level to the next or final level.
My aim is to introduce the pupils to the prospect of deeper learning and understanding and getting them to evaluate where they are in the scale and thus give themselves some responsibility for their learning. The experiment begins tomorrow with my S4 class so I will let you know how it goes!
Wish me luck.