Memories made by children themselves are more special, says Joanne Angell.Whenever we start a topic, I like the children to become involved in the planning process. One of our RE topics is So Special, when we look at the things that are special to us - homes, families and places.
Our key stage 2 children had been looking at places of worship and had visited different sites in the area and filmed what they had seen to make a presentation, so my reception and Year 1 children wanted to do something like that as well.
Although the school serves a village in the Herefordshire countryside, few children had been inside the parish church, St Luke's, so we decided to go. Reading about what a church is like in class is nowhere near as exciting as visiting one.
We placed Post-it Notes on the planning board describing what the children wanted to learn from their visit. They wanted to meet someone who was in charge of the church and they wanted to look at special things in it, such as the font.
The great thing was that we took our digital hand-held video recorders for pupils to make their own films. They took shots of the stained glass and of children interviewing Molly, the churchwarden, about what she did and how the church worked.
This is effective because when children get back from visits often they are tired and have forgotten what was said and what they saw. Because they did the filming themselves and could watch things over again they could remember what they had seen. Also, because they could zoom in, we were able to look at the stained glass details and pick out the stories; we then read some of the stories in the Bible. We also took some hymn sheets and sang some of the hymns back in school. The children also took some digital photos, which they put into Photo Story 3. This is a free resource from Microsoft
Joanne Angell is senior teacher in charge of reception and Year 1 at Stoke Prior Primary School, near Leominster, Herefordshire. *Turn to p61 for RE resources.