Our schoolwide big idea this year is ‘Challenges’ and we have explored personal challenges in term 1 and technological challenges in term 2. For our next term, which starts in a week, we are looking at sporting challenges with a specific focus on the Rugby World Cup, which kicks of in little under 45 days.
The hype is only just starting in New Zealand schools. We have a fantastic website for schools called Ruggerland which contains lots of awesome resources for teachers and students. http://www.ruggerland.co.nz/
Each of our classes in our team of 11 year 3&4 classes are adopting a national team from the pool of countries who are competing in the world cup. Since rugby is our national sport, everyone wanted the All Blacks but we are all following them as part of the term’s work and have adopted instead a country that we may not know much about. The idea is to compare and contrast our countries, our lifestyles, our people and their languages, customs and traditions, our school systems and so on.
We start every term with what we call a ‘knowledge bomb’. This involves the children brainstorming everything that they already know about our focus and then forming a base of questions around what they want to know. It is an easy way to streamline child-driven learning and the children invest deeply in the things that they are interested in. Our class wikis and blogs already have some questions and ideas on them from the children and we use www.wallwisher.com and www.linoit.com to store and add to these brainstorms.
We are looking at the challenges of being the host nation for the world cup, from catering physically for international visitors as well as catering for the language differences and food requirements. We are also looking at the challenges of being an athlete, the psychological stresses and challenges that the teams face while preparing and competing. It is an exciting topic, one that evokes deep thinking and a lot of investment from our children as they decide on their questions and go about seeking answers.
So, while those of you in the UK sleep in, rest and relax in the sun, we will be preparing for term 3 in New Zealand. I wish you all a well-deserved, relaxing and revitalising holiday. And I hope that you take some time to look at the Rugby World Cup 2011 resources.