It’s important that children see learning in a connected way. That they are able to make links between subjects and with the wider world. Many primary colleagues will know the frustration of teaching the children key skills in literacy and numeracy only to see them seemingly disappear when they begin to write a science report or similar. It is as if they cannot make the learning links and can only make use of these skills in the context in which they were first learned. Breaking that mould isn’t easy. Traditionally, learning in schools, as Guy Claxton says, has been situated, with children learning in one context or setting and not necessarily being able to transer this to other settings. I often think of this old radio clip which I found again recently on you tube as a way of illustrating the dangers of unconnected learning!
A topic or themed based approach can help children make connections and links, to see how learning in one area can be used successfully in another. This connected approach when coupled with a clear assessment system that enables pupil progress to be tracked can not only provide pupils with an exciting, relevant and flexible curriculum but also helps them to make important connections that will help them make sense of what they are learning and its place in the wider world.
The new green screen studio at school has given us lots of opportunities to extend learning in more creative and innovative ways. The books at bedtime initiative has been a great way of engaging parents and younger children through a cbeebies type selection of stories read by older pupils, staff and local celebrities. Another great idea we’re about to get started on is ‘Hawes Siders’ our very own soap!
We’re going to start the drama by running a lunchtime club for our script writers. Miss Johnstone has very kindly agreed to work with those interested to get some of their school stories up and running. Another group of pupils will help with the filming and green screening and our budding thespians will take on the roles required by our writers. We’re keen to get going next half term and see how the idea pans out but we envisage being able to film short scenes every month or so. The writers will meet a couple of lunchtimes each week and share their ideas for storylines. We’re hoping this soap will run and run! We’re also thinking about whether to use audioboo, or maybe podcast different trailors and snippets across the school blogs to whet people’s appetite.
It’s promises to be a great project to get stuck into after SATs and something different classes can get involved in with competitions for different storylines, posters to advertise the soap etc… I’ll keep you posted on how it develops. If you’ve any thoughts or ideas, or you’ve done something similar in your own schools, please let me know.