At the start of this year, we began the journey towards planning our curriculum through topics. To be honest, for a large part of the year, this has involved a lot of talking and thinking, and not a great deal of doing. However, this term, some of us have had a go at teaching through topics, and it’s great.
I know we may be a bit behind the times in this, but we’re getting there.
This week, we had an INSET day to begin to plan the curriculum ready for next year. This has been a big change in planning style for us: we have always planned a subject at a time, roughly planned the year out and then planned as we’ve gone along. So for us, having large chunks of time where we can sit down together and map out the year has been a bit of a treat. What was interesting was seeing the different approaches. Some had huge sheets of paper and wandered around the room adding ideas. Others huddled around a laptop and thrashed their ideas out together. Some mapped out the ideas, split up and typed up a term each. Others did everything together. Despite the different approaches, what we all had in common was the enthusiasm for the topics. Each year group briefly presented their themes to the rest of the staff, full of great lesson ideas, interesting activities, visits and visitors. Topic names caused (and continue to cause!) some debate, as we were all vying for the best name to suit our theme. While we haven’t completely finished our plans, it’s safe to say that we all have a fairly good idea of what will be taught next year.
After a successful day, problems have arisen for me since. My brain is in turmoil. I had planned some great ideas for this term, but my head is swimming with ideas for next year. I don’t know whether I’m coming or going. I’m in danger of doing my class a disservice by thinking about next year while I should be focusing on them. On the other hand, they could benefit: already, two days in to the term, plans are a-changing. Having suddenly realised that we have covered all of our geography objectives already (greatly helped by our STEM week project), we have realised that we have scope for change. Flexibility is the key. Some of our trainees were asking me about how to animate using the Learnpads before the holidays. After a few minutes exploring on the Learnpads, I soon discovered that the Learnpad Animator app was not only simple to use, but brilliant fun too. At first, the brain started whirring with ideas for next year, but soon turned to thinking of the opportunities for this year. Surely 5 big 3d maps of the local area, lego men and a Learnpad or two could turn into something pretty exciting?
And so the planning ahead continues… planning for next year, but also planning closer to home. Who knows where we could end up going. Watch this space!