Now THIS is what it’s all about!

| May 16, 2009 | 2 Comments 

sonia1

Dear Tim,

There have been a lot of people putting up blog posts and wikis about their Myst experiences. Some have gone at such a great speed that I think they have missed out on many of the stunning powerful possibilities of the process. They have also not seen the powerful way YOU work.

I wish these people had taken more time and, even, not put those plans online as it makes me worry others will run through the experience rather than sometimes wander “aimlessly” and be surprised by the amazing results.

I wanted to drop you an email, from Diocesan and Payne-Smith School, to thank you for coming to see us at school in November last year and to let you know what we have been up to in our classroom. I decided against jumping straight into using Myst in my classroom as I needed some time to think about what you had shown us.

The whole day was so packed full of interesting ideas and suggestions, and not all about Myst either, that I needed to formulate some sort of action plan that was relevant to my class.

picture-6The first thing I felt was important was seeing you in action – I had read many paper clippings about your work and had started to pick up on a buzz in forums and so on but I needed to see you in person. I think trying to ‘do Myst’ without watching you in action just would not have worked – your style of delivery, use of vocabulary, manner of speaking is just not translate-able from paper.

For us as a school, it was the most successful Inset we have had and money well spent.

picture-10I spent a lot of time personally playing the game. As an impatient person (!) I used the walk-throughs that are on the Internet and found these a great time-saver. The game is so visual, I felt inspired to start planning for my class. I trawled through the web to see what other teachers had been up to but the foremost thought in my mind was to ensure that my plans were not taken off the web but adapted to use with my class 2/3 of which have special needs. I wouldn’t have enjoyed our Myst journey so much if it had been at the start of the school year – I waited until I knew my class well enough to go on this journey and found it to be an incredibly bonding experience.

We had a strict policy in our class – all copying is good, we could copy from the teacher, the teaching assistant and other children.

picture-9I had originally thought of our project as a 2 week block but within 5 minutes of doing an outline plan, it was clear to me that Myst is a long-term strategy. Our topic soon stretched to 4 weeks and now we are at the end of our Myst journey – we are looking forward to re-visiting it again next term! Myst cannot be rushed, time needs to be spent on it. Time to learn, time to savour, time to develop and time to enjoy. I now plan to revisit parts of Myst through the remainder of the year to keep on top of the love of writing my children have developed and to refresh the children’s memories of the wonderful language use they have developed.

The children have responded in ways in which I could only have dreamed of. The obvious is the improvements in their writing skills. Not only in literacy but the impact in other areas – the children are no longer reluctant writers but enthusiastic participants. I think many have had barriers lifted and realised that they can do it!! But the other stuff I was not prepared for – we had improved attendance for the whole 4 weeks (almost 100% which is unheard of usually), improved behaviour – just one child losing Golden time in 4 weeks, increased group-work skills – no squabbling in class and the children who ‘hate’ writing were so switched off they would come in in the morning asking “Is it Myst writing today, Miss?”. One child who is my weakest and perhaps most reluctant writer even asked if he could stay in one lunchtime to finish writing. The words feather, over and knocked sprang to mind!

picture-7I would certainly urge anyone thinking about Myst to book you for their school development days or a local school-partnership Inset. We have undoubtedly benefited beyond measure from your visit and are looking forward to rolling out to the rest of the school next term

I can’t go back to ‘NORMAL’ teaching!!

Kind regards

Sonja

PS If you want a butchers at what we have done so far in my class http://dpsclass4.wikispaces.com/

Now Sonja, THIS is what it is all about! I agree that some of the Myst based experiences people are recording, are so rushed (e.g. going through the game at such a pace) rather than savouring each element and taking off and flying that way. I also appreciate when you comment on the “Tim time” being useful for you. It isn’t about the game is it? It is how you elicit those results. I am so grateful for you sharing your ideas. Keep up the excellent efforts and say a huge “Well done!” to your children for me. 🙂 Tim

Category: 4) Well Done!

Comments (2)

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  1. Ivan Lister says:

    There is so much ridiculous pressure on covering the literacy objectives and rushing everything that there is no time to stop and study what really works in the classroom. We have created a system where we are pushed into filling the little vesels rather than lighting their candles. There needs to be more leadership with some guts and sense of what education should be about, rather than such a desperate need to spend endless amounts of time measuring the pig. It’s what you feed it on that makes it bigger.

  2. Tim says:

    In short: exacterbloominlootly 🙂

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