Number one for English language teachers

Keith's Corner: Entry 24: The learning wheel

Type: Article

The word pedagogy comes from the Ancient Greek word paidagōgos, meaning to lead the child. In this, the final instalment, Keith explains how the teachers at Anglia School lead their pupils towards learning in English, with the Learning Wheel as their guide.

The Learning Wheel

Anglia School’s Learning Wheel is a guideline for preparing our yearly curriculum. It consists of seven parts, which are all media for language acquisition. These are weaved into a cohesive educational structure.

1. Action

Action is what we call that part of the lesson that has to do with movement. Singing the Good Morning Song is a wonderful way to start any lesson with toddlers and the Wake Up! song helps develop motor skills. Older groups will take out the yoga mats and do an exercise routine. Sometimes, we Count to 100 with Jack Hartmann. Movement activities can be incorporated into any topic and are a great way for children to learn set phrases.

2. Story

At Anglia School, we have snack time, tidy-up time and story timein that order. All of our groups enjoy a good story and we always follow up with an activity that is related to the storybook. For example, after reading Chicken Licken, we’ll play a game of Who’s Got Your Egg? where everyone has to guess who Foxy Loxy is. In our junior classes, the pupils read books to each other – watch Nasko reading Mum’s New Hat.

3. Drama

We use puppets and props, as well as a curtained stage. We set the room up like a theatre, with chairs. Kids can be very creative in their performances. Their teachers are always there to help them with their lines. Drama is also acting out phrases from a story or sticking characters on the whiteboard when they appear in the book.

4. Science

We teach English by doing. And one of the best things about this approach is that you get to do lots of experiments! These are prepared in accordance with our weekly theme. So, during space week, we made rockets and sent them flying into the sky (using a hydraulic launcher). And, during Easter week, the kids watched an egg squeeze itself into a glass bottle. One of our main goals here is to raise children’s awareness of natural laws and the nature of experimentation. If an experiment doesn’t work, find out why and try again.

5. Music

Through teaching songs, we encourage the children’s acquisition of language and playing instruments stimulates their creativity. We sing songs related to our weekly themes. During jobs week, the most popular song was People work. We also engage groups in rhythm activities, like Ram Tam Tam. Another Anglia School favourite is We All Go Travelling By – the pupils play instruments on a triple beat as they listen.

6. Art

What better way to boost creativity than by getting stuck into an art project? But there are other benefits. Most of the art activities we do require an awareness of proportion and quantities. Children get to experience different materials and textures – sometimes we use canvas; other times the ‘canvas’ is your own hand. The dimensions are varied, too – a work of art can be small and intricate; it can be big and bold. And, pupils learn about colour by mixing colours and finding new ways to apply them.

7. Maths

In two earlier entries, we wrote about how we teach maths to pre-schoolers and toddlers. Counting activities are great because, as well as improving the children’s confidence with numbers, they raise awareness of rhythm and the surrounding environment. We are careful to choose different maths activities for each of our age groups. With the toddlers, the focus is on geometry and identifying shapes. The slightly older groups measure, fill in simple graphs, use calendars, and add and subtract.

The Learning Wheel keeps turning and is at the heart of everything we do at Anglia School. We hope you’ve enjoyed travelling with us!

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