How our students benefited from taking this approach: This approach was of so much benefit to the children. It allowed them to really make sense of their learning and gave it a purpose. Children were amazed by what they discovered about the local area. The engagement of children was higher than I have seen in previous topics and their interest levels in their local area improved as well.
Quality of work was enhanced considerably, and children took real pride in their work, knowing it was to be displayed in the exhibition. Their insight into planning, designing and creating work also developed as they saw a topic through from start to finish. Children gained a range of curriculum skills and made links across subjects. As well as academic improvements, children developed social and emotional skills. Their cooperation and collaboration skills showed good progress and they were able to demonstrate empathy, especially with the lives of the people who stayed behind in the local area during WWI.
Perhaps the biggest impact I saw was the massive growth in confidence of the children during the exhibition. When they were interacting with visitors, the knowledge they shared, the way they communicated and drew in visitors was fantastic. The children were so proud of themselves and the work they had produced for the exhibition.
How I used the toolkit: We were part of the initial project that created the toolkit. We began by using the online resources, including the activity ideas for interacting with paintings and artefacts. The resources were easy to use both for planning and in the classroom and the toolkit we helped develop provides loads more ideas, including some from our exhibitions!
What the impact has been on our planning and teaching: The Humanities team have introduced a new whole-school approach to planning Geography and History, ensuring progression and continuity in knowledge, understanding and skills. We have used the MaM objectives, linked to NC and Assessment Milestones. We have provided staff with links to our local museums, as we see the use of artefacts and museum visits as essential. We have also established a rolling exhibition programme so that, across the year, all classes are producing an age-appropriate exhibition.
Top tips for other teachers:
“Use the resources”
The online resources and the museum are great – they have so much to offer schools.
“Really get the children involved in the planning of the topic and the exhibition”
However, don’t get carried away. Keep it realistic and within an achievable time frame – don’t try and do too much!