Reading and Exploring Texts: Key Knowledge and Skills Deep Dive

This is a collection of the posts I wrote earlier in the year which explored all of the Key Knowledge and Skills for the new VCE English Unit 1 Area of Study 1: Reading and Exploring Texts.

Bookmark this page and refer back to it as you work you way through this new area of study. Each post contains five lesson activities which are based around Practical Reading Strategies, visible thinking routines, and my other work on the VCE Study Design.

I’ve turned my previous post – Practical Strategies for ChatGPT in Education – into a live webinar for February the 16th. Click here for details

To produce these posts, I also used ChatGPT. Skip to the end of this page for a full discussion of how I used the AI language model and how it might be helpful in your own planning.

Using ChatGPT to break down the Study Design

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When I started the series of posts, I had no intention of using ChatGPT. In fact, I had planned on writing a single post about all of the Key Knowledge and Skills in Area of Study One. As I wrote, however, I noticed two things: the post was getting much too long and needed to be broken down, and I was repeating the structure throughout.

Breaking down complex processes and performing repetitive tasks are two areas where ChatGPT excels, so I turned to the AI model to assist with writing the posts.

Here’s the process I followed:

  1. I copied the Key Knowledge and Skills into the model and asked for an outline of a series of blog posts. Specifically, I asked ChatGPT to generate the titles for the posts based on the Key Knowledge, and to present them in a numbered list.
  2. I entered various materials into ChatGPT as the basis for the activities. These included extracts from Practical Writing Strategies and various visible thinking routines.
  3. After entering these materials, I had ChatGPT generate several example activities which could be used for each blog post title. I had ChatGPT add those activities to my original list as dot-points.
  4. To these activity suggestions I added my own, expanded the suggestions from ChatGPT, and replaced anything that I didn’t like. ChatGPT doesn’t always get things right and you have to cast a careful eye over the output.
  5. I had ChatGPT take all of the activities (including my own, from a Word doc) and reformat them all ready for copy/pasting back into WordPress. I made the basic page once in WordPress, duplicated the page 7 times, and then transferred the information directly from ChatGPT to the posts.
  6. Finally, I wrote the introductory sections to each post and scheduled them to release.

What are the implications of this for planning lessons and developing your curriculum? Well, first of all, it demonstrates the capacity of ChatGPT to take existing data – in this case the Study Design and the examples from PRS – and to combine them for new outcomes: lesson activities aligned to the Key Knowledge and Skills.

Secondly, the speed at which it all came together. This process allowed me to create 8 blog posts with 40 lesson activities in less than an hour. The lesson activities in my post could easily be incorporated into a more formal unit outline or weekly planner.

Finally, I got to look at the Key Knowledge and Skills in more detail than I had previously, and the extra set of (robot) eyes helped to make a few things clear which I hadn’t noticed. For instance, the new Study Design contains much more emphasis on reading strategies, inference, and point of view than I had picked up.

Whether ChatGPT is banned in your school or not, I’d encourage you to experiment with ways that the technology can improve your planning and work. Looking for ways to use the technology responsibly and in a way that helps teachers will continue to shift the narrative away from AI only being used for cheating and plagiarism, and that can only be a good thing.

Got a question about this post, or anything to do with VCE English? Get in touch:

I’ve turned my previous post – Practical Strategies for ChatGPT in Education – into a live webinar for February the 16th. Click here for details

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