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Quadrant Thinking In Action

Steve Andrews and his class have been at it again! - test driving Thinking Classroom tools. This time they tried out Quadrant Thinking (download here). Hope it inspires you to have a go yourself:

"When I told the class we were trying another idea like speed thinking the class were very excited. I drew the quadrant on the board and labeled 'light hair', 'Dark hair', 'Boys' and 'Girls'. There was high excitement and we only got three names on the quadrant as the class wanted to debate where people had been placed, 'George has light AND dark hair!'. 'It depends what time of year!'. The boys in particular wanted to question the quadrant and find something that wouldn't fit in the area. There was lots of talk and a high level of excitement.

After this initial test a very high ability and articulate girl commented, 'I can't sort, I prefer a Venn diagram.' As a class we discussed that 'boy' and 'girl' were solid ideas and we wouldn't have someone on the middle of that line. The class wanted to test a quadrant with two axis that had a movable scale. So I put up Evil-Good AND Fictional-Real, the class were very excited about this and said this was good because you could have a real person in a story, (This was very exciting for me as a teacher as a very quiet boy used Julius Caesar as an example, he had read Asterix and Obelix and knew that wasn't the real Julius Caesar.) This was very animated and drew comments like 'We get to use our imagination!'.

I then put up Difficult-Easy AND Numeracy-Literacy. I didn't give any instructions and two boys wanted to put 'numbers' up. I let them put this on the quadrant without stopping the rest of the class, they stopped talking straight away and gave suggestions like 'word problems' and 'addition'. They spread the words 'word problem' all along the easy-hard line. In the meantime the same high ability girl from earlier was very cross!! She came up and said 'it should be people's names, we should sort names! She also explained that sorting on a quadrant should be exact, she put lines and dots on the quadrant very specifically. As a class we then discussed that quadrants get us talking. The HA girl then commented again 'roughly there does not make talk! You need to be accurate. It's good for getting people talking.'

We then used the photo examples on your powerpoint which were very exciting. I used the slide with the car and then removed the labels. The level of engagement was high at this point. The class loved talking about what the labels could have been, referencing learning from class and their own reading to come up with ideas. I reluctantly had to finish the discussion as I wanted to give them the chance to create their own. They all talked with high excitement and I noticed very unlikely pairings discussing ideas. In particular a troublesome boy sits with 2 low ability, quiet girls who do not get on. They were all talking and even drawing their quadrants together! The boys on the whole were trying desperately to create a quadrant that didn't work. They didn't succeed. I overheard comments like 'You get stuck sorting then you sort between people, talk!' Low ability girls were overheard saying 'I'm a genius' as they could explain how it worked and come up with an idea. Interestingly these girls came up with an object to sort first and then were able to create a quadrant for more sorting. They were then quick to test their idea with more items! It was very exciting and the children talked about it all day!

I hope that helps, please let me know if I can do some more!

P.S. Good quality listening has caught on so well that the children use it themselves for pit stop plenaries in maths! Its amazing!"

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