On Tuesday afternoon the whole of year 7 showed what they have been working on in their ‘explore’ lessons to year 8 and staff at the school. This involved splitting the year group into 2 and having a ‘campaign afternoon’ and allowing year 8 classes and their teachers to come and visit the campaign stands the year 7’s had set up in the school hall. Campaigns were as varied as HIV/Aids, Landmines to the role of women.
This was a culmination of about 6-7 hours teaching time plus homework. It began by launching the project and allowing students to research different issues that might interest them by looking at various images. Students then used their questioning habit to distil further questions to help them focus their research when using the internet.
Students were asked to plan their campaign using De Bono’s thinking hats which gave them a structure to consider the different aspects of the campaign from facts (white hat) they thought should be included to creative ideas to get their point across (green hat).
The students were also asked to have academic rigour in their campaigns by producing both a letter the the Prime Minister and a leaflet (using maths skills e.g. graphs and to make it artistic). These were then redrafted using the critique culture that the students are used to using regularly, students give warm and cool feedback to eachother and come up with their own criteria and rubrics regularly.
The photographs show some of the outcomes the students have produced. The year 8s and other staff providing an ‘authentic form of assessment’ by giving feedback both verbally and in written form on a pro-forma that is then placed into a ballot box. Behind the cakes, Ipads, landmines and fancy T shirts was some deep thinking and knowledge of the issue the students were addressing. I and my team are very proud. Now it is important that students reflect on their individual role in their project and by using Guy Claxtons BLP learning muscles they are able to reflect on their learning throughout the project.
Feel free to contact me via twitter for more details about the explore curriculum.