Heather Nicol and her primary 6 class at Carron PS in Falkirk, are working on the Global Storyline project “Our Crop, Our Land” created by WOSDEC. Click here to learn more about this excellent global citizenship resource.
Heather’s pupils created the community of Springfield where most of the villagers rely on farming the crop Berryblush to earn their living. Each pupil has a Springfield persona which they pop in and out of during the storyline to help them understand complex global citizenship and sustainability issues. Click here to see how pupils shared their existing knowledge of farming, and here to see the daily diary of Olivia Spriengeer, one of the Springfield farmers.
Within the drama, it is harvest time and the people of Springfield are preparing to sell this year’s crop of berryblush to the highest bidder at market. (See their marvellous harvesting machines on the right). Outside the drama they have been learning about farming and global commerce and how the cost of real life crops is appropriated to each party who helps to get it to our shops. Click here and here to see how pupil thinking has been affected by a learning experience called Banana Split, and explore pupil thoughts on why people are hungry by clicking here.
These are some of the learning activities integrated within the storyline to develop real and deep understanding of global commerce, rights, fair trade and social responsiblity and help pupils to become responsible citizens and effective contributors.
Heather’s class are really enjoying this connected learning experience which links experiences & outcomes in social studies, expressive arts and health and well-being. The storyline approach develops empathy and genuine understanding of global issues, as well as making the learning coherent and relevant to the pupils. Heather has applied her global storyline training and context building so well, that pupils asked to take some of their learning experiences home to work on them with their parents. They feel outraged that most farmers get so little payment compared to the other parties involved in getting food to us, and want to make sure others get to know about this too. Heather and her pupils will soon discover just how volatile this market can be, and how that volatility impacts on food producers around the world.
This is an excellent example of type 2 interdisciplinary learning where pupil skills and understanding are broadened and challenged through the cross-cutting themes of global citizenship and sustainability. The storyline approach and integration of drama and art and design ensure that pupils are consistently engaging in higher order thinking and reflection, which results in real progression.
STEM Central is a very rich source of support materials for discrete and interdisciplinary learning which develops understanding of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Click here to explore the range of learning journeys and contexts available. These resources also support planning of learning which meets recommendations of the Learning for Sustainability Report. Click here to view a second level learning journey linked to the theme of Using Water, and here to view a third level example. These documents demonstrate how to bundle related experiences and outcomes across the STEM subjects. They also show the prior learning required for the study, and the skills being developed. There are suggested success criteria, learning experiences and evidence of learning and next steps. Most learning journeys have additional “challenges” which follow on and allow pupils to apply and deepen their understanding using an unfamiliar context – click here to see an example. The STEM website also has excellent information on how higher order thinking skills are integrated into the learning journeys.
Education Scotland states that interdisciplinary learning: “enables teachers and learners to make connections across learning through exploring clear and relevant links across the curriculum. It supports the use and application of what has been taught and learned in new and different ways. It provides opportunities for deepening learning, for example through answering big questions, exploring an issue, solving problems or completing a final project.”
The importance of interdisciplinary learning as one of the 4 contexts for learning is highlighted by this quotation. Education Scotland has just published assessment and moderation exemplar materials which show how teachers carefully select a relevant and related “bundle” of experiences and outcomes. These exemplars (click here to view the collection) provide an assessment overview of the significant aspects of learning being developed in one subject area, but almost always show the teacher making a type 1 connection between one or more subject areas and/or with the cross-cutting themes of Curriculum for Excellence.. Click here to see how E & Os within HWB & LIT were linked at early level. Click here to see how higher order reading skills were integrated with contexts for learning at first level. To see how modern language vocubulary skills and thinking skills within literacy were linked at second level, click here. To explore how RME & Buddhism were linked to modern life at third level, click here. These do not prescribe the way these things must be done – they simply show how teachers have planned, delivered and assessed linked learning for their pupils. They may act as useful examples of very focused IDL which provides breadth, challenge and/or application opportunities for pupils.
Sarah Ritchie and colleagues from Bonnybridge PS worked with pupils to create a range of learning experiences linked to the Commonwealth Games and building on their Olympic Games legacy. Their plan helped children learn about citizenship at a local and global level, and resulted in the school being nominated for the Legacy Award at the Scottish Education Awards. Although they did not win, everyone involved was proud of the difference this interdisciplinary learning has made to pupils this session, as this extract from their Facebook page explains:
So, we never won the Legacy Award but we had a brilliant time at the ceremony!! We were the only primary school to make the final so that’s a massive achievement and a big well done to our pupils, staff and parents. We got a nice £250 voucher and other goodies to take away.
For a more detailed understanding of the learning involved, click http://t.co/wGfHrzXBbD
The British Council have a range of education resources which may be useful sources of ideas for interdisciplinary learning linked to sustainable and international education. Here http://schoolsonline.britishcouncil.org/classroom-resources is a link to the resource section of their website.
Click here to take a look at the Rivers of the World resource pack. It has learning experiences for various age groups linked to bundles of social subject, science, art & design and maths learning. These include field work skills to support taking learning out of the classroom.
You may have time to use any comparative river study work already done with your primary 5 & 6 pupils in this http://glo.li/1kx9OMY competition run by the British Council – see details below:
|Win a trip to Totally Thames with Rivers of the World
|Enter your primary school into our ‘Design a River Creature’ competition
|The prize We will pay for the winning team to take part in the Totally Thames season of events and enjoy lots of fun activities including a student workshop at the British Council and a visit to the Tower Bridge Experience.
What do I need to do?
Using the Rivers of the World education pack as a resource, ask students to work in groups of five to create an art work and an accompanying piece of creative writing. It can be based on a real or imaginary creature from an overseas country and river ecosystem.
Who can enter?
Primary Schools Years 4 & 5 (5 and 6 in Scotland)
Staff at Larbert Village PS have used interdisciplinary learning to prepare their pupils for their Comenius visitors during week beginning 2nd June 2014. Children have extended their knowledge and understanding of International Education by studying traditional tales from the 7 European countries which their visitors come from. Laura Willox and staff colleagues planned their teaching around these stories to develop their pupils’ literacy skills, and to offer an engaging context for pupils to apply other curricular skills. Pupils in all stages have read at least one story from each country and have been able to interpret these through drawing, storyboards and story telling sessions. They collated their work into a “floor book” and were able to share these with their visitors.
In primary 2W, pupils asked their Spanish visitor about other Spanish legends and found out about his part of Spain and Spanish customs. They also learned that their assumption that Spanish people have a siesta at lunchtime was not true – a valuable reminder not to stereotype!
The children all had different views about each story. For example, some pupils relished the scary Portugese story while others liked the stories with dragons, magic and romance. Click here to view what the children said about their preparations for the visit.
The children in the Butterfly room of the enhanced provision unit had the important task of designing, and sourcing the contents for, a small souvenir gift bag for their visitors. As you can see, the children were deservedly proud of their Scottish themed bags complete with shortbread, tablet, Larbert Village pencils and Saltires!
All in all, this has been a really valuable process for everyone involved and has contributed to building a really positive ethos within the school and its community as well as to their programme of interdisciplinary learning.
On Friday 30th May, Liz Stephen and Laura Beattie of Deanburn PS celebrated the conclusion of their Giant of Thistle Mountain global citizenship storyline. They have both been part of the first cohort of Falkirk teachers being trained by the West of Scotland Development in Education Centre (WOSDEC) to deliver their global citizenship storylines.
All of the teachers who have taken part in this interdisciplinary learning have reported very valuable impact on their pupils. This includes development of pupil understanding of social justice and equality (Why is the giant so unhappy? What can we do to help?), their respect for diversity (Don’t assume the giant is bad because he is loud and scary-looking), and their critical thinking and ability to understand the importance of communities.
The pupils in Liz Stephen’s primary 1 class greeted fellow pupils, parents and other guests by miming their character role in their imaginary village of Thistle Mountain. They then took their guests on a guided tour of their work throughout the storyline and the frieze and model village they had created. Both classes had created their own giant too.
This storyline bundles a small number of experiences and outcomes from Religious and Moral Education, Health and Well Being and Social Subjects. It skillfully combines active learning experiences with drama interludes where the children are in role and have to deal with very difficult questions and issues. They are taken on a journey which effectively supports them in forming their social attitudes and emotional development. There was lots of evidence of deep understanding of the dangers of stereotyping and the value of co-operation and collaboration to build a succesful community. It was clear from the children’s readiness to take on their character role, that they thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. (Click here to view a video compilation of the work displayed)
Laura effectively built opportunities for pupils to apply their literacy knowledge and understanding through a before and after “role on the wall” activity. Each class created their own giant and village using their chosen media.
Liz and her class used a flip chart to capture their developing ideas throughout the project, and this was available for parents to view during their visit. It can be very difficult to capture evidence of developing learning during discussion with groups of children, and Liz found this flip chart method worked really well.
Teachers and pupils from a range of Falkirk establishments showcased their Global Citizenship work at an event in Larbert Village Primary School on 15th May 2014.
Bo’ness Academy shared International Education and Commenius projects worked on by their S2 & 3 pupils. This work targeted a range of skills and there was great evidence of pupil research and information handling capabilities. Larbert High School pupils confidently shared a range of Global Citizenship and Sustainability work. It was obvious that they have worked in a really effective way with partner organisations like Communities on the Carron to change their local environment. The school captains have also driven the Captain’s challenge initiative which is motivating pupils to really push their own personal achievements out with their academic studies. Click here to see a flyer or use this link http://youtu.be/SMmsECVH3zE to get more information about this inspirational project.
Inchlair Nursery children spoke confidently to visitors about all of the Commonwealth Games learning they have gained over the last few months. Click http://glo.li/1idQWh7 to read more about this work. They have been really engaged by the story of Captain Bristle’s Thistles and wore their special Inchlair Commonwealth T-shirts. Larbert Day Nursery staff shared the learning their children have gained about the Commonwealth and the games using their floor book and examples of children’s work.
There was also lots of good primary school practice on show, linked to the Commonwealth Games theme. Teachers in Falkirk schools have been creative in their planning and delivery of lessons within the cross-cutting theme of global citizenship. They have used the Commonwealth context to make their teaching relevant and coherent for their pupils. The examples displayed showed that pupil skills, knowledge and understanding were being broadened and deepened through this work – sometimes to develop new skills, sometimes to offer a new way to apply existing skills.
Pupils have also been developing their attitudes and ability to challenge their thinking about global citizenship issues. Teachers taking part in Global Storyline training shared their development of The Giant of Thistle Mountain. These teachers have adapted this storyline for their pupils and were able to evidence extremely valuable teaching and learning around issues like stereotyping, racism, needs and wants. Pupils from Limerigg PS and Carron PS shared their learning experiences with guests. Each class involved in these storylines has created their own visualisation of the “giant” character – see some of these in the photo above.
Isabel Ross from Scotdec attended the event and shared valuable resources and training opportunities with people who attended. The showcase was organised by Megan Farr of Falkirk Service Support and Improvement Team in conjunction with Laura Willox and her Global Citizenship strategy group colleagues. Jane Jackson and Yvonne McBlain of Falkirk Service Support and Improvement Team hope to work with this group and other colleagues to support our authority implementation of the recommendations in the Learning for Sustainability report. Click here to link to this report http://glo.li/1nIWaZW .
On 23rd March, staff and pupils at St Francis Xavier RC PS welcomed parents, guests and members of the community into their school to share their interdisciplinary learning. Yvonne McBlain of Falkirk Council curriculum support team did her best to visit each classroom to capture a flavour of the learning which had taken place. The afternoon was a real success with a strong turnout of visitors leaving very positive feedback.
Primary 1 & 1/2 classes had studied the film Monsters Inc to develop their ability to interpret digital text. Their teacher employed a storyline approach to guide their learning using the character of Boo. The class explored pattern and shape in a range of ways and worked with a parent who was an interior designer. They created a new room for Boo, complete with a new bed. Tegan enjoyed “when we made the pipes…because we got to paint them and put glitter on them”. Pupil learning linked experiences & outcomes in literacy, science and ICT.
Primary 2 used the story of Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory to develop their understanding of the design process. On the open day the children in each class experienced a rotation of tasks which their parents & guests could join in with. One of the tasks was making real chocolate crispy cakes. Every classroom visited had great examples of rich task homework which pupils had self-selected.
Primary 3 studied Ancient Egypt and most were dressed as Egyptians. Ahmad said “My favourite bit was doing my name in hieroglyphics.”
In primary 4 Isla was an expert guide and explained the moon missions, alien creation and outdoor survival skills developed during their Space topic. She “enjoyed learning how the rockets work.”
Primary 5 pupils had studied the rainforest and linked learning in science, social studies, and developed their research and literacy skills. Primary 6 classrooms had gone all French and one even had a very large model of the Eiffel Tower in the centre of the room.
Primary 7 had been working on a SCIAF project to develop their understanding of sustainability and global citizenship.
Staff across all stages had obviously planned thier interdisciplinary learning in a creative and collegiate way. They have impacted positively on their pupils’ engagement in and enjoyment of learning, and employed a range of approaches to “enrich” the curriculum for their pupils.
Fourteen Falkirk teachers are currently putting their Global Storyline training into practice by delivering their Giant of Thistle Mountain storyline. This training was delivered by colleagues from WOSDEC (get more info at www.globalstoryline.org.uk ), and will run this session and next. Diana Ellis, Marie-Jeanne McNaughton and Lynn Baxendale from WOSDEC, and Yvonne McBlain, curriculum support teacher with Falkirk Education Services, caught up with our teachers on Wednesday 12th February, to find out how the storylines were developing. The teachers shared where they had reached in the storyline plan, and described the impact it was having on their pupils. Gemma Douglas at Kinnaird is delivering her storyline with her own class, and supporting primary 1 & 2 colleagues so that they can take part in the storyline too – it’s going really well and having very specific impact on the skills of certain pupils. Jenny Deacon at Carron PS is finding that her pupils have “totally embraced” the storyline and are demonstrating very sophisticated levels of thinking (click here to see some of Jenny’s documentation). Angelique Watt, and Emma-Jame Williamson are adapting the storyline for their enhanced provision pupils at Larbert Village PS, who are engaging really well with the characters and progressing their social skills too. Holly Keenan at Bonnybridge PS has used the storyline to develop her primary 2 pupils’ understanding that it is people who make a community. Jennifer Main at Wallacestone PS can already see how her pupils are applying and developing their awareness of rights and responsibilities through the storyline, and Liz Stephen and Laura Beattie are finding that their pupils are better at co-operating while in role during the storyline at Deanburn PS. Click here to see a photo of the “floor book” record which Laura is using to document the project, and note Liz’s class frieze of Thistle Mountain below. Gillian Cain at Comely Park PS found that her pupils are also developing their understanding of communities through the context, and are so enthusiastic about it that they choose to draw Thistle Mountain during golden time.
WOSDEC have adapted the Giant of Thistle Mountain for second level pupils, and the teachers involved with this plan were really pleased with the degree of impact already on their pupils. Click here to see some of the extended and creative writing done by primary 5/6/7 composite pupils at Limerigg PS with their teacher Ashley Thomson. Pupils at Limerigg are very engaged in the storyline and are sad that other pupils in the authority are not able to take part – they thought everyone should be doing this topic! Katrina Lucas at Comely Park PS, and Heather Nicol at Carron PS both have pupils who are responding really well to the storyline (see Heather’s class Thistle Mountain frieze at the start of this post), and developing their creative and critical thinking during the drama and other activities. Brenda Bennie at Kinnaird PS and Nicola Kemp at Bantaskin PS have been “blown away” by the improvement in their pupils’ understanding of stereotypes and citizenship in general. Their pupils have really got the message that you “shouldn’t judge things you don’t know about”.
It was evident from these updates from the teachers, that the global storyline is already having a huge impact on Falkirk pupils. Marie-Jeanne, Diana and Lynn were also hugely impressed by the degree of reflection, professional enquiry skills and creativity of the teachers involved. Yvonne has suggested that some teachers may want to share their work at the Global Citizenship Showcase event which will take place at Larbert Village PS on 15th May 2014.