Teaching can be a strange thing, you can plan a lesson to within an inch of your life, you can create resources and finely tune the learning objective, but sometimes some of the best lessons can be those that you didn’t plan or even create an objective for. This is one of those lessons. It was our termly celebration day, where parents are invited in to share their children’s work from the term, and we had just come to the end of the sharing with an hour still left of the day. I had a class of expectant parents with little to do. “Right,” I thought, and pulled a bit of gamification out of the bag.
It’s 10.30am and fifteen Year 2 boys are huddled inside an old army parachute dappled in green and brown light, the noises of gunfire rattling in the distance, while outside they are confronted with life-size images of young soldiers in battle. Each child whispers to their partner as they write down their experiences. Which of these children are unengaged? Looking at the wonder and anticipation in all of the children’s faces as they scribble words and drawings on their paper, it’s hard to tell. And while we know each child will have different levels of engagement across different learning approaches, it reminds us that everybody has the capacity to be engaged.
The world-famous Globe Theatre is releasing a free app that will allow pupils to take a virtual tour of the London-based venue. To be launched on 19th April, Shakespeare’s Globe 360 will give kids worldwide a 360-degree photo-real version of the famous ‘Wooden O’. The recreation will be fully-interactive, with dynamic content providing information about the past and present of the unique building. The app is the first of its kind to be created by a theatre, and will include additional extras for 99p.
Last term I decided over breakfast that I needed to do something to make my Year 7 scheme of work on celebrations start off on a more interesting note. I concluded that simply greeting my class at the door and saying “we’re going to be studying religious and non-religious celebrations for the next six lessons” didn’t truly seem to grab my audience, and so I went about thinking of a more interesting way to introduce the topic. By the time I had arrived at school I had decided on a way to ‘parachute’ my students into an engaging lesson. I grabbed myself two student volunteers on the way into the building (whom I bribed with the promise of Maltesers...) to help set up my classroom.