Springwood Heath Primary School, Liverpool, II

| October 16, 2008 | 0 Comments 

Rebecca Shipton has kindly offered to share her thoughts on our day at  Springwood Heath Primary School, Liverpool:

“Having been an active participant on Day 1 yesterday at Parklands, I was looking forward to Day 2 with excitement and a little trepidation, mostly because being a Year 6 teacher, I rarely come into contact with ‘littlies’. Walking into Springwood, I was faced with feeling of warmth from the staff and pupils and a buzz amongst my fellow course attendees, eager to see how Tim’s inspirational ideas would be put into practise.

The first session was with a group of very lively Year 3 and 4 pupils, differing greatly in ability and needs. Using the opening scene of Myst 3: Exile and Tim’s broken arm as stimuli, many speaking and listening activities ensued.

So how did Tim break his arm? Was he ‘flying a Sesner plane?’ Did he get his arm ‘stuck in a bus door running away from an elephant’? Many wild and wacky ideas emerged – the children were all eager to share their ideas amongst their peers and as the session progressed, they became confident enough to share with the whole room.

Following a brief chat about Mr Walker, the attention turned to Myst. The bird circling and darting the landscape was certainly capturing their attention. Many wonderful descriptions came from the children; some needed the extra stimulus of sand to feel, however most of the learners were keen to air their thoughts.

‘Standing here, looking out across a barren landscape, I am faced a terrain dotted with golden-yellow hills. Up above, in the azure sky, a dying bird is circling, looking for food.’

Wow! Pretty amazing vocabulary…and I was informed, by a very keen young man, that azure was the Spanish word for blue so it really fitted in! I couldn’t have agreed more.

The highlight of the first session was the ‘virtual domestic’ between the gardener and the female owner of the property. Apparently, the gardener was very lazy and did not get up until midnight! However, he disagreed…highly amusing and amazing how the two children involved got into role so quickly and developed strong characterisation. Loved it!

After a cuppa and a chocolate brownie or five, it was time for the bit I was dreading…littlies. Ugh! You want me to sit on the carpet? …Oh alright then…and I felt so involved in the little world that they had become so quickly immersed in. Even though they were noisy, it was a buzz of enthusiasm. A small boy with ASD was so enthralled by the magnified view of a bird feeding its chick through a flower, he laughed and smiled throughout. The children were once again loving Mr Walker – his holes are for breathing apparently. The session was short and engaging, with the children learning the new word ‘cautiously’ and one pupil told me he was going to eat his dinner ‘cautiously’ today!

Lunch was an informal time to discuss the morning sessions. We all ‘got’ something different form the morning – I realised that ‘littlies’ weren’t that bad at all.

And so to the afternoon session, with years 5 and 6: I sat with 3 very keen young ladies who believed that the ship was the Titanic and they developed quite a deep subtext just from looking at the screen. (This was before Tim had even fully started the session.)

Being very interested in boys’ writing, (started an MA research in it years ago and gave up…) this afternoon was a revelation. Boys writing when they didn’t have to! (Might pick up that MA again…)

One pupil’s idea of a dragon breathing fire was wonderful; he felt so proud when later a dragon-shaped skeleton appeared on screen.

“I told you!” he declared to Tim. Brought a lump to my throat.

Wonderful writing, great speaking and listening, keen boys! What more can you say?

Hooked? Me? Definitely. Can’t wait to take it back to my school to implement it”.

Thank you Rebecca.

Category: 1) Events and Training days

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