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inspiration for topics

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by twinklelittlestar, Apr 1, 2012.

  1. Hi,
    I'm new to Reception and have been using Child Education Plus to give me inspiration for topics being covered in my class. Are there any other free websites which have planning ideas linked to topics? For example, after the holidays we are doing 'growing' and I have got some lovely ideas for the Child Education website, but we will be doing this topic for the next four weeks so I need lots of ideas.
  2. choralsongster

    choralsongster New commenter

    Have you asked the children what ideas they would like to discover through the topic of growing? As well as input to planning from observations and assessments, I always have a class sit down cht at least once a half term to find out what they've enjoyed, not enjoyed and what they would like to learn about. I've also sent home a child interest form to the parents, hoping this will also help to contribute.
    Growing could be human development, spring/baby animals, plants and planting. There are many books about change (Eric Carle's The Tiny Seed, Jack and the Beanstalk, Jasper's Beanstalk, Sam and the Sunflower etc)
    I would roughly plan for the first week or two and ask the kids to contribute. You can then google any other areas for planning. Also, have you asked any other teachers at school for ideas?
  3. doctorinthetardis

    doctorinthetardis New commenter

    Love your idea Choralsongster about asking the kids, that's a really great suggestion and definitely one I'd recommend.

    Just want to share our approach regarding 'topic' based units. In our school we follow the PYP curriculum where we focus on 4 units over the year rather than shorter topic based ideas. So for example rather than focusing on 'growing' or 'dinosaurs', we might have a central concept regarding the idea of 'belonging' such as 'Belonging emerges from the connections we make from people and places' or regarding growth and plants we might explore the central concept of 'Plants are a life sustaining resource for us and others'. Then all of our planning is focused on tuning into the concept and assessing prior knowledge, then finding out more, gathering information, epxanding understandings before coming to conclusions. For example regarding belonging, we might start by asking children what they understand by the word 'belong', and then ask them to think about people or places they belong to. From there, we help them to expand their understandings by helping them make connections and we might explore our school to discover more about how we belong to a school, we might create maps of our town to explore how we belong there, we might get them to bring in photos of their family and extended family to explore people they belong to, we might think about how we can help each other feel like we belong in our classroom and create essential agreements about how we will treat each other in class ... the list goes on. We always think about how we will assess their understanding of the concept at the end of the unit before we begin to plan how we will get them there. We work out which voacbulary they will need to discover and use and we think about relevant links to art/ music and PE/ ICT.
    It took me a while to get used to the idea of units but now I love it. I really feel like the children get so much from them and a much deeper understanding of a concept than just creating activities which link to a topic. For example, when we think of a unit, we always think of what do we want them to understand by the end of the unit. For example, rather than growing, we miught focus on the concept of how observation helps us to observe growth or for example instead of a topic abut dinosaurs, we think along the lines of 'how can our understanding of animals today help us understand animals of the past', We use 3 lines of inquiry within a concept to focus the planning and learning so with the dinosaurs unit, we might follow these lines of inquiry - extinct animals, animal characteristics and how fossils help us lear about the past. Then it's a much broader idea and concept and I truly believe much deeper learning. It's all focused around inquiry learning. At first when I started, I wasn't sure how deep we could get into the unit with the children being so young but they really really get it, if well planned. I'm still getting to grips with it and ensuring my planning for the unit is continually reviewed throughout the unit and we definitely take tangents in our learning if that's where the children's learning is going or they've discovered something really interesting. It also helps me as a teacher keep focused on the end goal and the key concepts we want them to grasp.
    Hope that's given you some idea how we do it and how you might want to develop your topics.


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