Thinking Circles give children an opportunity for their voice to be heard and each represent their class at different points during the year. Our Thinking Cirlces will take place half termly and a question or issues will be presented during assembly on a Monday morning. Thinking Circles will take place throughout school on a Thursday morning instead of assembly and then several children will feedback from each class the key points to Mrs Williams and Mrs Day.
In the autumn term, we launched the first of a number of Thinking Circles reflecting on the experiences of refugees across the world. The children spent time thinking deeply about how they would feel if they were forced to leave their home in search of safety in another country. In response to this, the children decided they would like to do something to help make the lives of refugees better and, in their Thinking Circle, discussions they started by brainstorming ideas they had about how they could do this.
Following this, the children met with Children on the Edge, a local charity working hand-in-hand with communities to support some of the world’s children in some of the toughest situations – they currently work with more than 16,000 children in Bangladesh, India, Uganda, Myanmar, and Lebanon. They also learned of the work of a second local charity, The Sanctuary, who work with refugees arriving in England.
From here, we decided to support the work of both charities – in different ways! More information coming soon!
24th January 2020
During our Thinking Circles this half term, we have a focus on wellbeing.
We know that feeling happy is vital if we are going to be able to learn effectively . As a result, we feel it is essential we talk openly about how we can ensure that everyone in our learning community feels happy and safe. Our key question for Thinking Circles this half term is: What can get in the way of feeling happy at school? We have started collecting our thoughts about how we can make school a happy, safe environment for us all to learn collaboratively and happily.
Representatives from each of our class met with Mrs Williams and Mrs Day on Friday lunchtime to share the feedback from their classrooms which was really interesting. There were some commonalities between year groups which included:
*the challenge of finding a quiet space to reflect when in school *privacy - when getting changed for PE and in the toilets *having time to talk to teachers 1:1 when there is something worrying us This is really good feedback for our team to reflect on and we certainly will look into ways of making each of these things happen more effectively in school.
Second Thinking Circle session:
In our second Thinking Circle session we wanted to find out about the children’s understanding of the word RESPECT in preparation for an upcoming whole school learning experience inspired by the Anti-Bullying Alliance, Choose Respect. Their views would form a baseline for our learning experience and help us to plan the children’s next steps:
-What is your understanding of the word respect?
-How would you define respect?
-Does everyone deserve respect?
-What would a respectful community feel like?
18th January 2019
Thinking Circles met again this week to review the draft proposal of the anti-bullying leaflet for children. Representatives from each class came to share their ideas at our meeting on Friday lunchtime and they were all super at contributing their ideas. The children's overwhelming opinion was that they thought this would be a helpful addition to the materials that we give our children when they start school.
They liked how colourful the leaflet was and the use of illustrations as well as the acronym of STOP used to help define 'Several Times On Purpose' and as reminder to 'Start Telling Other People' if they felt they were being bullied. Older children thought the link to Child Line was helpful as a last resort although they hoped that no one would feel they had to get to this point!
The children liked the quotes from children and adults in school.
The children also had lots of ideas about how to improve the leaflet, including:
-more illustrations especially with younger children in mind
-making reference to our learning behaviours
-including a fun quiz
-making sure that every member of the community had a copy
First two Thinking Circles will cover:
* Home School Agreements - reviewing and rewriting
We have been using our Thinking Circle time in school to refresh our ‘Home-School agreement’. We felt that it was time to revisit the agreement and ensure it reflects our expectations and is owned by all those who are asked to sign it. We discussed the home-school agreement at the most recent ‘Cuppa and Chat’ and made some minor alterations to the parent part of the agreement. One of the key changes for the children’s part of the agreement is wording the statements around our learning behaviours as part of our commitment to embedding them into our school community. A copy of the agreement will come to all families in the New Year and we would be enormously grateful if you could discuss the agreement as a family before signing and returning it.
* The future of house points - how do we celebrate learning?
Our theme for Thinking Circles this half term is 'the future of house points' and it's proving to be a very interesting discussion. For those families who may remember, we have historically had a house system at Fishbourne which was used for a collection of purposes including: house points (a reward system), sports day organisation and house team days. A couple of years ago, we stopped the house points in school and classes introduced their own rewards, giving them greater autonomy. We knew we wanted to review this and now seems a good time!
The overwhelming feelings amongst our Deep thinking children were:
-they didn't want House Points to be re-introduced because they liked the variety of approaches in different year groups which kept things fresh as they moved through the school. House Points, they felt, had become boring and weren't fairly distributed throughout the school.
-they hugely value working with children in other year groups and would very much like more opportunities to do this on a more regular basis. They thought the house teams helped
-most passionately, they believe that house teams for sports day are unfair because the teams aren't fairly matched. They felt the yellow team had won sports day repeatedly and the teams needed to be more balanced.
It has been super to hear the children's views today and we will take these away to share with the staff team and find a way forward. We will hold another Thinking Circle shortly after Easter during which we will share our proposals and get the children's feedback. Watch this space!