Kettle Moraine School District, Wisconsin
For writing, one teacher combined prior knowledge with an immersion session via baskets of different examples for children to look through. This guided teacher instruction.
One teacher showed a poorly written example of ‘how to draw a house’ which children generated criteria for. This positively impacted their writing immediately.
Rubrics were created for each unit of study and these were added to children’s folders. Talk was focused on learning targets (objectives). This kept the children talking about their goals and having clear expectations.
Another teacher turned a poem into a story and compared it with the poem to show them what a poem is. Children then created high quality poems as a result.
In one class children had an immersion session about plants and seeds. Children then created their own experiments, made hypotheses and showed their learning about plants. There was increased engagement, the teaching was tailored to what the children needed and the learning was personalised.
Tunbridge Wells, Kent
One teacher had an electricity immersion session which was not very successful. Children did not have enough knowledge and were not motivated by the topic.
Teachers felt they were becoming more flexible about planning, allowing children more choice and control.
One teacher described a focus on castles:
At the end of the spring term I asked children to write their thoughts or questions on a class whiteboard about castles, our learning journey for the summer term.
At the start of the summer term we had a ‘real knight’ (thehistoryman.org.uk) visit for the day. He brought a cannon and a huge variety of artefacts etc. for children to experience.
The following day I asked the children to say what they now wanted to learn about castles. They suddenly had a mass of ‘deep’ questions which showed real thought and interest.
Questions before immersion day:
Why did they have castles?
What were the names of the parts of the castle?
After immersion day:
How dark were the dungeons?
How does gunpowder work?
What happens if it rains and the gunpowder gets wet?
Why is there no roof over the castle?
One teacher had tried a DT topic with pupil involvement and found they were more engaged, related the topic to their own experiences and enjoyed being in control of the learning, and so were more motivated. They found matching activities to skills more difficult, however.
It was felt that resourcing was an issue for some immersion sessions.
Kentucky (all subjects)
One teacher had given students a problem to solve and they could choose what strategy to use. They were asked how it had felt to help plan and they said they felt ‘smart like a teacher’.
All teachers had given students a pre-test to establish prior learning and knowledge.
Kettle Moraine School District, Wisconsin, USA
Patricia Deklotz | firstname.lastname@example.org
Kim Zeidler | email@example.com
Tunbridge Wells, Kent, UK
Mel Shackleton | firstname.lastname@example.org