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Unit 3: How I learn - Teacher's notes

Interactive case study (flash)
Online activities (flash)
  1. Learning New Skills
  2. A Picture Letter
Activity sheets (pdf)
  1. How I Learn
  2. How Do Younger Children Learn?
Certificate (pdf)
  1. Create certificate
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Andrew has multiple disabilities and has communication difficulties. Children are encouraged to empathise with others and identify different ways of learning. Includes a picture letter and an interview activity.

Quick links


  • To encourage the children to empathise with children who have significant learning difficulties and additional needs
  • To help the children to identify how they learn new things
  • To provide an opportunity for the children to feel proud of their own achievements
  • To illustrate that different people learn in different ways - taking into account their age, abilities and circumstances

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Curriculum links

Key Stage 2 Citizenship and PSHE

  • Developing confidence and responsibility and making the most of their abilities - 1a, 1b, 1c
  • Preparing to play an active role as citizens - 2e, 2f
  • Developing good relationships and respecting the differences between people - 4a, 4e, 4f, 4g
  • Breadth of opportunities - 5b, 5g

Every Child Matters

  • Make a positive contribution


  • Self-awareness
  • Empathy

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Lesson plan

Using the case study materials

This case study is about Andrew who has multiple disabilities. As well as being a wheelchair user, he has communication difficulties. His teachers made him a communication book through which they can understand at least some of his needs and emotions, and he is able to participate in learning at his own level.

Andrew is determined to communicate and to be understood. The Children's Society runs many projects for disabled children and they make sure that the children are heard when important decisions are being made about their lives.

  • Share the interactive story with the whole class, then ask the children to recall and recount the story in their own words.
  • At the end of the case study, on-screen questions prompt the children to think about the issues raised in the case study.
  • Use the discussion questions below to help you gauge the children's level of understanding of - and empathy towards - children in Andrew's situation.

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Questions for discussion

  1. Describe Andrew - what problems does he face with learning?
  2. How does Andrew move around?
  3. Why did Andrew's teachers decide to make him a communication book?
  4. What difference did this book make to Andrew's life at school?
  5. Where did Andrew go and what do you think he learned?
  6. How else might the children at Andrew's school help him?

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Online activity 1: Learning new skills

Children are given a range of phrases relating to learning to read and to swim. They sort the statements into two sets. The aim is to encourage the children to recall how they learned a new skill.

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Online activity 2: A picture letter

Children drag and drop pictures into a writing scaffold and write a few sentences to create a 'picture letter' to Andrew detailing how they have fun learning new things at school. They go on to show Andrew how they could help him have fun learning too.

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Activity sheet 1: How I learn

This sheet provides a set of stimulus pictures to help the children identify what they like doing and explain how they learned this particular skill. They then think about something they would like to learn and what they will need to do in order to acquire that particular skill.

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Activity sheet 2: How do younger children learn?

This sheet is designed to help the children think about how children younger than themselves learn new skills. They could take the sheet to children in another class, or work on it with a younger member of their family group. The sheet gives the children some starter questions and asks them to add two more questions of their own.

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Extension ideas

  • Ask the children to revisit the interactive screens and identify which aspects of learning are generic to the acquisition of all new skills, such as motivation and practice.
  • Ask the children to make a newsletter that someone with learning difficulties could enjoy - perhaps something with a focus on the visual. Or a piece of audio, like an interview, that someone who was blind or partially sighted would be able to listen to.
  • Invite the children to invent a new playground game that will enable wheelchair users or children with visual impairments to feel included.
  • Ask the children to draw and label a picture showing their favourite way of learning a new skill, for example: 'I like to learn from watching other people' or 'I like to learn by working it out by myself.'

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Assembly ideas

  • You could use the learning from this unit to launch a fundraising event to raise money for children who have learning difficulties. Andrew's story provides a good stimulus for such an event. You could go on to set up a suggestion box for the children to contribute their ideas for raising the money, such as: 'We could have a soft toy sale,' or 'We could put on a performance for our family and friends and sell tickets.'

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When you have completed this My Life unit with your pupils, you can access a certificate from the Activity sheets box at the top of this page. You can type in the name of each student and print the personalised certificates. No names will be stored by us.

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