For a lot of students active reading is better for understanding and retention. Of course you might be reading from a set of class books, but sometimes mixing it up with a copy can be benificial.
A balloon debate is where students need to argue that their ‘thing’ (person, invention, development, character) should be kept in a hot air balloon over other things. They need to deliver arguments in rounds, in between each round you or a suitable judge decides who is kicked out. Students need good arguments, but they also need to think about the order they’ll deploy them in, or possibly how to argue that the other contenders should be shunted out of the balloon.
As students read the pages on the ‘things’, tell them to highlight points they’d like to use in the balloon debate – then tell them who they’re arguing for.
Selection and Filtering
Rather than taking bullet points as they read, ask students to highlight points on a copy, and then take notes. This means they have a chance to order, link and prioritise in a way they couldn’t do if they took notes as they read. This might be particularly helpful if you give a time limit to the bullet point note taking – it forces discernment.
Copy a page/extract and chop it up so that you can deliver it in paragraphs. After reading each section ask students what they think or what should happen next. Reveal the next paragraph and discuss what the students got right/wrong and why. This might cement a sequence in their understanding, or highlight mistakes flaws in a process.
About the author
Julie Murray is Education Licences Manager at CLA, which means she trains and educates licensees in schools, further and higher education institutions about CLA licences and how they fit into the wider world of copyright. Prior to working at CLA, Julie was Head of History and Politics at an 11-18 comprehensive in London.