Whitfield and Aspen School, Dover, Kent

| October 21, 2009 | 10 Comments 

whitfieldNow down south, for a return trip to Whitfield and Aspen School, Dover, Kent.

We enjoyed a trip to Whitfield and Aspen before, to work alongside the staff, investigating different ways of inspiring their pupils. Today, we had the opportunity to work alongside those children and wander in the world of words.


whitfieldy6 001 A big THANK YOU to Jason Cook, headteacher, for inviting us back to the school.
Jason kindly shared his observations:
In the Year 2 lesson this morning, Tim showed us more than just Myst. He showed that good speaking and listening skills enable learners to develop their ideas before beginning their writing. The quality of the speak from both children and adults directly affects the writing experience and outcome. Myst was used to facilitate talk/discussion but I guess that still photo, movie clip, computer game or unusual object could easily have the same effect!

whitfieldy4 001Thanks, also to Paul Marsden, from Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Faversham, a visiting colleague here today, for his reflections on the lessons:
Making my way into this intriguing learning environment I observe a teacher seemingly unconstrained by a curriculum and unfettered by the fear of not reaching a target.

Tim is using Myst as, well, no he is not really using Myst. Myst is just there at moment, holding our attention, building a suspense.

Actually he is using Myst in a very minimalist way, as back drop for our imaginations. Myst is a vast environment and you can get lost in it, metaphorically as well as literally. I can easily see how you can fall into the usual technology trap, the tool obscuring the purpose. Here we see an excellent balance where the tool enhances the purpose.
What I am benefitting from most is observing an excellent teacher leading his students along a carefully planned but not obvious path. Students are encouraged to take their ideas forward. It is hard to explain and explanation will distort the truth; you really need to see it.

Back in the real world of AFL and APP, PMR and OFSTED it would be easy to view the world we have seen as just a myth, But to really inspire our students we must break out of target led teaching. We need to be brave, even audacious in our teaching. Watching Tim has been a real tonic and I thoroughly recommend the treatment.

After school, we were joined by colleagues from Whitfield and Aspen, and visiting colleagues from neighbouring schools to share ideas relating to the demonstration lessons they were involved in today, and to explore further ideas using Web2 tools.

The teachers had already started projects using Myst and here are some of their fantastic displays.

The Year 1 teachers sent us an email, before we arrived, about there Myst experiences so far:

Used the house at the bottom of the spiral staircase (beach island) as a starting point for Yr 1 writing last week. Here are some examples.

The bridge was creaking under my feet. The water was deep and cold. The house was spooky and bright.

The water looked scary because it makes funny noises. The bridge looks freaky and creaky. The house makes me feel scared because you don’t know whats inside.

There are reflections in the water. The water is calm and gentle. The house is made of colourful glass.

Here are some examples of the language that came from the sessions.

Water is like a mirror.

There are spider webs on the doors.

The water is moving slowly.

The patterns on the door look like pretty earings.

Feelings – scared, horrified, excited, terrified, worried, ghostly.

The children really enjoyed exploring Myst and produced lots of good language and writing. The children keep asking when we are going to carry on with the game!”


Useful Pickie 002 We had a giggle about a couple of palindromic words in one session.

This reminded me that some numbers can be palindromic. Take a look at 111111111×111111111.com

Category: 1) Events and Training days

Comments (10)

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  1. Lorna says:

    You came to Whitfield and talked to the Y6 – the children were inspired and I heard them complaining that they had to STOP writing!!!!
    Thank you…but a tough act to follow.

  2. Jen and Verity says:

    It was great to have some further input on using Myst IV to motivate children to write creatively. We are looking forward to trying it out with our year 5 classes next term!

  3. Mark Cornell says:

    Thank you for your infectious enthusiasm and insightful ideas! I have so much to go away and play with, think about, try out and incorporate into my teaching… where to start?

    The kids are going to love it!

  4. Katherine Porteous says:

    What a fantastic session – you have given us al so many things to look and and play with over the forthcoming break. I know that they children will then benefit as we then integrate your ideas into our lesson plans. Thank you.
    ps I just have to try not to open and play with Myst before I have to give it to my 9 year old for Christmas!

  5. Debra says:

    Great session thanks. Some of the ideas that the children were coming out with were amazing, and it was good to be reminded that children need TIME to think and be…Am looking forward to trying this next term.

  6. Alex says:

    Thank you, an interesting staff meeting…I will certainly be using some of your ideas… I loved Wordle too – some great stuff!!!!

  7. Simon says:

    Inspirational to listen to, motivation for teachers, mind expanding for pupils.
    Entertaining, fun and educational brilliant.

  8. Peta says:

    Just brilliant – desperate to have a go at everything!!!!! However…. my ICT skills will be a little bit of a barrier …. having said that the need outweighs the inability. Will let you know!!! Thankyou again

  9. Nicky says:

    Had a lovely afternoon. My class were very enthusiastic and it was great to hear the boys reading out their descriptive writing. I am itching to get going now.
    Many thanks

  10. Deb S says:

    What a fantastic afternoon working with the Year 6 at Whitfield School. The table of boys I was with weren’t reticent to share their ideas at all. I feel like I’m bursting with inspiration – there’s a simile!- thankyou so much. Can’t wait to get back into the class!!

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