Snowballing ideas…

Days at school with snow on the ground. The dreaded and endless shouting about not throwing snowballs and hanging wet socks and footwear over radiators all day. Sigh. Not a day I thought I’d be inspired to blog…but wait…just before lunch a colleague invited us to watch a lesson in which he was trying something new… and bingo, I am buzzing with ideas.

The Lesson I observed was a French A Level Literature lesson and the aim was to get students to make more discerning decisions about the content of their essays. They were preparing for an essay on themes and motifs in Camus L’Etranger.

The starter was making paper snowballs, writing down themes, motifs and key events from the novel, scrunching them up into balls, throwing them, collecting a new one and adding more. I was familiar with this but it was great to be reminded that a little chaos is well worth it. It was great to see students learning from each other and developing ideas.

The second activity though, has loads of potential I think. Students had to take each theme in turn from the snowballs and catagorise them into positive, negative and interesting. The positives were aspects of thematic ideas they thought worked well and the negative those that did not within the context of the book. Discussion of these would get them B standard essays whereas ability to distinguish what is ‘interesting’ and apart from the ‘easy’ interpretation was A/A* thinking.

Basic version of worksheet is attached.    pni

There are obvious literary analysis things we could use as English teachers here, but I also thought this would be really helpful to teach writing to review or non fiction writing. Possibly also a good way into unseen texts. Any other ideas out there?



2 thoughts on “Snowballing ideas…

  1. Interesting… I thought snowballing was to keep adding until you had a large ‘metaphorically speaking’ snowball of ideas.

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