Battlefield Primary School, Glasgow District Council, Scotland
Battlefield Primary School in Glasgow incorporated Storyline Planning across the school from January to March 2007. The staff were allocated additional hours for the brainstorming and planning of the term’s curriculum through an integrated topic. Catriona Brown, Principal Teacher, had attended the Storyline Conference in Glasgow 2006 and was able to share with colleagues the storyline approach. The approach was not entirely new to the school with several teachers having used it pre1990 and was welcomed with open arms.
In Primary 4 the main environmental studies topic was set as Minibeasts. Catriona decided to teach the term’s work using Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach for inspiration and line of development. An emphasis was also put into the big visual display, an important element of storyline, with James and his friends prominently displayed.
Even from the outset the story lent itself to integration across the curriculum. The term’s Personal and Social Development included James when he was orphaned and sent to live with his cruel aunts. The Community Policeman was able to include child cruelty sensitively and meaningfully as he used James as his way to capture the children’s attention. Research into mini-beasts, their characteristics and their habitats were taken on with gusto when the children made paper mache large beasts, environmentally friendly bug catchers for the playground and mini-beast hunts in the local park. Children were encouraged to use KWL grids to record their discovery progress. Talking, listening and writing tasks flowed throughout each chapter with the children making predictions and writing their own telegrams to the queen!
A highlight of the topic was making wormeries and the children working in their teams to collect worms.
An additional positive outcome was the increased co-operation and confidence in the children.
This very memorable project ended with a celebration of work. Every child contributed to their small group and visited another class in the school. Props and work from the topic were shared. Of course the class also enjoyed eating peaches – for some their first time.