Implementation of “World Café Stories” (SOI-MT-391)

Author: Ayrton Curmi, Primary Class Teacher

School/Organization: San Gorg Preca Paola Primary, Malta

I chose the ‘World Cafe Stories’ Learning scenario by Nataša Tram as it offers an excellent learning opportunity that can be modified to suit diverse situations. This scenario facilitated the integration of a Book Week reading activity with English comprehension and writing skills, Science, teamwork and ICT. The flexibility of this scenario enabled me to adjust it to meet the specific requirements of my students. In addition, this scenario can be seamlessly linked to physical education by incorporating physical activities that promote teamwork and collaboration. This approach encourages critical thinking and collaboration among students, providing a holistic learning experience. Overall, I found this learning scenario to be a valuable and engaging educational tool.

Classroom Overview and Student Characteristics.

This Year 5 primary class consists of 15 students aged between 9-10 years old. They are an enthusiastic group who love hands-on activities and are always eager to learn new concepts. They enjoy making connections between subjects, which shows their critical thinking skills. The students are engaged in their learning and enjoy exploring and experimenting with new ideas. The classroom atmosphere is positive and encouraging, which fosters a safe and supportive learning environment. I regularly incorporate hands-on activities into their lessons, which has proven to be effective in engaging the students and enhancing their learning experience. Overall, this Year 5 class is a vibrant and curious group, eager to explore and learn new things.

An Integrated Approach to Learning.
This learning scenario helped me integrate multiple subjects and topics, including Science (plants and the plant life cycle), English writing and comprehension skills, ICT, and self and peer assessment. This approach allowed for a comprehensive learning experience that incorporated a range of skills and knowledge. The use of technology provided an opportunity for students to develop their ICT skills, while the self and peer assessment promoted reflective and criticalthinking. By combining these subjects and topics, the students were able to make connections and see the interrelatedness of different areas of knowledge, leading to a deeper understanding of the material. Overall, this cross-curricular approach was effective in promoting a well-rounded education and developing essential skills.

Customizing the Learning Scenario to Meet Student Needs.

To personalize and adapt this learning scenario, I began with a shared reading activity in the library, which added an engaging element by changing the learning environment. We read the book ‘Jack and the Baked Beanstalk’ by Colin Stimpson, which provided a unique twist on the classic story of ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’. From this story, we were able to extract the concept of plants, which we linked to our science topic. The students were then further introduced to this topic through a variety of activities, including a PowerPoint presentation, a YouTube video, a science worksheet, and an English comprehension exercise, all of which were themed around the life cycle of a bean. The students also had a hands-on activity where they planted a plant to learn more about the process of its life cycle, which was a great addition to the learning scenario. This approach allowed for a more personalized and hands-on learning experience, promoting a deeper understanding of the material.

Exploring new worlds through the pages of a book – Book Week Activity – Our engaging shared reading activity in the library!

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Exploring the life cycle of a bean through a science worksheet.

World Café Stories.
To further personalize this learning scenario and link it to our book, I had the students search for their own photos related to plants/trees rather than providing photos from the Europeana platform. This allowed for more creativity and engagement, and the students found very interesting photos that served as great starting points for their creative writing. During the World Cafe activity, I also played relaxing background music themed around the sound of trees rustling. The music helped to set the mood for writing and provided a clear indication for when the groups needed to rotate between stations. After the students completed their stories, they engaged in self and peer assessment using a writing checklist. Once all the groups were satisfied with their final product, the host of each group read their story in front of the whole class. This process helped to build a sense of ownership and engagement among all students since they had participated in every story that was being presented.

Students’ creative writing pieces.

Integration of Technology in the Learning Scenario.

In this learning scenario, technology played a significant role in enhancing the students’ learning experience. The use of the Europeana platform allowed the students to search for photos themed with plants/trees, which they used as inspiration for their creative writing. Studyladder was utilized as an assessment tool, which helped the students to self-evaluate their work and monitor their progress. The students also watched a Youtube video about the life cycle of a plant, which provided a visual aid to complement the topic. Additionally, the use of their Learnpads for reading comprehension helped to reduce paper waste, which was highlighted as an important factor to save trees and is an important aspect of environmental awareness. Overall, the use of technology played a crucial role in enhancing the students’ engagement and provided an interactive and multi-faceted learning experience.

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Exploring the Europeana Platform: Students showcase their creativity and choice of photo during the learning journey.

Interdisciplinary Learning Outcomes.

The following learning outcomes were achieved by the students during this learning scenario:

  • Knowledge and understanding of the life cycle of a plant and the importance of plants in our environment.
  • Improved English writing and comprehension skills.
  • Proficiency in using a range of technological tools for learning, including online platforms and tablet devices.
  • Improved teamwork and collaboration skills through the World Cafe activity.
  • Development of critical thinking skills through self and peer assessment using a writing checklist.
  • Awareness of environmental issues such as reducing paper usage to save trees. 

Potential Areas of Growth.

Potential areas of growth in this learning scenario include further integration with other subjects such as Physical Education and Mathematics. By setting up different stations with various activities, teachers can create a more comprehensive approach to learning. This can be achieved by using task cards for each station that provide clear instructions and objectives. For example, in a physical education station, students can do a scavenger hunt for different types of leaves, while in a math station, students can use measurement tools to determine the height of different plants. By incorporating more subjects, students can gain a more holistic understanding of the topic and improve their cross-curricular skills. Additionally, by updating and sharing the task cards, this learning scenario can be easily adapted and implemented by other educators.

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As an educator, I learned a lot from this learning scenario. Firstly, I realized the importance of adapting and personalizing learning scenarios to fit the specific needs of the students. The students were highly engaged throughout the learning process because I was able to link their interest in the book with our science and English topics. Additionally, I learned the importance of using technology as a tool to facilitate learning and how it can be used in a variety of ways to enhance the learning experience. Moreover, I learned the value of incorporating self and peer assessment into the learning process, which gave the students a sense of ownership over their work and helped them improve their writing skills.

Overall, this learning scenario provided a comprehensive approach to learning, where students were able to make links between different subjects and develop a range of skills that are essential for their academic and personal growth.

Did you find this story of implementation interesting? Why don’t you read about the related learning scenario? ‘World Cafe Stories’ (LS-HR-225) created by Nataša Tram.

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Public Domain Mark 1.0: the featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana and has been provided by the Albertina.

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