Category: 4) Well Done!

Salford LA

| November 21, 2008 | 8 Comments 

Back in the North West today, invited by Salford LA to work with colleagues from across the authority exploring the educational potential of games.

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Tony Ryan  ICT Adviser, Salford Children’s Services

We were really looking forward to welcoming Tim and Sarah to work with our teachers in Salford and it was certainly very much worth the wait! Tim took a group of primary and secondary teachers on a rollercoaster ride through an amazing series of engaging, thought provoking and fun, practical activities throughout the day. ‘Inspirational’ is sometimes an overused word when people discuss teacher CPD events; but not in this case! Everybody went away with lots of ideas about how to engage, motivate and challenge learners, using a range of multimedia tools and gaming software. There was a real sense that adults were learning alongside each other, developing real transferable classroom skills and ideas to take straight back to their schools and use!! Continue Reading

B.F.I., Southbank, London

| November 14, 2008 | 1 Comment 
A return trip to present at the British Film Institute.
BFI has partnered with UK Literacy Association (UKLA) for a national conference for educators interested in the relationship between moving image media and literacy. The two day conference, called Reframing Literacy,was for a mixed audence of advisors, teachers, and people in cinema education.  It was hosted at BFI Southbank.

I was honoured to be asked to giving the closing keynote presentation entitled “Literacy Moves On: reading, writing, playing on screen”. Continue Reading

Holywell Primary School, Needingworth, Cambridgeshire

| September 22, 2008 | 0 Comments 
Dear Tim
I took my class to The Cambridge Corn Exchange film festival award ceremony where they met you.  I met you a few years previously at a heads conference.
They had a truly fantastic time and were keen to send you a piece of work we completed during our ‘Book Week’ last March as a whole school.  Year 5 started the story, year 6 ended it, and all other classes wrote the middle – even foundation!.  All we started with was the name and the main picture.  Only a couple of the children had heard about ‘Myst’. They were very proud of their story.  It is as it was – no teacher editing has happened.
I hope you like it.
Yours sincerely
Claire Macdonald
Holywell Primary School
(Thank you Claire and your classes. Well done indeed. By the way, if your school filter is blocking the document from Scribd below, I have added the text below the “break”).

A break in transmission

| September 14, 2008 | 1 Comment 

Blog’s been a bit quiet recently because my hand had an argument with a wall … and lost. After years climbing, throwing my body around and doing silly things but getting away with it, I broke the first bone in my body, last Tuesday, tripping over my own foot!

Warning: The picture below is X-Ray-ted.

As a man with wobbly leggies, I tend to rely on my hands to help me walk. In other words, gripping on to Mr Walker, my walking stick, or just grabbing hold of the nearest solid object or friendly shoulder.

dfthdtb  cfh rg wsergn gjh dfh … oops… typing with my left hand is also more than a little clumsy and sluggish.

With an arm in plaster, I’m not able to drive, swim and so much more (1, 2, 3 ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh) but “they aint gonna stop me yet”.

Take a look at this site for some really inventive hand art.

Gorsemoor Greats

| May 16, 2008 | 0 Comments 
Dear Tim,
We loved your presentations here last week. Find attached some of the pupils’ work produced during those sessions.
Miss Weston, Year 6 teacher passed them to me for scanning and typing.
Keep up the brilliant work.
From Mrs Fraser (Year 6 TA) Gorsemoor Primary
Some of these children are in key stage 1

Standing there looking across the jagged hills…I felt my heart beating in my body. I could see the orange crumbling rocks reaching for the fluffy clouds – attempting to snare them as they are floating by! The bird of prey swooped round in a circle like it was trying to grab an innocent mouse as it scurried across the orange rocky floor…

As I walked over to the cactus and the last remaining grass I reached out and touched the dusty plants. That was when I realised the sound of wind chimes whistling through one ea and coming out the other. I wondered if it was the bird above. But was it a market place over the hills?

By Grace H.

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Standing here, looking behind the dry valley. A cold breeze makes me shiver. Wind charms can be heard all around. It seems as if the last drop of rain fell centuries ago. The last bird is swooping overhead, hunting for his prey. As I walk on, rocks crumble under my feet, spices can be smelt from a distance. A red rock was once huge, now in tiny pieces. A parched dinosaur has his head and part of his neck buried in the ground desperately searching for the last drop of water. A spiky cactus stuck out as if it was a shield of spikes. Few blades of grass are left. Field mice scurry for the last bits of food. I wonder what lies ahead this mystery land.

By Katherine H.

Standing here, staring at the parched, dry land that’s full of red eroding rock. Gentle wind chimes that fill the air with a gentle, soothing melody. I can see rodents scurrying on the hard land trying to avoid its seeking prey. Sniffing the breezy air, I can smell rotting sand that’s being swept away by the powerful wind. The sapphire, crystal sky has balls of candyfloss floating gently across it. An abandoned city lies beneath the depths of the rocks. Why has it been abandoned and where have all the people gone?

By Gemma B.

Standing here, looking out I saw over the hill a crumbling rock as if it was a dragon! Also I could see a lively bird looking for a scrumptious prey for its dinner. Looking up wiping the sweat off my face I saw the sun blazing at the land below. Feeling the heat on my face I could hear a bird squawking in the most beautiful blue sky! I could taste the soothing air like water.

By Lauren N.

Standing here, looking across the rocky chasm there was a dragon guarding the final patch of snow and searching for the last drop of mineral moisture it could find. I can hear the wind blowing wind chimes. It sounded like there was a huge house in the distance. The red and rocky canyon had big eroded rocks all the way to the end. The ground was red sugar. High in the sky a jet black bird flew above with eyes of a predator! The rocks fell in the canyon like they were blind when the wind chimes got loader the wind blew. I got cooler and cooler as the wind blew in the strong breeze. I smelt the strange smell of gravel in the distance. I wonder if there are houses in the distance?

The crumbling rocks were constantly falling from the eroding rocks. The bird got closer and closer and then it just turned around and flew away. I turned around…I saw a giant green house!

By Oliver C.

I think there is a massive green tree at the top. In the tree there is a mouse squeaking because he wants to get out.

I feel scared about crawling to the top.

By Alex W.

I crept slowly up the stairs. At the top there is a magician’s secret palace. The door is made of wood and the door was creaking. The magician was doing a spell.

By Cameron J.

Myst-erious Futures

| May 13, 2008 | 0 Comments 

Dear Tim, having attended the workshop you held at Charles Dickens School, Portsmouth, in January I was very inspired to use Myst with my own pupls to stimulate and extend ideas and vocabulary.

I am the English Manager at Newbridge Junior School in Portsmouth and was faced with the annual challenge from Portsmouth L.E.A. to submit pieces of writng on a stipulated theme for their annual anthology of children’s writing.

This year, the stimulus title was “Futures” so my mind immediately focused on the barren, atmospheric landscape of the MYST game with the windchimes and circling bird. I provided the pupils with an opening verse detailing a crash landing in a space ship and asked them to write a poem about their first impressions of this weird landscape. By challenging them to be led by their senses and encouraging them to refine and improve their vocabulary choices we actually procured some marvellous poetry and I duly made my ten submissions from across the key stage.I was delighted to receive a letter informing me that, from the entire school, the two pupils selcted for the anthology were from my class and their work had been inspired from MYST. Thought you might like to see these two pieces. Not bad for two nine year olds in an inner city school eh?

Thanks for the inspiration.Jackie Price – Newbridge Junior.

Future World

A gust of wind,A blow of the sand,I stand in the depths of an exotic land I hear a vulture, a mellow sound,I turn my head to the yellow ground,It’s amazing what I found.

The area is very parched,

The rocks are formed just like an arch,

I taste the sand blowing in the air,

I believe there’s something moving over there.

I feel the rocks crunching under my feet, I tke a breath, my heart starts to beat, like the wings of a bird, I wonder what it is that I heard, I feel hunger, I feel thirst, MY luck, I think, has taken a turn for the worse!

It’s coming – a very ghastly breeze,

I get cold, I start to freeze,

I open my eyes, this is what I see,

A future world caving in on me.

By Jake C. Year 4.

Future World

I can see mysterious rocks as arched as a church door, The parched planet smells like sulphur and ashes.

In the sky there is a brid soaring like an eagle, The parched planet tasted like dehydrated air.

I can hear whistling winds and soaring birds I think are eagles, I feel as if someone, or more importantly, something, is watching me!

There’s no greenery at all, not even a living soul.

There was an arched rock that looks like a dinosaur, The parched planet smells like lava, The planet makes me feel like I am in danger!

I hear twinkling wind chimes like my mum has!

Now the only questions I ask is ” where am I?”

By Nakita H. Year 4.

Well done Jackie, and pupils!


Philosophy for Children – P4C

| March 31, 2008 | 0 Comments 

At the recent Able Gifted and Talented Conference in Derby, I met some pupils from Chellaston Junior School who did a super presentation about the philosophy they had been doing back at school.

I asked them a few questions and here are their really excellent and thoughtful answers:

Four members of our class attended the conference and spoke about the work we’ve been doing on     P4C. Tim asked the following questions and after much discussion, this is what we thought:

What if mountains were dogs?

The earth would shake violently.
They wouldn’t fit in your house.
It would be really hard to walk the dog.
I’d hate to see the mess they leave behind.
There would be enormous fleas.
They’d crush your house.
You’d have to buy a massive kennel.
People would die if they stamped on them.
They’d scare the cats away.
Mountain climbers wouldn’t know whether they were climbing a mountain or a dog.
Use the dog’s tail as a slide.
It would drag you along on walks.
They’d smash and ruin towns and cities.

How does P4C help us in our other lessons?

It helps us to think of strange things for a story.
It helps our imagination to run wild when we’re drawing.
It helps us to think of better questions.
It allows us to think about what it’s like for other people, not just ourselves.
It makes us think about what would be the right thing to do.
It has shown us the importance of thinking”.

Well done all!

As Confucius said: If your plan is for one year, plant rice; If your plan is for ten years, plant trees; If your plan is for one hundred years, educate the children.

Happy Birthday to a Web Wizard!

| March 15, 2008 | 1 Comment 

I would like to wish Clive, who designed and maintains my main website, and this blog, a really happy birthday! 🙂

Try a quick visit to some of Clive’s other sites and you will catch a snippet of the great man’s humour and design talents.

The Butler Bureau, if you after hiring some domestic staff (!!), or just fancy a chortle.

Above all though, Learning Potential, the new site for the educational ventures of Andy Hutt.


.Com meant.

| January 19, 2008 | 0 Comments 

I AM a very lucky man. I get a LOT of sunshine blown in my direction with a huge amount of positive feedback to events and happenings. I don’t often like to flag up the delightful comments that people leave about our training days and conferences. However, sometimes one springs out from the crowd because of its expressive nature.

Here is a comment made by curriculum advisor Frank Terrell to our course in Monmouthshire yesterday.

“When you organise a course for teachers you know that they can be the most critical of audiences:
“Oh, I wouldn’t have done it that way!” or “So they mean to take me away from my class for that?” When you book Tim for a course the teachers turn into pussycats, just sit back and listen to the purring.

The Monmouthshire teachers who dragged themselves away from their classrooms on a wet Friday had been warned: bring a laptop and a percussion instrument and be prepared for a rollercoaster ride.

Tim never fails to deliver. Karen and I, who had organised the course, began to worry at how quiet everyone was, they didn’t even have any questions. We then realised it was because they were hanging on Tim’s every word trying to absorb his wisdom. That wisdom is delivered through anecdotes that are often funny but poignant. Each one is based firmly in the classroom and his audience never fails to recognise the link with pupils they have taught themselves. The comments of children are the best pricks to pomposity and Tim’s digs at his own disability and recollections of humorous episodes travelling the world or delivering in schools mean that learning and laughter are never far apart.

Tim’s request for delegates to bring a laptop is so they can use the Myst III interactive computer game on the course to find out how he has used it so successfully with children in his own class in Chew Magna Primary School and subsequently all over the world.

If Monmouthshire teachers thought that was all then they had a surprise since Tim’s courses offer so much more: tips on engaging the disengaged, exciting the bored, thrilling the reluctant reader with the joy of reading and filling the unwilling writer with the immediate need to write and at such great length that it is hard to get them to stop

The teachers who were worried that the course was all about using computers soon found that, once the game was loaded, the had to do little beyond move the cursor to unveil a magical world for all learners regardless of their age. When Tim gave us fifteen minutes to produce a mind map of the school subjects and topics covered he had to give us an extension and still it wasn’t enough: all of the curriculum could be covered, all of the Key Skills seemed to fit and many other things beyond.

The percussion instruments came into their own when we had to compose a soundtrack with Mostyn, one of our number, leading the way as the conductor. The result was stunning and we had had no time to rehearse. One of the delegates, an NQT, thought Tim should be compulsory on all ITT courses. We want Tim to come back to Monmouthshire to work with some of our children so that more of our teachers can see this inspiring wizard of the walking stick in action and share the joy we all experienced in learning some of the methods that make Tim the magic man of Myst III.”

Frank Terrell School Improvement Service
Monmouthshire LEA


| October 30, 2007 | 0 Comments 

Well done to the children of Eccleston Mere Primary and Oakdene school. As teacher, Karen Pickthall commented “It was so moving to see the genuine enthusiasm of a little boy who is usually very reluctant to speak. The children really appeared to come ‘alive’ and completely engaged with the learning experience.”
Enjoy! (It may be difficult to pick out in places, but I think the children did incredibly well, and in a very short space of time.)

Thinking out of the (x)Box: Gaming to expand horizons in creative writing

| October 28, 2007 | 1 Comment 

Thank you to Ewan McIntosh for the reference to the findings of Aberdeen Myst Project.

The project seems to have been a great success and has been well documented and recorded, including interviews with some of the teachers involved. I am glad to have been part of the experience and look forward to a return trip, to extend ideas further, in April next year.

For those who might ask “Looks good but… does it work?” read Ewan’s summary and thoughts HERE or explore the Aberdeen Games Based Learning case study HERE

Ewan keeps an excellent, informative and authoritative blog, and wins my prize for the most regularly updated and maintained site. Well worth a look.