Since I posted about my experiments with SOLO Stations, I have had several requests about the activities I used for each level. These are my take on SOLO type activities, based on my understanding of the taxonomy, enjoy!
My starting point for these lessons was to consider what knowledge and expertise the students needed to move towards demonstrating mastery of the topic and text – i.e. what they needed to do to hit the A*/A grade or beyond. As I mentioned in my earlier posts, here, here and here, I used the SOLO levels, the mark scheme and my own experience of what mastery of the subject area would look like at GCSE level. I also had a look at the type of activities teachers had used in other subjects, in science and PE.
As we had spent several lessons exploring the text, we were focusing on demonstrating the top 3 levels – Multistructural, Relational and Extended Abstract. I tried to come up with a range of activities across the abilities as well as to encourage more independence and effort on their part to understand the text and to create a personal interpetation.
So, here are some of the activities I used:
- Thought Stems – taken from @LearningSpy’s (David Didau) really useful book ‘The Perfect Ofsted English Lesson’. This was good for helping those who needed more support when structuring their paragraphs.
- Improving Your Knowledge – focusing on language and analysis, I provided a list of websites for the students to revise and make notes on areas they felt they needed to develop.
- Depending on the text, I used some of the more guided activities from textbooks or, carefully selected, from Teachit for a third activity. I don’t believe in unnecessarily reinventing the wheel.
- Hexagonal Learning – using leftover hexagons from previous lessons (including some that had been written on) to focus on linking ideas and quotations. They needed to use these to write a PEE paragraph.
- Colourful Expressions – using colour to annotate a section of the text, identifying links between the characters and throughout the text.
- Iceberg Analysis – using a pyramid to analyse a key word or phrase, from the word to its literal meaning then its connotations/deeper meaning. The aim being to encourage detailed analysis of the text, rather than more general comments.
- Unpicking an Essay – the students are given a high grade exemplar essay and have to create a plan from the essay, to see how a strong essay is structured and the ideas linked.
- Extended Abstract Hexagons – similar to the relational hexagon task, however, where the relational task focused on the straight links between the hexgons, this task looks at the meeting point of 3 hexagons.
- Adding to Multistructural Knowledge – I included (and the next task) this to emphasise that, at the higher levels, you are constantly adding to your knowledge and re-evaluating your understanding as a result. I included a range of more complex websites, some of them geared towards A-Level and University level students.
- Wider Reading – a range of relevant books, from the library and my own collection, again including more complex analysis and commentary.
I hope this post is helpful, especially for those of you wanting to try SOLO Stations for yourself.