Tuesday, January 05, 2010
Why I Love Primary Pad
I have just had a very enjoyable, productive couple of science lessons using Primary Pad with Year 6. I have two hours on Tuesdays to teach science with a challenging class. Before Christmas we pre-tested the chemical reactions obtained through combining vinegar and bicarbonate of soda.
I wanted pupils to design a science test around the key question
"Does the amount of Vinegar affect how much gas is produced when you mix bicarbonate of soda with vinegar?" In the past when planning experiments with this class I have found I am caught between the need to work very closely with a few pupils and the needs of the whole class for support.
Primary Pad to the Rescue
Today I set up twelve Primary Pads with key question and science planning headings, showed pupils how to access them and discussed the key question. I then asked them to choose the pupils they wished to work with (not something I do often) and get into groups of three. I then assigned them a primary pad and sent them to work in different parts of the school. No one was allowed to sit near another group member. I then sat in the classroom with some pupils who need my help with my laptop open and all Primary pads open in tabs. I alternated between helping pupils on my table and advising pupils via the pads.
During the Lesson
It was great to be able to advise lots of the groups providing focus or further areas to improve
whilst still being able to work closely with the pupils who needed most support on the table with me.
It was facinating to observe conversation around divison of jobs. And interesting to watch pupils use text speak in the chat but attempt reasonable science prose in the main body of the pad.
It was also informative to note the groups that had divided up the jobs into sections of responsibility and those that had collaborated very closely interweaving their contributions to build on each others work.
The Next Lesson
In the following lesson I went through some of the key elements that lots of the class need to focus on using their work displayed on the interactive whiteboard. This was a really valuable session which gave me time to praise lots of pupils who I haven't noticed yet. It also focused the attention of all pupils that their work might be viewable to all. The intake of breath when I mentioned that the next logical step would be to invite parents to view was quite noticable.
So thank you Primary Pad, your tool made me a very happy teacher today.