As part of our Curriculum Development, we’ve been trialling ways to get children being more independent with their learning and giving them a chance to lead their own learning. We came up with what we’re now calling ‘Discover and Do’ activities. At the start of, or during a learning theme, teachers and children will come up with questions and activities that they’d like to explore as part of that theme. Some of these questions/activities will form the core teaching which goes on in class, but some of these activities may be made available in the classroom as Discover and Do activities. There may be a set Discover and Do time during the theme, or the activities could just be ongoing throughout the week for children to access. They don’t replace our usual ‘lessons’ but they are used alongside the other learning taking place which is more teacher-led. The point of these activities is that there’s very little teacher instruction or direction and children have to use their Super Learning Powers to explore and discover what they can.
Yesterday, as a staff, we wanted to see the progress of these Discover and Do activities across the school and also learn from each other’s creative ideas. We decided to rotate staff around the school during the afternoon to allow them to see the children in every classroom.
Today, we had a staff meeting to debrief about what we saw yesterday, reflecting on how effective Discover and Do activities are and the impact on children and their learning.
Main points of the discussion –
- There was a smile on EVERY child’s face as children explored the activities
- There was an excellent range of creative ideas and resources available for children to use around the school
- Children right across the school were incredibly keen to show teachers what they had accomplished or done – whether that be creating an electric circuit that worked, building a sandcastle or block house or doing research about a poem.
- All children’s feedback on Discover and Do was positive – they also really liked having the teachers from across the school visiting yesterday to see some activities taking place. (It was really nice for the Year 6 teachers to visit and chat with the Reception children and vice versa – we’re a large school, so it’s not always easy to make this happen)
- All staff liked and saw the value of Discover and Do and seeing children progress their own learning, finding things out for themselves.
- Staff were able to see progress in children’s work/ability as they moved through the school and activities were appropriate for the age range.
- There is a lot of work involved for staff in collecting the resources and also working with the children to tidy up afterwards, but on the whole staff felt the outcome was worth the effort.
- Children like being involved in thinking of the ideas for the activities and seeing other children in their class doing the activities they’ve come up with
Anyway – I’ll stop rambling now… The point of this blog post was to tell you that I also went around nearly every class to see what learners were doing, the progress they were making and how well they were able to talk about their learning, and I couldn’t resist taking some photos. They don’t show the context of what the aim of each activity was, but it would be a shame not to share them with parents. I was so proud of the children and actually, how much they were able to learn independently and also proud of the staff for being so creative and willing to try new things.