When it comes to analysis, some students struggle to develop and extend their ideas. The ‘SOLO Squares’ resource is an effective way of encouraging students to explore deeper meaning within texts. It’s great for group work and useful for planning extended writing pieces. The resource is simple to use and can be applied to all subject areas. As you can see from the example, I have used it recently in GCSE English Unit 1 exam preparation which requires students to identify presentational features and explain how they are effective.
Here’s a breakdown of how it works:
- In the centre square write ‘The Big Question’ or key focus for the lesson. In this case I used Question 3 from the exam paper. Character names can also be used – my Year 7 class have recently analysed the protagonist Stanley Yelnats from Holes.
- The second square should link explicitly to a SOLO Taxonomy skill. Here, I have started with the ‘Multistructural’ strand as students already have several ideas about presentational features. Within this space, construct a question that leads students to ‘Identify’ features/quotes/words.
- The third square requires students to ‘Describe’ their findings linking their ideas to the key concept/question. Notably, the prompt questions are progressive and link to the ‘Relational’ SOLO level. You’ll see in the picture, students had to “describe each feature, where it is located and why it has been put there.”
- The outer square should stretch and develop student responses. It is linked to the ‘Extended Abstract’ SOLO strand and pushes students to ‘Explain’ and evaluate their ideas. In the example, students were required to “explain what effect each feature has on the reader” and explore their “connotations”.
The skills in each square can be changed or adapted to suit the needs of your students. As you may have spotted, I often include QR codes on the resource too in order to ‘support’ or ‘stretch’ learners – this always goes down really well!
Please feel free to contact me if you would like the resource or if you have any questions.