It's July. Term officially ended a few days ago and I've taken a couple of days off completely to recharge batteries before heading back into work next week to rebuild the classroom (I'm not being a martyr, my room has had a carpenter visiting and building book shelves and so everything had to be moved to allow him room to work).
Anyhow, it's been another year of trying to sneak some creativity into a curriculum that seems to be becoming more and more test, assessment and accountability focussed. This year the plan was to take a board game - Beasts of Balance - and let the pupils imaginations run wild with it.
The game itself is a stacking game - but for the digital age - with NFC enabled playing pieces and a companion app. From the first time I took it into school and let the class play on it they loved it, and so I thought I'd try and get more from it. I asked a small group of children to start developing a story based around the aspects of the game (namely the 'beasts') and used my PPA time to work with them and record their ideas as they built up chapters for their story.
In addition to the story, they also developed a card game based on the great Top Trumps card games I grew up with;
They used a template in Comic Life, developed categories for their game, and made 25 cards based on just some of the beasts they discovered within the board game. Wet playtimes now begin with the children begging to be allowed to play!
Their game playing discoveries, story and card game can all be found on the Beasts min-project site. It's great work from a small handful of children, but it's a shame that the whole class weren't involved. That is a future goal - to return to those days of every pupil being involved in a project that lets their imaginations run wild, rather than ensuring that each one of them is able to use a fronted adverbial correctly, or know when to use an ellipsis.