Primary school teachers in many schools still plan per term and as a specialist teacher I often found this stressful and constraining. Ten weeks to complete a program of work in a crowded curriculum could in many cases end up being eight weeks due to incursions, sporting events and special days at school. At the beginning of this year I decided to act on a thought I’d had for some time, to plan a semester unit of work. I know, hardly earth shattering but it has rocked my world.
My year five class were given the task of playing the Lemonade Game record their data and decisions in Excel, create charts and produce a PowerPoint to reflect their understanding of basic economics. Fairly standard stuff. The aha moment was the reflection that I should now ‘Bring it to the real world’ The students had to form groups and decide on a food stall to run. The kids blew me away with their enthusiasm, their organisational skills (I truly believe a ten year old girl could run the country if only given the chance ) and their creativity. They calculated quantities, checked prices, made order forms, discussed economics with their parents and ran the stalls on their day. With fabulous parent support, the kids got a real taste for business as some groups made a profit whilst others just broke even. One parent told me that their son knew they weren’t going to make much profit but that was ok because it meant he had something to say in the Thinking Hats reflection form. The profit they made was put towards their school camp later this year.
If I had limited myself to just the ten weeks I probably would have stopped at the online version but I am so glad I didn’t as the real learning happened in those last 5 weeks.