How Hot Would You Like Your Learning?

The night before this lesson, my wife made curry for tea. It was great, but I knew deep inside that I’d be having the remains of this lot for my school dinner the following day. 24 hours on and I’m feeling a little ropey. The lesson though, didn’t suffer the same fate.

I’d toyed with the idea of relating differentiated work to chillies and curries for a while, after first seeing the idea on Pinterest and later on an education Facebook group. I’ve since tried to find the original source to credit them for the idea (I’ll edit once I find out) but no luck as yet. If you’re not familiar with the concept, it essentially puts kids in charge of their own learning – ‘ordering’ their tasks for a lesson based on their level of need or confidence. The difficulty level relates to the level of ‘spice’ in these classic curries: mild, chilled out activities for consolidating learning, a medium level for emerging learners, and the challenge (or extra spicy!) for your more able learners. Adding the real curries gave the session that missing awe and wonder; the dangling curried-carrot to help motivate and increase work output, and my lunch. Their take-away contents were subtraction worded problems – linked to Minecraft to further engage my most reluctant learners – but you could stick anything in their!  Highlights included:

  • Clear understanding of progression across the lesson –  support and challenge embraced
  • 100% engagement
  • All children making progress and highly motivated to ‘taste’ or tackle a task with a little more heat
  • Children learning the difference between prawn crackers and poppodoms
  • Curry tasting session as part of the review saw kids stepping beyond comfort zone to try curry for the first time (vindaloo aside!)
  • Outstanding lesson outcome (phew!)

For lunch, I had the korma and tikka masala and my Head braved the vindaloo – we’ll use the concept again but I’m off the curry for a while!