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Invested learners

Predators and prey.

At Prescot Primary this year, we have been working closely with the Ignite Teaching School Alliance to review and reconsider what we want our curriculum to look like in school. This is a significant question and has fed much of our CPD sessions but there is one area that we all felt was important to develop: whatever the subject area, we want our children to invest in their learning - become emotionally connected and own what they do.

We have become more interested in this area after following the work of Hywel Roberts and Dr Debra Kidd, who have demonstrated the positive impact of using dramatic techniques as teaching tools. Through the work with Ignite, we invited Austin from Action Transport Theatre into Y4 to work alongside and coach teachers in using dramatic techniques effectively.

Y4 have been studying food chains and teachers wanted to explore the characteristics of certain predators and prey. This was done through a narrative; an Arctic Wolf (Mrs Watts) told his story and the children were captivated, hooked - invested. They they went on to create their own predator (with the most efficient hunting skills), or their own prey (with the most efficient survival skills) in pairs. The children presented their creatures but also worked in groups to rank them in terms of efficiency. 

The lesson created many opportunities for quality talk, with some difficult negotiations too. The children hot-seated the wolf with questions that took their understanding deeper, they freeze-framed actions of their own creatures and explored the idea that each howl is different - it was a little noisy at this point! The lesson came to a close with another question. The wolf - the fiercest predator in his habitat - came face to face with 'man', who was wearing the wolf's brother on his back... to be continued.