Does gut feeling equal better teaching – and learning?

Today I slowed the rollercoaster using a pinch of bravery and a dose of gut instinct.

I changed the order of the day around (TT only works 4 days a week, so have sneaky opportunity to do so). Picked apart Abacus plan the night before and prepared for my maths lesson, making a few quick Notebook slides to ensure it moved logically (for me at least!). It worked – 15 minutes on the carpet with plenty of TPS and then a hands-on activity for my MAG, everyone achieved and I even managed a decent plenary.

We shifted all the furniture and made a circle of chairs and had a P4C session using Say Hello by Jack and Michael Foreman (superbly simple book with layers of richness to be unearthed under the surface), a question on loneliness ended up as a discussion about homelessness – am always surprised how these sessions work themselves around! Still not everyone taking part, but its only the 3rd time.

But the biggest success was feeling that some hands on creative learning was required to help understand the concepts of habitats and start to contemplate food chains. Dare I even admit – there wasn’t even really a plan. I just knew I wanted to pass this all back to the children and see what they could come up with. The potential for chaos and disaster felt huge!

But I took a leaf out of the early years book – and raided all their resources!! Year 4 was filled with tough spots, trays, plastic bugs, animals and even some fake snow! After a short session modelling and talking using snow and arctic animals. I just gave each house group (mixed ability) a selection of creatures and laid out all the other resources at the front of the classroom…. and let them go for it.

Creativeness ensued. Everyone worked collaboratively. Every child was engaged. No one fell out. Not one child came to me and moaned about another child’s behaviour.

When children came up to me saying “We need water for a river” the answer they got was  – “we are in a school, what could you use? – its up to you.” They went and found blue paper and cut a river and a pond, others went outside to gather more bits they felt they needed. Another group went around and raided all the pot plants and created a jungle. I listened in on conversations about how certain creatures couldn’t live there ‘because it can’t eat’, we stood on chairs to get “birds eye” views of our habitats and understand the purpose of camouflage. Adjustments were made. Learning happened. And when we had tidied up, they didn’t want to stop – they wanted to know about food chains and how they are drawn. Result!! – next weeks lesson has an interest already!! I can feel the post-its, skipping ropes and seal-acting skills coming out before we start to record anything!

I am starting to let children use the ipad during carpet sessions to find out stuff we don’t know – and want to know now! …it’s working but that’s another post! But we all learnt that badgers are omnivores and eat hedgehogs as well as roots and berries.

Whilst I didn’t ‘teach’ and I gave the children a reasonable amount of freedom. I did circulate, question and take photos! Next time, I would rather like to take a leaf of Oliver Quinlan’s thought book and really step back and ‘just’ observe. I wonder what else I’d notice?

But roll on a few more creative days like that!

One Response to “Does gut feeling equal better teaching – and learning?”

  1.   Fiona Johnson Says:

    That’s wonderful – doesn’t it feel great! Lock your TT in the cupboard and carry on yourself!! 😉


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