Do you remember the Pokemon fad? Or Cabbage Patch Dolls? Or Hot Wheels?
As a teacher it seemed to be a different fad every term. The children were animated, enthusiastic and knowledgeable. The conversations were detailed and would lead to debates, persuasion, information and story-telling. And then when the children were in class they had to be taught about ‘The Victorians’ or Persuasion texts or who cares where in the world Barnaby Bear happens to be!!
The funny thing was, still is really, it was thought strange that the children became so disengaged with school and learning.
So, let’s turn this on its head. What if schools were to use the latest fad to their advantage and more importantly to the advantage of the children.
As an example I’m going to use Inspector Gadget. The cartoons are enjoying a revival at the moment as the new series approaches. (well in the UK anyway!) Below is a mindmap to show some of my thoughts and ideas. I’m sure you have some more exciting ideas but it is just to give a start.
The learning opportunities are phenomenal using this character as inspiration. I’ve created a mind map to show you areas of learning and questions that could be put to the children. I haven’t stipulated an age range although I’m sure you could adapt these for any ability.
Using something with which children can identify gives you as the teacher and the children a head-start in learning.
A well known children’s character can give a familiar edge as well as a fun way of learning about unfamiliar concepts and topics.
- Could Fireman Sam have prevented The Great Fire Of London?
- How would Paddington Bear been treated in Florence Nightingale’s hospital?
- Would Inspector Gadget have been a good astronaut like Neil Armstrong?
- What experiences would Mickey and Minnie Mouse have on the Titanic?
- How could you find homes for the 101 Dalmations?
- Dora meets Captain Cook. What adventures do they have?
- What would the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles seen in World War II?
Children will sit up and listen if you mention a favourite character or past-time in your questioning. They can relate to the question so much more easily if they are familiar with part of that question.
Teaching children seems to be about constantly asking questions but how about turning the tables so the children can ask questions about the topic. The KWL board works well with children who already have a base knowledge of the subject.
This gives them ownership of the learning. They are answering their own questions.
Surely it’s worth trying anything that helps children to become independent learners.
What methods do you use to inspire children’s learning?
Please share them with us using the box below. If you have any questions or comments I’d love to hear from you.