At Wellington International School in Hangzhou, class teachers plan and deliver Theme lessons based around a topic which lasts for either a half or whole term. The focus can be drawn from any curriculum subjects such as History, Geography or Science. As a teacher, this approach gives me the opportunity to plan and deliver lessons which are tailor-made for the needs of pupils at WCIH. I can take into account children’s cultural and linguistic backgrounds when planning, while, at the same time, ensuring curriculum coverage and opportunities are provided which lead to deeper thinking about the learning objectives in question.
Where did Mr Darwin go?
For example, our Theme question ‘Where did Mr. Darwin go?’ gives pupils the opportunity to learn how to use an atlas to locate places around the world, understand the importance of lines of longitude and latitude and know how these are used to find geographical locations. The pupils are then asked to use these geography skills to understand the journey around the world Darwin took as a young man. In addition, we can use this topic as a jumping off point for a range of other subjects in the curriculum. In English, we read two fantastic books about Charles Darwin and then use these as model texts to write, edit, improve and publish our own Darwin biographies and diaries. Meanwhile in Science, we learn about evolution and inheritance, using Darwin’s life, journey and discoveries to help us to understand how animals have adapted over time and why fossils are so important to scientists.
Making these links between subjects enables young learners to find out about a topic in depth, whilst also learning the discreet skills and knowledge required of each curricular area. Ultimately, it sparks pupils’ interest for subjects and topics across the curriculum, turning them into enthusiastic, enquiring Wellington learners.
Year 6 themes & recommended books
Myths and legends
Out of Africa
Existing, endangered extinct
Mission to Mars
Champions for change