Responding using ALARM – the easy bit, you’ve done all the hard work already

This is the sixth post in my series on ALARM.  The previous posts include: What is ALARM and why should you use it?, ALARM Logical Interpretive Matrix, ALARM Connotative Interpretive Matrix, Doing what you’ve always done better using ALARM, and Analysing the question, ALARM and the glitch.

In this post we finally get to responding. How do you use the ALARM matrix to respond to a question you have just analysed?  This is the easiest bit and will be the shortest post.  Pay attention, if you blink you’ll miss it.

Step 1: Take the deepest level from the matrix and put that first.

Step 2: Address each of the features and parts one cell at a time moving left to right across the matrix.

Step 3: Restate the deepest level as it relates to the question.

You have done all the hard work learning the content, analysing the question and putting it all into a matrix.  The matrix now provides the structure for the response.  Each row of the matrix can represent a sentence or a paragraph depending on the amount of content being covered. Some subject areas or lower order questions may not require step 1 or step 3. This is often the case in Science and I tell my student not to worry about step 1 unless they get into critically evaluate, conceptualise or appreciate and step 3 only in questions above 5 marks.

Next post I will look at giving feedback, explicitly teaching the use of metalanguage and encouraging more sophisticated language in student responses. I apologise in advance to the English teachers who will read this post.  I am a Science teacher doing my best to teach literacy. All constructive feedback and advice will be gratefully accepted.


4 thoughts on “Responding using ALARM – the easy bit, you’ve done all the hard work already

  1. Bill April 29, 2015 at 4:12 am Reply

    This is great Jen. You have captured the essence and explained it pretty well. Where to now?

    • jenglish2013 April 29, 2015 at 4:17 am Reply

      More posts to come Bill. What else would you like to know about? Suggestions?

  2. Mark June 13, 2015 at 11:15 pm Reply

    Where to now? A range of worked examples showing both the use of the Matrix and the final product would give me a much better idea of what I am attempting to achieve.

    • jenglish2013 June 13, 2015 at 11:17 pm Reply

      Thanks for the suggestion Mark. Working on it!

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