Over the last few school sessions, staff at Moray PS have been developing the methodology they use to deliver interdisciplinary learning. Gillian Brodie, principal teacher, and a working party of teachers within the school have researched and developed the storyline approach and taken part in training sessions and development work with Sallie Harkness and Dr Joyce Gilbert. They have admirably supported colleagues in their use of storylines with classes at all stages in the school. Initially, each teacher delivered a storyline from an existing plan, but now some teachers are beginning to adapt and make storylines creatively with their pupils.
At second level teachers are using characters and storyline devices to connect science, literacy and numeracy experiences and outcomes through contexts such as Space, and study of the sinking of the Titanic. Moray pupils gained deep understanding of Edwardian life and society, maritime history and bereavement through their study of the Titanic disaster. (see cabin model picture right). Primary 7 were challenged by a character called Doctor Diabolical to solve a range of scientific problems through their Captain’s blog (click here to visit) and the Don’t Panic Corporation.
Primary 3 & P3/2 officially opened their storyline Zoo on 29th April with a very large and excited audience attending. During their storyline, pupils adopted zoo keeper characters to inspire their development of research and literacy skills, and their knowledge and understanding of the habitats and needs of different animals. They created their zoo creatures and set up the care regimes required to keep their animal healthy and happy.
As can be seen from the photos, pupils also developed technology skills through rich task homework which could be done with parents and carers. When asked what they thought their most important learning during their storyline had been, Ellie said “That sometimes keeping animals is hard work…You’ve got to look after them … I had fun feeding the animals. We like to keep the animals so they don’t get lost (become extinct)”. Holly said “They escape…the turtle escaped and he died…probably because he was hungry”.
Staff at Moray PS are finding storyline methodology enables them to connect relevant areas of the curriculum through a context which really engages their pupils. In addition, the key questions and pupil involvement in developing the story, enables teachers to truly respond to pupil prior/existing knowledge and deliver learning in a way which is meaningful to the whole child (emotions and all!) This was clearly evidenced when Oliver in Miss Mitchell’s primary 1 class enthusiastically grasped the floor book created by his class during their “People who Help Us” storyline, and pointed out all of the learning experiences which he so obviously relished. His favourite learning was “Big walk to look at houses… and booking a holiday on the train with nana.”