Friday, 4 March 2016

Literacy Jenga

Inspired by the great Mrs Arty Textiles I decided to finally test out literacy jenga this week with my A2 classes to push the use of educational gaming and make literacy more appealing and less daunting. I'm also a huge lover of independent learning and believe strongly that they my students should be coming up with their own innovative ideas as practicing artists so took the opportunity to test the much loved family game with target setting.

Within my current SOW we are currently reaching the end of initial responses and I find that students can sometimes miss the important elements from their artists. So, before it was too late we started with a brief peer response and focused on descriptive language. I have recently found the fantastic App Wordswag and use it for making engaging visuals within lessons. The students love it and since the use of the App I have found that they have become more focused on specific tasks and are able to respond to questioning more confidently. I also use the App for projecting homework at the end of a lesson and hope that my students become more excited about the thought of extension tasks.


After this initial activity I split the class into groups of 4-5 and each group received a 'literacy jenga' pack with visual, technical and descriptive keywords on it. My classes like competing against one another and taking part in 'Art Olympics' so it was great to see 17-18 year olds so enthralled in stacking the game together. Once the jenga was constructed each student took it in turns to pick out a keyword and write it on the template above. As a group, we continued until each person had either 4 keywords each or the tower block tumbled!



It was fantastic to watch each group racing to write language down and taking risks at how the 3D form could balance on one block. The students then used the words to independently set themselves targets (one for that lesson) and embedded the keyword within a to-do list. Within that lesson I saw a huge improvement in the quality of written work and it was great to see all learners still actively using the sheet in follow-up lessons and within their analysis of preparatory work.


At the end of the lesson students returned to their original partner from the descriptive language activity and assessed if they had achieved their target from 1-10. Much to my surprise all students in the class were above halfway and all had confident explanations as to how they had met their target and improved developmental work in just 35 minutes. The pace and quality of work that was produced in this lesson was brilliant and my learners are participating more actively in independent work within 24 hours!

The literacy buzz is catching and it's already going around the rest of the department that my classes have been playing jenga in lessons. I love that my students are willingly producing more written work from this activity and I can't wait to test the game out again but with a different take. We'd love to collaborate/share resources with other teachers so if you are interested in making words more engaging within art and design then leave a comment below #literacyjenga.
- Kirsty ❤ 

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