SOLO – lesson 3

OK, so our third lesson is going to link to the department’s textbooks as a resource but encourage the pupils to engage with the images and develop their use of key language. A starter activity with the lesson’s keywords displayed on arrival. Groups’ approach to this varied, some depended on strong individuals, some discussed and shared and some didn’t look!


The class were asked to volunteer to define a term and name an example. Based on their answers additional facts were discussed including types of water – fresh and salt; relative %s of water on Earth; states of elements inc. solid and liquid; and many more- this activity in several classes was extended because of the info shared. Many words were common to all three year groups with additional words linked to Tectonics for Kenya and Japan. The terms are crossed off as this was done to indicate what we had covered.


The lesson instructions linked back to the starter and how they would be expected to use those terms. The move to a national scale focus was emphasised.


Classes were issued an image with SOLO symbols to identify features. The textbooks and text read by the class acted as a additional source of information and exemplars of Uni- and multi-structural labelling were identified. Links were made to how we had moved our answers to Relational in the previous lesson Pupil confidence with the terms was encouraging. This activity had been encouraged by a blog post by Keven Bartle (@kevbartle) who had used an image with SOLO symbols with an A level Sociology group.


As the image shows discussion in pairs and groups was encouraged before annotating the diagram, this had varying levels of success and group discussion is an area to develop further as a skill.


A rough pupil survey was used to look at the number of Uni and multi structural labels and pupils self evaluated which stage their work was at, the survey showed in two year 7 classes that a second image was labelled more effectively after feedback on the first. Even where there was more low level chat progress was made but not as well as the more focused class.

The use of discussion was successful, but as noted is a skill to develop further. Demonstrating progress provides a good prompt for talking with the group.

I was able to feedback to the groups how their lessons were being blogged and other teachers from around the world were feeding back on their progress as well as mine as a SOLO practitioner.


4 responses to “SOLO – lesson 3

  1. Do you know anyone who is using SOLO in a primary school? Read your blogs and David Didau but you are both secondary. My school is all through 2-18 and the deputy head is interested in SOLO as well as me. Would love to discuss with anyone who has trialled with younger children. I have year 2 at the moment. I think they would understand the symbols.. and the Lego!

    • Not aware of primary use in UK but Pam Hook in New Zealand and other practitioners there using it as far as I am aware. We should discuss this more, I’d be interested in looking at cross phase use.

      • That would be great. Am reading all I can about it. Will look at recommended blogs and perhaps start in the new year. Am helping organise TMCardiffASE and that’s getting busy and there is always the infant Christmas concert! Actually someone at TMCardiffASE will be doing SOLO. Will be interesting.

    • New Zealand primaries on Twitter c/o Pam Hook;

      As starting points…

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