West Thornton Primary Academy, Croydon

| April 1, 2014 | 7 Comments 

Thank you to Di Pumphrey, head of school at West Thornton Primary Academy, for inviting us to contribute to the third West Thornton Book Festival, nicknamed ‘The BOF’, (Blow out Festival- a name accidentally given to it in the first year by Paul Geraghty!). The school’s curriculum places a lot of emphasis on talk and story, and they already see ICT as a powerful tool to enhance learning across the school, including their blogs. A direct link to their ‘The BOF’ event is here.

NOW THAT WAS FUN! What a joyous day. The children, and staff, were hugely “up for it”. How truly delightful, to spend time with such a diverse bunch, of sixty-something Year 5 and 6, and then a class of Year 2’s, responding so fully to every opportunity.

They were a commendable reflection of some remarkable teaching. Humour √ Respect √ Creativity √ Imagination √ Sharing √ Polite yet challenging √ Fun √√

With the staff, we picked apart some of techniques used, and how the children took to these concepts: the value of listening; social etiquette, and the way it was modelled and developed; the use of a translator to reiterate explanations, allow extra time for answers to be developed, and SO much more vocabulary floating around the room; taking time and allowing ideas to take shape, and grow; the applause, and ripples, positive reinforcement and empathy; our encouragement of moving past the “crutch words” (of “um”, “er”, “like”, “‘n stuff”) and how that lifts what we say to another leverl; the making of deliberate mistakes, to show that it is OK to make a mistake, and to move on; improvisation, and drama flowing through everything we did ~ verbal, and written, “JAZZ”.

The virtual worlds, and the techniques that we have built around them, meant that children who might normally have spoken, or dripped their ideas in, did so with increasing alacrity, brisk, and cheerful, readiness. Well done ALL.

Di says: “I have decided to add a CPD element to the BOF for the first time this year, firstly because I think its really important ~

…but also because I seem to be in possession of a 13m inflatable igloo for the week in our playground and it seems a shame not to maximise its potential!

(A misunderstanding on my part …I thought it was 13ft!!)”.

“We try very hard to make this far more than an ordinary school book week. To that end we aim to give the children several author, story telling and writing experiences over the 5 days of the festival, as well as planning a programme of events that the whole community can be involved in, including booksellers, family writing sessions, a cafe and parent workshops”.

“We are a school that places a lot of emphasis on ‘reading for pleasure’ and try many things to inspire life-long readers- particularly amongst boys. A few years ago we were lucky enough to be chosen as the Literacy Trust ‘Reading School of the Year’ for our work promoting reading and since then we’ve tried to maintain that standard every year”.

“Here is a link to a short film which our children made, of our new Y4 learning zone which we opened in September and was an attempt to remodel 3 bog standard Victorian classrooms and a toilet block, into a free flow open plan learning zone for 90 children, with independent learning and integrated mobile technology at its heart. It’s working beautifully and I think the film describes what we’re about better than I can, (now we just have to find the funds to remodel Y5 next year!!)”

A fabulous ‘full on’ day, and so worth while. Tim and Sarah quite rightly challenged our learners (adults and children) with high expectations and I’m proud to say they largely rose to the occasion.

At its heart was just high quality teaching..never missing an opportunity to extend and challenge, drip in new vocabulary and encourage new thoughts. Powerful with or without technology.

It underlined particularly for me what’s possible with technology that is generally available most schools…focussing on the learning potential and not the latest kit..(powerpoint!..who’d have thought it!?)

Loved meeting you both, you added something special to our festival week and I look forward to working with you again.

Category: 1) Events and Training days

Comments (7)

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  1. ruth fitze says:

    A fantastic and inspirational experience. I’ve been left with so much to explore and develop within my teaching. My brain aches with new found ideas and tools. Even if I grasp an eighth of what I experienced today I know my children will benefit immensely.

  2. Di Pumphrey says:

    A fabulous ‘full on’ day, and so worth while. Tim and Sarah quite rightly challenged our learners(adukts and children) with high expectations and I’m proud to say they largely rose to the occasion. At its heart was just high quality teaching..never missing an opportunity to extend and challenge, drip in new vocabulary and encourage new thoughts. Powerful with or without technology.
    It underlined particularly for me what’s possible with technology that is generally available most schools…focussing on the learning potential and not the latest kit..(powerpoint!..who’d have thought it!?)
    Loved meeting you both, you added something special to our festival week and I look forward to working with you again.

  3. Tim says:

    Thanks Di
    We loved our day
    Here’s to “the next steps”
    Have fun with the igloo
    Tim and Sarah

  4. Tim says:

    Thank you Ruth
    We’d love to know what you try first, and how you get on
    Keep in touch
    Tim and Sarah

  5. Karen Dugan says:

    A fantastic day with hundreds of ideas to try. I’m currently investing time “playing with the technology” that you recommended – already tried Switcheroo Zoo and Tagxedo. A big thank you to both of you for making it such a fun day for the children and the adults! Look forward to working with you again.

  6. Ayla Arli says:

    Hi Tim & Sarah

    Thanks for an awe inspiring day for both the students and I.

    I have come away from that training feeling like a child in a toy shop wanting to play with all of the new ICT resources that can be used to compliment analogue teaching techniques!

    Thank you so much!

    Ayla

  7. Tim says:

    Thank you Ayla
    We loved our day with you all
    Keep in touch and let us know what you try out – and how you get on
    Thanks again
    Tim and Sarah

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