Mill Rythe Infant School, Hampshire ~ Day 2

| April 30, 2013 | 3 Comments 

Our second day with Mill Rythe Infant School on Hayling Island and what a lovely time we had. The children and staff of the school are responsive and ready to take on ideas and challenges. We stood and contemplated, but also explored the world of words, at some speed, sharing and saving suggestions, making decisions, having balanced arguments and recording thoughts.

We started the day with 50+ Mill Rythe Y2 pupils and some Y3 pupils from Mengham Junior School, and visitng teachers from neighbouring schools.

Then in the afternoon we had the pleasure of the Year 1 pupils and some of the Reception Class children.

A huge THANK YOU to Charlotte Tighe, Literacy/KS1 leader for travelling with us today, and yesterday, and recording her thoughts for us here:


It is always an exciting day when award winning teacher comes to teach you some of his tricks but no-one expected yesterday’s training! As a staff, we had been eagerly anticipating Tim’s visit for a while – we knew that he was an excellent teacher who had won awards, we knew that he was coming to show us ICT techniques to use in the classroom and (those of us who enjoy the trappings of social media) knew he had a twitter! However – although all those things are true, that was not what struck us most.

Put simply – the enthusiasm that he and Sarah showed was infectious! Being a teacher still in the first 5 years of my career, I felt confident that my ICT knowledge was at the very least recent. I knew a few handy websites to help with specific subjects and am a whizz at using a visualizer… but Tim does not visit to show you specific websites for particular subjects or sell you the latest expensive gadget (which will make you choose between buying shiny electronic things or buying yet more whiteboard pens).

From a teacher’s point of view the session Tim and Sarah led was invaluable – the sheer amount of resources they showed us was amazing yet we were not prompted to use this ‘as a science lesson’ or ‘use it in Numeracy to teach this concept’. No. they showed us the technology and let us go on the wondrous journey of ‘wittering about it’! Because we were not prompted to link what they showed us purely to Literacy or Numeracy,  we generated cross-curricular ideas that are simple, free and would enthuse our children (possibly to the point of explosion but oh well)!

From a Key Stage Leader viewpoint it was easy to see why Tim is so in demand! The resources and advice he gives applies to all key stages, abilities, type and size of school. However…the main reason that I loved the session is because Tim is not afraid to go out on a limb and do it himself! He is definitely a presenter who practices what he preaches and shows you using video clips of his class, nose picking children and everything.

Although he is well known for his use of the Myst series of video games, it is HOW he has used them that is the true showing of the excellent teacher that he is – linking to fantasy stories, fact sheets, directional movements and more! He further develops this by modelling the strategies with your children, so you can follow this through back in your own classroom.

The time that the staff were given to explore the resources in Myst and the Locked page were invaluable and gave us an opportunity to plan for when we are back in the classroom. I look forward to using the suggestions and resources Tim and Sarah have shown us – especially because they explained how to do everything very clearly and gave us time to practice!

The second day of Tim’s visit was even better – most teachers like to see people using the resources, teaching using the strategies and I am no exception! Tim’s session with Year 2 (and a few Year 3’s we picked up along the way) was brilliant. Exploring the terrain of Myst, speculating about the possibilities of spiral staircases, the wind and the creatures we might find on this mysterious island was truly eye-opening.

Every school has children who have Special Needs or have a speech and language issue – this usually results in the children retreating into their shell and hiding their true selves away – Tim’s session allowed (more than that, encouraged) these children to speak freely and not worry about spellings or handwriting-  just to say their ideas, no matter how silly!

The change in the children was amazing to see and their confidence grew as they realized that Tim wanted to hear their ideas and know why they thought that. The methods that Tim used to encourage less teacher talk and more children talking definitely  helped children to develop their ideas (and showed the teachers a few tricks to develop this)!

By the end of the session the children were buzzing with ideas, determined to finish their work and to send it off into the ether to be read by someone…this is hard to replicate but Tim has given us a good starting point to develop this within our school.

Although Tim has given us a lot of valuable information and resources there are 3 things that will stick in my mind:

  1. Always think outside the box…(the x box in particular…or the PC…or the Wii….)
  2. The locked page is an excellent tool – you will go home and have a play!
  3. Don’t panic!

Thank you Charlotte, for your very thoughtful reflections on the two days.

We look forward to keeping in touch, with all at the school, to see how you’re getting on, with whatever you try.

Thanks again go to Sarah Court, Mill Rythe Infant School’s headteacher, for inviting us to her delightful school to spend time with her colleagues, pupils …and ducks – THANK YOU!

Category: 1) Events and Training days

Comments (3)

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  1. Jane Flood says:

    Thank you so much Tim and Sarah, I feel like I and my children have been given a new lease of life! I just need a few months sabbatical now please to sit and my laptop and fiddle!! Thank you also to the staff and children who kindly invited teachers from other schools ( me) to share this experience and made us so welcome.
    Finally thank you Tim for letting us go up the staircase today – I am not sure whether my life would have been the same if I couldn’t!!! Really hoping I get to hear you again in the future – next time I need a reboot!

  2. Sarah Court says:

    A massive thank you to Tim and Sarah for the long burst of inspiration they have given my staff and children over the last few days. Catching staff talking about your ideas, techniques and humour to switch all the children on has amazed me…the staffroom was alive today! Im am so glad that a quick google of you from an INSET at Derby School, Osnabruck (SCE) has enabled my school to experience your ways…Thank you also to the staff and children that joined us from the local area – great to learn together in partnership – I know my assemblies will definitely benefit from your input!

  3. Tim says:

    Thank YOU Sarah
    You have a right to be very proud of your children, colleagues, and whole school.
    We had a thoroughly enjoyable two days with you all, and we really would love to know what you try first too
    Keep u the great work 😀

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