Deep dig on the characters of Holes
Deep dig on the characters of Holes

Deep dig on the characters of Holes

We are five weeks in. 12 pupils have racked up nearly 17 hrs of personalised spaced retrieval on RememberMore and a few still prefer to use On average the pupils meeting or exceending the twenty minutes a week expectation.

On Friday, battle weary, I was looking forward to teaching Year 7 Holes. We had missed our weekly Thursday quiz and planned a Friday catch up followed by a reading session. We were thrilled when one of my colleagues dropped in to see how far the class had developed their knowledge of the text.

We set 10 cards from the first 16 chapters, a deck of 132. That is any 10 cards from 132 in the familar Q-A format.

Self assessed – 2 marks for correct and accurate and 1 mark for correct (tf the answer was improved or additional information added).

Scores ranged from 14-20. The average 16.4.

My colleagues feedback – “That was quite something.”

From there we played a long game of “Last person standing,” only becuase it is very hard to knock players out of the game when the mean score is 16.4. It is costing me a lot of house points as players are all standing at the end of 15 questions, and in this case, 2 rounds of 15 questions!

From there we moved onto a new game – The character deep dig. It really should read deep dive but this is Louis Sachar’s Holes of course.

The character deep dig

Using tags to explore characters, I took the opportunity to share with my colleague how was both super easy to use and super flexible.

With just one character selection, we could now deep dive a character over the opening 16 chapters. One pupil “played” on what felt like a Mastermind’s specialised subject round – starting with Squid.


After answering the cards, really probing and exploring what the card taught us about a character, the quizzing quickly moved from retrieval through inference and deduction to analysis. The activity was the card plus an elaboration:

  • What does this tell us about the character of Squid?
  • Why might this change the dynamics of the group?
  • What do we still not know about the character?

Next Stanley

  • How has Stanley changed since Ch x?

Remember, the cards are also tagged by locations so this kind of chronological reference is easy too.

By this time, the pupils were clamouring for the next turn in the hotseat, in fact they took on the persona of the character, with follow up questions to the audience.

Finally X-Ray and Magnet

Remember, you can also pick more than one characters. Interleaving is as simple as picking two or more tags.

If your learning aim is to learn about the character of X-Ray and Magnet then you should block practice. If your learning aim is to understand the differences in their characters, then interleave.

Want to know the answers? Here is the set up for the 5 cards. Here is the deck link.

Have fun. We did.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.