Friday, 18 June 2010


Last night was our third teachmeet fishbowl event. It was quite different, each one has been, but still very exciting.

The first fifteen minutes was a whole room event, three experience fishbowlers were in the bowl, I think there is a video recording of it somewhere - just need to find it!

Next we broke out into smaller fishbowls, I was in the bowl to start session 2. We were given an old QCA based history unit based on The Tudors and were expected to update it with exciting activities. We promptly decided that out two big skills were research and presentation.  I spent so much time scribbling everyone’s ideas down that I can’t remember them :-) They will be shared very soon though. The main idea was to create a book, so do lots of research,  podcasts, interviews with the queens, Twitter as one of the queens trying to feel some of the pain, worry etc that they may have experienced. Discussion came up about findin data, verifying data etc - all very necessary skills for year 6, contributing towards a whole digital literacy.

After a short break where we sat sipping cold drinks with supper in the Italian garden we went back into a second small bowl session.

Around our table, and I was facilitator this time, the bowl structure broke down and it simple became a round table - that did not detract from the session, just took away the formality.

Our theme was rockets and so many ideas cropped up it was wonderful, I sat scribbling ideas for about 20 minutes – again they will be shared soon, but the group I was with thought it may be good to have a rocket making its journey from class to class all up the school. In Foundation Stage it may be a model rocket, but we decided they would need a passport to their new class, so taking digital photos to make ID cards was one lovely idea that was shared. Also recording their thoughts, fears, information about their families and pets on a easy speak mic which recording could be put with the photos and sent to the next class as introductions were among the ideas I recorded. As we moved to KS1 we got lots of 2Simple 2 Publish ideas, comic strip type of booklets to pass between classes. Bee-bot journeys, moon landings, a voice thread with the moon landing video clip in the middle and pupils adding their thoughts around it were all ideas for KS1.
As we moved up into Key Stage 2 Wallace and Gromit inspired use of stop motion animation to tell children's stories and to inspire writing encouraging creativity. The Earth in Space would be the main theme at that stage so therefore lots of science probably a lot of data handling comparing size distance away from the sun, moons and satellites ect.

One teacher spoke about the transition project that her year 6 to 7 child was doing. They were making moon buggies and testing them, so they were designing, making, testing possibly programming them on the computer but I am not sure about that.  They were going to take the buggies up into year seven and revisit the project at the end of the year after they had them all in a science work and D&T programme to try to improve them.

 Another teacher spoke about transition where they had a similar sort of project that the children did it all in secondary school so for six weeks they would go to the secondary school one morning a week and create their moon buggies while there, and then bring them back to primary school to talk about what they had done so that the children in year four and five that were still facing the transition would start to get a feel for how it was going to go and start to understand the process that they were going to go through as they went into the transition class.  Certainly the rocket theme did make that sort of project possible. Once again to change schools a passport idea would be good, also a video telling the history from one place moving onto the next place would be interesting. Lots of ideas came and I cannot remember most of them I am looking forward to them being written up and shared.

We did have an idea last night that the team may build a whole creative curriculum project around the theme.

There is nothing magical and new about the fishbowl idea it simply groups of teachers coming together and all pooling their ideas, as one says something that sparks an idea from another teacher and that sparks idea from the next and so the discussion at the table gets quite interesting and very lively.

We also discussed the very necessary aspects of assessment, peer assessment, self-assessment, mind maps before and after were all suggested ways of the teacher keeping check on what was going on.

Finally the discussion on most tables seemed to be around the barriers to success when thinking about these exciting projects.  To some people that was having not yet adopted a creative curriculum, they were still stuck with the old QCA units, for others it was teachers who were not ready to embrace the technology.

It was a wonderful night and lots of food for thought with lots of inspiring ideas many of which we need to share with as many teachers as possible.

PS 1 - Leon's photos :-) 
PS 2 - have found the video stream - lots of video to come later though I think.

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