Borrow Wood Primary School, Derby – Day 2

| September 7, 2011 | 0 Comments 

Our second day at Borrow Wood Primary School, Derby, and oh what fun we’ve had.

This truly is a joyful school! All of the staff, whatever their roles, are skilled professionals, with a warm rapport with their pupils. This shows in the children. A day of explorations and challenges with children, from across the school, who could assess when to fly with gusto, and when to wait for the next gem to fall, in hushed anticipation. What a great way to go wandering in worlds of words.

With the staff who were sat in amongst the children, we looked more closely at the activities you can do with children, across the age range in a primary school, based on visual literacy, to raise “standards” and levels of creativity.

A few characters emerged from the groups, like mystical, pre-planted, pre-planned, pre-rehearsed, “acTORS“. In reality,  we had just quietly asked them if they were “up for a challenge” and had not given them much more guidance than that. They shone!

Well done to them, and to the rest of the classes who wrote, and spoke with great humour, imagination, and style.

Thank you to Debbie Dackombe, a Year 5 visiting teacher from Heathfield Primary, Bolton, for her thoughts on a session.

Buzz, chatter, noise, fuss, scraping chairs, excited faces. First day back and the children know that something ‘different’ is going on.

It was interesting to see the looks on the faces of Year 5 and 6. As a teacher, I tend to concentrate on the next part of my lesson, am I running to time etc and so easily miss those subtle cues that can and should inform and guide our teaching. 

Some seem nervous, others unimpressed (too cool for this perhaps!) most however, were curious. 

Right from the beginning, behaviour expectations were made clear.

Tim’s use of tone, pace and volume was very impressive and the children responded well, particularly a group of boys sat towards the back who would later become totally engrossed in their writing.

The image was introduced and after some general question prompts, the children were given the opportunity to speak with one another. I might have tried to ask for more extended ideas. Instead, I liked the use of the empty cup, head tilting and eye contact techniques used rather than relying on “carry on” or “tell me more’ and the older children definitely seemed to pick up on these and the resulting responses were imaginative and detailed. It reminds me of just how amazing a child’s imagination can be; all it needs is a little feeding to grow and flourish.

I would definitely use this game for narrative work first as the imagery is so vivid. The examples of simile and metaphor coming from the children were fantastic and there were many examples of children using them in their written work. I don’t believe the children actually realised that they were learning; isn’t this the best possible situation? I personally found the session very engaging and I have that buzz to bring Myst and other games to my classroom without worrying about the restrictions of the Literacy Strategy. There is a time and a place for more traditional teaching but I see this as the using and applying of the skills and an opportunity for children of all abilities to shine.

Thank you so much for the opportunity to observe.

You’re welcome Debbie. Good luck with your experiments with games based learning too.

THANK YOU, too, to Helen Hough, Borrow Wood’s warm and dynamic head, her colleagues, visitors, and pupils, for two energising days. Well done all.

Category: 1) Events and Training days

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