Two teachers led an immersion session for a maths measurement topic and started with allowing the class to explore the equipment. They wrote what they knew and what they wanted to find out using some specific prompts. Using the same approach to ‘time’ led to children becoming more creative in their ideas. It was more effective to plan as the topic progressed, taking more account of children’s needs and ideas.
Another teacher focusing on the Romans, used picture prompts followed by questions, to reveal their prior knowledge. They were very motivated to learn and their progress was easy to see.
Using a question spinner with pictures from the topic stuck on the spinner led the planning in one class.
In English, children drove the planning and took pride in this.
It was felt that children’s ideas were often exactly what the teacher would have done anyway, but the children felt more motivated that they had come up with the ideas.
In general, planning in this way opened the children up to making suggestions for smaller activities more regularly.
Three teachers used a ‘think,tac,toe’ grid. Topics were introduced using a skills based approach: UNITED: UN – undertaking; I – investigating, information; T-teamwork; E-evaluation; D-determination. Children worked in groups to generate a range of activities, creating a buzz about the next topic. It made them want to try things out of their comfort zone.
Mind maps had been used for maths planning focusing on four key questions. Take-off and landing days were used at beginnings and ends of topics, with the take off day used to decorate the classroom as well. Children were more engaged, more confident and more aware of their own learning and their progress.