Olney Middle School, Milton Keynes

| June 4, 2008 | 8 Comments 

Now THAT was a REALLY fun day of lessons throughout the whole of Key Stage Two. This time, at Olney Middle School, Milton Keynes. We laughed all day and the staff and children rose to so many challenges with total enthusiasm. A real delight.

There were quite a few children who surprised themselves (and their teachers I believe) with the quality of their writing. In addition to this, a select group acted out roles as if they were characters in the fantasy worlds. What remarkable confidence and, at times, wit they showed. Enchanting.

When we talked with the children about metaphor today, I refered to one of my favourite poems, The Highwayman, by Alfred Noyse.

This great descriptive narrative poem includes many superb similes and metaphors. My favourites occur in the first verse:

The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees,
The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
The road was a ribbon of moonlight, over the purple moor…

The moon, of course, is not a pirate ship, but that image is so evocative and powerful that it has stuck in my mind since Mr Moon, my teacher at primary school, (THE Cliff Moon of “The Cliff Moon Readability List” by the way.) first read it to us.

The “Stand and Deliver” site includes many poems and texts about highwaymen.

The Outlaws and Highwaymen site includes texts, ballads, letters etc illustrating the history of Medieval outlaws and English highwaymen.

The gruesome sounding Murder Files contains information on British murders, executions and executioners over last 300 years. Some of these include highwaymen and women and those that despatched them.

The whole poem is presented in a style that makes it easy to read on a whiteboard HERE at the Teachers First site. This includes some excellent annotation.

However, one of the most effective and well presented resources I have found for many years, is to be found HERE at Britannica Dreams site. It contains a machinima film set to music and the text of the poem, all set to some great audio.

Thank you to Alison Waspe, her colleagues and pupils at Olney Middle School. A great day at a great school. Well done!

“On to Oxford, he spurred like a madman, shrieking a curse to the sky,
With the white road smoking behind him and his laptop brandished high!”

Alf Red-Noise 1432 (just after half past two!)


Category: 1) Events and Training days

Comments (8)

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  1. Mark says:

    It was an excellent day which the children absolutely loved. They produced some fantastic work using amazing language, some even surprised themselves. All they want to know is what is behind the door?

  2. Mike Russell says:

    Thanks for a truely inspiring day Tim! I am year 3 teacher at Olney Middle and I was delighted to see all my pupils totally engaged for the whole session. They produced some wonderfully descriptive work and I am looking forward to continuing your work with my class. I loved the way you included all the children and encouraged those who are less likely to participate to really get involved. I even went online when I got home and found out that I can buy all 5 Myst games for £15! Brilliant!
    Thank you again. I know the children and I will not forget the experience!

  3. Barbara Tate says:

    … and I have linked our school website back to yours so that the unwary surfer may mytseriously stumble into an endless loop between the two sites, never to be seen again!

    Seriously, huge thanks for reminding us all that ’embedding ICT in the wider curriculum’ is about inspiration above all else.

  4. Marie Lally says:

    It was wonderful to see Tim deliver ‘The Myst’ experience to children today – he has a wonderful way of dealing with children, the way he speaks to them and subtly encourages them to enhance their language (orally and in writing) is a joy to behold!
    I have already taught my Y6 children using Myst during our BIG Writing week and seen how they all, especially boys who are reluctant writers, really “buy into” the whole experience and really immerse themselves in the landscape and produce stunning writing as a result. Seeing Tim draw even more from the game and children has given me lots of wonderful ideas to adapt and try in the future and I am looking forward to using the game more and inspiring wonderful writing in the future.
    Many thanks for an inspirational and enjoyable lesson and staff INSET.

  5. Alison Waspe says:

    This was INSET at its very best! Truly Best Value for money!!!!!!!!!
    Not only did we get fantastic training on how to fire children’s imagination we also saw superb behaviour management -turning negatives into positives and reluctance into enthusiasm.
    Hope you found your next venue without a problem and enjoyed the picnic.

  6. Heather says:

    A truly memorable day. Watching Tim in action was really mesmerising, and after many years in the classroom, it is great to come across new inspiration and enthusiasm for delivering writing! Many thanks for all the energy and enjoyment created in both the writing lessons and the staff INSET.

  7. Brian Carroll says:

    My wife and I always knew our grandaughter is a star in the making. This proves it without a doubt. Thanks for this Tim it has brought a tear to our eyes.

  8. Helen Tiplady says:

    Thank you, Tim for a great lesson. I knew that the Year 4s would enjoy ‘Myst’ but to get such creative writing from the experience was superb. We have used photographs and gone outdoors in order to encourage the children to use their senses in their writing, but the moving pictures of ‘Myst’ (together with the sound of the water on the lake/birds flying up above) gave this lesson an extra dimension.
    The INSET was great too – it reminded me why I wanted/want to be a teacher – very inspirational. Very best wishes and good luck with your future projects.

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