Archive for January 21st, 2009

St John’s C.E. Primary School, Tunbridge Wells, Kent

| January 21, 2009 | 1 Comment 

At St John’s C.E. Primary School, Tunbridge Wells today – delightful. Some remarkably well behaved, yet sparky, children.

Year 3 and Year 4 pupils came with us through the desert.

Year 2 pupils explored a mysterious, organic landscape and wrote some excellent descriptions of what they imagined to be out of sight, up a magical stalk.

Carine Jacquel, Secondary Consultant for Hands on Support, a part of ‘ASK’, has kindly written this comment:

“I first heard Tim Rylands at the EIS conference in 2008, and immediately realised the enthusiasm that such a method would bring to children. I was on the edge of my chair wanting to see more of the game, open the doors etc and I could see by looking at the audience that I was definitely not the only one. We were part of the game, captivated, fascinated, and manage to forget that it was the afternoon session…… after lunch…… at the EIS conference…..and that we were listening to a guest speaker. We were well and truly part of the Myst. From then on, I could only imagine the extent to which children could be taken and teachers inspired by Myst.

Having had the luxury of being one of the 198 people who attended the launch on Monday at the Hop farm, I saw the other side of the Myst, the teaching point of view, how visual literacy can be a powerful tool in lessons to develop children’s creative writing.  It is lovely to watch pupils engaged, motivated and inspired as they were taken on a learning journey ‘inside’ the virtual world of Myst.

It was a delight to observe the demo lessons today and see Myst being used, and especially the response of the children. The Year 2’s flew with the experience; they were inspired, creative, engaged and I got the chance to admire the concentration and excitement on their faces as they were writing their piece. Being from a secondary background, I never thought I would see small children focusing on their writing with such a passion and a twinkle in their eyes.

It is a difficult task for a foreigner, with a language and ICT background, to be asks to comment on a literacy activity at KS3 level, but I can safely say that if I was an English teacher of a year 7 class, I would go back to school and use the creative teaching methods and the 3D game, as a stimulus that I have observed today be so effective with the children. The Year 5 and 6 pupils were so engaged and motivated and they created such fantastic and elaborated pieces of writing, that it made me feel proud of the class, even tough I was not their teacher. I can see that such a method would be a good reason to go back to teaching.

With my linguistic background, I can not help but imagine that Myst could be used to develop creative writing in foreign language too….food for thought….”

 Thank you Carine, and headteacher, Bev Sulway, Deputy Head Monica Pell, their colleagues and children, for a wonderful day of challenges and success!

After school we looked at many other methods of inspiring writing.

One of my favourite activities with children, is to get them to write imaginary instructions. (attach the flenge carefully to the extreeded splicket. If the grellble is fullated, scrunn it frobullously with a full snucket.)

p.s. only try this with a fully inflated scree net.

(On re-read, my example sounds like a classic Kenneth Williams as Rambling Sid Rumpo!! Here’s a link to an archive recording of Ken at his gruntnussocking best:

On the subject of nonsense, I am grateful to my dad, for introducing me to the idea of mixed up animals. I have had some great fun with classes designing composite animals, drawing them and coming up with some poems.

I always start by telling them about our pet Camelephantelopelicanary, a cross between many exotic animals:

A Camelephantelopelicanary’s a strange and wonderful thing

The bits of its body are really quite shoddy so he’s all held together with string

Discovered, they say, on the first day of May by an explorer out wandering the Nile

The first thing he noted was the fact that it floated and its face was all covered in smile.


Here is a fun little invention you could use on a whiteboard to mix up two random creatures. Have fun!