Sisu Challenge Day review

DSC_0555Crikey, what a day!!!

Due to schools dropping out with more important things they felt they needed to do, we hosted just under 50 students at I2L as a combination of Sisu entries and Fiver Challenge schools (from the aspire Trust). The children set up their stalls and had the opportunity to explain what they had been working on to a range of adults and each other. To keep the day zinging along we gave the children the extra challenge of creating a web advert for their products/ideas. The result is the playlist below:

Whilst it was a little disappointing that many schools had not been able to attend it was incredibly encouraging that the schools that had taken on the Challenge both described exactly the same phenomenon. The students had immediately risen to the challenge and wanted to spend a lot of energy on it. When this wasn’t possible they arranged their own meetings at each other’s houses to get the work done. How often has that happened to you as a teacher when introducing a new maths topic? No I don’t think so! So why is this type of challenge so well received?

  • Creative
  • Innovative
  • Meaningful
  • Authentic
  • Identified audience

DSC_0499And any teacher reading those bullet points will immediately spot the key characteristics of effective learning situations. One teacher sent me this email a few weeks ago:

Just wanted to tell you today, I introduced the Sisu challenge and I think it was one of the best examples of self initiated, independent yet collaborative learning I have ever had the pleasure of starting the children off on.I absolutely loved it!

Not one child said – I don’t know what to do or I’m stuck or I can’t do it!!!!

We did talk about resilience, independent learning… Etc before hand.

I also told the children we need 4 Sisu ambassadors to attend the i2L day – honestly, all my kids this morning were amazing I couldn’t pick 4, because everyone deserves it!
I couldn’t get rid of them at dinner they wanted to carry on!
Loads of them wanted to carry on in golden time.
Some of the really sporty boys asked if they could carry on instead of doing PE this afternoon!
I heard one pupil say “Mrs Herlingshaw…. Oh no actually I don’t need you, I can just ask my friend.”
Some said they are going to go round to each other’s houses and carry on over the weekend!
One child asked if it would be ok to write u an email to ask if we could bring more than four children because everyone loved it so much and Mrs H can’t pick!

This pattern was pretty much echoed by the secondary school who took on the challenge too, work done at home, arranging their own working. Mind you, they still managed to produce a survey and collect a representative sample from across all school years. Many researchers could only dream of that kind of return!DSC_0544

Next year it will run slightly differently, schools will be invited to sign up a lot earlier and with a more structured set of expectations but the enthusiasm that we saw today guarantees that the event will happen again. Many of the children attending entered the building a little bit shy, not knowing what to expect…but by the end of the day they had not only produced some fantastic work but also extended their own comfort zones to engage with a different range of people whilst promoting their own thinking.

Onward to next year.

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Posted on June 29, 2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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