Learning your own mistakes

This lesson is devised by Rachel Sneyd. Rachel is currently completing an undergraduate degree in History and Politics at Trinity College Dublin. She is a keen writer and has just submitted her first teen-fiction novel for publication. This lesson is one of two parts that Rachel won the recent Homework Club innovative teaching competition with.
The importance of checking over your work
Preparation: None
This is a really quick 5 minute exercise which applies to all levels and subjects where writing is important.
Give everyone in the class a sheet of paper and tell them that they have 3 minutes to write as much as they can about what they did yesterday.
Time the 3 minutes and let them know as every thirty seconds passes. The idea is to get them writing under pressure and mimic an exam situation.
When the time is up give everyone a red pen (or another colour of their choice - I wear red glasses so I hate red pens!). Tell them to correct their own work.

Autour le Monde- Around the world

This lesson is create by Annika Stephan who was born in Düsseldorf. Completed her Abitur in 1996 and moved to Ireland in 1997. Commenced studies in Cultural Studies & French at DKIT in 1997. Completed BA Hons. in Heritage Studies & French at GMIT in 2002. Lived & worked in France between 2001/02. MA Hons. in German Literature from UCD in 2008. Lives with Muffy, the hamster and two guinea pigs, Billy and Bob.

The aim of this lesson is too learn French vocabulary in a fun and dynamic way. For prep you will need to make up some visual flash cards. To make it easier in the beginning especially with younger groups you could add pictures to the cards.

This is a game to play in a larger group of at least three students! But it is more fun with more students. Autour le Monde translates as Around the World, and this is exactly what the aim of the game is all about: to get around the table back to your own chair by guessing the correct translation of words in French.


Writing Diary Entries and Speeches

This lesson is devised by Rachel Sneyd. Rachel is currently completing an undergraduate degree in History and Politics at Trinity College Dublin. She is a keen writer and has just submitted her first teen-fiction novel for publication. This lesson is one of two parts that Rachel won the recent Homework Club innovative teaching competition with.

You need a video clip of  Martin Luther King\'s \"I have a dream\" speech, a video clip of a politician making a speech (I usually use the beginning of Obama\'s election night speech but any clip will work), an extract from "Bridget Jones\' Diary" by Helen Fielding, an extract from "The Diary of a Young Girl" by Anne Frank.

This class is an interesting and interactive way to introduce diary and speech writing, both of which come up regularly on the Junior and Leaving Cert. It is also good for showing the difference between formal and informal writing (it doesn't get much more informal than Bridget Jones!)

Innovative lessons competition

Last week we had a competition amongst all the teachers at The Homework Club to submit some of their everyday innovative lessons. I had a tough job with my friends in the pub one evening picking the winners! We had to divide the prize out between three in the end, we just couldn't pick one over the others. This week I will post all the winners lessons and next week we will see the other submissions. They all have their own brilliance!

The winners are:

Conor Sneyd - with a combination of stick-men Shakespeare, Sneaky Shakespeare and Poetry Pictures

Ellen Kelly - with the Human clock and theme-park maths, colour by multiplication

Rachel Sneyd - with Writing Speeches and Diaries, tips for checking your own work against the clock





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Poetry Pictures

This lesson is one of three parts that won Conor the innovative lesson competition. Conor Sneyd has just finished his third year of studying English at Trintiy College. He's always loved English, because he's always loved reading, and he thinks that if Shakespeare was still alive he'd be annoyed that everyone takes him so seriously.

The aim of this lesson is to give students a way of summarising a poem, of picking out the most important quotes, and of remembering it better

The trickiest thing about Leaving Cert poetry is the number of poems which students have to learn. For example, for Higher Level, they have to prepare at least 5 poets (as only 4 out of 8 come up on the paper, so if they prepare less than 5 there’s no guarantee that any of the ones they’ve prepared will come up), and it is recommended that they prepare 4 to 6 poems per poet. This means that they’ll be learning a total of 20 – 30 poems, which is A LOT.

This is made even more difficult by the fact that poetry tends to be very abstract, and so it’s often hard for students to remember exactly what happens in a poem, and to be able to pick out what the important bits are.

Something I’ve found works well in making poetry easier for students is, with each poem we do, to have them identify the three scenes they think are most important in the poem, to draw a picture of each one, and to pick out a quote for each one. This makes them summarise the poem and identify the key quotes, and also gives them a visual presentation of the poem, which can really help them remember it.

For example for “The Tuft of Flowers” by Robert Frost is a long and tricky poem, about a rural worked whose solitary work makes him feel lonely, until he spots a butterfly which leads him to some flowers which someone else chose to leave standing instead of cutting them down, reminding him of the existence of other human beings and making him feel less lonely.

Point of Blog

Our motto is that "we don't do normal". Everyone who comes to The Homework Club is different and is here for a different reason. It's not important if they are dyslexic, have reduced hearing or simply don't "get-it". This Blog is about creative teaching that suits everyone, all of the time! No one needs to be "special". The work is done in groups, so students avoid stigma and don't feel only they need help!






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