Archive for March, 2008

Philosophy for Children – P4C

| March 31, 2008 | 0 Comments 

At the recent Able Gifted and Talented Conference in Derby, I met some pupils from Chellaston Junior School who did a super presentation about the philosophy they had been doing back at school.

I asked them a few questions and here are their really excellent and thoughtful answers:

Four members of our class attended the conference and spoke about the work we’ve been doing on     P4C. Tim asked the following questions and after much discussion, this is what we thought:

What if mountains were dogs?

The earth would shake violently.
They wouldn’t fit in your house.
It would be really hard to walk the dog.
I’d hate to see the mess they leave behind.
There would be enormous fleas.
They’d crush your house.
You’d have to buy a massive kennel.
People would die if they stamped on them.
They’d scare the cats away.
Mountain climbers wouldn’t know whether they were climbing a mountain or a dog.
Use the dog’s tail as a slide.
It would drag you along on walks.
They’d smash and ruin towns and cities.

How does P4C help us in our other lessons?

It helps us to think of strange things for a story.
It helps our imagination to run wild when we’re drawing.
It helps us to think of better questions.
It allows us to think about what it’s like for other people, not just ourselves.
It makes us think about what would be the right thing to do.
It has shown us the importance of thinking”.

Well done all!

As Confucius said: If your plan is for one year, plant rice; If your plan is for ten years, plant trees; If your plan is for one hundred years, educate the children.

Doors of Doom at Hobbs Hill Wood Primary School

| March 25, 2008 | 0 Comments 

After the Hertfordshire ICT conference, I had an e-mail from Geoff Bannister, of Hobbs Hill Wood Primary School, saying “The doorways of doom was a great concept. I’ve spent the last couple of days creating my own ‘Doorways’ type-thing for my school website.”

Dare you take the challenge HERE?

Geoff has also taken up the idea of an interactive tour of the school and made his own virtual tour of Hobbs Hill Wood Primary.

Geoff wrote: “Taking the idea from the graphic adventures of old, I created a virtual tour of my entire school. Imagine the magestic vistas seen in Myst, but instead of being set in a weird “alien” world, it’s set in a primary school in Hemel Hempstead.

There’s no problem solving, or any cleverly incorporated videos of characters, but surely it’s just as awesome! Or maybe not.(It’s a shed load of linked pages not dissimilar to your doors of doom.)”

Well done and thanks Geoff! You definitely deserved the Lego Darth Vader we managed to find for you! 🙂

Courtney Primary School, South Gloucestershire

| March 25, 2008 | 3 Comments 

The first of two days at Courtney Primary School, South Gloucestershire

Today was a fun day spent exploring some of the visual literacy ideas with the staff. Tomorrow will be the chance to wander through the world of words with the children of the school.

We spent some time, today, thinking about the effect that a soundtrack has on how we feel within a game environment, film or radio play. I love the comment, by Jim Carrey, that “The trouble with real life is that there’s no danger music”.

Actually, when it comes to composing a soundtrack, I really like Sir Thomas Beecham’s wise words when he says that “There are two golden rules for an orchestra: start together and finish together. The public doesn’t give a damn what goes on in between”.

Good job, sometimes, as the cacophony we create in our soundtrack sessions often starts and finishes with style. It is laughter that can distract from a masterpiece. 🙂

We’ll tackle a bit of creative noises with the children tomorrow.

Well done, and thank you to Keith Ledbury and colleagues, for a really enjoyable visit.

Drive Time!

| March 22, 2008 | 0 Comments 

Goggles LogoAlthough it has been around for quite a while now, I still enjoy having a fly in “Goggles”.


Now, we have the opportunity to do a bit of ground based wandering by driving through the streets of your local town, city or village, with Google Drive


ICT to Inspire, Challenge & Empower all Learners – Hertfordshire

| March 19, 2008 | 15 Comments 

I was asked to give the opening keynote presentation, and a couple of workshops, at the ICT to Inspire, Challenge & Empower all Learners Conference, Hertfordshire, today.

The day ended with the HOSCARS Award Ceremony which I presented alongside Oscar, the robot.
Thank you to Ann Layzell, and her many colleagues, for a great event.

The cassettes theme spools on. What great pavement art eh?

Thank you to Ben E for the nudge towards this innovative sonic dress design made from old tape.

Also, this fascinating article at The Morning News: Please Spool to End of Tape Before Playing Other Side

Daniel Turek has created a photo page that wittily tackles the iPod vs. The Cassette debate.

DesignBoom takes a good look at the modern Cassette tape Culture and many “mods” of the old design. Some fun stuff.

Green Lane Junior School, Newport

| March 18, 2008 | 0 Comments 

A second day in a Monmouthshire school. This time, Green Lane Junior School, Newport

I often marvel that I ask children to immediately accept the weird bald bloke with the musical walking stick, and, even more than that, to rise to the challenges of creativity and expressive language. The first group arrived looking a little apprehensive. Understandable maybe!

By the end of a creative and dramatic session, they were really flying with their ideas though. Well done to Craig, for taking on the role of Atrus, the owner of the mysterious, yet peaceful, greenhouse we found ourselves in. His answers truly involved his classmates in what appeared to be a fully evolved “backstory” containing some tragedy and loss. I am sure that, as one of his table-mates said, “when he becomes famous, he will be great at answering questions in an interview!”

In the second lesson, they became SO involved that we didn’t even “turn round” or “move”. Some truly remarkable writing “sprang forth”. When reading her writing out, one child even put her hand up to stop my interruptions (of encouragement I might add 🙂 ) so that she could complete her recital, in style.

Well done to Amelia for taking on the role of Yeesha in our trip into Myst IV:Revelation. She transported us all into “her world” and intrigued us with the strange mysteries revealed by her magical necklace.

Well done too, and thankyou, to Cheryl Barker, and her colleagues for some wonderful wanderings in the world of words.

Cross Ash Primary School, Gwent

| March 17, 2008 | 0 Comments 

The first of two days working with schools in Monmouthshire. Today, at Cross Ash Primary School, Gwent (part of the Monmouthshire LEA)

Wow, what a lovely school, full of smiles and laughter, a real joyous place to be. Each class engaged remarkably maturely with the experiences Myst offers and the challenges they were given. I loved it when I commented on a child’s piece that described the “wind rushing through her hair like a tide ripping through seaweed” that she was showing off about HAVING hair. We then shared  the joke that I had taken hours doing my hair that morning but had forgotten to bring it with me! Oh how we all laughed, and well done to that young lass, for recovering and continuing in the reading of her excellent writing.

Well done to Isobelle Busby, headteacher, and her colleagues for a truly bubbly and enjoyable experience. I hope Isobelle can forgive me for the fact that she fell off the back of the rollercoaster ride. Ooops!

Happy Birthday to a Web Wizard!

| March 15, 2008 | 1 Comment 

I would like to wish Clive, who designed and maintains my main website, and this blog, a really happy birthday! 🙂

Try a quick visit to some of Clive’s other sites and you will catch a snippet of the great man’s humour and design talents.

The Butler Bureau, if you after hiring some domestic staff (!!), or just fancy a chortle.

Above all though, Learning Potential, the new site for the educational ventures of Andy Hutt.


Transition- Archbishop McGrath Comprehensive School, Bridgend

| March 14, 2008 | 4 Comments 

A fun day, at Archbishop McGrath Comprehensive School, Bridgend, looking at ways of using some of the visual literacy ideas we have been generating, as a transition unit.

Thank you to Kelly, Barbara, Karen, Gillian, Alvine, Anne, and Ericka for a hard working and efficient day.

More to follow about…what…follows! 🙂

Able Gifted and Talented Conference, Derby

| March 12, 2008 | 2 Comments 

I was honoured to be asked to give a keynote presentation at the Able Gifted and Talented Conference, in Derby, today. Thank you to Christine Askew and her colleagues for organising a superb event!

“btw”, try the DCFS site for some advice about, and definitions of, Gifted and talented children.

There are some helpful pieces of information within the QCA Guidance

Young Gifted and Talented, The National Association for Gifted Children, G&T Wise, and the database of resources at the National Literacy Trust are just a few of the sites you may find useful.

Teachers TV have some great programmes about gifted and talented pupils HERE

Noise Festival, the Europe-wide media showcase for young creative people aged 25 and under, opened its website doors for submissions on 25th February.

During the festival in October 2008, will spotlight the best young creativities and their work. In addition, “top NOISE talent will also hijack the nation’s press via the BBC, MTV and MSN and loads of creative magazines will provide features, profiles and programmes. NOISE Festival 2008 will also stage exclusive events, exhibitions to profile young artists work to help kick-start their careers, and secure a credible, far reaching platform to promote their work”.

If you’re a hidden genius and want to get recognition for your talent, you can submit up to 6 pieces of artwork to NOISE Festival 2008 now. Simply head to create a profile and upload work. Anyone can sign up for the NOISE newsletter for opportunities and ideas, and it’s free to take part! For more information on how you or your organisation can get involved in NOISE Festival 2008 email:

Eccleston Lane Ends Primary School, St Helens

| March 7, 2008 | 2 Comments 

Well done to all those at Eccleston Lane Ends School, in St Helens, who enchanted me with their creativity today. Many children surprised themselves (and their teachers) and that is always satisfying.

In talking with some of the children about the beautiful landscapes we encountered, I was reminded of the glorious Love Earth website.

It is a huge and wonderful eco-site and well worth investigating.

Here are a couple of examples of “on-the-fly” writing from the afternoon session today:

I am standing here, seeing the cracked, ragged rocks like great dragons guarding the last few drops of water. In the candyfloss clouds above, a vulture circles its prey. The smallest sounds are carried across the sharp, blistering wind. Just seeing the dryness of this wasteland, attacks my throat. How can I survive?
Jack Y6

Standing here, looking out across a rigid landscape, a bird soars, circling above me as if it is a whisk swirling round and round in a mixing bowl. There are rocks that are dagger like, screwing into the rusty, dusty ground ready to stab its prey. To the left I see a rough, rock dinosaur searching vigorously with its leg in the ground. But what could possibly be over those mounds of knives?
Hannah Y6

Standing here, I see a bird flying. It may be small but it flies like an eagle. The mountains that stand before me, are sprinkled with orange dust. They are as sharp looking as a thousand knives scattered along the ground. The sound of chiming bells fill the air gently. The clouds drift softly through the sky, but am I alone?
As I turned it transformed into a jungle of trees. I looked to my left and to my right to see trees and plants. Suddenly I spied the most colourful and beautiful glass ceiling ever. Greens, reds, yellows and blues danced before me. The trees swayed in the cool breeze.
Liam Y6

Standing here, looking across a dry desert, a red rocky dinosaur was guarding the last pure moisture left. A mysterious looking bird circling me as if I was a tiny juicy worm. I began looking for an escape route in these hard, red rocks, whilst, in the never ending whiteout of the sky, swallows circled. The sound of chimes could be heard but will I get out in time? As I was about to explore on, a glimpse of colour sparkled in the corner of my eye. I found myself turning to see that I wasn’t actually in a hot, barren desert. I was, infact, in a green house flooded with every tone of green and brown, not just in the world but also the universe. As I explored I wondered who, or what, lived here and what was behind the massive entrance in front of me.
Ben Y5

There was a lot of remarkable speaking, listening and descriptive vocabulary through all of the age groups.

Well done all! Thank you to Margaret Baxter, and her colleagues for a great day.