Northwood Community Primary, Kirkby, Knowsley

| March 19, 2012 | 2 Comments 

A huge thank you to Nicola Ryan, literacy coordinator, at Northwood Community Primary School, Northwood, Kirkby, for inviting us to visit, and work alongside pupils and staff, from across the school. And, what a joyous fun we had! Analogue responses, today, to a digital stimulus.

We started with a delightful lesson with the children from Year 2. Laughter and learning make a great partnership. We explored a virtual landscape from Myst 3: Exile. A huge amount of language floated up through the room. Virtual worlds are a fantastic resource for modelling, and developing speaking and listening, which flows in to many different forms of writing.

They are also superb places to build social skills, because children seem enthralled by these virtual worlds, so we “travel” as one, and explore skills and concepts they can take in to other areas of their learning and analogue lives.

It is great to spend time with a class who can respect each others ideas, are comfortable with periods of quiet and stillness, can share and offer support to those around them, and are willing to talk and listen with respect. This is hard, especially when there are more than sixty of us in the room, and everyone has a great idea. Finding the right time to drip an idea in takes courage, patience and time.

Well done to the Year 2 children, who rose to the challenges today, with style. They also showed a growing ability to “hold on to” their ideas, listen, and then find a good way, and place, to drop that idea in to the mix, in an extended way.

In the Year Six session, they too were “up for a challenge”. The children took to the idea that, even though there doesn’t seem to be anything happening, at times, it doesn’t mean that nothing is happening. There is a lot happening.

We discussed the fact that human beings (and teachers :-* ) are often embarrassed by silence. We are quick, often too quick, to fill it. Finding ways to take time, to allow time, to create space, to build confidence at times of quiet -is hard.

Research of thousands of lessons showed that the average time given by teachers for students to answer questions was between 0.7 and 0.9 seconds. The teacher is then prone to either rephrase the question or simply answering it for the class.

Professor Paul Black of Kings College London, highlighted the value of allowing students time to work in pairs or threes before giving answers to questions so as to ensure maximum thinking time. We had opportunity to discuss this during the afternoon session with some of the teachers.

Developing questioning, requires much greater emphasis on the time provided for children to think individually, collaboratively and deeply; to develop and share developed, extended answers. We exlored again how Thinking Dice can support this.

Finding the right time to drip and idea in to a lesson means that children are subliminally picking up other ideas from those around them., picking up ideas and cherishing them, listening to and learning from others.

The children in this session showed a sensitive understanding of the need to wait, and that “waiting” doesn’t mean just for our “being patient for our turn”. They showed that, whilst waiting, they were actively listening, appreciating, respecting, and sharing. This takes a great deal of resourceful effort.

Category: 1) Events and Training days

Comments (2)

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  1. Nicola Ryan says:

    Hi Tim & Sarah,

    Just wanting, again, to say thank you so much for enthusing all of the staff at Northwood with your imaginative approach to writing. We had an excellent day mixing work with the children and training with staff. We are all excited about using the ‘Myst’ discs and having a go of all of the other tonnes of stuff you gave us access to 🙂 I cant wait to ‘show off’ on our school website all of the wonderful writing the children have produced!


  2. Tim says:

    Well thank YOU Nicola for organising a great day
    Tim and Sarah

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