When we were up in Glasgow recently, we treated ourselves to a wee school visit. Well, we say “wee”, but Calderglen High School in East Kilbride has roughly 1800 pupils so that was a misleading statement to say the least.
We were invited along by class teachers, Mhairi Healy and Lindsay Purdon, to observe an S2 English class in action. The teachers decided to bring two S2 classes together for a creative World War One lesson.
40 kids rolled through the doors and we were immediately impressed at how quickly they got organised.
The lesson objectives were clear:
- In groups, come up with a slogan to encourage men to sign up and help the war effort
- Create a propaganda poster and include your slogan.
- Make a presentation to the rest of the class where you make a persuasive argument to young men to sign up and fight.
To provide a little context and focus everyone’s attention, Mrs Healy and Ms Purdon played the World War I movie. Then, in groups of 4 and 5, the kids got to work.
It was wonderful to see how quickly each group immersed themselves into the tasks assigned, easily deciding who got what job. They had one class period to come up with the slogan, design a poster, and write and practice their presentations. They all worked really well considering the time pressure. Slogans and design seemed to be a doddle to this lot – why don’t we find it that easy?!
One hour up!
Attention to the front again to watch the BrainPOP UK movie on Public Speaking. We loved how the teachers decided to use the movie – rather than play the whole thing, they started it halfway through to cover the most relevant points for the second half of the lesson. It worked really well as a way of focusing the class’ attention after the discourse and loud creativity of the previous hour.
Presenting to BrainPOPpers (and everyone else in class)
All of the groups did well with their presentations. Given the little time they had to prepare, we were excited to see how varied the presentations were and how innovative some of the groups could be.
And the winner is…
After some “x-factor style” deliberations we picked a winner – a group with an original idea which they carried off with real enthusiasm for the goal – to recruit young men to the British Army. They were men who were in the army themselves and could proudly say it was great to be fighting for their country; we were convinced to sign up ourselves!
The winning group were given some specially made tartan badges and Ms Purdon got a prize-winning cup (a.k.a. BrainPOP UK mug).
We finished off with a fun Q&A session and, fortunately, the kids had some good questions. We were asked what our favourite movie was and Ann picked Etymology (Moby speaks in this one!) which promptly led into a discussion and explanation of what etymology actually was – very appropriate for an English class.
We had a fantastic time at Calderglen High School. As well as the English Department we visited the Gaelic Department – one classroom! We were warmly welcomed though our Gaelic was left wanting…
Good luck Calderglen for the rest of the school year and Glee fun in English! It was a pleasure visiting your school and we hope to be back again soon. We’ll leave the last word to adorable BrainPOP fan and VIB, Mrs Healy: