Up North, in fact, as far North as it is possible to get in England, before heading over the border in to Scotland. The first of two days in Northumberland.
Today, we are working alongside the staff and children from Eastlea Primary School, in Cramlington, joined by visiting colleagues from across the authority, for a day of demonstration lessons across Keystage 1 and Keystage 2 classes.
Tomorrow, we are at The Alnwick Garden, for the “Be Creative in English Conference”.
The town of Cramlington is about nine miles north of Newcastle Upon Tyne.
We were joined by Kevin Halliford, advisor for the authority. Kevin was kind enough to record his thoughts on the day.
I really enjoyed this morning’s sessions. I was expecting a lot of use of ICT (from the Game Man) but this was not to be the case.
Scenes were used as a stimulus but not to the extent that they could put off the non ICT specialist teacher from using them to teach English to their pupils.
The children were obviously engaged by the images but the manner of delivery- fun, interesting, pacey and interactive- got them going.
Equally there was not a great deal of writing going on at times, but even as a maths specialist I know that without lots of opportunity for children to talk, rehearse and discuss their ideas they cannot produce meaningful prose. Strategy materials “Talk for Writing” back this up too.
Ideas and types of description were reinforced with the children through use of imagery (use of hands and posh voice for example) and showing them how language can be interesting or boring through just using a few different words was really useful.
Not only were the sessions though to do with English, good general teaching practices were modelled – use of no hands up (and why), why it is important to let children get noisy when discussing and then how to get their attention again and letting the children know why they should do this, modelling what you want children to emulate and lots of others should be really useful for the observing teachers.
It was good too to see an “Outside Body” with these views as all of what happened in the morning was the kind of practice we are promoting in Northumberland as an advisory service for schools.
As Tim and I discussed before I left, a lot of the ideas can be translated to other subject areas. The Creative Curriculum is not about floating round with a paint brush and wearing a tutu but it’s being creative with the way you deliver the curriculum in all subjects that engage the children and allow them to enjoy learning and want to learn further.
Again, I really enjoyed this morning and look forward to the sessions tomorrow”.
Thank you Kevin. So do we. See you at The Alnwick Gardens, for the conference.