St James’ CEC Primary School ~ Emsworth

| September 18, 2013 | 6 Comments 

Following our day with the head teachers at Hampshire District 2 Headteachers’ Conference earlier this year, today we had the pleasure of spending time at Bruce Waeland’s school, St James CEC School, with a focus on boys’ writing.

A morning with 60+ Year 5/6 pupils, their teachers, teaching assistants, chair of govenors and visiting colleagues from neighbouring schools, then an afternoon with some of the adults looking at the technology and techiques that can be used in a classroom. Ending the day with everyone for a fast and furious twilight looking at the many Web2 tools, and other technologies, and analog ways available when engaging pupils in learning.

Thank you to Bruce, for sharing some of his thoughts prior to our visit:

We’re committed to developing outstanding, capable and creative writers in the school.

For too long we were controlled by the ‘Terror of the Test’ – having to prepare children for the KS2 SATs writing test – a nasty double whammy where children had to spout two pieces of quality blah about something they had no interest in and time to prepare for.  This created a generation of teachers who taught ‘writing by numbers’ and a group of children who believed that the quality of their writing could be judged by the multiplying the number of ‘wow’ words they used by the number of ‘-ing’ words at the start of sentences and raising it to the power of the number of times they used a semi colon.  It all resulted in well-written rubbish with an epidemic of ellipses…

The time is long overdue to lift the lid on children’s writing.

I remember reading an old historical novel by Rosemary Sutcliffe about a Roman slave who was captured by Viking invaders.  The captain of the marauding band one day saw the slave writing on a piece of animal skin.  He was entranced by this and, looking at the marks that he made, asked him what he was doing.  “Is this like the magical runes that we use to consult our gods?” he asked.
The slave replied, “These marks that I am making will let others know my thoughts, my ideas and my dreams.  Those who know how to interpret them will be able to discover these things, even long after I have died.”

With a look of astonishment in his eyes, the Viking leader said in a hushed whisper,”Ah, so they are like our magical runes.”

Writing is a truly magical art where a person can take a blank piece of paper and, with a few marks create something unique. Whenever I engage in a piece of writing with children, I say something like this.

“You have in front of you a piece of white paper.  There’s nothing on it now, but in just a few moments, after you have made these magical marks on it, you will have said something unique: something that nobody in the history of the world has ever said before and, if you don’t say it and write it down, nobody else will ever do it.  And because you’ve done it, even when you’re not there any more, people will be able to know exactly what you thought, knew and imagined right now.

We are committed to inspiring children who will treasure and work hard to master this art.

I have especially been looking forward to your visit, not because of the technology but because of the way that you inspire people to use it to help children become outstanding, imaginative, clever writers, each with their own unique voice and story to tell.

Thanks Bruce, for your invitation, and your beautiful comment of, ‘you took everyday things and made them special’, …that is so special – Thank You.

You have a right to be very proud of your children, and colleagues, as this was a full~on, fast paced day, and everyone was really “Up for it”!

What can I say? It was a great day where we saw some of our children become inspired in the worlds of Myst in ways that took us by surprise but, more than that, we saw them engaged and talking to each other at great depth and with such enthusiasm. There were some near-jaw-dropping moments at seeing what some children achieved and the way that they stepped up to the challenges on offer.

The afternoon took us further, with the amazing things that PowerPoint can do a bit of a game-changer! And then that whole plethora of resources so freely available.

What will stick with me? Hard to say at this point, but I’m certain that the idea of ‘Stand and Look’ – not only in Myst, but in the outdoors and life in general – will continue to resonate. Also, I loved the way that you treated words with such respect, awe and yet sense of mischief. It was a great day. Everything I expected and quite a lot more too.
Thanks to both of you. :-)

Bruce

Category: 1) Events and Training days

Comments (6)

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  1. Lynne T says:

    Unfortunately not in for the morning but lucky enough to be in for the rest of your visit…inspirational! After a little playing around finally got Gadwin up and going on my laptop at home and had a play! Now for the next item to choose…Thanks to you both.

  2. Tim says:

    Thank you Lynne
    Thanks, too, for your support throughout the day
    We know you will be up for it, so would love to keep in touch and find ut how you get on
    Have fun
    😀

  3. Bruce says:

    What can I say? It was a great day where we saw some of our children become inspired in the worlds of Myst in ways that took us by surprise but, more than that, we saw them engaged and talking to each other at great depth and with such enthusiasm. There were some near-jaw-dropping moments at seeing what some children achieved and the way that they stepped up to the challenges on offer.
    The afternoon took us further, with the amazing things that PowerPoint can do a bit of a game-changer! And then that whole plethora of resources so freely available.
    What will stick with me? Hard to say at this point, but I’m certain that the idea of ‘Stand and Look’ – not only in Myst, but in the outdoors and life in general – will continue to resonate. Also, I loved the way that you treated words with such respect, awe and yet sense of mischief. It was a great day. Everything I expected and quite a lot more too.
    Thanks to both of you. 🙂

  4. Alex B says:

    Excellent talk – It’s a shame I could only attend your presentation at the end of the day. So many ideas my head is still buzzing this morning!

    I’ve got the firefox video downloader installed now. I was using real player downloader on internet explorer before, but I prefer firefox. Nice one! No ads around the videos is one less worry. 🙂

  5. Tim says:

    Nice 1 Alex
    Sorry about your head 😀
    Let us know how you get on

  6. Tim says:

    Thank YOU Bruce
    We are so looking forward to finding out what you try first
    Thanks for a great day

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