S1 &S7: Maths lesson taught

After a training day last week focusing on Outdoor Learning and Forest schools, I decided to try and incorporate some of those aspects into my day to day lesson planning.

In maths we are currently looking at measurements and cm/m and I thought that would be a good opportunity to get the class outside for some practical learning. We went out armed with metre sticks and chalk and each little team of 4 were set challenges such as “measure 90cm exactly” or “draw me a line that’s exactly 3 meters long”. The children loved being out in the fresh air and they started challenging themselves, like telling me they were going to draw a line that’s 5 meters long, and one team even suggested that they could draw a shape using their meter ruler and the class started making squares, triangles and rectangles with accurately measured sides (S1 – Is able to set goals that stretch, challenge and motivate pupils across the curriculum). This worked well to challenge those HA children, who had free reign to challenge themselves and their friends further whilst I spent some time with the LA group of children and could focus on the more simple challenges such as using the meter stick correctly and discussing where we start from, and how we read them etc (S1 – Uses strategies to support the learning and progress of underperforming groups, across the curriculum).

This opportunity for them to explore and create their own learning and challenges wouldn’t have been possible if they had been inside the classroom measuring the table and filling in worksheets, and it also gave them a chance to work as a team and cooperate and use their listening skills (S7 – Encourages pupils to behave well in the classroom and around the school and display good levels of courtesy and cooperation). Some of the children in this class are not particularly keen on sharing or waiting patiently for their turn, so this was a good opportunity to demonstrate to these children how each person can be given a different task to work together and we all switch roles to make it fair and fun for everyone (S1 – Consistently demonstrates and models the positive attitudes, values and

behaviour which are expected of pupils).

One thing that taking the lesson outside demonstrated was the need for good behaviour management. As soon as I said we would be going outside they were instantly excited and shouting and talking. I knew I had to be really on top of them if this was going to be successful so I stopped the class using the clap rhythm which they copy back to me, and I made sure to make clear that I had high expectations of them as we were not having playtime, but this was still a maths lesson. I reminded them of the behaviour I wanted to see, and explained that anyone who was being silly or not following my directions would be on a yellow card and would sit to the side and miss out (S7 – Sustains high expectations of behaviour).

This worked and they were much calmer and quieter on the way out than they had been. However I did have to remain strict and on top of them throughout the lesson, but as learning outside was new to them it was to be expected that they would be excited. During the activity they worked well and followed the directions etc, however when it came to the end and packing away several children didn’t want to stop and continued drawing when I asked for the chalk back, or were running around instead of getting into an orderly line. I gave these children a clear countdown from 3 to get these done and when they hadn’t (they were purposely ignoring the instructions) I sent them inside to immediately put themselves down onto the yellow on the behaviour chart (S7 – Establishes and maintains or applies the school’s framework for discipline, using a range of strategies). Seeing this also got all the other children in class to quieten down and turn to me as well. I reminded the whole class that working outside was a privileged and if they couldn’t be sensible and show me how year 2s should behave then we would not be coming out again (S7 – Manages a good level of pupil motivation and involvement using a range of approaches appropriate to the pupils’ needs). We went back in and the whole class were very well behaved for the rest of the morning. I told them well done as they left for lunch, and that I’d try to plan some outside time into next week’s lessons, which they were really enthused about.

Overall this was a great experience, and the children had a wonderful lesson full of practical learning. Although the excitement caused some behavioural issues, I believe that next time there will not be so many as today, due to this being the very first time of something fun and new. And despite these issues in today’s lesson I feel I acted quickly and by following through consistently with the schools behaviour chart the children stopped and did listen and make good choices after (S7 – In accordance with the school’s behaviour policy, takes responsibility for and is able to promote and manage behaviour in the classroom well to ensure a good and safe learning environment). 

Focused next steps:

  • Try to include more outside learning into other areas of the curriculum.
  • Continue being consistent with my behaviour management and continue reminding the children of my expectations prior to activities.