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AST vs AST : bring on the PLTS

January 12, 2011

I’ve recently observed Ben Cotton (Gifted and Talented Advanced Skills Teacher) teach a cool geography lesson. He’s going to watch one of my lessons soon but that’s a whole other post.

The lesson was for a group of 12 year nine students and about the topic of migration, specifically on the Mexico/USA border.


After an awesome photo introduction with very little information, students were forced to think of their own ideas about the lesson without being told in upfront learning objectives. Ben used a whole tonne of paired and group work and “The 5 Ws” (Who, What, Why, Where, When) to ensure that the discussions around the photo and topic brought out a load of empathetic thoughts as to why anyone would hide themselves inside a van seat.

One part of the lesson involved what we discussed as ‘information overload’ with the (Reflective) view that this is what happens to adults all the time and being able to sift out the important information is a vital skill. Nice potential link to maths in data handling and problem solving there.

Throughout the lesson, there was constant referral to Personalised Learning and Thinking Skills (PLTS) and use of colour coding to help emphasise this. Just before Christmas, I stole this idea from Ben so I’ll be interested in his opinion of my take on it.

Obviously, it was an excellent lesson and hard to improve but here’s a few thoughts:
An opportunity to cross curricular link to English and either persuasive or character writing. Perhaps recreate the newspaper article?
One student said he might be trying to get to the US because there’s more chance he’d have a car (based on the info they’d been given). Another student then said that would hardly be his main reason to go to the US since he has ill children at home. I wonder if there was a chance for some divergent thinking time “Why might having a car be ultimately beneficial to his ill daughters?”

We’ll see what he thinks of mine…


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