Good Ideas for Interactive Orals in the Literature Course (Part 1)

Thanks to the energy and inventiveness of two teachers at Sir Winston Churchill High School in Calgary, Alberta, Canada,  I’m happy to share this post and later, a second, with those of you who might be looking for some productive strategies to address the important matters of context and culture. As you will know, the success of the Reflective Statement (and its 3 marks) depends on students providing for their peers a substantial immersion in contextual and cultural matters related to each text in Part 1. Those 3 marks can make a significant difference in the outcome of the Written Assignment.  In spite of a lot of progress in schools getting the RS done correctly, examiners continue, regretfully, to have to assign the mark of 0 or 1 to a number of these. Since evidence of a development of understanding of context and culture must be seen in the RS, much depends on engaged participation in appropriately constructed Interactive Orals.

Below you will find a Powerpoint that shows one of the strategies that Arlene Lee and Wendy Boissonault have used with their students and with a text that you might want to consider exploring for your present syllabus or in the future for the revision of the course. We see very few works from China in the current choices for Part 1 or Part 4.  Red Sorghum, a novel by Mo Yan, is a first person narrative of events happening to the Shandong family during the Second Sino-Japanese War. There is also a film of the novel directed by Zhang Yimou.

Below are Arlene’s comments on taking the approach you will see in this Powerpoint:

‘The great thing about this approach was that it only took one 80-minute class period. All the work was done at home and the sharing only took one period so we could move on to text exploration.  Formerly the presentations took over a week to complete so as to insure that each student took a significant role.

Our students LOVED the Interactive Stations. Having to wrap their heads around creating a station that a group of 6 students could engage with at the same time, without someone being there to facilitate, was an interesting challenge.’

Apples users: Red Sorghum Context Stations(1) 

Windows users: Red Sorghum Context Stations 

 

7 Comments
  • Heather
    April 10, 2018

    Unfortunately, I cannot open the attachment. Could it be reattached in a different format?

    • Anne de la Paz
      April 17, 2018

      I was not able to access the download on Red Sorghum either!!

  • Anne de la Paz
    April 17, 2018

    I was not able to access the download on Red Sorghum either!!

  • Tom Storr
    April 30, 2018

    Hi Anne and Heather, I have added a link to a PowerPoint version, which you should be able to open.

  • Kimberly Day
    October 25, 2018

    Hi all!

    Will you please post more details on the Red Sorghum Context Stations ?
    For example:
    What topics did you allow?
    Our students continue to struggle in their IOs with the connection ot the novel- instead of in depth insight, they typically share parallels.

    Any help would be much appreciated!
    Thanks!

    • Hannah Tyson
      November 6, 2018

      Kimberly: I’ll try to get in touch with Arlene and Wendy to see if they could post some of the topics here. One good remedy for the problem you cite might be to have at least one focus in the IOs be what things–even small references– they found in the text that puzzled them. Very often these are unfamiliar historical or cultural matters that would be helpful to everyone if they were researched and discussed. For example, when we were doing a Murakami novel, the group provided a good presentation on reiki healing.

  • Arlene Lee
    November 6, 2018

    Kimberly,
    I’m including the assignment below as we gave it to the students. The rubric might be hard to make out as I’ve cut and pasted a table. The first two bullets are for content, the next for presentation.

    As you can see, we asked for “relevant and considered connection to Red Sorghum”, which for the most part, they included.

    Also, this year Wendy and I are going to try making “Padlet.com” stations where students can share information and make comments on others’ research.

    Good luck!
    _______________________________

    Red Sorghum Context Stations – Interactive Orals
    Topics:
    1. All about Mo Yan & Names/Naming in Chinese Culture
    2. Foot-binding & Sorghum (unrelated, but both not that huge of topics)
    3. Sino-Japanese War
    4. The Great Leap Forward & Chinese Cultural Revolution
    5. Difficulties with translating from Chinese to English, both language and culture
    6. Filial duty and other Social Constructs (including marriage rules)

    You will be creating an Interactive Information Station for your group’s topic. It should be creative, engaging, purposeful and informative. Other groups should be able to enter the station, and be through all the information within about 9 minutes. There must be relevant and considered connection to Red Sorghum. Any equipment that you need must be provided yourself and you need to be aware of noise level and space. These will be peer evaluated as well as teacher assessed according to the rubric below. You MUST make significant connections to the text with specific references.

    Content /5 Presentation /5

    Excellent (5) • The information is perceptively chosen and presented in a manner that is accessible and illuminating.
    • There is excellent knowledge and understanding of the content and the implications of the work(s) presented. • Demonstrates a skillful grasp of design elements to create an experience that is visually engaging, cohesive, effective, and clear; superior craftsmanship.
    • Delivery is highly effective, with purposeful strategies used to interest the audience.
    • The language is very clear and entirely appropriate, with register and style consistently effective and suited to the choice of presentation.
    Proficient (4) • The information is thoughtfully chosen and presented in a manner that is clear and informative.
    • There is very good knowledge and understanding of the content and most of the implications of the work(s) presented. • Demonstrates a capable grasp of design elements to create an experience that is attractive and clear; well-crafted with care shown.
    • Delivery is effective, with suitable strategies used to interest the audience.
    • The language is clear and appropriate, with register and style consistently suited to the choice of presentation.
    Satisfactory(3) • The information is conventional and presented in a manner that is straightforward but general.
    • There is adequate knowledge and understanding of the content and some of the implications of the work(s) presented. • Demonstrates a basic grasp of design elements to create an experience that functionally completes the task.
    • Delivery is appropriate, with a clear intention to interest the audience.
    • The language is mostly clear and appropriate, with some attention paid to register and style that is suited to the choice of presentation.
    Limited (2) • The information is superficial and presented in a manner that is accurate, but vague and/or lacking clarification.
    • There is some knowledge and superficial understanding of the content and some of the implications of the work(s) presented. • Demonstrates little understanding of design elements and create an experience that is ineffective and disorganized.
    • Demonstrates a lack of attention to detail and/or hasty preparation.
    • Delivery is sometimes appropriate, with some attempt to interest the audience.
    • The language is sometimes appropriate, with some attempt to suit register and style to the choice of presentation.
    Poor (1) • The information is lacking and presented in a manner that is unclear and/or inaccurate.
    • There is little knowledge or understanding of the content of the work(s) presented. • Demonstrates hasty, messy or incomplete work.
    • Delivery is seldom appropriate, with little attempt to interest the audience.
    • The language is rarely appropriate, with a very limited attempt to suit register and style to the choice of presentation.

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