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.
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.
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.