Cheese? We’re all crackers about it.

Image

Linking learning, I love it.  I have embraced the creative curriculum and co-created a rich and outstanding KS1 curriculum which links learning wherever possible, but never tenuously.   We work really hard to make sure that we hit all the national curriculum requirements in our own unique way.

 

As a child, I was the one who believed London was in the middle of the country.  This was until I discovered maps.  Paper maps.  My dad was a long distance lorry driver and so I travelled all over the country with him, in a beautiful Seddon Atkinson truck called Stray Cat, reading maps and attempting to draw my own.  My dad was nicknamed Mouse, therefore by default I became Mini Mouse.  That was my CB handle, my first foray into social networking back in 1985.  I’d warn other users of 4×4’s ahead (police cars) and of skateboards in the suicide lane (cars in the outside lane) driving too fast.  I firmly believe that children need to understand their own sense of place in the world and to understand where things happen in relation to where they are.  As an adult I have lived all over the world and I like to include map work where possible to show children that their world is bigger than they think.

After several years in Year 2, teaching “Grouping and Changing Materials” in science became in need of a shake up.  A bored teacher does not inspire her class.  Enter the cheese.

ImageImage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • We recorded the locations where the cheese was produced on maps.
  • We sniffed the cheese and recorded our findings in a table.
  • We tasted the cheese and recorded our findings in a table.
  • We made predictions about which cheese would make the best cheese on toast and why.
  • We made cheese on toast with the 2 final choices of cheese (stilton wasn’t a finalist surprisingly) and compared them.
  • We observed and recorded the changes to the cheese as it melted at specific times.
  • We inserted photos into Textease and wrote captions describing the changes we had seen.
  • We wrote information texts about cheese.
  • We persuaded our parents to buy different types of cheese.
  • We researched cheese makers and invited a local producer to talk to us.
  • We were enthused for learning about grouping and changing materials again.

Image

 

Image

Image

 

In my opinion, there isn’t much in the world that can’t be improved with a little bit of cheese.  How have you taught this concept in an engaging way?  Share your ideas in the comments below.

 

PS

In other news, if you have read my blog and enjoyed it please email voting@ukedchat.com saying “I vote for primarylearningandteaching.wordpress.com” and I might win an award. Or a sticker. I’d be happy with a sticker to be honest.  I am brand new to blogging but am finding it to be a fantastic learning tool already.

Advertisements

School trips – worth the hassle?

Image

With the arrival of the “creative curriculum” and the idea that teachers need to hook children in to their learning, engage them in their learning and inspire them to want to learn, the school trip is fast becoming the holy grail.

Pros –

  • real life experiences ensure that children learn key skills
  • getting out of the classroom inspires children
  • getting out of the classroom inspires teachers
  • children can write with real understanding of a subject
  • children rarely forget a trip they have been on

Cons –

  • cost
  • paperwork

These negative aspects do need serious consideration when planning a trip, but they should not be a reason to give up on the idea of taking children out of school for educational visits.

 

Together with my colleague Mairi, we created a vibrant KS1 curriculum which features plenty of enrichment opportunities for learning outside of the classroom.  Part of our ethos is that we both like a challenge and we both like to plan a trip at least once a term if not more frequently.  Our headteacher told us we needed to reduce the costs so we now have an understanding relationship with a local public bus company.  They have decided it is better for them to know when we are heading out as opposed to finding 75 of us waiting at the bus stop!  The first time that this happened our learning was all related to tree types, leaves and signs of spring.  If you ask the children, they ONLY remember the fact a double decker bus was sent to collect us, however their writing and science work tells a different story.

Continue reading

Do You Wonder?

I have a confession to make.  I am a BBC-oholic.  I think that they have produced, and continue to produce, many resources that help make teaching more engaging.  Their resources for primary schools are used widely but with changes to the curriculum over recent years they have been chasing concrete information from teachers so that they can continue to create content that could be used in the classroom.  They ask teachers to help them with this and give us the grand title of “BBC Learning Consultant”.  Our job is simple, to give feedback on current projects as well as to share changes to the curriculum and our profession in good time for the BBC to act upon.  This is not an easy task, many is the time we have sat around saying unhelpful things like “well, some teachers might use that as their topic,” and “the resources need to be open ended and easily link to other things.”  Super helpful, obviously!

In 2009 I was involved in a project which introduced me to the BBC Learning in the North team, I’m proud to be a small part of this team now and love it when the email pings in asking for involvement with a new project.  I try to share the projects around school with teachers who may have more experience than me in that area of learning.  The opportunity to be part of a professional discussion relating to content that may be available in the future via the BBC is too good to miss out on.  I find that the opportunity to pose in their swanky Salford Quays office is also too good to miss out on!

Image

Posing with a pillar.

Something that always seems to come out of every meeting is the fact that teachers want open ended resources that they can use in any way they want.  Prescriptive lesson plans are out, and in needs to come content that can be used across the curriculum, creatively, and in whatever way the teachers see fit.  We have been giving this message for a while, and as they say, good things come to those who wait.

ImageImage

Click the above photos to go to the iWonder home page.

In the words of Chris Sizemore, executive editor, “BBC iWonder provides thought-provoking answers to the questions sparked in your everyday life”.  A very simple quote to describe what is quickly becoming a vast resource for teachers and children to access.  It was launched with a WW1 slant and now has content linking to many areas of the curriculum with much more content in the pipeline.  I took a couple of Year 6 children to an initial meeting about the iWonder concept where they created their own guide and were filmed working on it as well as discussing how they had chosen the content for it.  Creating your own guides is a concept that would be useful for schools, this potentially could be a feature in the future but there are no promises from the BBC on this.  The guides are available online, across all platforms, and open up many opportunities for learning.  I particularly love that each audio part of the guide comes with a pdf transcript which is great to support your visual learners as well as your auditory ones.  They can be used to encourage the children to generate their own questions as well as to involve them in making discoveries more frequently.  Something that we, as educators, know is an important facet of learning.  Ownership.

Take a look for yourself, and you will see that the possibilities to enhance the learning of the children in your class are phenomenal.  The best thing about it for me is that there are no prescriptive lesson plans.  Simply, do with it what you wish for your learners.  Let them wonder.

Further links to check out:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/learningzone/clips/public-art-and-perspective-in-blackpool/12601.html

http://www.bbc.co.uk/learningzone/clips/public-art-juame-plensas-dream/12597.html

http://www.bbc.co.uk/learningzone/clips/public-art-in-sheffield/12599.html

The first time I was ever invited to join a BBC discussion resulted in these films being made.  The brief was to create films that would help the children to have a sense of place, specifically in the North.  My love of sculpture must have come across well and the decision to create these films was made.  The Blackpool one features children from our school.