Introduction

Last Friday (28 October 2016), the whole year 12 students ran many different ATL workshops for both year 7s and year 12s. Each of us are assigned to another student to form a pair, and we are also assigned to two ATL skills for the audience of either year 7 or year 12. We have around two weeks to plan and get everything ready before Friday. My partner is Hanif, and our workshop covers about thinking and self-management with year 7 as both of the workshop’s audience.

What went well

When my partner and me first got together and discussed, we decided to do our thing separately. So I did the workshop for thinking, while Hanif did the workshop for self-management. We believe that by doing so, our workshop will be more organized and we will be ready for the workshop faster. This method we did turns our pretty well, because we both are ready for the workshop before Friday.

For my thinking workshop, I did a roughly 10 minutes presentation about what is thinking, and then we played mystery games in the remaining time. I feel like my presentation went smoothly and there was no problem at all. During the mystery puzzle, the year 7s are really enthusiastic and competitive; which makes me think that I made a good decision to play mystery games. I rewarded snacks for the top three student who could earn the most points, therefore it adds the competition feeling.

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What didn’t go well

When trying to find mystery puzzles, most of them are related to murder and crime, while some of them didn’t make sense to me. So I had difficulties to select the right puzzles for year 7s, since if it doesn’t make sense, they wouldn’t understand it and I couldn’t explain it as well; and if it’s extreme crime or murder, I’m afraid that it might be a bad influence to them.

During the mystery puzzle, some of the year 7s are denying the answers. For example, the answer to a puzzle is “Bob is lying, because the puzzle state that on Sunday, Bob was getting the mail”. Usually, there are no mail deliveries on Sunday therefore Bob is indeed lying. Some of the year 7s point out that in their home countries, they still receive mail deliveries during Sunday. I couldn’t argue back and just said that usually mail deliveries don’t happen on Sundays.

Nobody could master thinking just by listening to presentations; we all need practice. This is why I decided to put mystery games in my workshop. The mystery games ‘forced’ the year 7s to think outside the box in order to solve problems. My main message of this workshop is that thinking needs a lot of practice; solving these mystery puzzles are one of them. However I forgot to summarize my whole message by the end of the workshop so maybe the year 7s think that this workshop is just a mere mystery solving activity.

Describe how you solved a problem that arose either in the planning or during the workshop

I have to read every single mystery puzzle that I found in the internet and try to solve them without looking at the answer. Then after I read the answer, I had to judge whether or not it is logical/solvable. After that, I judge whether or not the puzzle includes extreme crime or murder. If the puzzle is understandable, answer is logical, and does not include extreme crime or murder, then I included that puzzle.

My initial plan for the snack reward is that I will reward 3 different snack for one person who got the highest score from solving puzzles. However, the year 7s are a little picky and said “I don’t like this one, but I like this one”, and also said that “Why don’t we just have a top 3 winner?”. It seems like all the year 7s agreed on this statement so I followed what they wanted.

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What would you do differently if you were to do it again?

The puzzle I chose are just full text, and if I could do this workshop differently, I would find puzzles that use real life items and that the year 7s could interact with it. And then, I should focus more on the message that I wanted to deliver by revising my presentation at the end of the workshop.

What did you learn from the experience?

I was expecting very childish behavior or a decent mature behavior from the year 7s, but turns out that they’re in between, which is perfect for me to interact with them. So I know that I should look at the bright side and be as friendly as possible. Then I learned that presentations are still needed in these kind of activities, and even though they’re as short and as simple as possible, they’re still informative as long as I can explain it verbally. Finally, I learned that improvising is a very important skill. I improvised a lot of things during my workshop, such as changing a little bit of the rules, following the year 7s’ suggestion regarding the reward, etc.

Overall, even though I was the one who led the workshop, I still learned a lot of things. It was also hear-warming to see the year 7s enjoy your original workshop whole-heartedly.

Mystery Puzzles

Learning Outcomes involved:

  • LO2 – I undertake challenges, I develop new skills
    • To me, entertaining kids is really challenging because I’m a really awkward person as well as I dislike anything that’s too childish. By doing this ATL workshop, I am challenged to plan an interactive workshop for year 7s (slowly dissipating my awkwardness too!), and I’ve learned many different important skills that will be useful for the future.
  • LO3 – I plan and initiate
    • In order for this workshop to happen, I need to get involved with my partner and plan everything from scratch.
  • LO5 – I demonstrate collaborative skills, I recognise the benefits of collaboration
    • Since we’re doing this workshop together with a partner, I need to collaborate with him and realised that with collaboration, we can accomplish anything effectively.