One teacher started a history topic with an informal chat about what to cover linked to the Queen’s birthday. Children chose kings and queens and worked in groups to decide what to cover. There was greater ownership, more bringing things from home, more enthusiasm. They became obsessed with Mary Queen of Scots and sometimes got a little carried away. It is a developing approach.
Children needed lots of encouragement to generate ideas creatively. It was better to give them a range of possibilities such as role play, quiz etc.
The Herts curriculum for maths was given to Y6 just before the SATs tests and they were asked to highlight what they wanted to cover and how they felt about the objectives. Three colours were used. Children were more engaged in their learning as they felt they were not just being dictated to by the teacher.
Children in one class chose the area of history they wanted under the theme of crime and punishment and presented back how they wanted to learn. Their involvement was positively reflected in the quality of their writing. Children learnt from each other.
Computer resources such as ‘scratch’ were used to aid planning.
Children were involved in planning, sharing ideas. In one school children were in mixed groups pre-topic and had to plan the topic using roles within the group. They liked the fact that ‘the teachers didn’t get in our way’.
One class was taken to the Forest of Dean for a talk as an initial stimulus then back at school made mind maps given history objectives. Children were asked what do we need to do/how do you want to learn. A class learning journey through time was created with named children’s ideas and key questions. Children were initially not told why they were going on the visit but recorded all they had learnt.
Teachers had changed their mindsets and planned trips at beginnings of topics now to increase engagement and deepen the ensuing topic. They were now considering the effect of this with other trips and other ways of immersing children first.
Children were inspired and motivated to be in charge of their own learning, enjoyed seeing their names up on the learning journey and writing was greatly improved because of the stimulus of the immersion visit. Teachers were learning with children.
One teacher did this with PE, and children enjoyed being able to see their idea being realised. When children knew what was coming next in PE the lessons ran more smoothly and more was got through as less explanation was required. Children had been shown the skills required and on video clips and the children came up with a final game for the skills. They were enthused and motivated and had a greater understanding of the development of PE skills.
Two teachers gave children skills at the start and asked children to add ideas on a grid throughout the topic (Skills/Questions/Activities). Children enjoyed knowing what was coming next and they became more independent, researching skills and adding more ideas.