Topics from Reception and Y 1 were built on and key skills introduced. Teachers felt that this approach breaks down our perceptions of what the children will be capable of and does not limit them.
A cross curricular topic was broken down into key themes which led the children’s ideas. Children had ownership which made them more engaged over the term. They demonstrated their prior knowledge but were able to extend that knowledge.
One teacher had immersion over 2 or 3 days which sparked their curiosity, with many how and why questions being asked and deeper thinking.
One teacher focusing on plant growth asked the children ‘how can we keep a plant alive?’ which led to lots of enquiry questions which formed the topic framework.
An immersion session on Native Americans included artefacts, books and images of Pocahontas. Compared to previous years, this class was more creative because of the new way of planning. They were interested in clothes, food, music and the landscape. Children made tunics and maps, waterproof tepees and found the best materials for arrow heads. They covered objectives not usually covered in this topic. They were able to talk confidently and enthusiastically talk about their learning.
The topic evolved and was planned as it developed, which caused difficulties when the planning had to be in at the beginning of term.
Two schools sent a copy of the key skills home three weeks before the start of term which led to more parental involvement and more artefacts being brought in to build on the learning.
All teachers had asked children in the previous term for their ideas for the topic to come. Children’s questions were displayed as post it notes and removed when the questions had been explored.
All teachers used WOW starters to hook children. Vocabulary was discussed and in Literacy there had been a focus on the author’s intention.
Exit cards for key lessons asking what had been learnt and what they enjoyed made children more aware of their own learning and their misconceptions.
Youcubed videos (Jo Boaler) had been shown to students as well as neurons connecting and lessons about the workings of the brain. They were excited about neurons connecting and could then be heard saying ‘I made a mistake! I’m learning!’ When the music teacher made a mistake, the students immediately told her her brain was growing.
Students generated their own language of learning, which is used both in and out of school. It was decided that ‘wrong answers are gifts’ because they herald feedback and new understanding. Teachers are deliberately using the language of learning zones and growth mindset.
The power of YET was demonstrated through an Orme video: the pig that persevered. This was a good introduction to discussions about the growth mindset.
Learning powers had been used as a point of reference, introducing one power a week. This had changed both the students’ and teachers’ language about learning.
The learning zones bullseye poster had helped students connect their learning target to the appropriate learning zone and therefore to more frequent self-assessment.
Books used: Your fantastic elastic brain, The girl who never made mistakes, The Most Magnificent Things and Beautiful Oops. These had helped children see that mistakes are ok and that we learn from them.
A STEM task of designing (egg drop) using trial and error had helped students realise that the failures were learning experiences. There was less emotion attached to failure and more perseverance.
Students are more tolerant, more willing to drive into misconceptions, more open to feedback and are living the theory of what a growth mindset is.