Projects Cohort 3

Research Group 1. Paola and Helen

Big Area of interest/Project question:
How can we introduce  mindfulness and gratitude strategies to enhance aspects of wellbeing in Early Years and Primary at Oak House School?

Wellbeing has become a subject which is talked about more and more everyday life,  this is because of developments in the areas of psychology and positive psychology along with the recognition that we are living in an increasingly complex and stressful society.  Because of this need there has been during the last few years a focus on research and there is a more understanding and practices to work with. It has now been proven that showing gratitude, being calm, contact with nature, does make a difference to the quality of people’s lives..

From the broad range of aspects of wellbeing, (for example kindness, resilience, compassion, social relationships etc )  we will focus on mindfulness and gratitude. We want to introduce awareness and some structured activities in a manageable format in these two areas.

 Regarding mindfulness we will work with the whole of primary (and early years) staff  through training to be more aware and have strategies to use with their classes. After this training we will have a focussed period of time using the strategies on a daily basis in the classroom..

Regarding gratitude we will introduce the concept of gratitude to some control groups and after a preparation time the students will use a gratitude diary for 6 weeks.  As the diary will go home with the child in their folder, families can also be involved.

We will gather data by asking students, teachers and families if these interventions have had a positive impact.  Teacher observations and impressions will also be taken into account.

Key words: mindfulness, gratitude, wellbeing, mental health, school

Research Team: Helen Jackson and Paola Benito

Research Group 2. Andrew, Annabel and Nicki

How can we improve attitudes towards, and attainment in reading, through the introduction of new digital technologies?


Good English language and literacy skills are essential for success across all areas of our curriculum. The development of these skills in all three languages is at the core of the Primary curriculum so that children are equipped for the academic expectations of Secondary education. Although KS2 reading assessment results at our school are equivalent to levels in England (as measured by English reading SATs) attainment at KS1 is considerably lower than national standards in England, with very few children reaching expected level. This trend reflects research findings on the development of reading of bi-lingual learners in UK schools.

The simple model of reading proposed by Gough and Tumner (1986) explains that learning to read consists of developing skills in two critical areas: (1) Reading each word in texts accurately and fluently and (2) Comprehending the meaning of texts being read. It is clear that bilingual learners, with weaker English language skills will find it much harder to develop their reading skills as their reading comprehension skills can only equal their language comprehension ability. Therefore intervention to support the development of their receptive and expressive language skills should impact very positively on their reading comprehension and access to the broader curriculum.

We want to investigate how we can use digital technologies to improve English language skills in order to raise attainment in reading. We will be looking to use technologies that provide children with models of fluent and accurate language; present new vocabulary and a wider range of grammatical structures; different genres of literature in order to enrich their reading experiences and exposure to English.

We will be introducing audiobooks into our Y7 library. Our students in Y1 will be making use of digital audio story headphones. In Y2-Y7 children will have access to an ebook library. During this year’s ‘Book Week’ all children across the Primary School will be producing their own digital books. We will be inquiring into children’s attitudes towards these new technologies, and looking at whether they have an impact on their reading habits and attainment.

KEY WORDS: Audio books; Reading; Progress; Engagement; Language development

Research Group 3. Paloma, Miquel, Juan and Emma

Big Area of interest: Collaborative learning

Sub questions (focus):

We would like to focus on:

  • Longer projects over more than class, rather than short group activities.

  • How can we help students all collaborate during group work, so that they all understand what and how the end product was reached.

  • How to improve group dynamics through collaborative learning

To this end we also need to consider the following aspects.

  • How we should structure the groups

  • How we should structure the projects

  • How we should evaluate and communicate this with the students

Synopsis (our thinking so far):

The purpose

  • When planning projects we need to consider the purpose of the project. Is it to for them to learn more content, develop subject specific skills, the finished product or their collaborative skills AND we need to communicate this to the students.

  • We believe currently students are most concerned about the finished product as this is what they think will affect their mark the most. But we believe the teachers are more concerned about the other 3 “purposes”

The groups

  • that we should use heterogeneous groups and that we should keep them in these groups for all subjects during a term

  • we should do a teambuilding activity at the beginning to help develop a rapport

  • We think that using the word ”team” (=equipo) encourages collaborative learning more than “group”

The activities

  • we should consider carefully how we structure the activities. Giving them more support in the younger year groups and less as they grow older, however this would have to be developed over several years.

The evaluation

  • Ensure that we consistently use rubrics (can use the ones from Credito de Synthesis and adapt) These rubrics should effectively reflect the true purpose of the collaborative work i.e. NOT ONLY the end product. The rubric should include that all students can explain the whole project

  • After projects are complete individual assessments (like tests) can be completed so that we can test the quality of learning

Collection of data

  • questionnaires of students, teachers and tutors before, during and after the project?

  • grades – does the “collaboration” grade improve over the years?

Key words: Collaborative learning; Purpose of teamwork; Project management; Evaluation of teamwork; Quality of learning  → (cambiamos por team structure /team building??)

Research Team

Emma Louise Barton, Miquel Julià, Juan Mesa, Paloma Mussons


Location Dorset, South West England, UK Phone (+44) 7545922612 E-mail Hours We work internationally so our hours are flexible but please respect time zones
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