The power of collaborative learning

A different form of speaking & listening! @SarahGalpin2

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Sarah Galpin has been teaching at  Aldenham Prep since September 2014 and is currently the Year Six  teacher. She is also the Science and Maths Coordinators.

When would you ever have Mother Theresa, Florence Nightingale, John Cadbury, Alexander Graham Bell and Sebastian Coe all together? Well we did in Aldenham Prep!

In Year 6 we have been developing the pupils’ skills, confidence and experience to stand up in front of an audience and deliver a presentation by holding Balloon Debates.

The concept of a Balloon Debate is that a hot air balloon is coming down and in order to save one of the passengers, all the others will need to be thrown overboard. If they are thrown overboard their contribution to humanity goes with them. Different pupils represent the people in the balloon and, with the use of a PowerPoint and visual aids, deliver a persuasive argument on why they should be saved and why the other members in the balloon should be thrown out. The rest of the class listen; ask probing questions; then vote on who they want to stay in the balloon. We had five people in each round of our Balloon Debates with the winners of each round going through to the Grand Final on April 20th!

Presentations vary in length and nature. Some pupils use visual aids; many dress up; others conduct practical demonstrations. The children have total control of each session and are absolutely absorbed. My role is to assess their presentations – the content and presenting style. By assessing work through oral presentations as well as written tasks it allows different students to shine and the immediate questioning which can follow allows the teacher to ascertain understanding, challenge misconceptions and stretch the more able.

Scientists, inventors, writers, artists, musicians, philosophers, sports people, monarchs – the children can choose anyone they want to be.

So who’s in the final? Sebastian Coe, Alan Turing, Stephen Hawking and David Beckham! I can’t wait!




One thought on “A different form of speaking & listening! @SarahGalpin2

  1. This sounds great Sarah! Can’t wait to hear more about the Balloon Debate! – Melanie


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