Well, I’ve finally found the time to post my first post of the new academic year. As I have got the class blog all up and running with my new class, I was champing at the bit to get cracking!
Over the summer (mainly due to a change in year group and topics/themes), I have tried to embrace the enquiry based learning approach, especially to history. Having planned an outline of where I wanted to go, I have then given more emphasis on the activities which will allow the children to make better and more meaningful connections. I’d hope I had always done this but by asking the children what they wanted to find out about Invaders and Settlers really opened my eyes to what interests them. I assumed (wrongly as it turned out) that the children would come up with fairly predictable ideas but how wrong I was! They gave me a varied and greater breadth of enquiry which certainly fired me up. From these initial ideas (which we used post it notes to record), I devised activities that I believe will deepen their thinking skills and expand their capabilities. This ideas of planning together really enthused the children too as they were involved with not just the learning process but the planning one as well. This ownership is just the beginning in our creative learning journey.
As I have mentioned in previous posts, Ewan McIntosh‘s ‘Problem finder’s not problem solver’s’ analogy certainly struck a chord with me and I wanted to incorporate much of what he said into my teaching practice (wherever possible). I’d be lying if I didn’t say it takes more time and organisation but hopefully the experiential learning that occurs will be the reward.
Image from http://virtualinquiry.com
Night watchman hats – check, map of museum – check, controller – check, let’s explore further!
Once again, the children donned the night watchman hats to play the Wii game. They think it adds to the atmosphere if they wear the hats whilst playing – and who am I to argue? The game, as the children are discovering is getting progressively harder in that time limits, challenges, baddies to avoid and places to get to are now the aim of the game. The environment that is being provided is still a stimulating one as the children find out that there is much more to being a night watchman than they first imagined. These feelings and thoughts have come in very useful when devising job adverts for an additional night watchman to work alongside Larry! The children were careful not to ‘give the game away’ by revealing the ‘magic’ that happens in their adverts. They simply made statements such as “must like history”, “enjoy learning about the exhibits” and “must ensure that all the windows and doors remain locked”.
It has become the usual routine to watch/play the game and then write. By doing this, the excitement of both can be maximised. The homework this week was based around researching a historical character from the game (which can be viewed in detail on the children’s blog http://bowoodclass.wordpress.com). This will form the basis of our infommercials planned for the forthcoming week or so (greenscreen technology permitting!!)
In the meanwhile, my hope is that the children continue to enjoy the work and the learning that is happening in Bowood Class. My Y5s (if their comments are anything to go by) are raring to continue this exciting journey. Below is the current display of this topic including the non-chronological reports (tour guides) and Akmenrah’s Tablet complete with ingots as in the game and film. The children used modroc and gold paint to create the centrepiece.