In the thematic curriculum 4 subjects that were previously taught separately, namely history, geography, art and design technology (DT), are combined into themed work which is more meaningful to the children.
In key stage 1 there are 3 themes per year for each year group (lasting one term each) and 2 themes in key stage 2 (which covers half a year of work). At present our themes are:
|Year 1||Victorian life|
|Year 2||Looking at London|
|You are what you eat|
|Oh I do like to be beside the seaside!|
|Year 3||Crystal Palace and the Great Exhibition|
|Invaders and Settlers (Anglo Saxons)|
|Year 5||Invaders and settlers (Vikings)|
|Crime and punishment|
|Year 6||Greece is the word|
|Walk like an Eygptian|
When planning for our thematic work we use the best elements of many different schemes of work, as well as original material that teachers themselves have contributed. In key stage 1, the children are introduced to a topic and any prior knowledge is established. The children engage in practical and fun learning activities planned by the teacher, with areas of learning all linked together under a common theme. In key stage 2 the work moves towards children engaging in independent research and they are carefully guided towards this by teacher led whole class sessions and ‘carousel’ work in which some groups are working independently and some groups are working with an adult. These groups then rotate (hence ‘carousel’) for the next session so that all groups get equal access to adult direction. Of course if children encounter problems the staff are still there to help.
By independent research we do not mean that the children are left to work without any adult intervention but rather that the direction their learning takes at this stage is determined by the child. If they are not confident working on answering their own questions it may be that they would work with another child or in a friendship grouping. Some suggestions of what this independent work might constitute are:
library research, using the internet, devising a questionnaire, taking photographs, recording a spoken answer. Answers may be recorded as a written piece, a table, an ICT presentation (‘2 connect’ or ‘Powerpoint’), labelled photographs, a labelled diagram, a picture, a sculpture, a recording, a video, something that is cooked (photographed), a model (photographed), a comic strip etc.
Independent research is arranged when all previous lessons have been completed to a good standard. It may be that some children only get a few sessions of independent work as the emphasis is on quality not quantity.