Punk Learning – A Molotov Cocktail of Enquiry

Posted: November 24, 2012 in Punk Learning, SOLO
Tags: , , ,

“Two fingers poking at the world. One golden rule, no rules at all. Two fingers been poised down on to you. You better make sure they got something to do” Love and a Molotov Cocktail – The Flys

These are Punk Learners

These are Punk Learners.

For me, this was the start of real Punk Learning.

During our lessons this week, students were taking complete ownership of their learning. Each group were using their SOLO Taxonomy planning sheets to provide them with structure for their learning exploits. Remember, this is Self Organised Differentiation. Each sheet had been assessed by me with written feedback in the style of questions to focus their learning even more.

Each group were constantly referring to their Punk driving questions and looking at the big picture of how they will finally present to the rest of the class at the end of the topic. Every student was using their Punk Progress Chart to assess how and where their learning was going. Self generated targets were being set and self-generated targets were being met.

Students have volunteering to circulate around the class to assess the group’s understanding using our Group Progress Chart. At the end of each lesson the “best” Punk Learners have been chosen by the class and the reasons why they have been chosen has been discussed.

Who needs a teacher?

So what’s going on in this Molotov Cocktail of enquiry? Students are dividing their teams up (all self-regulated) with some researching on laptops, some creatively presenting their findings and others completing practical work.

My students are resiliently struggling with the Internet research as most of the Punk driving questions are not Googleable!

All new information and learning generated by the Punk Learners is being presented and recorded in books, big sheets of paper, post it notes and windows. All of this work is constantly critiqued, updated and improved.

In the experimental arena, model digestive systems are being created by students, different foods are being tested for glucose, carbohydrates are being tested to see how long they take to ‘digest’ in body core temperatures with different concentrations of Hydrochloric Acid, gases are being collected from model stomachs and tested, sample cow and sheep ‘diets’ are being made and investigated. Using bog standard Science apparatus and ‘Food Test’ chemicals that any KS3 student would use, my students now have a real desire to enquire. Why? Well, because they have complete control over their learning.

These are some more Punk Learners.

And my job in all of this? Constantly probing and coaching the students ensuring that their learning will enable them to answer their Punk driving question. I am continually asking questions about their learning and targets, regularly ‘testing’ what they know and don’t know and frequently encouraging them to reflect on what they are learning and more importantly how they are learning.

For one class (the one that my school categorises as “bottom” set) I’ve also delivered five minute seminars; the content of the these impromptu lectures are agreed on by the students based on what they are unsure of or want to know more about.

“I’m tired of being told what to think. I’m tired of being told what to do” Mr. Suit – Wire

So how do I know Punk Learning is working? I have spoken to and listened, yes listened, to my students. I have asked them to tell me how they are feeling (see image below) and what changes and improvements they wanted, which is a genuine indication that they’re totally buying into the ethos and culture of Punk Learning. For example, my students wanted the five minute seminars and the voting of the best Punk Learners of the lesson. My students are genuinely thinking about their self assessment and their targets – something that as we know, doesn’t always happen.

I have had absolutely no behavioural issues whatsoever with these classes and during a recent fire alarm this week an audible groan of disappointment could be heard from the students as they had to leave their lesson halfway through.

Oh, and they’re learning shed loads too!

I interviewed five Punk Learners this week; these are the unadulterated thoughts of Pierce, Maddie, Beccy, Kasey and Nathan.

Punk Learning

Punk Learning 2

Punk Learning 3


Interestingly the ‘depressed’ comment was written by a student from another class – I share my room with other teachers

  1. […] Below is a small selection of how the Punk Learners are being creative in their lessons, you can read more about them here. […]

  2. biologypost says:

    Fantastic! Some great, inspiring stuff on here. I’ve left a link to your website for my students to have a look and see what you’re doing. We have been trying to do something along these lines. Have a look what we’ve come up with so far at biologypostgcse.wordpress.com.

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