Susan Waddell and Joanne Brown of Bantaskin Primary School used the storyline approach to deliver their recent Toys interdisciplinary learning project. Earlier in the session, Susan had taken part in storyline training delivered by Yvonne McBlain, curriculum support teacher with Falkirk Council Education Services and got in touch to let Yvonne know how her first storyline had gone. Click here to view the storyline plan for this project, which links learning in science, technology and social subjects.
The project ran between October and December 2013 and used letters from a character called the Toymaker to direct the children’s learning towards specific experiences and outcomes. These E & Os are naturally connected to show pupils the overlap between science and technology and let them discover some of the properties of materials through a focus on toys past and present. Click here to see pupils investigating replica toys of the past through the handling boxes provided by Library Support for Schools, and Museum Services at Callendar House.
Click here to see how the pupils identified and sorted toys for different age groups, and here to see an example of one of the letters used by Susan and Joanne from the toymaker. The toymaker also gave the children a homework task – click here to see an example of a home-made puppet, and here to see a picture of the storyline celebration which the children used as a showcase event to share their learning with their parents and bring their storyline to a close.
Susan and Joanne felt that the storyline approach really engaged and focused their pupils on the learning. Pupils enjoyed their learning and when asked what they had learned, or what they were better at said:
Tylor “I learned about that toys are for big people and people who are five as well…I’m better at learning about toys”
Paul “So we would know what stuff was made of.”
Logan “Test it in the bubble bath for the toymaker…what is soggy and plastic is not soggy….” “He (the toymaker) said to fix the toy cos it was broken and it had batteries.”
Jodi “Toys that have got batteries to make them work… (I got better at) drawing, when we were a baby we scribbled, now we’re better at drawing.”
The storyline helped Susan and Joanne deliver science content about simple forces, the qualities of materials used in making toys through the ages, and supported skill development in working together and fine motor skills. Susan is now considering how to make the storyline more responsive to pupil ideas and input – in other words – how to let pupils control the story while maintaining the line of curriculum content and skill development required.