This is my first, hopefully not my last, ever post about the learning that takes place in my classroom. After stumbling across #pedagoofriday several weeks ago, I have been sharing the experiences of the 8 and 9 year olds in my class through our blog
My experience lies in Early Years, (9 years in FS2, 3 years in Y1) and my philosophy has always been to allow children to take time to think, make mistakes and be responsible. When I took the plunge and moved from Y1 to Y4, I brought many of the same ideas. Children very quickly knew there was joint ownership of the room and it’s contents. Equipment was made available to eliminate the low level questions of “can I get a pencil” and a collaborative reward system was put in place.
Since September we have been following a Creative Curriculum and most recently a theme about Ancient Egypt. Because this is the first time I have taught this age range I won’t pretend it has been easy – it hasn’t, and much of my planning time is spent researching and learning the content myself! But I can honestly say it has been the best move of my career. I’ve been able to do all the things I’ve read about and wanted to try over the last 12 years.
Over the term our Ancient Egypt theme has been guided by the children. We started with “what do I know already” and “what do I want to learn?” Blog post
One of the most popular activities was making God and Goddesses Top Trumps. Not only did this enable children to research the Gods but they also used their ICT skills to make the cards. Blog post
The children also designed and make their own games. Blog post
Throughout our school we use Learning Logs as our only homework. We believe children are only reciting known facts or knowledge when they complete worksheets and the creativity and diversity Learning Logs offer, is a greater learning opportunity.
Here are some examples of Learning Logs as part of this topic. Blog post
The children also made observational drawings of some artefacts we were very fortunate to borrow for the museum service. Blog post
Half way through the theme we went to the Leeds City Museum to take part in workshop and to see first hand a real mummy and other exhibits. This was perfectly timed to re-ignite the topic area and also because the children had some knowledge already, they were able to identify what they were looking at. I was delighted to hear many “oooooos and arrrrrrahhs” Blog post
We also found out about the Weighing of the Heart Ceremony. Children made story strips to show the two possible outcomes of this event. Blog post They were very interested to find out about Ammut.
Children also created some hieroglyphics
World Book Day was linked to the story of creation and children created mini books, collage, puppets and their own cartouche.
As the theme was coming to the end and our name was down for a class assembly, it made sense we would share our fantastic 3 months. The children learned a little play depicting the preparation for King Tutankhamen’s tomb, sang as song and showed off their work. Blog post
After the assembly the parents were invited back to class to see the exhibition of work and play the games the children made.
The children played their games for the last time Blog post one Friday afternoon.
Finally, we rounded off the theme with one last morning of fun. Children made a learning log style page to illustrate all their new knowledge about Ancient Egypt.
I dressed up as an Egyptian Queen and painted the children’s eyes. They were very keen to have their eyes made up and proudly showed off at playtime. I’ve had some lovely comments on the blog from the children, the have really enjoyed this theme and look forward to our next one after the Easter break.
I hope you’ve made it to the end of my ramblings! and I hope you might have an idea or two to use in your class.
Do visit us and say hello. http://www.year4blogspot.blogspot.co.uk/
One last thing..
A conversations I over heard;
Boy1: I don’t know if I dare have my eyes made up
Boy1: The other kids might laugh at us at playtime
Boy2: So what if they do, they’re only jealous.
Boy2: Yeah, jealous ‘cos they’ve not got an ace teacher like we’ve got!
That made my day