Texts for the term

Across the school we use texts links to our topic.

In Year 1, the children’s ‘Where the wild things are’ topic is booked up with… you’ve guessed it… ‘Where the wild things are’

The geography links here are great and so enjoyable for children. Map skills are made more interesting by looking for wild things.

Year 2 are doing talk for writing with ‘The Three Little Pigs.’ Perfect for the topic ‘Clever Construction.’ After learning about engineering and architecture, children can create their own story with different buildings that they’ve learnt about. A pig living in The Shard makes for an interesting read.


In Year 3, our doing ‘The Prehistoric World’ and linking it to ‘How to wash a woolly mammoth’ really engages children. It’s great for transition into KS2 and having thought about what the children enjoyed in Year 2 (dinosaurs) gives them the opportunity to link their learning experiences.

Blue Abyss in Year 4 has been supported by Flotsam, a wordless picture book with many opportunities for inference and imagination and It links to real life in history (the camera) and environmental issues.

Year 5 and their topic based around South America has been supported by The Explorer is a thrilling adventure that moves around a group of children. Fantastic for year 5s to put themselves in the Amazon.

Revolution – a topic themed around the Victorians is a favourite in Year 6. Some fantastic opportunities to look at how the victorians have influenced our lives now. Street child helps our children to imagine themselves in another child’s shoes. Some great writing coming from this!

Curriculum United!

In Term 6, the teachers at school all worked together to create a new curriculum overview. This united us as a team and got us creating a curriculum that united us as a school.

This was not easy because the National Curriculum had to be shared out to ensure that there was complete coverage.  There are pros and cons to starting a fresh.

Pros:

  • Creating a curriculum that matches our intent, our values and our vision
  • Teachers can plan for what they enjoy.
  • Plan for the children
  • Make cross curricular links
  • Organising hooks early
  • Place the learning into context
  • Resource early on
  • Take on the changes within the local area
  • Link to national and international events (Olympics)
  • Talking to each other to find out strengths and what/who we know
  • Thinking about it with fresh eyes in terms of SMSC and BV

Cons:

  • Coverage for those children who have already been through Year 1, 3, 4, and 5 may be repeated again.
  • It’s easier to do what we know
  • Reliance in topics or learning known due to own subject knowledge
  • Sharing out the National Curriculum (it was much easier in KS1 than it was in KS2)
  • Linking subjects
  • Time

We managed it though.  The next step though was to get teaching staff to think about each piece of learning as part of a learning journey.  There needed to be a context and a reason so it was real life.

We looked at giving children big questions within the term to give children an area to work towards.  Children can work towards building the skills to answer these and you’ll find that all children can get involved. In Year 1, a child finding out ‘Which flowers are fit for a queen?’ will use a range of learning areas with some children learning from research, some children learning from being read to, some children going to the park with their family.  All of these experiences can then come together to create a wide range of fun and interesting outcomes.

Then there are topics which engage children through taking on professions.  It’s good if you can get a parent in that can share more.  In Year 2, children are bakers, advertisers, dancers, musicians, critics, event planners, engineers and film directors. Think how fun children find the concept of Kidzania.  We are giving children a little bit of that!

Theme based learning UKS2 – Where does it fit in with the curriculum?

Key Stage 2 have had a fantastic term with lots of interesting learning going on. Despite the crazy Christmas term, a lot has happened.

Year 5

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The geography curriculum was covered by Year 5 during their Pharaohs topic.

Geographical skills and fieldwork

  • use maps, atlases, globes and digital/computer mapping to locate countries and describe features studied

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We have found that geography can be quite a difficult subject to teach across the school due to making sure there is progression. Finding countries on a map is something that a Year 3 or 4 child could do so it is important to be showing that we are moving children on…  Think about how this could link into another area of learning.

Year 6

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The topic all worked around TASC.  Children were given the task of creating a David Attenborough style video to show to parents.  All their science and geography learning built up to this super moment.

Geography

Human and physical geography

  • describe and understand key aspects of physical geography, including: climate zones, biomes and vegetation belts, rivers, mountains, volcanoes and earthquakes, and the water cycle

Geographical skills and fieldwork

  • use maps, atlases, globes and digital/computer mapping to locate countries and describe features studied
  • use fieldwork to observe, measure, record and present the human and physical features in the local area using a range of methods, including sketch maps, plans and graphs, and digital technologies.

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Even children are using their learning to complete something that they were interested in, away from school.

Science – Living things and their habitats

  • describe how living things are classified into broad groups according to common observable characteristics and based on similarities and differences, including microorganisms, plants and animals
  • give reasons for classifying plants and animals based on specific characteristics.

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Active learning – reciprocity

The last learning muscle that I need to share from Guy Claxton’s Building Learning Power is reciprocity.

I have always used superheroes to support BLP.  It gives children a fictional context in which they can join in with and add to.

1Using imaginary and real life learning superheroes can help in promoting all learning behaviours.

By having a superhero for reciprocity, children are given the superheroes remit.  What he is going to help us with.

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Then children get children to design their own superhero that has the powers to help Reciprocity Ray carry out his duties.

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Theme based learning – where does it fit in with the curriculum?

Term 1 is over so what did we manage to cover in Year 4 through our theme based curriculum?

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Science – Living things and their habitats

  • recognise that living things can be grouped in a variety of ways
  • explore and use classification keys to help group, identify and name a variety of living things in their local and wider environment
  • recognise that environments can change and that this can sometimes pose dangers to living things.

Art

  • to improve their mastery of art and design techniques, including drawing, painting and sculpture with a range of materials [for example, pencil, charcoal, paint, clay]

 

Computing

  • select, use and combine a variety of software (including internet services) on a range of digital devices to design and create a range of programs, systems and content that accomplish given goals, including collecting, analysing, evaluating and presenting data and information

Geography

  • describe and understand key aspects of:
  • physical geography, including: climate zones, biomes and vegetation belts, rivers, mountains, volcanoes and earthquakes, and the water cycle
  • use maps, atlases, globes and digital/computer mapping to locate countries and describe features studied
  • use the eight points of a compass, four and six-figure grid references, symbols and key (including the use of Ordnance Survey maps) to build their knowledge of the United Kingdom and the wider world

Music

  • play and perform in solo and ensemble contexts, using their voices and playing musical instruments with increasing accuracy, fluency, control and expression
  • improvise and compose music for a range of purposes using the inter-related dimensions of music

 

Moving our curriculum on – learning intentions and skills

In building our world class curriculum, I shared with my staff good examples of how learning intentions are used to drive the learning.

Class teachers need to ensure:

  • Skills are leading the learning intention.
  • Context can be shared in the annotation of what is happening in the lesson
  • Observations, photos, children’s work is used as evidence for the learning intention.

 

Skills documents used In our school are constantly being reviewed but you can find them here.