Humanities & Topic
Each term, each year group will have a central topic which looks at a key aspect of History or Geography and which provides the context for much of the English work (including a shared class text). The structure to our topic teaching (begun in 2012) provides children with the opportunity to explore the world around them, whilst developing valuable study skills:
Step 1 - Starting with a 'bang'!
Most topics will begin with a special trip or visitor which aims inspire and enthuse the children about the area which they will be learning about that term.
This could involve a trip to a local museum or place of interest (pictured here is a Year 2 trip to the Bristol Aquarium, kicking off the children's 'Habitats' topic) or it could involve special workshops which take place in school.
Step 2 - Asking big questions.
All topics begin with a 'big questions' - a line of enquiry which encourages discussion and historical research. Some of these aim to challenge stereotypes such as the Year 1 Exploration topic question "Is it true that only men can be explorers?" or the Year 5 Victorians topic question "Did you have to be a white man to be successful in Victorian times?". Other questions encourage children to reflect on the lifestyles and cultural values of peoples past and present, such as the Year 2 Uganda topic "Where would you rather grow up, England or Uganda?" or the Year 4 Romans in Britain topic "Celt child or Roman child - who wins?". These questions help us think more deeply about the impact of history and geography on the lives of people past and present.
Step 3 - Learning and research.
The first half of the topic is taken up with the children acquiring the geographical or historical skills and knowledge needed to understand the key themes within the topic. Wherever possible this will involve children reading the facts and stories for themselves before being taught directly by the teacher.
Step 4 - Champion Learner Challenge
We want the children to show us that they have truely mastered the skills and knowledge covered by the topic and therefore the last few weeks of every topic are focused around the children's 'Champion Learner Challenges'. These are invidivual projects which either have a set theme (see link below) or are open projects where the children are free to research and explore an aspect of the topic which interests them most.
These projects are completed partly in school and partly at home. When they are finished, are topics conclude with a special open afternoon where the children have to present their project to visiting parents and answer any questions.
Copies of some of the various topic plans are available below.