I grew up in a small village with only 18 people in my class all the way through to primary 7. It is fair to say that I loved primary school and am lucky to say I had more positive learning experiences than negative ones.
In primary 3, we were learning to read through a learning scheme called ‘look and read’. Linked to this were a series of videos called ‘through the dragon’s eye’ which we got to watch once or twice a week in the afternoon. I remember being so excited to sit and watch the videos because they were so exciting (and actually a little scary!) for a 7 year old. We all would rush our work (which I now tell my pupils not to do!) so that we could watch these videos to solve the word problems and carry on with the adventure. Our teacher, who is actually now an art lecturer) was very artistic and I remember making the coolest things with her throughout our year in primary 3. When we finished the videos and the learning block, we got to make our own clay dragons and paint them, put gloss on them and the best part was… it was soooo messy and I loved it! I remember I actually lost my dragon and I was really upset about it because I loved the lesson so much and was so proud of my dragon. My friend Moray took his home and every time I visited I would get to see his clay dragon and I was so happy.
This is probably the most positive learning experience to stick in my head to this day (I can still remember the theme tune for the show!). The learning content showed clear progression, variety and engagement and the context was so exciting that it captured everyone’s attention in the class. There were clear IDL links in her lesson planning and honestly, I would love to sit and watch this block of lessons even now. I hope to have this same effect on my class and even when I am planning lessons, I try to make them as engaging and exciting as possible, simply because I remember how magical it felt to me when I was that age. School can be a sanctuary for some children so why can’t we make every day as magical as the last?