Outstanding-lessons


1. Children chose project teams and designed a logo.
2. The class then removed all the classroom displays and each prject team (PT) backed an area of display board in their colour.
3. Each PT discussed and sketched out a plan of the classroom with a new layout that was conducive to a different style of learning - they then presented these to the whole class and as a whole set about relocating furniture (except the art chest which I saved for the caretaker).
4. PTs were allocated a workstation (tables and chairs!), project files and a grid with weeks 1-6 along the top, genre and topic down the side. Prior to the tests they wrote up a list of things they'd like to learn about from the middle of May+ and I then arranged them into groups e.g. sport, famous people, history etc
5. I led a genre selection session with all PTs (I was keen to ensure that the children produced different types of work for each of the topics) and introduced them to the concept that over 6 weeks every child would produce 6 pieces of work; 1 each from each genre. The range included leaflet, report, PowerPoint, poster presentation (informative, like ones produced at university - not adverts), a video and some other things I can't remember just now!
6. PTs plotted out which topic they wanted to study in which week and which of the forms their research would be presented in e.g. week 1: a sport - leaflet.
7. Within the PT the children then narrowed down their topic e.g. sport became rounders, history became Egyptians.
8. On the Friday before the projects began the PTs produced a jobs list and timetable in preparation for the Monday.

Come Monday they got on with it! They knew they only had from Monday to Friday to research a topic and present what they'd learned in their chosen form before it would be judged by the Head or Deputy. The display boards were used by different PTs in different ways but always to display their finished pieces on the Friday afternoon.

The children loved it and I loved it. It provided an amazing opportunity for supporting them in research skills, taking notes and paraphrasing for a purpose, how to avoid plagiarising (and how teachers can always tell!) plus giving them input on how to mount work, select co-ordinating/contrasting colours for effect, use PowerPoint properly, the importance of planning, of what makes an effective team and, best of all, the learning was completely and utterly led by their interests. The PTs that didn't get their projects completed on the first week learnt their lesson about faffing about... they were the world's most organised, effective team once they'd seen their empty display board alongside everyone else's.