Explore With Me- Geography, History and Science

April 27, 2021 No Comments
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Explore with Me is the newest SESE programme by EDCO. Previously it only went as far as second class but it now extends to third and fourth class too. In this review, I will firstly share the components of the programme with you, and then I will give you my own personal feedback. This post is a collaboration with EDCO.

The first aspect of this programme which I wish to touch on is that it comes with fully integrated digital resources, which you can sample here: https://explorewithmesample.edco.ie/

JUNIOR INFANTS & SENIOR INFANTS

  • Pupils’ Book
  • My Little Book of Posters (for use at home)
  • Teacher’s Resource Book
  • Poster Flip Chart (10 posters per level)
  • Digital Resources

FIRST CLASS & SECOND CLASS

  • Pupils’ Book
  • Exploration Copy – designed for extension activities
  • Teacher’s Resource Book
  • Six stand-alone Posters
  • Digital Resources

THIRD CLASS & FOURTH CLASS

  • Pupil Book
  • Activity Book
  • Teacher’s Resource Book
  • FREE Digital Resources

Junior Infants to Second Class

  • The programme is organised into ten themes at each class level; one theme is covered per month.
  • A spiral approach is used .. the same ten themes are explored in Junior Infants and First Class and also in Senior Infants and Second Class, while some themes are covered every year and explored in a different way.
  • Key SESE skills are targeted; the development of geographical, historical and scientific skills is a key feature of the programme.
  • Opportunities are provided for integration between the SESE subjects and other curricular areas.
  • Designing, making, investigating and experimenting are key features of science lessons; the programme ensures that hands-on, practical activities are undertaken regularly. (This is my favourite aspect of the programme, it encourages teachers to ensure hands on lessons and investigations are part of almost every lesson)
  • The programme is clearly laid out; each subject is colour-coded in the Pupil Book and the Teacher’s Resource Book.
  • Colourful design, clear layout and a child-friendly font make the programme accessible to children of all abilities.

Third Class and Fourth Class

  • History, Geography and Science explored thematically in one integrated pupil book. ( Saves parents money!)
  • Each of the strands and strand units are arranged according to theme; monthly units are organised thematically.
  • There are 6 chapters in each monthly unit: two Science, two Geography and two History for meaningful integration.
  • The thematic approach strengthens pupil learning and supports the reinforcement of the theme.
  • Features a child-friendly layout with colourful pictures, clear diagrams and highlighted sections.
  • Key words are highlighted at the beginning of each chapter – links nicely with English
  • Each chapter starts with the Learning Outcomes in the Let’s Learn section giving pupils ownership over what they will be learning about. ( allows for more meaningful learning)
  • Fascinating Facts sections are included throughout.
  • Let’s Get Exploring! activities support skills introduced throughout the chapter.
  • Bright and easily identifiable icons are featured throughout to show
    integrated digital resources.
  • Many Science chapters include Let’s Experiment! sections.
  • The Show What You Know! section contains questions for revision.
  • Features an illustrated child-friendly glossary at the back of the book

TEACHER’S RESOURCE BOOK

  • Yearly Plans, Curriculum Overview, Aistear Overview (Junior and Senior Infants), Monthly Plans, Individual Lesson Plans, Class Assessment Record (Junior Infants to Second Class) Photocopiable Masters (PCMs), Fortnightly Overviews.
  • To facilitate planning, the yearly, monthly, fortnightly and individual lesson plans are available in an editable format.
  • Individual Lesson Plans cover the following:
    • Curriculum Information Differentiation
    • Skills Assessment
    • Vocabulary Extension Ideas
    • FYI Integration
    • Resources/Equipment
    • Lesson Outline
    • Key Questions (Think like a Scientist, Think like a Geographer, Think like a Historian)
  • Photocopiable masters (PCMs) are included and referenced within the relevant lesson plan.
  • An easy-to-use monthly Class Assessment Record can be used to monitor progress using the tick, dot, dash system (Junior Infants to Second Class).
  • A KWL chart (First to Fourth Class) is available in both digital and
    photocopiable formats.
  • Curriculum objectives are listed for each chapter (Third and Fourth Class).
  • A Guide to Virtual Field Trips is provided (Third and Fourth Class).
  • Contains STEAM activities for each chapter (Third and Fourth Class).
  • Features a differentiation toolkit and an assessment toolkit (Third and Fourth Class).

There’s a short youtube video here by the three authors of the programme, they are practicing primary school teachers. It gives a good overview of the programme : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C668evki8Xo

My thoughts:

It is a balanced programme- it gives equal weighting to geography, history and science.

It is interactive, the online resources are excellent. There is ample material in the digital section.

The infants books take Aistear into account in the planning section and give ideas for linking it to SESE.

The planning templates are EDITABLE! This is a game changer and will make life much easier for those using it!

The posters included are very effective for promoting oral langauge and could be used for English lessons rather than just SESE. They could also be used for teaching Gaeilge. They are bright and attractive and would hold the children’s attention.

The teacher book is brilliant, the authors have thought of everything a busy teacher needs. It gives yearly, monthly and fortnightly overviews which you can edit to suit yourself and your class.

It is suitable for my class. The bright and colouful posters and digital resources, along with the scope for differentiation makes this programme ideal for the teaching of SESE with my junior ASD class.

All in all I commend these three teachers for creating this programme while working full time! They have literally thought of everything. This programme is far more than just a new workbook. It is a whole new balanced and interactive approach to the teaching of SESE, which will enhance the learning experience for the children,. and will save the teacher valuable time spent otherwise searching the internet for worksheets and videos to link to their topic. With this programme the text book, posters, videos and online materials are all in one place, alongside your editable plans!

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Valerie King

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