Tying in with an earlier post I wrote about the use of flowcharts as activities to support oral language development in linguistically diverse classrooms, I have also developed some examples of ranking tasks and sequencing tasks. Both tasks have been designed to tie into Stage 2 of the History syllabus. The ranking task can be used to highlight the longevity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history in Australia, while the sequencing tasks gets students to consider ways of life pre-contact and during the early colonial period (Board of Studies, 2012).
Ranking task – “Australian Artefacts: Oldest to Newest”
The format of this ranking task encourages students to think critically, express their justifications and negotiate with a partner. The focus of the activity is in the talk-rich process that students undertake to reach a consensus. While the constraints in this task are not as strict as in a flow chart, students are able to communicate more freely, promoting a wider variety of ‘talk patterns’ (Dufficy, 2005, p. 104). A space for consensus can be provided for students to work in small groups to agree upon the two oldest artefacts and the two newest artefacts, expanding the opportunities for compromise and discussion.
Sequencing Task – “British Colonisation of Australia”
This task ties in with the History syllabus in getting students to consider chronology in the establishment of the British colony in NSW. As the language needed to negotiate the order of the sequence is not particularly demanding, the level of difficulty can be increased by giving one student an illustration each, that is concealed from the rest of the group (Dufficy, 2005, p. 94). Students who may need assistance with this activity can be paired up with other students.
This sequence of images has been designed with contestation in mind, as the sequence can be argued in a couple of different ways. Adjustments can also be made to this task if needed. For example, it may be assistive to provide captions (without the date included) to be matched up with the correct images. In this scenario, the exercise without captions can be provided as an extension task to gifted and talented students.