Monday, 7 July 2014

The Percentage Board

As with most teaching ideas for the classroom, this one has been adapted from an idea by another teacher. I have no idea who that teacher was or how I came by acquiring this, but thank you!

I have used the percentage board as an English teacher, but it can be adapted for all subjects. It is simply a print out of:

0%; 25%; 50%; 75%; and 100%

These are stuck on the wall as a straight line which the students can then use to stick post-it notes (or other item if needs be) to indicate a percentage. This can be used as:

  • Students' agreement of a character's decision
  • Students' certainty of their argument
  • How hard they have worked this lesson
  • What percentage of the learning objectives they achieved
And countless other uses. I have adapted it slightly to get the student using the post-it notes to record information which I can then use for future lessons. 

For example, the picture above shows my class' responses to the question 'How confident am I with structuring an analysis on Shakespeare's language?' The overview quickly shows me that the majority of the class are between 40% and 80% confident. Although students' understanding of where they are is not always accurate, it lets me know how confident they are to how confident they should be.

I can then look at the post-it notes afterwards to see each individual's response to not only the question above, but more importantly 'Why am I this confident when structuring an analysis on Shakespeare's language?'

For instance, this student suggests that they are 70% confident because they cannot explain the effect the language has on the reader. 

Whereas this student has a different reason, but is still at 70% confidence.

This allows you to see the students' thinking behind their responses. With this information I was able to give support to the first student around the effect the language has on the reader, whilst to the second student I supported only the start of their analysis.

I also used the percentage board when meeting a new character in a novel. On the board, there were five facts about a new character that they hadn't met; the students had to make deductions about what they could predict about the character and how certain they could be.

e.g. Information on board:

  1. Former boxer
  2. Wife doesn't care about him
  3. His dad is the boss of the ranch
  4. Small in height
  5. Likes to fight big people
With this information, my year 9 class were able to deduce that the character might get into a fight with another character who flirts with this wife. The student was only 20% sure of this.

Another deduction was that the character was aggressive - the student was 80% of this. 

The percentage board is a very simple visual tool which can be adapted to all subjects for different uses.

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