Equally adored by pensioners and university students due to its slot in the tv schedule, 'Pointless' is a tv quiz show where contestants must guess the correct answer to a question but to try and also make it the most unique hence 'pointless knowledge'.
I decided to try and adapt this to my top set Y10 English Literature class who were struggling to create their own original ideas in essays. Too often their answers relied on what I had said rather than them giving their own interpretations.
The students were studying 'Never Let Me Go', so I introduced the students to the gameshow by asking for their 'pointless' characters. Tommy, Ruth and Kathy, who were main characters, scored high marks of 62, 64 and 71. However, some students had previously watched the gameshow so offered answers like 'Kathy's clone' which scored them 4. These scores were made up by me prior to the lesson as unfortunately this niche category has not yet appeared on the game show!
At this point, the students were just recalling characters' names so I introduced them to model answers to a question they'd previously attempted. There were grades ranging from A* to D and, in groups, the students had to try and give pointless scores to each essay justifying why each essay scored that number. This created a success criteria for the students to apply to this type of question in the exam.
With this success criteria, the students then tried to write a 'pointless' answer to a different question focussing additionally on having original interpretations which would enable the to reach the highest grades.
I've since tried this out on other groups who have the potential to reach those top grades and it has made the students write with more originality rather than producing the same old regurgitated answers.