Today, the children were transported back in time to their respective periods which will provide the backdrop to the learning for the term ahead. We have travelled as far back as 1000BC to leave Year 4 in Ancient Greece, Year 2 in Victorian times and then popped back to 2015 to leave Reception and Year 6 in the current day so that they could explore the here and now and look to the future in their respective topics of Inventors and Rainforests.
The assembly gave us the opportunity to look at this scene from Back to the Future II where Marty arrives in 2015 and the prophetic Robert Zemeckis shows us the flying cars and hoverboards which have yet to materialise. We spent a few moments looking forward to 2040 and pondering what might be. If you get a few moments, I advise you to do the same!
Of course, some people will say that it’s just an excuse for me to dress up as a character from one of my all-time favourite films and play Huey Lewis and the News loudly whilst everyone gets excited about our ‘time machine’ which is put together via some exciting sound effects, AV and Mrs Lutas’ smoke machine. There’s probably an element of truth to this but there’s also a bit more to it.
We know that for learning to be memorable and be retained in the long term memory, we have to engage children’s emotions. Just think back for a moment to the few memories you have from your earliest school life and I’m willing to bit that the majority are when you were scared – usually a teacher who made us feel uncomfortable and invoked those primitive fight or flight instincts in us or perhaps a performance or sporting occasion where the reptilian brain kicked in. Studies show that the most vivid autobiographical memories tend to be of emotional events, which are likely to be recalled more often and with more clarity and detail than neutral events.
Trying to create memorable experiences to ‘hang’ the learning around, is a part of our plan with the initial immersion. What will follow, is a period of investigation and enquiry where children are given ‘time for tangents’ to explore the subjects more deeply before honing in on a particular outcome later on in the term.
There is of course a third reason in creating this type of hype and enjoyment in a school. Today was the first day back after the Christmas holiday and, if we’re all honest, everyone benefits from a bit of fun and laughter to come back to and settle the nerves!
But enough for now, I have a delorean to tend to. ‘Roads. Where we’re going, we don’t need roads’.