Inspiring Creative Teaching – Cumbria, Day 1: Haverigg Primary School

| March 21, 2011 | 8 Comments 

Our first day of our Inspiring Creative Teaching in Cumbria project and a great time at Haverigg Primary School. And, what a way to start our time in the Lakes.

This is a school which already flies with many teaching ideas, whether they are analogue or digital. They do a lot of Forest School and outdoor learning activities. They were heavily involved in the restoration of a nearby lighthouse, and have recently set up an old street light in the centre of the village.

Today, we went on a virtual school trip, to build up a huge amount of skills which can be applied out in the real, tactile, world. A group of nearly forty of us went on a slow and thought provoking voyage of discovery in the world of words.


I have always said that I don’t advocate using virtual worlds as an alternative to getting out and about in the analogue landscapes around us. (Although, it is a lot safer and less insurance than a school trip!! 🙂 )

There is no better experience than taking a group of children out into the world. Many schools have told me, though, the experiences children have within the classroom settings we have been developing, and the structured way these activities develop speaking and listening skills, have had a big effect on the way their classes take part in trips and camps. Groups of children sharing ideas and solving problems collaboratively and creatively, using some of the skills they have acquired in their “virtual travels”.

After a short break, we threw caution to the wind and went on a whirlwind, wizzing, thunderous plummet to certain doom, averted only by the magic of simile and personification! OK… we went on a virtual rollercoaster ride and recorded our fearful, frightened, jelly-legged, heart thumping, ice-on-fire-running-through-my-vains thoughts on surviving the experience.

Really good fun with some children coming up with short poetic phrases to express the feelings of excitement, fear and elation before, during and after a our trip. We also used GarageBand to literally RECORD our descent – including blood bubbling cries!

Before we set off I asked a couple of children to have a go at listing some descriptive words collected from their memories of rollercoaster rides. Next, I took the whole group on a ride from Myst III:Exile. We waited at the top and recorded our feelings of anticipation.

Deep breath and we were off, screaming our way to the bottom – getting the feelings down in pithy combinations of, sometimes contrasting words, – personification, poetry, punchy, personal and powerful! The difference (between before and after) was quite remarkable. Now, their ideas really caught the sensations of such an adrenaline rush. We then recorded, at pace, into GarageBand alongside the film.

The ride is a place I often use, with children and adults, to stimulate musical sound effects or soundtracks. It had a superb effect on creative, descriptive thought too.

As we said, All staff and children attending Haverigg Primary School are honorary members of the Association of Lighthouse Keepers. Intrigued? Click on the photo links to read about the Local Heritage restoration project which ultimately led to recognition by the Association of Lighthouse Keepers.

The local Hodbarrow Lighthouse was derelict and in danger of being removed until the school took up the challenge of saving the much loved structure for future generations.The school is proud to have the lighthouse as its logo, one of the last remaining relics of the locality’s mining past and delighted to have been involved in its restoration.

The message to all the children who were involved was clear. Determination, hard work and enthusiasm achieves success! The project continues to benefit school well beyond completion. School Council have now looking at restoring a village lamp – another local landmark.

The afternoon gave us the opportunity to work with the staff and visiting colleagues, reflecting on the morning’s lesson and exploring many Web2 resources, multimodal writing frames and a hands-on session with Myst III.

A joyous day with fun galore. Thanks all.

Thank you, too, to Janice Brockbank, head at Haverigg, for writing a description of the school – and in such style. “After today’s event, I had to go poetic with similes and metphors, didn’t I?” she says. 🙂

Haverigg Primary School is a glittering jewel, a hidden secret of the far Northern lands. Where beach adventures and forest explorations inspire the minds of children like sparks ignite a fire.

Long ago, the children’s heritage was forged, immersed in red stained ironstone and precious haematite. Not so long ago, the children of Haverigg called loudly, ‘Save our Lighthouse’  but when no one replied they  searched as a hunter seeks its prey for those who  would listen with keen fox ears and the eyes of a hawk. Today that lighthouse shines a powerful beam; its light now speaks from the past to the future and far out across the seas.

From this moment the children turned their minds eye to a landmark dimmed by time and so with the charm of angels enticed the local council to find a special lamp fit for the land of Narnia.  The children, as if magicians, have created two gleaming spotlights of success which have guided them beyond Haverigg to befriend Bal Bigyan in Kathmandu  and stand up for fair trade across the world.

And so they grow into global warriors, learning to understand how the world works and how the power for good is in their hands.

And the “Standard version”:

Haverigg Primary School is a small rural village school brimming with exciting and creative learning opportunities. Close to the sea and the mountains, beach and forest school and outdoor learning activities feature regularly.

Learning with and from the community has developed learning opportunities across the curriculum and promoted aspirational thinking. The children learn about their iron ore mining heritage which led them to drive the energy needed to renovate a lighthouse , one of the industry’s last remaining relics. Later another village landmark a Victorian triple lamp was restored after the children canvassed the local borough council. Today a £1.4 million Lighthouse Centre project is emerging on the school site steered by the school and funded in the main by the Nuclear Industry and Cumbrian grants.

Through ICT, a link with Nepal Schools Aid in Kathmandu and status as a Fairtrade school, the children are encouraged to look beyond the shores of Cumbria seeking to make a difference in any way possible. We may be small but we have big ideas!

Category: 1) Events and Training days

Comments (8)

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  1. Maria says:

    Thank you for some inspiring ideas. I wish I was here for the whole day!

  2. Amie Woodall says:

    A fantastic day for both staff and children. Thank you very much

  3. Mel says:

    The speed with which the children shot back in from playtime (before their lunch – and believe me they were starving!) just shows how much they enjoyed and were inspired by the work – especially the rollercoaster! Thankyou Tim and Sarah.

  4. C Powell says:

    Very full day of interesting ideas and resources and things to try and explore.

  5. An action packed and informative day for staff and children. Tim’s style of teaching is refreshing and reminds teachers of subtle skills that promote full pupil participation. His ICT knowledge and passion for creative language and literacy is inspiring. Today has been a snapshot but has provided a wealth of ideas to explore. Really intrigued with some of the free software that will draw children seemlessly into writing. Overall? Great!

  6. K Carter says:

    This was a very exciting day and I can’t wait to look at the next screen to see what happens!!!
    Thank you very much

  7. Diane Marmion says:

    Thankyou very much for a truly inspiring day. So much to think about- wonderful!

  8. John Nixon says:

    What a fantastic day. Children inspired to a state of pure enjoyment.
    Staff captivated by wacky, wild and very effective teaching.
    Thanks Tim- what a day. Just looking forward to the next session in the home of the poetic bard Wordsworth in Fairfield Junior Cockermouth.

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