My school has not wholly embraced a creative curriculum before now, although some year groups did make some links between subjects. With the exception of our writing, most subjects have been taught discretely in the past. However, a change in leadership at the school has brought about a change in approach. Earlier in the year, we were asked to begin grouping our topics together with a view to trialling the topic approach before the end of the year. Being in Year 4, it was fairly easy to group most of our subjects together into 2 very clear topics, with lots of odds and ends left over afterwards. This week, we were given some release time to get our heads around curriculum planning. Sadly for us, it was time for the “Odds and Ends” topic. We knew there had to be some kind of link between them – electricity, sound and map skills to name but a few of the topics – but the link was beyond us!
On Wednesday evening, my teaching partner and I sat down with a big piece of sugar paper and just scribbled. Now, I’m sure for so many people reading this, none of this is new, but for us it was a first. Soon, the page was covered in random ideas, some much better than others, and the arrows linking them together soon followed. By the end of Wednesday evening, we had some kind of an order to the chaos.
Today, we sat down to properly plan it out: it seemed our main problem was having too many ideas! Coming up with the ideas without the use of the internet was clearly a good idea – we had to rely on our own creativity rather than being preoccupied with trawling the web endlessly to find what others had done. The process clearly slowed down once we clicked onto Google- the internet is full of so many distractions. However, we’ve done it. Almost all of the rest of the year has been planned: just a couple of lessons left to plan for the end of the year. We have even managed to plan in a mock election to tie in with the General Election (there are some brilliant ideas on the Parliament website which we are going to use) and we were amazed by the creativity in our links. It’s such a satisfying feeling knowing that our whole topic is planned now for the rest of the year – and this was supposed to be the tricky one! We have even managed to get ourselves some topic books to use, rather than having our work scattered far and wide in different subject books. Hopefully, the children will produce something to be proud of with lots of exciting work, photos and (I’m excited to have thought of this while typing this sentence!) QR codes so they can show off their Flipagram electrical safety videos. I remember my topic books from my Year 5 days in school vividly – I remember the pride of having taken my watercolour painted, sticky back plastic covered New Zealand topic book home and showing my parents all that I had learned. The agriculture one – not quite so much enthusiasm, but still good! I really hope that my children have a sense of achievement too when we are finished.
We have an INSET day after the May half term where we can plan out the topics for the beginning of next year. Those should be a piece of cake! We have already taught the discrete subjects this year and spotted the links, so tying it all together in one master plan will be easy. I’m really excited about next term. The previous ones have all been fab: I’ve learned a huge amount myself and taught topics I’ve never come across before, but I think the next two terms could be the best yet!