The danger of following a spiral curriculum (a la Bruner) is that if you always follow the same path, you hit the same bits of learning at the same point on the spiral. Sometimes that means hitting difficult concepts at the end of a term when everyone is tired.
At GTA UK this year I came across the idea of an ‘unconference’ for the first time. This is where you turn up without a specific agenda, but generate it on the day by the people who are there. Google Docs are an ideal tool for this as many people can collaborate in the same online space at the same time. I decided to do an unconference with my Year 6 maths group to generate the plans for the term. I had no pre-conceived idea of how this might work out except for this:
2. We would use a Google spreadsheet to think about:
- what we are good at;
- what we are not so good at;
- what we would like to learn this year.
As might be predicted, ‘division‘ came up as the concept that most children would like to learn.
So the next day, the first lesson was on division
This is the word cloud from our first maths unconference. The children sat at computers with me to decide what we are going to learn this term.
Here’s the wordle
of the same document: