Wednesday, 18 June 2014

What have you had to teach to get the students going on the project?

Understanding the title of the course and how it links to the content of the fortnight.(past present future vintage)

We taught our students about Islam but sent them away to answer the key questions. They have had instruction in Makaton. They were also given a shot master class in writing children's books; thinking about sentence types, punctuation and use of italics. They then drafted their first story attempts. All of which are fantastic! Well done girls :)

Number one focus has been explaining to students that PF is not about having two weeks off timetable. 

It's about problem solving, developing skills and relationships whilst understanding that future career goals/expectations must be met by academic rigour if they are to succeed. 

Students today shone in discussion with 3 chief test engineers at the world's largest wind turbine test facility... On their doorstep! 

We hardly had to do anything today - the students have pretty much done it all! I think that making sure they planned what they were going to do today yesterday morning (Zoe did some great input around the Healthy Eating plate) and then we all went to the shops to get it was really 'living the task and the learning'. I also think that they enjoyed the challenge of the (small) budget, knowing that there was a store cupboard of basic ingredients, negotiating with each other, etc. For me, today has been really special. The quality of the meals produced which were healthy, balanced, researched, chosen, prepared and cooked entirely by them FROM SCRATCH (!) has been truly fantastic. I think that they have surprised themselves by how much they have achieved today.

Day 1 - What are the components of the computer
Day 3 - How to put together a computer and set it up
Day 4 - How do the main components work in a PC (CPU, RAM, Hard Drive, Optical Drive)

In the Choctastic Cookbook project we have taught students a variety of skills that are essential for any successful chocolatier, including the very difficult skill of tempering chocolate. We were fortunate enough to have a chocolate expert to deliver a session on fair trade and ‘green’ chocolate to the students to kick start their research.
The students have also taught us many things! Did you know that one of the health risks of chocolate is lead poisoning and white chocolate contains no cocoa solid and only cocoa butter, therefore it is not really chocolate at all?

We had a visitor come in yesterday who is a professional nutrionist and a competitive female athlete in powerlifting. She shocked the class with junk food videos, explained balanced diets and promoted healthy eating for young people. This lent itself it to reviewing our diets and also introduced some GCSE Maths questions based on recipes. Additionally, this topic was well supported by the Year 7’s who had done their EAT project in Science. Students have also had to work cooperatively in order to attempt team building exercises we designed and had to complete numeracy puzzles online that require problem solving skills. We are building a sense of community spirit now and students are good practitioners of the drafting process, they naturally want to improve the quality of their literacy and drawings.

At the risk of repetition, the actual teaching that the three of us has done has been minimal. We have been as close to the model of The Guide on the Side as it’s possible to be. Students have been literally researching or creating , then as a natural part of that process, following a connected line of enquiry. Our input has been along the lines of constructive feedback, although to be fair, most of the feedback has been via critique by the group. The real input we have had is in contacting individuals to come into school; Ronnie Campbell is coming on Friday for example. Rightly or wrongly, a request from a teacher is more likely to get a positive response than one from a student.
The students have accepted roles readily and demonstrated an understanding of what is required to complete tasks whilst in role. I guess that their experiences in L2L, TDU, Humanities etc have given them the foundation to approach this task with such confidence.

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