We invited the children and teachers that we worked with to tell you, in their own words, how we worked together. This is what they had to say and what they wanted to show you.
“We wanted pupils at our school to have the confidence and willingness to write. The top-set in Year 2 had difficulty writing factual texts and lacked pride in their work. There needed to be more meaningful activities linked to their writing. Our bottom set struggled with creative writing and having the experience and confidence to write unsupported. We have lots of outdoor space and outdoor classrooms that are underused in school. The project aimed to address this by supporting students and staff to take lessons out of doors to write.”
Year 2 Teacher
Higher ability average progress up from 19 points to 27 points! Lower ability average progress up from 23 points to 36 points!
Taken over a year that equates to an increase in progress of just about 1 complete sub level for every child - amazing!
The attitude towards writing has improved, children are happier to write and they now perceive writing as an 'activity' rather than a sit down exercise.
The children have increased their volume of writing and are more likely to try to use more adventurous vocabulary since the project.
Their language is more complex and they are adding more adjectives to their descriptive writing, 'big wolf' is now 'big, hairy, scary wolf'.
Dialogue is now being used in their writing, before one or two children were doing this now this is a general trend.
Speaking and listening skills and confidence have improved, student's expectations of themselves have been raised and they have an increased vocabulary. All children are happier to have a go at writing following work on speaking and listening. They are allowing themselves more time to think before writing.
Children no longer perceive the outdoors to be only for 'playtime' but now understand that it can be a learning environment as well.
Consultation with children initiated the project planning.
A CDP day for the teachers supported them in taking risks and using the outdoor spaces at school and explored how to draw out concrete learning outcomes from this way of working.
Two CPD sessions looking at the use of drama in the classroom in order to both support staff and help engage the students enabling them to get into character and create imaginative settings.
Setting an imaginative narrative context to work with teachers and children in the schools’ outdoor spaces in order to plan and execute lessons that are outside and allow for independent working.
The children were asked to feedback to 'The Games Inventor' about the games that he had sent them. Here's what they had to say....(click on the icon below)
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Child A has been able to make links to materials and descriptive words for writing, in the past he would either repeat what someone else has said or shrug his shoulders.
Child B is now writing notes before writing a story.
Child C was very quiet and would not participate, now he is participating and is coming up with a wider vocabulary. He is currently going through statementing and since the project his verbal ability has improved from 'robotic' speaking to fluent and expressive conversation.
“All of the children’s ideas were taken into account and listened to. The discussion of ideas with a group of 30 children was amazing”
We have more ideas of how to make writing more exciting, particularly narrative writing.
We are being more flexible with our planning and have learnt to let go and be less controlling of the class.
We are allowing students to think before writing and to not rush schemes of work, it is better to allow the children to work through a task than rush them and get less quality.
We are now teaching in different areas of the school. There is shared learning at staff meetings, work in outdoor areas has been planned into mid-term plan.
15 February 2013
01 February 2013