Archive | Classroom examples – Primary

Flicker the penguin – the video!

Here’s a real treat for you. Remmber Rebekah Whyte’s year 1-2 planning for ‘Flicker the Penguin” – a mantle of the expert response to the Rena Oil Spill? This was loaded on the site about a month ago…. Well now we get the movie!

Rebekah and her children created this lovely documentary about Flicker’s journey, which went on to win first prize in the MADE awards, 2012. Congratulations to all!

Please note – The link below will send you to an unlisted You Tube site (it is only viewable by those from this link). Thanks to parents and children for their permission to share this.

CLICK HERE to link to film



Mantle plan for year ones

A lovely plan here as prepared and taught by Rebekah Whyte from Tauranga

“Flicker the Penguin” was a Mantle of the Expert unit inspired by the Rena disaster. Children in Rebekah’s year 0-1 new entrant class learned about the impact of the disaster (which happened on their local beach) through their role as animal rescuers.

This was Rebekah’s first attempt at a Mantle of the Expert Unit. She plans and reflects in such detail, this document is a great read.  After you have read and enjoyed it – watch this space! The children in the class also developed a documentary movie (to be uploaded later). Many thanks Rebekah for sharing this with us …

Rena Science SocialSci MotE


New blog from Muritai

Priya Gain from Muritai School has sent the link to her latest blog – a mantle on Ancient Greeks! Have a read… Priya does a really great job at blogging the learning journey in an attractive and accessible way. To visit the blog, click here – or go to links on the right.


Video clip – teachers talk Mantle

This clip from the NZ curriculum website [effective pedagogy section] shows Gay Gilbert and Lynette Townsend discussing the advantages of Mantle of the Expert and how they used it in their school. They are describing here a MOTE in which children were in role as documentary researchers, exploring the issue of the Kaimanawa Horse culls.



Year 3 Mantle – Toy Museum

Viv Aitken and her 14 third year student teachers from Waikato University are working together with classroom teacher Melissa Phillips and Deputy Principal Gay Gilbert on a 6 week Mantle of the Expert adventure children from room 17,  Hillcrest Normal School. We are going to be working with these enthusiastic year 3s as a toy museum, charged with caring for a precious and highly valuable set of toys. You can read about this MOTE by following our blog. Click here, or visit ‘links’ on the MOTE website.



Mantle of the Expert for Pre-service Teachers in Wellington

This post sent in by Priya Gain from Wellington. You can read in more detail about the Mantles described here by visiting the Murutai school blogs (see ‘links’ on the right)……. Priya writes:

Pre-service primary school teachers, as part of their teacher training
programme at Victoria University of Wellington, are going to be
introduced to the dramatic inquiry learning approach of Mantle of the

Delia Baskerville, drama lecturer at Victoria University, and Priya
Gain have collaborated to create a lecture and a follow up workshop on
Mantle of the Expert.  The lecture and workshop will be co-presented
by Delia and Priya and will be part of the coursework on curriculum
and pedagogical content knowledge for
planning/teaching/assessment/evaluation in the primary school

The lecture introduces pre-service teachers to Mantle of the Expert
(MOTE) by taking them through a MOTE unit of work that Priya did with
year 3 and 4 students at MURITAI SCHOOL.  Delia was involved in this
unit of work when she visited the classroom in-role to add the key
dramatic tension.

The lecture will illustrate:
•    how drama was used to build belief and commitment to a fictional
company of sea science researchers,
•    the range of curriculum based tasks that students did in order to
successfully complete their commission, and
•    how dramatic tension was used to drive an active response from
students and active reflection on their learning.

The lecture uses the voices of the students throughout to illustrate
and honour the high level of thinking, creativity, and collaboration
of the students who took part in this Mantle.

In the workshop the pre-service teachers will be taken through another
MOTE unit of work that Priya did at MURITAI SCHOOL.  This unit was
with a group of new entrants students in-role as garden designers.  In
the workshop the teachers will have the opportunity to participate in
three episodes from this MOTE unit including:

•    entering a fictional space and adding signs to take ownership of this space,
•    responding to a simple commission (using a picture book), and
considering how this can drive inquiry learning, and
•    experiencing and responding to some dramatic tension to see how this
element drives active learning and reflection.

It is exciting to think that these pre-service teachers will have the
opportunity to see how teachers can use drama to teach across all
curriculum learning areas, and take the role of genuine facilitators
in child-led inquiry learning through Mantle of the Expert.
Hopefully these teachers are inspired by the student’s work and take
this inspiration out into more primary schools and share the magic of


10 possible MOTE ideas

Check out the new page just inserted into the website under ‘planning in MOTE – teacher resources’  Or click here.  On this page you will find 10 concept ideas for MOTE plans all very different and all with a distinctly NZ theme.

These concepts for Mantle of the Expert units of work were designed by third year students as part of their learning on TEAL 387 at Waikato University. My thanks to these students for agreeing to allow their ideas to be shared with other teachers. They are loosely categorized according to the main curriculum learning areas that they cover – though the ‘incorporated’ approach of MOTE means that each concept gives opportunities to teach right across the curriculum including opportunities for rich learning in Maths, Literacy and ethics / values. Key competencies are not indicated but are core to any MOTE experience.

Please note, these concepts provide only the broad framework for planning – naturally a great deal of micro-planning would be required for individual lessons and to ensure teaching for learning. It is important to note that the concepts as they stand do NOT include indications of drama conventions and other drama for learning strategies which the teacher would need to use.  And naturally, the direction of the inquiry would flex and change depending on the interests of the children in the class. Nonetheless, I think you will agree that these concepts provide a stimulating set of NZ based ideas for MOTE units – and we really need to start building a collection of those!


Planning for term four

A successful planning session was held in Hamilton last week where local teachers came together to brainstorm ideas and share advice for term four:

Amongst others, we generated the following ideas:

  • A Mantle of the expert approach to the story Jack and the Beanstalk, for year two primary students. In this case, the teacher has decided to place a strong emphasis on the drama for learning / process drama side with teacher going into role as the giant’s wife, very distressed at the stealing of her golden hen…. The teacher really wanted to work with this theme after experiencing some petty theft within the classroom.
  • A MOTE for senior high school students involving a company that regulates new technologies in the marketplace [this one can be seen as working in the ‘regulatory’ mode from Heathcote’s list]. This one is going to be used as a starting point for a senior drama unit and the students will be challenged to explore ethical and political issues arising from secretive surveillence in society. Students’ ideas will be used as the basis for a devised performance.
  • For a senior primary class, a mantle of the expert exploration of the environmental damage from ‘Rena’ (the cargo ship currently aground off the Bay of Plenty). We discussed how important it would be with this one to take care with ‘frame distance’, as this is a real life issue, currently unfolding. We talked about how we could enrol the students as a company commissioned to clean out and recycle the shipping containers that have floated off the ship… this will take the class into science, design and math learning.

The gathering was useful not only to touch base with other teachers but also to remind ourselves of some of planning steps and guiding principles of planning in MOTE. Again, it was impressive to see primary, early years and secondary teachers sharing ideas. Kia Ora team!