Hamilton's Topics provide flexible planning that can be used as long-lasting cross-curricular focuses for material in a range of subjects (geography, history, design and technology, art, music, dance, science, PSHE, PE, English and maths). They can be used throughout a whole term, or as shorter blocks of sessions on a particular aspect of a Topic, or even as individual sessions to cover a particular element of a Topic. There is much to choose from - and it's up to you how you use the material.
In order to maximise choice, all Topics are available to all Friends of Hamilton and school subscribers. However, please note that Topics are written for a specific Key Stage. If you wish to use a Topic for a different Key Stage, you need to consider how to adapt the outcomes, content, delivery methods, resources and differentiation, as well as the relevant National Curriculum objectives, to your Key Stage.
Each Topic comes with a Topic Overview. This provides a summary of the learning activities and the key National Curriculum (or EYFS) goals that will be covered within the Topic, and within each individual block – helping you with the process of selection. Relating this to your own long term planning this will help ensure that you address the requirements of the curriculum.
Each Topic is split into coherent teaching units (blocks), which cover a self-contained part of the Topic. It is not expected that teachers will necessarily use all the blocks within a Topic, or teach them in a particular order. However, it will often be helpful to begin with Block A as this is designed to provide an introduction to the Topic overall. Teaching Block A will also often give you a sense of your children’s areas of interest and knowledge gaps which may help you choose blocks that will most benefit children’s interests and learning needs. Of course, you can adapt blocks to fit any specific requirements of your class.
Each block is spilt into a number of teaching sessions. As the blocks are written progressively to develop skills and knowledge, we recommend working through the whole block of sessions in order. Each block culminates in a meaningful outcome, and following a number of complete blocks of sessions will ensure that children experience a range of creative and fulfilling outcomes.
The timetabling of sessions is flexible and will vary from school to school. Teachers can timetable Topic teaching weekly, or in more concentrated chunks of time – or however they choose! The length of time a single session will take will depend on a number of factors, including the cohort and their experiences, the desired depth of outcomes and the level and nature of adaptations made to the planning.