Year 7 divided between a Languages cultural day, and a Maths problem-solving day (the two halves swap next DLD). Students enjoyed a range of language and cultural activities, including making fajitas, sampling the delights of a French café, as well as a quiz show and PE. While the activities have been designed to be enjoyable and memorable, they are all grounded in correct use of language and in developing an appreciation of French and Spanish cultures. Of course, food for most Year 7s is a strong selling-point….. The Maths team led sessions on networks, building on the famous problem of the seven bridges of Konigsberg, followed by developing mathematical rules from geometric patterns.
The challenge of croissant dough
Possibly the deepest learning of the day, taken literally………The year group visited Plymouth Aquariums with the Humanities team to learn about the delicate ecosystems of the coral reefs and marine world in general. This ties into work being covered in the classroom curriculum, and clearly the aquarium experience enriches understanding. For students unable to go on the visit, their day was spent learning about the same theme, including creating and making a board game.
Year 9 experienced a Day of Difference. This is a well-established day which uses experiential learning and visitors to develop and deepen an understanding of how prejudice and discrimination occur, This is possibly our most powerful day in terms of addressing the “British values” of tolerance and respect. Students start the day by creating their own country, with its own culture and traditions; the world changes, and some of the countries are broken up with its people being absorbed by others. The day continues with students developing questioning skills, including “thread questioning”, to interview someone who has been obliged to leave their country to come to the UK, and talk about their experiences. A theme throughout the day is how easy it is to pre-judge people on appearance, and the visitors’ stories are always powerful, sometimes upsetting, and demonstrate that initial impressions are often very wrong. While this is an externally-organised day, Clyst Vale teachers from English (mostly) contribute enormously; helping students construct their countries, developing skills of listening and questioning, and chairing the meetings with the visitors.
Creating a national identity…….
Meeting and questioning our visitors
Drawing together the learning points
Year 10’s day comprised five varied “Course 42” sessions centred on the themes of health and sex education; the variety was intentional, as some of the sessions were quite intense, and a range of teaching approaches clearly helps to sustain concentration and improve learning. There were modern versions of lessons which parents may remember from their own school days, including contraception and the risks from STIs. There was a session on parenting skills, another on the risks of “sexting” and how to protect yourself from it, cancer awareness single-sex sessions on self-examination, and a computer-based session on body image and how media images should not be trusted. These are all very topical, directly relevant issues which reflect the pressures on young people today. (Some of the activities were fantastic: using beakers of clear fluids and pipettes with one beaker of citric acid demonstrated brilliantly how easy it is for STIs to spread in a population, as well as using science in a different way). We’re always a little apprehensive about sex education days, but Year 10 responded brilliantly and maturely to the confident, well-organised teaching.
Photoshopping Mr Brooks….
The dangers of sexting
|Parenting skills lesson interrupted by a crying baby…..||“Unprotected pipetting” to demonstrate the transmission of STIs|
Year 11 were positively mad. Or, rather, the name of the Educational Motivation and Study Skills Company who led three sessions was “Positively Mad”. In between these sessions focusing on revision techniques, organisation, and memory skills (timed deliberately as Year 11 have mock exams next week), there was further Course 42 input on Child Sexual Exploitation, including grooming and trafficking and the main ways to protect yourself.
Years 12 and 13
Year 12 students were involved in a community service and mentoring day. Many of them joined in other year groups to help with DLD activities, which had all round benefits for everyone and helped contribute to a very successful day.
Year 13 students considered concepts of “Good and Evil” as part of their enrichment programme. This included religious viewpoints, but also secular ones. The aim here was to develop thinking and philosophical skills, and the day contained a great deal of discussion led by our B&V department and visitors.