Pentrepoeth Primary School, Day 2

| September 30, 2011 | 6 Comments 

The second of our days at Pentrepoeth Primary School, in Bassaleg, Newport. What a joy! These folk know how to laugh, and how to chip in with questions, ideas, suggestions, and wonderful, creative thoughts.

After yesterday’s session with the pupils, we have been looking at many other ways to motivate and inspire children. Some of those ways are digital. Some are analogue. It is all about the impact that we can have in the classroom.

Nick Penn concluded his reflections on our time together here: Day 2 in the Pentrepoeth House

Teachers (answers on a postcard – what’s the collective noun for a group of teachers?) gather in Mrs Gooding’s room.  Tim has a witter about the day’s events to come and we all see if we can come up with alternative uses for Mr Walker.

Now we start to witter about games based learning – a walk down memory lane and our memories come flooding back of our own experiences of IT from the 80s – Pong, BBC B computers and space invaders, and we move seamlessly into Tim’s experiences of the Myst series of games, and how they have impacted positively on speaking, listening and writing in a classroom environment.

We reflect on what we saw that impact during yesterdays sessions, and Tim has to use some of the strategies he modelled for us to refocus us, such is the level of debate it has started! 

All of a sudden we are all immersed in the world of Myst Exile and people are itching to start playing on their own laptops!  Coffee first though…

Back and playing with Myst Exile now and the enthusiastic momentum gathers but it’s halted to cries of dismay, frustration (and for the select few, relief!) because we have to move on!

We are now learning about so many different digital (and analogue to accompany them) resources which can be used to raise standards of learning in our school.  Two volunteers, some might say victims, demonstrate one of these resources to merriment hilarity, big ripples and no little degree of understanding on all of our parts.

Unusually for teachers in a room together, you can hear a pin drop in the parts where there should be quiet!  We’ve learned so much today, which is going to support and enhance our classroom practice here at Pentrepoeth. We’ve had a great couple of days.  Another big thank you to Tim and Sarah – you were ‘marvellous, lovely boy!’

Thanks again, Nick.

During today we had the opportunity to spend time reflecting on yesterday’s lessons, which is so valuable, exploring some of the analogues aspects that appeared with the pupils. The many ways of developing children’s writing, with the inclusion of similes (cyffelybiaeth) and metaphors (trosiad), before then diving in to a huuuuuuge range of digital elements that can be used to engage and motivate pupils.

Things like:

Children responding with having to put up their hands.

Listening for the moment when to drop their ideas in.

Oral language can take away the barriers, the image supports them.

Confidence to share their ideas because nothing is ‘silly’.

It can be developed upon, building on the strategies used to encourage confidences.

Growing in confidence was evident.

Promote self-esteem

Multisensory aspects

Immediately winning over the pupils with an informal introduction and casual teaching style, yet setting high standards and expectations.

Encouraging them to abandon the formalities of raising their hands when answering questions (‘like putting a cork in a bottle – nothing comes out and nothing goes in’) instead suggesting pupils contribute to class discussions by ‘dripping ideas in- worked.

The virtual worlds proved to be an effective springboard for group discussion.

Correct spelling wasn’t an issue here as the pupils wrote furiously to get their ideas down on paper under a tight deadline.

Thank you to Jayne Mogridge , for recording how the sessions had impacted on more than a few of her children, but also how it is not always immediately obvious when it has given a child some confidence. They could just need time to digest what they CAN do:

The class explored a landscape (in Myst) –

The response to it was very interesting, in so much as the most frequent and animated contributions came from ‘ underachieving boys’. To put ‘underachieving’ into context, it would be boys who appeared to be immature and ‘nonconformist’.

Two boys in particular, lead the ‘lesson’. Both were articulate, typical boys, who prefer doing to writing about it. They threw themselves into the session, with vigor and were seen to bounce ideas of each other.

When the session had finished and the children were asked to respond in writing, the less able some times took off and flew. However, one child,T.,became agitated, and apprehensive about putting his thoughts onto paper. He frequently complained to the teacher who was working with him that he could not do the writing task,as he couldn’t “do writing”. Any suggestions of how to continue or inspire him,failed,and he only produced two words during the session:


His distress was very apparent to me,and whilst I was eager to capitalise on the experience that the children had had,I was mindful of T.’s distress as well.

So the task that I gave the class involved drawing a picture of what they could see,and labelling things.I stressed that I did not want the task to be onerous, but I wanted it to be fun, yet productive.

I decided to leave T alone for a while and circulated the classroom

To my surprise, he produced approximately six lines of writing to go with his picture.He had attempted to describe the sea,writing, The sea sparkles.

He also attempted to write escalator.

His self esteem, following the session itself, and the praise that he received for his efforts,has increased beyond all measure.

Taking inspiration from the both sessions, has made me feel that T, and others like him, can be reached in a way which I have been trying to find for 30 years. I only wish that I had experienced this approach years ago.

Thank you Jayne, for those thoughts. He did so, so well, didn’t he?

And so has EVERYBODY HERE OVER THE LAST TWO DAYS! What a total joy: to be with laughing, warm, individuals who act as a thriving, cherishing, valuing TEAM. A memorable visit. Onwards with your travels in creative teaching, all.

Category: 1) Events and Training days

Comments (6)

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  1. Nick Penn says:

    I can’t speak highly enough of Tim and Sarah. An excellent 2 days of fun and good practice, and the best course I’ve been on bar none! Book if you can, you won’t regret it. Thank you so much, both.

  2. Sian Cuming says:

    My comment on today: Thanks Tim and Sarah for a fabulous day. INSET days are often to be endured rather than enjoyed. This, however, was cosmic! As I don’t work on Thursdays, I missed the sessions with the children yesterday. I would have loved to have seen their faces and their reactions at first hand. Hopefully we’ll be having a go ourselves very soon. P.S. I’m not so sure about the close up profile shot of me. My teenage daughters will howl with laughter! Have a good weekend,both.

  3. Mrs Davies says:

    Thank you both so much for a brilliant day. It was so inspirational and motivational. I have spent the entire weekend playing with the suggested websites and I am now a member of Twitter. Please keep up the excellent work our children will definately benefit from your visit and I am sure that we will have future contact with you both. Good luck on your busy schedule.

  4. Tina Jenkins says:

    An inspirational two days. As Tim would say, ‘marvellous’! Look forward to seeing Tim and Sarah in the near future. Hope you enjoyed your weekend in Cardiff!

  5. Charlotte Roe says:

    In the words of Tim I would like to say a masssive ‘THANK-YOU’ to both Tim and Sarah for a mind blowing 2 days. You left us all, Children and staff with amazing ideas and inspiration. I feel very lucky to have been part of this wonderful experience. Thank-you again. Good luck with your travels both.

  6. Mrs Carlyle says:

    A big thank you to Tim and Sarah for a truly inspirational 2 days. The children and staff thoroughly enjoyed the experience and will take away so many ideas to build on. The staff also haven’t stopped talking about ‘their’ day and we are already seeing so many of your suggestions in the classrooms on Monday morning – they’ve been practising Tim and Sarah ideas all weekend! Hope to see you soon and bon voyage as you take the experience around the world.

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