Planning to enable progression
The unit was designed so that progression could be seen both throughout the unit and in a final piece of work.
The first lesson took place in the week before the Easter holidays, at this point the children were introduced to the theme. They were shown a range of photographs of Saudi Arabia and the children were asked to say whether they thought they showed Saudi Arabia or not. We then discussed the children’s answers and this helped me to gain a clear understanding of their perception of the country.
All of the children thought that Saudi Arabia was very poor, all deserts and that all people were Bedouins living in tents in the desert.
Co-construction of the curriculum
The children then watched a short video clip and completed a fact file with different requirements for different abilities. At this point, the children had enough of a starting point to decide what they would like to learn about. Each child made three suggestions and over the holiday, I compiled them into a tally chart and used this as the starting point for the planning. I ensured that this included many cultural aspects of Saudi Arabian life. From then on, every lesson built upon the last. The planning was constantly reviewed and adapted to take account of the children’s progress and areas of developing interest.
In order to assess individual progression, during the first lesson the children made a mind map which simply had the words ‘Saudi Arabia’ in the middle. The children wrote down anything which they already knew. Each week this map was added to in a different colour to show the progression in their learning. They children were astounded by how quickly these were filling up.
Find Someone Who Knows…
To assess the progression that the children were making as a class we played a game called ‘Find Someone Who Knows…’
In this game the children are given a grid, in each box is a prompt for a key fact. The children have to get the answers from each other so they move around the room talking to each other.
If someone can tell them the answer, they write down the answer and the name of the person who told them but names are not allowed to be duplicated.
At the end of the game the children mark their own sheet and say the answer along with the name of the child who gave it them.
This is a great way for less confident children to interact with the rest of the class and to have their answers heard. Very low ability children can join in easily as once they have been told an answer by someone else, they can pass this on to others and hopefully remember it themselves.
The game was then repeated at the end of the unit. In the initial game, most children had one or two answers completed, in the end of unit game, all children had improved their score and many had all correct.
In this lesson, the children used the headteacher’s photographs, the internet and emails from Al Anjal to find out about Saudi Arabian food and the meal time etiquette. The children then made flatbread which they dipped in humus and drank Laban yoghurt drink which they had made themselves. The children then either made a guide to the etiquette, a menu for a feast or an advert for the food.
The children demonstrated their progression through the inclusion and omission of various foods/ drinks on the menus and the customs that they would expect their guests to follow.
Each child was given a small section of a photograph. The task was for the children to become ‘Geographical Detectives’ to work out what the photograph was of and to extend it appropriately. They were to use their knowledge of Saudi Arabia to create a plausible picture.
Some photographs included camels and the children drew them crossing a road. The children commented that before starting the unit of work, they would have drawn the camel in the middle of a desert but now they know that they can be found in more built up areas.
Saudi Arabian Souque
Another activity was role play at a Saudi Arabian souque. We began by thinking about Stockport market and then made comparisons. The children researched the markets and then performed short role plays to show what they had found out.
After each performance, the rest of the class identified what that group had learned. The children enjoyed this activity, the market stall was left up throughout the unit and the children often used it at wet play.
The children also demonstrated their learning through art. The children researched Islamic art and we looked at some of the art work that the children at Al Anjal had produced. The children made copies using a range of materials. They paid particular attention to anything with reflected the Islamic religion and their knowledge was displayed through identification of these elements.
The main final assessment task was for the children to make an information book/guide to Saudi Arabia. The children were allowed to use the internet for images only, everything else they included came from their own knowledge. The children really wanted to show off everything that they knew and despite many of the children initially having a rather negative view of Saudi Arabia, they all presented the country in a positive light.