Pupil voice in planning

Gillian Roxburgh describes her experience of involving pupils in the planning process.

Gillian Roxburgh, Ferryhill Primary School, Edinburgh

During my time on my PGDE course and on placements I was encouraged to plan interdisciplinary learning prior to asking the children what they already knew and what they were interested in. The process of completing a mind map or a KWL grid after planning my topic inside out seemed more like a ‘tick box’ exercise rather than something meaningful that I would use.

At the end of term one my school had a CAT session where we were introduced to the concept of floor book planning, more commonly used in the nursery and early years settings. I had completed a floor book during my nursery placement so I had a rough idea of how they worked. My school decided that the whole school would plan an IDL topic using floor books in January however I decided to try it out with my ‘Ancient Egypt’ topic in term two.

I created my usual forward plan but was prepared to be flexible and alter my plans after introducing the floor book to my class. I introduced the concept to my p4 class and explained that our planning would be carried out, tracked and recorded using the floor book. The children were enthusiastic and to my surprise were fully engaged during our discussion about experiences and outcomes and significant aspects. The children did require some prompts as this was a completely new concept to them. The class were able to discuss what they thought each experience and outcome and significant aspect meant and the kind of activities we could carry out for each one. By the end of our planning lesson we had several ideas under each of the say, make, write and do headings.

Throughout the topic I found that the children were more engaged as they had played an important role in planning their topic and they had ownership of their own learning. I have since used floor books for a Scottish focus topic and healthy eating. It was clear during our Scottish topic that my class were more confident with the concept. During the planning stage my class decided to invite their parents in to see what they had been learning and chose to perform a puppet show. They were very proud when showing their parents the floor book and were able to explain how they planned their topic. Although I still plan a rough idea of lessons I would like to cover based on the experiences and outcomes I am covering I enjoy giving my class the opportunity to have their say. I fully intend on using floor books in the future to encourage my classes to engage with the curriculum and to encourage pupil voice in planning.