Magpie cards – promoting collaboration in your lessons.

Magpie Cards is an idea I first saw in Griffith and Burns’, Engaging Learners, although in a primary school context. Here, each student is given a card with a magpie on it, when the teacher calls out ‘Magpie’, selected students have a few minutes to visit other students to ‘steal’ ideas. This is particularly effective in group work, where students who have acted as ‘Magpies’ can report their findings back to their group.

However, this can be used at secondary level and in a number of contexts. For example –

– Magpie Cards could be given to your Teaching Assistant, who can give the Magpie Cards to students who are struggling and the TA can manage the timing and effectiveness of this strategy. It also gives a clearly defined role for the TA in your classroom and evidences that you empower TA’s in your classroom.

– Magpie Cards could be given to a SEN child who is struggling and they report back to you what they have found out from their ‘Magpie Minutes’. Therefore, promoting collaboration and checking their progress.

– As outlined in Griffith and Burns’ book, Magpie Cards could be used in group work to promote broader collaboration.

– If you are feeling brave, give every student a Magpie Card and give them a fixed part of the lesson to use the card. This could be followed by some DIRT, where students reflect on what they have found out from others in this session and incorporate their into their work.

Below is a link to some pre-prepared Magpie Cards. This is my first new technique of the school year that I am going to try.

Magpie Cards

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