The International School in Geneva, Day 3

| November 24, 2011 | 0 Comments 

Our third day of this latest visit to The International School in Geneva, in Switzerland.

We have been doing a lot of experiments today, as ever, and more so. Well done to all those who took off and flew with new formats, new locations, new challenges, new outcomes, new techniques, new tempos, new “newnessnicity”.

We look forward to writing up the results of the innovations soon. In the meantime, thank you to James Smith, teacher, for jotting down his thoughts on some of the aspects of “around and before”.

Having the moving landscape on the screen immediately grabbed the children’s attention and encouraged them to sit down quickly. They took almost no time to decide who they wanted to sit with as they wanted to find a seat so as to take in what was on the screen.

Tim asked the children for their silliest ideas on why ‘Mr. Walker’ had holes in it. This generated a huge positive response from both classes.

Children love exploring their imaginations and thinking of silly ideas. They had a lot of fun doing this.

There was lots of discussion on the sights, sounds and smells of the animation on the screen. In sharing their ideas Tim asked the children not to put their hands up as when they do this they do not listen to other’s suggestions. This is true as students are so keen to give their thoughts they don’t listen to what others have to say. In class this is evident when a child gives the same answer that has just been given. I liked the way in which Tim delved into every idea given, no matter how wild.

Tim discussed how we can show someone we are listening – open questions, affirmations’ body language, facial expressions. He pointed out, which I remember from his workshop last year, that on average teachers give 0.7 seconds for their students to respond to a question.

Further discussion about the images on the screen encouraged children to take the time to really look at the details, to compare (similes) and to continue each others’ ideas.

A great way to keep them listening was to ask if any of them had remembered his daughter’s name. Then Tim told them to be careful not to miss anything from his next explanation. I found myself listening even harder so as not to miss any small details.

A great way for the children to remember what Tim had taught them about similes and metaphors was for them to listen to an impromptu story and make different noises and actions when they heard either.

After a lot of excited discussion Tim encouraged them to write but gave them a sentence opener they could use and told them to use a simile or metaphor. Tim motivated the children and gave them a safe environment in which to take risks by telling them was no right or wrong description and more importantly that the spellings are not as important as the content. Spelling mistakes can be fixed later which is exactly what we teach them about the pre-writng, writing, editing and publishing process.

As 48 children sat almost in silence writing down their own descriptions which included wonderful metaphors and similes, a powerful sentence opener and conclusion to their paragraph it was clear of the writing potential every child has if we can tap into their imagination.

Tim challenged those children who usually let others read out their work to be brave and share their work. And they really did… with new found confidence!

Praise, encouragement and humour lead to almost all of the children wanting to do this.

A really successful strategy was to ask someone to read and then for anyone to carry on reading once they had finished (without being chosen). At first it was just the girls but with a little of encouragement the boys joined in as well. This was a fantastic idea and one I will definitely be taking back to the classroom. I also liked how Tim had chosen children secretly to be characters from the scene who then were ‘hot-seated.’

Category: 1) Events and Training days

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