I was having breakfast the other Saturday with my kids, after sport got cancelled. Some of the team, the boys, were all sitting together, and some of these teenage boys began describing how they write a school assignment. It was something of an eye-opener, for me at least. This is an extract from Jack's full presentation at the National Boys Education Conference, hosted at The King's School Parramatta.
It was disappointing to see that persuasive writing was not an area of strong performance in the recent NAPLAN results. Results for year seven and nine students are the lowest since NAPLAN testing began in 2008. As I've written previously, while pressuring students to achieve top marks in the tests is doing things the wrong way, NAPLAN itself is a valuable diagnostic tool when assessing entire cohorts.
The first time you sit a young child down with a find-a-word, they slowly go through the list of words, scanning top-left to bottom-right, finding some as they go.
Second pass, they'll figure out that words can go top-bottom as well. Then, they'll work out words can do both of these backwards.
Finally, they'll figure out diagonals.
It's a great learning experience to watch - minds are blown, frustrations and confusion surrounding "missing" words disappear.