28 Jan 2016
The Allergy Adventures' Workshop for Schools had a face lift to cater for a bigger crowd
Posted: 28 Jan 2016
It's no secret that teachers are a creative lot. So it shouldn't have come as a surprise when I was asked to adapt the Allergy Adventures' Workshop for an assembly. But it caught me a little off guard. Was it even possible to distil all the fun of four lessons into a 45 minute assembly?
But I'm always up for a challenge, so over Christmas I got creative. And I managed to adapt the existing workshop into an 'assembly-ready' presentation.
Currently the lessons are designed for a classroom setting, teaching 20-30 children and lasting 50 minutes each approximately. The challenge was to create an assembly to teach a four individual year groups (60+ children in each year).
But it didn't stop there…
I also had to create two bespoke assemblies to cater for the younger children (Years 2 & 3) and older groups (Years 4 & 5). It involved taking parts from Lesson 1 (What is a food allergy?), Lesson 3 (How to avoid cross contamination) and Lesson 4 (How to keep friends safe).
The educational videos that have been created for each lesson are the same for all years but the activities and worksheets are adapted to suit different levels of ability (see an overview of each lesson here).
To keep the kids engaged during the assemblies, I included a mix of slides, videos and fun live demonstrations. It was the same fun resources I use in the lessons, just adapted for a larger audience. And just for good measure, I threw in some activity worksheets for homework.
And then I headed up the M1
Then I set off for Hearsall Community Primary School, Coventry, and Ryhill Junior, Infant and Nursery School, West Yorkshire.
Despite my pre-assembly nerves, the Workshop-Turned-Assembly presentation worked a treat. The kids were engaged and asked loads of questions about allergies, and I had plenty of volunteers from the audience when it came to the practical activities for avoiding cross-contamination.
And the feedback?
Here's an excerpt from a lovely email I received from a parent:
"My son has had allergies all his life and knows quite a lot about allergies because they affect his life daily! But today he's come home from school with a raving review of the workshop, about how fun it was and how lovely the lady was!
He's learnt so much more in a way that's not scared him. And his school friends will now have an amazing understanding of allergies and how it affects people's lives...the more people that understand allergies the better. Every school needs this workshop."
And the Deputy Head of Ryhill school, Mrs Kenyon, wrote,
"Thank you for delivering an important, educational message in our school in such a fun and interactive way. Our children and staff loved the workshops!"
Do you want your child's school to learn about allergies?
There are two ways to bring the Allergy Adventures' Workshop into your child's school:
1. Point the teachers in the direction of the 'for schools' section of my website. All the materials are free to download with complete lesson plans, activity sheets and guidance notes.
2. Ask the teacher to email me about running a workshop at your child's school. Although it's an 'out of the box' workshop, some schools prefer me to come and teach it first. I also include hands-on training as part of the workshop, so once the teachers have seen the lessons in action, they'll be able to teach it themselves.