Cornwall: Indian Queens, and some exploring of rockpools… in the snow!

| March 19, 2007 | 0 Comments 

I have said it before but I will say it again: I am a lucky man!

I also have to say, that the element I enjoy most, as I travel all over this country and beyond, is working with children and exploring the world of words.

So today I had real fun!

I did think, when I was booked for a week in Cornwall by a cluster of schools who got together to organise a week with the bald bloke, that I might get in a bit of surfing (dream on Rylands!) or, at least, a beach saunter or two. In reality, I had to battle my way through incredible hail and snow bombardments!

I have been staying at the delightful Plume of Feathers in Mitchell. (A place I can heartily recommend to anyone visiting the Newquay or Truro area of Cornwall: delicious food and a room worthy of Homes and Gardens or Country Living magazine.)

I spent the day doing three demo lessons at Indian Queens primary school, with years one, two and five. What a delight! It was fascinating to see the progression through the year groups, both in the way that they responded to the challenges available, but also in the outcome of their discussion and writing.

A few children surprised themselves, and their teachers, I believe.

With year one and year two, I went back to what is, for me, turning into a favourite location to visit within Myst III:Exile: the beach in J’Nanin. I would definitely not visit the opening scene, in the study of Tomahna, with children of this age as, while it is a really powerful and captivating experience for older children, it may be more than a little “memorable” for younger classes.

(A “walkthrough” and preparing games beforehand can by-pass this “hairy moment”. There are very few, if any, in any of the games. They have a 3+ or 7+ rating, but it is still worthwhile exploring, on your own, as a teacher first, and storing “good places” to visit as “Saved games”. For those of you who have been on courses, training days etc with Baldylocks and the Three Hairs; you know the password to the locked area of the main site ( and there are saved games and walkthroughs galore waiting there for you to explore!)

One young lad, recently reintegrating back into the classroom, was an absolute star! We had some sand for them all to feel as we stood on the edge of the sea, and some water to dip their hands into when we found the rockpool under the bridge (positionals galore of course, and an interesting investigation of “shade” and “shadow”.) Our brave traveller came up, and, when I asked him what the water felt like, he very astutely said “Well, the water in this glass is cold, but the water in that rockpool there is lovely and warm, because of the sun shining on it all day.” That taught me!

In the year five class, we did experience Saavedro throwing a fireball at us, and at Atrus, but only after a very thoughtful wander through the greenhouse in Tomahna, and meeting the gracious Catherine.

The school is going to scan some of the work that the children came up with through the day, and we will hopefully be able to put links to them here.

My second day at Indian Queens was fun too and I, after a day of not feeling too spectacular, felt more up to pace with years 3, 4 and 6. Some of their writing had me welling up. I had an interesting chat with a group of the older lads, as they were writing, about the fact that it IS O.K. to cry. They showed some real maturity and agreed that, sometimes, you can cry because you are sad. Sometimes because you are happy…and sometimes because you are… “full”

I enjoyed working with these open and creative children and their teachers.

Thank you to Jane for organising the days, and the twilight session with staff from schools in the area.

I am looking forward to some more journeying tomorrow as I head off across Bodmin Moor to Upton Cross school.

Thankyou for all those who have sent such lovely feedback e-mails over the last few days. Much appreciated.

Category: 1) Events and Training days

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