After our far too brief a stay in The Lake District we are today on the edge of the Pennines at the Textile Centre of Excellence * in Huddersfield, for the Kirklees Literacy Coordinators’ Meeting, invited by Paul Lomas (Literacy Consultant for Kirkless) to present a session titled ‘Engaging Children in Reading and Writing’.
Our morning was spent alongside the glorious Dughall McCormick (@dughall) taking maths co-ordinators through the corridors of Manga High, giggling through Graph Jam, (including the wonderful Bono graph), chortling through Chartle, and gauffawing through Google’s maths tools.
A twisted tale of mystery, sadness, joy and magical delights knitted itself in to being, with a few unsuspecting souls falling, with great style, in to the roles of characters within our story.
The yarn unfolded and grew from the twisted fibres of words, making beautiful TEXTiles from simile and metaphor.
Children need, not just an audience, but a reason, to want to polish something up, sparkle it up, and throw their energies at refining.
Spelling, punctuation (please excuse my errors with commas in this, speedily written, blog) and structure, are so important.
But, there is a time and a place for allowing children the chance to experiment, investigate, and explore.
Becoming over analytical, too soon, can mean that confidences are lost.
Giving children a challenge, that motivates them to take off and fly, is so valuable. Having a desire to write can elicit some remarkable results.
If we aren’t careful, and appear too easily critical of a child’s writing, there is a chance that they may think “I’m not doing that again, because, last time, he ripped it apart”.
Instead, my phrase with children is often…
“You’re weaving beautiful tapestries with words”.
“I wouldn’t be as audacious, (cheeky, and a little bit beyond), to pick apart your tapestries. But, if it’s alright with you, …
…I might pick the occasional bit of fluff of them”
This analogy seems to make sense to many.
I believe that our role, as teachers, is to help children gain a perception of themselves as “A writer”. Supportive, critical, but encouraging analysis, and guidance, is invaluable. Delivering it in effective ways is our major responsibility.
Even the most reluctant writers seem to consider the experiences we share together in these visually rich stimulus environments as “something worth recording.”
Thank you to colleagues, joining us at The Textiles Centre, for joining us on great adventures on the Magic Carpet of words today.
* Please excuse any textile references that may have snuck into this post
Category: 1) Events and Training days