Little Aston Primary School, Staffordshire

| May 7, 2008 | 2 Comments 

A second trip back to the cluster of schools around Little Aston School in Staffordshire.

I value head teacher, Liz Pearce’s approach: let’s get our children fired up and enjoying their writing, ahead of “a testing time” next week.

Having a chat with colleagues about the up-coming maths, English and science SATs next week, we all agreed that results often improve when we take the emphasis OFF preparing for tests. It means that we end up with a focus on quality teaching throughout the whole year.

If we do want children to feel confident though, we need to give them some support in the processes.

Did you know that past papers for maths, English and science tests, back to 2005, are available in places like THIS?

Woodlands, the most visited school website in the country, are as ever, a great source of revision support.

Nowadays, it is more the Untied, rather than the United, Kingdom. Wales and Scotland don’t have a a formal test week ahead. Infact, I will be working with children in Monmouth next week. I also look forward to the new curriculum in Wales, and the changes in the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence.

Today was great fun. Full of challenge and superb results. I am grateful to Edward Morris & Andrea Osment, of Christchurch Primary, Lichfield, for “Live Blogging” today’s events:

Mystical Opportunities
Tim Rylands came to Little Aston Primary School to spend the day with staff, pupils and other visitors to share with them the use of Myst.
We (teachers from Christ Church Primary, Lichfield) observed workshops involving children from year 1 through to year 6.  The children were encouraged to use speaking and listening skills to explore the use of verbs, adverbs, similes and metaphors in creative ways.
The ‘Mr Walker’ stick grabbed the children’s attention through encouraging them to come up with their own ideas for the object’s use and purpose.  All of their ideas were valid and this urged them to participate with confidence.
By referring every so often to the sounds and images on screen, the atmosphere actually became part of the environment that the children were in.

The use of various settings from the CD resource inspired the children to use their imagination.  “What can you hear, see, smell…?” was a key question which was used as a starting point to provoke children’s discussion about the setting.
The written work the children produced reflected the creativity of the input given. Heavy emphasis was placed on the language the children should use and, as a result, the children did not feel restricted by the mechanics of writing.
It’s important to note the skills needed by the teacher in the utilisation of the resource. A substantial amount of time can and should be spent exploring one still image in various ways, achieving multiple outcomes. The children would then be fully engaged when the attention shifts to moving and manipulating the image further.
We observed one child give a commentary as he ‘walked’ through a particular setting.  This activity could be further implemented in the classroom by children practising their commentaries, recording themselves onto a voice recorder and evaluating their commentary.  Their work could then be evaluated and improved depending on the targets the children were working on at that time, e.g. similes, adjectives etc.  Finally, the children would be encouraged to write their high quality setting description.
We feel that this would be a valuable resource for the classroom, which could be used in Literacy lessons for a variety of writing genres and even in other areas of the curriculum, particularly to inspire boys’ writing.

Thank you Edward and Andrea.

Well done, and thank you to Liz Pearce, and colleagues, for a most enthusiastic and enjoyable day.

Category: 1) Events and Training days

Comments (2)

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  1. Alexis Stringer says:

    Hello there,
    Two teachers, Alexis and Sarah from Coppice Primary School in Four Oaks also attended the morning session.
    ‘I found it really refreshing and exciting to see how much the children get out of these sessions. It is amazing how eager the children are to write when all of their senses are involved.
    A super morning. Thank you Tim and Little Aston for having us.’

  2. Ian Skinner says:

    Thanks, I randomly found this whilst looking for info on Little Aston Primary School and I just wanted to make you aware of – easily the best free sats paper resource out there.

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