What We're Learning Today - Thursday 21st January

What We're Learning Today - Thursday 21st January

by Susannah, 21 Jan 2021

Activities for secondary-age learners during the National Lockdown. English literature, French and physics are on the menu today!

Navigating the vast array of advice and resources currently available to parents who currently have their children learning at home could be a full-time job in itself.  Here I describe what my own two sons (11 & 14) are doing today and will share ideas for free-access sources of educational activities.

This morning we'll be starting by talking about the inauguration of Biden yesterday and looking more closely at the performance of poet, Amanda Gorman.  My boys are studying poetry in their literature lessons at the moment so this fits in rather nicely and shows that poetry is not just about white men writing whilst overlooking lakes 200 years ago.  We will watch a clip of Gorman and listen out for poetic techniques such as alliteration, enjambment, metaphor and rhyme and how they impact the listener.  We'll particularly listen to the rhythm and discuss the tone before looking at the transcript.  The boys will then independently read and study 'My Last Duchess' by Robert Browning, making notes on a printed version of the poem.

After this my older son will be practising his French listening skills using the CGP recordings on this website:


Finding good quality free listening resources for learning languages is surprisingly difficult and I was very happy to discover this.  We do have the book that accompanies the recordings, but you don't necessarily need it.  A good strategy is to select a recording (each one is very short) and listen to the whole thing to get an idea of the gist of what's being said.  Then listen again, pausing during natural breaks in the transcript.  Look up words you're not sure of.  Finally, it's always a worthwhile investment to practise transcribing (writing down exactly what is said) because it not only helps with listening skills but also with spelling and grammar. 

Whilst the older one is doing French, my younger one will be preparing for an annual computing competition.  He will be using a free-access website:    https://blockly.games
You don't need to be preparing for a competition to benefit from this, it's good fun and great for logical thinking, too, and suitable for almost any age.

In the afternoon they will be doing astrophysics, which is their current physics topic.  We use a subscription online provider as my knowledge of physics is zero.  However, if you're looking for an engaging overview of space, I would recommend this video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uniGQrGLEoI

Finally, if none of these appeal, you could try this idea...there's a map quiz website where it's possible to make your own quiz.  If you show your youngster how to make a quiz (and they obviously need to try it themselves), they can make one for you.  It will keep them busy in an educational way and will be satsifying for them if they can catch you out.


Wishing you a wonderful day,