There are so many things that we need to pack into a school week. A daily English and mathematics lesson, a daily phonics or spelling mini-lesson, a daily guided reading session and then a lesson for PE, art, history, geography, RE, science, music and DT. We then have to think about how to weave computing and a lesson of German into our day.
So, the curriculum is complex and we have to come up with ways of combining subjects or linking learning or blocking subjects in our timetable to ensure it is broad and balanced.
For this reason, it was refreshing on Friday to be spontaneous and abandon our usual timetable to experience the eclipse with our children and then spend some time helping them to find out more about what had just happened. If you are following us on Twitter you will have seen some of the images I was able to capture across the day. What the images don’t show was the buzz in the school and the enthusiasm and excitement felt.
When the eclipse came it was very cloudy in Unsworth and so the children found it difficult to see the images through their ‘pinhole cameras’. Mr Evans did his best with the colander from the school kitchen but to no avail. However, we did experience a growing darkness of sorts and a chill. The children just enjoyed being outdoors together and being part of such a rare occurrence.
It was afterwards that the real excitement kicked in. Some classes watched live feed from the BBC and others watched simulated models of the eclipse. They then worked collaboratively or individually to record their understanding of the event. During the afternoon I saw Y6 working hard in groups to produce news reports recorded on iPads. Miss Sinclair really enjoyed hearing the sophisticated language being used by the children.
Of course, we all know that as a school we are judged by results; results that focus on reading, writing and maths. We believe that every child has an entitlement to achieve well in these important areas and as a consequence we put a lot of time into developing literacy and numeracy skills. Having said that, there must be room for physical education, for the Arts, for the humanities and for science. We must dedicate ourselves to developing curiosity and creativity in our children whenever we can. Friday was one of those days when we succeeded!