Tuesday, 22 September 2009

A starting point

Here's our initial document that we're using to discuss the project with staff. It's been collated by Penny after discussion between her, myself and Libby. It would be great to know what you think of it...

Creative Partnership
Curriculum Development

Local Area Project

Over the next two terms we will focus our attention on developing our understanding of the knowledge and skills and levels for Geography and History as well as Art.

We would like to make this process interesting and stimulating rather than a hard slog after a full days work so we have made links between everything we are involved in to tick lots of boxes and save time and work load!

 Next term’s topics are: Animals, Egyptians, People who have changed the world
 We need to address community cohesion
 John Hill-Daniel is ready to develop a filming project with appropriate year groups
 We will be developing speaking and listening throughout the school
 To achieve the levels, many of the foundation subjects require children to ‘describe’
 It is difficult to decide when a child has attained e.g. a level 2 rather than a level 3 in a given area of a given subject.

For example:
Level 2
(1) They show knowledge and understanding of aspects of the past beyond living memory, and of some of the main events and people they have studied.
Level 3
(1) They show knowledge and understanding of some of the main events, people and changes studied.
Level 4
(1) They describe some of the main events, people and changes.
Level 5
(1) They describe events, people and changes.

What would you see in the child’s work or comments that would help you to assess them at the correct level?

We would like to kick start this process by the staff under taking a practical activity of exploring the local area of the school.

This would benefit everyone by:
 opening discussion on a common theme to develop a common understanding
 Help us to focus on exploring the NC definitions and vocabulary
 making sure everyone has a good knowledge of the local area both geographically and historically
 would include an additional staff meeting to explore the Birmingham archives to teach us all what is there and how it can benefit us in our planning and resourcing.
 make links between the generic elements of this focus and our other topics
 produce a Booklet for the local community about the local community to include history
 giving purpose to English

What this will look like:
- Staff will be in 5 groups, 1 in school, 4 groups to explore NSEW from the school
- Groups will walk the estate using maps and some local knowledge and phone back through to the group in school to request further historical information on features they have found
- Children can then be helped to map our routes that they and their parents can walk/explore in the future.
- Children can produce articles about features and services in the local area from teachers research and their own.
- John can work with groups to make films of local area including vox pops and internet blogs
- opportunities to develop speaking, listening (and the language of description)
- Staff in phases can then use the process to look in detail at level descriptors for geog and history (possibly ICT etc) to explore definitions and outcomes to agree what a level looks like.
- This work would also give purpose to English and genre writing.
- Each year group could be responsible for a section of the publication
- It could be supported through an after school club
- Work can then be published for the community (business links)
- In the future we could pass this on to other inner city schools who we could support to develop a book of their own area.

Topic links:
All children able to use subject vocabulary accurately and to have improved their ability and confidence to describe.

- habitats in the local environment
- What animals you are likely to find in the local environment
- levelling pupils use of evidence and sources

- Use of archives and museum resources
- levelling pupils use of evidence and sources

People who have helped us
- Use of archives and museum resources
- levelling pupils use of evidence and sources
- Local heroes

By the end of this project we would hope that all staff:
- feel confident about levelling in at least two subjects
- know the area the children are growing up in
- involve the children in meaningful work that has a purpose and outcome

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

New Project

A new year and a new project. Some of us met today to discuss where we might go with our change school work this year. We still have the notion that we are developing our teachers to develop our children's creativity, but now we have added an intention to develop speaking and listening. We recognise that children can't write better than they speak, so if we can improve aspects of speaking, then it follows that we can improve aspects of writing.

Our tools for developing these areas are film-making and our local area. We have come up with a working enquiry question that is "What is the story of our home and how can we tell it to others?" We have discussed a model of film-making where the film maker records the stories of some individuals and then gets them to tell her where to go next to find out more stories. We are hoping to use this model in some way to answer our enquiry question. We will start with the teachers planning rambling routes for our local area, followed up by investigating anything special about the routes from Birmingham archives. We are hoping to keep this 'safe' for the teachers, working form a place where they are comfortable to a place where they can become passionate about developing knowledge of the local area, keeping in mind our overall intention of developing creativity and speaking and listening.

That's as much as I'm going to say at the moment. It sounds vague maybe, but clarity will come...