My Favourite No-Prep, No-Resource, Teaching Activity!

I thought I’d share one of my all time faves. It’s a great strategy for checking understanding, reinforcing learning and engaging your students! It’s called… The Rule in the Room and it’s one of the many strategies in Pimp Your Lesson!

In true NAKED TEACHING style, one of the loveliest things about this versatile strategy is that it really doesn’t require any preparation – and no resource-making at all.

The fun begins by sending one volunteer out of the classroom to wait outside the door where they can’t hear the discussion that’s about to take place between you and the remaining pupils.  Whilst the volunteer is out of ear-shot, you will establish with the class, a rule in the room to which they must all adhere. The rule will of course be linked to what the pupils have been learning about. For example, if you have been teaching them about different poetic devices, you may want to test their understanding of one of the devices by setting a rule like: “You must use alliteration somewhere in your answer”.

When the volunteer re-enters the classroom, he or she must select classmates at random and ask each of them in turn, general “small-talk” questions, such as “What did you do last night?” “What did you eat for breakfast?” “What is your pet’s name”, etc.  Each pupil chosen to answer a question must do so by adhering to the rule in the room. – So if the rule was to use alliteration, they might make up an answer like: “Last night I went for a walk in my wellies because it was wet and windy” or “For breakfast I ate crunchy cornflakes with custard” or “My pet’s name is Twinkle Toes Toby”. The volunteer must, of course, listen carefully to classmates’ answers and try to determine what the rule in the room might be.

What you’re doing here, is requiring that the pupils give an understanding performance – a demonstration of how well they have understood and can apply a concept. After all, it’s one thing to be able to repeat back to you parrot-style that “Alliteration is where two or more words starting with the same sound are used in quick succession”… it is a different level of learning altogether to be able to use that technique in context…

The possibilities for the Rule in the Room are endless! Try one of these…

The rule in the room is:

  • include as many key terms from our revision topic in your answer as possible.
  • answer the question as if you live in Antarctica
  • answer the question as if you live in Roman times
  • include a prime number somewhere in your answer
  • include a number somewhere in your answer that doubles the number mentioned by the previous participant
  • answer as if you are this fictional character
  • answer as if you are this historical figure.
  • use an embedded clause in your answer
  • use exaggeration in your answer
  • answer in iambic pentametre.
  • answer in the style of this adverb (eg “slowly”, “excitedly”, “tentatively”)
  • exhibit the effects of a particular drug whilst you answer
  • refer to one of the consequences of over-population somewhere in your answer.
  • make your last word rhyme with the last word of the question

Ok, you get the idea….

More great things about this strategy? It promotes pupil led-learning; in fact the pupils pretty much take over the lesson with this activity! It’s also an activity which ensures that there are no “passengers” – every pupil is obliged to be hyper-alert because no-one knows who is going to be selected to exhibit the rule in the room! The activity forces participation from every pupil – in a fun and non-threatening way.

Conveniently, the activity allows the teacher to see who has understood the concept and can apply it, and who will need some tactful intervention.  Most important of all, this technique engages and intrigues the pupils, embeds understanding and gives them a positive learning experience that they won’t forget in a while!

Have fun with it!

Isabella X

P.S. You’ll find 5 more of my practical Naked Teaching ideas HERE!

So now it’s over to you! What are your favourite no-prep, no-resource teaching strategies? Please share your ideas in the comments below!

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