My best lesson - Go on a learning journey through time and space

12th December 2014 at 00:00

Serrated walls, rolling boulders, distantly howling mummies: welcome to my English lesson on narrative structure. The classroom has been transformed into an ancient Egyptian pyramid and I have challenged pupils to enter at their peril.

We are almost halfway through our cross-curricular learning journey traversing time and space. Each of my pupils, who are all on the autistic spectrum, is a Time Lord, and each lesson equips them with more of the skills they will need to outwit the dastardly Master.

This particular lesson is designed to introduce them to the structure they will use to write a chapter about their Doctor Who-themed adventures.

The starter is a tactile presentation of the concept of "crisis". Students must avoid the traps I have set as they find their seats. The dimmed lights and the sheet hanging from the ceiling combine with haunting music and piercing cries to provide visual and auditory prompts that reinforce prior learning about tension.

From there we move to a clip from Count Duckula, in which the cartoon duck is beset by obstacles inside a cursed pyramid. When we discuss the clip, pupils recognise that the Doctor would need to overcome such impediments in his quest.

Then, in classic Blue Peter fashion, I show pupils an example of a board game I made earlier, and provide a wealth of resources for them to use to create their own games. Each pair of pupils has a range of perspectives and skills to bring to the task and the more ambitious among them will make a 3D game.

Thus the stage is set for a learning episode in which pupils will create and dramatise their board games. They will outline crises, climaxes and resolutions, which they will consolidate through storyboarding and later draft as a chapter of their story.

They are the teachers, they are the Doctors.

Amy Tallantire teaches English at Upton Court Grammar School in Slough. This lesson was taught in her previous role at the Collett School in Hertfordshire

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