It was subject specialism week last week and it consisted of having an opportunity to go into High View Primary School and do some animation on 2 days with groups of children, concerning an aspect of the Tudors.
Earlier in the week, I planned for the visit by creating a generic lesson plan which gave me a structured framework from which to work from, such as an introduction, creation and plenary, although it allowed some flexibility, depending on the enthusiasm of the children and other factors. I also had to research the Tudors and ‘Crime and Punishment’ in greater depth so that I had competent subject knowledge and so it was at least as deep as the children’s knowledge of it so that if i was asked questions I could answer them clearly and confidently. As you’d imagine ‘Crime and Puinshment enthused the children, espeically the boys (They seemed to enjoy the thought of brutal death!) I had to ensure I had suitable resources to take to the school because the animations i did, used plasticine and playmobiles to model characters and scenery in the animation. Also I had to familiarise myself with the animation software called ‘I can animate’ so that we could create the animation smoothly and according to the time limits we had.
When I arrived at the school, I was stunned by the amazingly modern environment and the wonderful facilties it had. It was clear that the children felt secure and fortunate to be in such a rich learning environment. Myself and the other trainees were given a group of 2 or 3 children to work with and having introduced myself and the activity, we set about creating the animation. I wanted the children to enjoy making it, as well as seeing signs that there was postive collaboration about how to improve it and sharing of roles. We managed to complete the animation on both days and it was obvious that the children were impressed with the quality of what they’d produced.
I found the experience extremely enjoyable and it taught me a lot, although it wasn’t always plain sailing. For example there were times, when a child was becoming too dominant over their peers and trying to assume too much responsibility. This required me to intervene by calming them down and reminding them of the importance of working as a team. Overall though, I was pleasantly surprised at the high level of competence the children showed in using the animation software and the expensive equipment involved. Their behaviour in using plasticine was also exemplary, which was pleasing.
The next time I get the opportunity to do something similar, I would like to do it with a greater number group as I would like to challenge myself in managing them and i also feel the end product is likely to be of better quality, due to more contributions being made towards it. Also I think I would employ a clearer technique of scrum management, whereby a child is given a specific task such as making the plasticine models, moving them and working the laptop. It may be that each child considers themselves to be stronger at one particular area so this would improve the efficiency of producing the animation. A weakness of this would be that not every child can gain a thorough understanding of the animation software though.
At the end of the 2 days, the children said that thanks to us, they could teach younger pupils how to animate now and this statement was very nice to hear. It was a great feeling knowing that what you’d taught them had left a strong impression and that the knowledge was to be passed onto a greater number of children.
Overall the experience was very positive and I’m grateful to the school for giving us the opportunity to introduce our ideas of a creative form of learning to their children and the animations are to be put on a website, which we’ll be working on over the next week, so I shall post a link. keep an eye out for it!