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Cornwall: Heads together…

| March 23, 2007 | Add Your Thoughts 

What a fun way to end my trip to Cornwall this week.

I was invited to open the annual Cornwall Association of Primary Heads (CAPH) conference at the Mylor theatre in Truro College. Maybe it was because a group of heads together feel a combined release of pressure and tension, being away from their responsibilities, but I haven’t heard so many people laugh (at the right things and in the right places I assure you) and so heartily, for a while. 🙂

To the children, schools, teachers and heads I have had the pleasure to have met this week: I have worked with the Cornish Cream.

Thank you.

Cornwall: Lights! Camera! Upton!

| March 22, 2007 | Add Your Thoughts 

school_exterior_med.JPGUpton Cross again, and, Years 5 and 6 are a lucky lot.

“Mrs E”, their teacher is an imaginative, spirited soul with a great sense of humour.

As do all her colleagues.

We had a superbly creative, fun day today developing the ideas for some short films with a powerful message. I often find that the most effective way of motivating involvement in a lesson is generating a sense of ownership and enthusiasm for a subject. The theme of “Teamwork” seemed to spring naturally from our opening discussions. Some excellent thought about when teams might be needed/ beneficial; the qualities of a team member; and the features of a good team. It didn’t take much to spark a conversation about the conflicts that might arise, but, more importantly, how the strengths of a group could be used to resolve them.

logo.gifWe didn’t even get on to the possibility of making a film until the idea was mentioned by “M” as the optimum way of getting our message across. There was still no access to the internet so I wasn’t able to show them some examples of public information films, from the National Archive, as planned.

It turned out to work well, as, when we looked at a couple of examples of “public information films” children have made with me in the past, the “Upton Cross film school crew” showed some good critical skills in analysing the way that those films had effectively portrayed their powerful messages in under 30 seconds. There lay the seeds of a “self generated” challenge building on “M”s idea.

“The Hat” chose some groups and we were off!

It may have to be a case of watch this space for the end results to be able to be broadcast on the “interweb” but it will be well worth the anticipation.

Thankyou indeed, to ALL of the staff at Upton Cross, and our visitors, for a memorable couple of days.

Tim – I just wanted to thank you for baldly going into the infrequently explored wilds of Upton Cross, nestled as we are on the inhospitable nomansland at the edge of Bodmin Moor, to bring your magic to both staff and pupils. ICT to inspire? Well that is only one of your skills and qualities that inspired us and I think ICT should be exchanged for ‘everything’, as the depth of your inspiration was only equalled by its breadth. A great couple of days where pace and purpose were explored critically and were found to be (in the words of Goldilocks) just right.
Thanks again – til we meet again!

Cornwall: UPton Cross. (sic)

| March 21, 2007 | Add Your Thoughts 

Now that I have the internet again, I have the pleasure of telling you about the last couple of days. What fun!

I have been made to feel very welcome at Upton Cross primary school

The staff, and the visitors who came to join our lessons, are an imaginative and creative group, and they took to the ideas for developing literacy, and other elements, with great enthusiasm.

Wednesday was a memorable day of exploration. When I was pretending I was thinking of a way to remember where we were visiting in one of the computer games, “E” in class 2 (R, Y1 and Y2) amazed me, and all those present by saying “Well, better than any photograph, why don’t we write about it?! That way, it will really stay in our minds because we will have thought about it carefully.” What perceptive thought.

Another young traveller sat, and transported all of us, to a world of warmth, sea spray and “strings of sea-weed wrapped around my legs, warm and…oooh… lovely actually.”

In fact all of the classes, through to Years 5 and 6, showed themselves to be used to, and capable of, some philosophical and questioning thought. Their use of descriptive imagary developed rapidly through the time we were together, and they kept up impressively with the challenging pace that developed in the lessons.

I have been really reminded of the warm and motivating atmosphere of Chew Magna school, home for the last 6 years. The school is a similar size and full of equally supportive and encouraging colleagues.

It is always special to find schools up for creativity and challenges, who also smile. 🙂

Cornwall: Across the Moor and carried on to the Caradon

| March 20, 2007 | Add Your Thoughts 

Now on the edge of Bodmin Moor and staying at the homely and welcoming Caradon Inn.

Georgina has just told me 3 good jokes and I want to share them with you. They really cheered ME up so I would love to share them with you.

185bsy-0.jpgGeorgina’s jokes: What do you call a dear with no eyes? No idea!
What do you call a dear with no eyes and no legs? Still no idea!
What do you call a dear with no eyes and no legs on a trampoline? Still no flippin’ idea!
Thank you Georgina! 🙂

Cornwall: Indian Queens, and some exploring of rockpools… in the snow!

| March 19, 2007 | Add Your Thoughts 

I have said it before but I will say it again: I am a lucky man!

I also have to say, that the element I enjoy most, as I travel all over this country and beyond, is working with children and exploring the world of words.

So today I had real fun!

I did think, when I was booked for a week in Cornwall by a cluster of schools who got together to organise a week with the bald bloke, that I might get in a bit of surfing (dream on Rylands!) or, at least, a beach saunter or two. In reality, I had to battle my way through incredible hail and snow bombardments!

I have been staying at the delightful Plume of Feathers in Mitchell. (A place I can heartily recommend to anyone visiting the Newquay or Truro area of Cornwall: delicious food and a room worthy of Homes and Gardens or Country Living magazine.)

I spent the day doing three demo lessons at Indian Queens primary school, with years one, two and five. What a delight! It was fascinating to see the progression through the year groups, both in the way that they responded to the challenges available, but also in the outcome of their discussion and writing.

A few children surprised themselves, and their teachers, I believe.

With year one and year two, I went back to what is, for me, turning into a favourite location to visit within Myst III:Exile: the beach in J’Nanin. I would definitely not visit the opening scene, in the study of Tomahna, with children of this age as, while it is a really powerful and captivating experience for older children, it may be more than a little “memorable” for younger classes.

(A “walkthrough” and preparing games beforehand can by-pass this “hairy moment”. There are very few, if any, in any of the games. They have a 3+ or 7+ rating, but it is still worthwhile exploring, on your own, as a teacher first, and storing “good places” to visit as “Saved games”. For those of you who have been on courses, training days etc with Baldylocks and the Three Hairs; you know the password to the locked area of the main site ( and there are saved games and walkthroughs galore waiting there for you to explore!)

One young lad, recently reintegrating back into the classroom, was an absolute star! We had some sand for them all to feel as we stood on the edge of the sea, and some water to dip their hands into when we found the rockpool under the bridge (positionals galore of course, and an interesting investigation of “shade” and “shadow”.) Our brave traveller came up, and, when I asked him what the water felt like, he very astutely said “Well, the water in this glass is cold, but the water in that rockpool there is lovely and warm, because of the sun shining on it all day.” That taught me!

In the year five class, we did experience Saavedro throwing a fireball at us, and at Atrus, but only after a very thoughtful wander through the greenhouse in Tomahna, and meeting the gracious Catherine.

The school is going to scan some of the work that the children came up with through the day, and we will hopefully be able to put links to them here.

My second day at Indian Queens was fun too and I, after a day of not feeling too spectacular, felt more up to pace with years 3, 4 and 6. Some of their writing had me welling up. I had an interesting chat with a group of the older lads, as they were writing, about the fact that it IS O.K. to cry. They showed some real maturity and agreed that, sometimes, you can cry because you are sad. Sometimes because you are happy…and sometimes because you are… “full”

I enjoyed working with these open and creative children and their teachers.

Thank you to Jane for organising the days, and the twilight session with staff from schools in the area.

I am looking forward to some more journeying tomorrow as I head off across Bodmin Moor to Upton Cross school.

Thankyou for all those who have sent such lovely feedback e-mails over the last few days. Much appreciated.

Odd cog signs at Whitesheet*

| March 16, 2007 | Add Your Thoughts 

I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Whitesheet school in Wiltshire today.

Whitesheet is a delightful, small village school and, at the training day today, we were joined by staff from nearby schools.

During our “planning” session this afternoon, I was fascinated to see one group working using the early learning goals which they, quite rightly, suggested could be used across the key stages.
Personal,social and emotional development
Communication, Language and literacy
Mathematical development
Knowledge and understanding of the world
Physical development
Creative development

It was International “Take your Neighbour To Work Day” today. This fact was slightly swamped by Red Nose Day but I celebrated in style by inviting my dear friend and next door neighbour, Richard, to join me at today’s event.

Despite telling us all that the last time he had been in a school was in 1957, Richard threw himself into the day, even putting his love of classical music into play by conducting a piece of improvised soundtrack!

















A glorious




Canadian exchange teacher, Karen, went for a jazz style to her piece. Great fun.

Thank you to Ben and the staff of Whitesheet for a superb day.

*Yes. There is an anagram in there. Get your glasses on and look closely at the pics above.


What can I say? It was fantastic. Everyone who was there today was most certainly inspired and I know will go away with a wealth of ideas and inspiration. Even the most the most sceptical of adults could see the potential of the games and what they may be able to do with children. I have never known one idea be able to be used in so many areas across the curriculum from year 6 to foundation. From those ‘sodding cogs’ (frustration and PSE) via every imaginable genre of literacy to art ideas that made me itch to be back in the classroom teaching everyday. I know that from today the lives and thoughts and experiences of the children in our school will change and the only limitation is ours and their imagination. The music at the end of the day was fab too. It is not often that we have the chance to just let go and create (well that may be stretching it a bit!) Thanks again and I can’t wait for the next installment.

Speak soon.


Travel troubles…

| March 15, 2007 | Add Your Thoughts 

Had a spot of bother on the return trip from Germany today. I have covered a fair few thousand miles over the last couple of years and, thankfully, have been blessed with smooth journeys.

Had a spot of bother with vehicles today (STRETCHED LIMO PICTURE …VANISHED)

(No I don’t travel in a stretched limo – Pretentious?! Moi?!! 🙂 Saw this glorious sight when being taken to Dusseldorf airport by Dave Lowe, from SCE, yesterday.)

However, things didn’t go quite to plan on this trip. We reached Amsterdam without problem but the onward journey was, at first, delayed, and, finally, cancelled due to “Technical problems” (I wonder whether that technical problem was that they technically forgot to book a plane! )

A long night and a KLM “Stranded Travellers care bag” later and, sadly, I had to postpone my trip to Lyneham. (The first time that that has happened.)

There is often an unexpected flipside to adversity and I had great pleasure in meeting two fellow “strandees” Dr Paul Crocker and Simon Parker. Thank you, gentlemen, for making an unexpected stop over in Holland an enjoyable one.

I am glad to have been able to rebook my trip to Lyneham juniors. Karen even offered to book a trip via the Red Arrows! I think I’ll stick to the yak though. 😉

Don’t ask about the cheese!

(Always a cue for some questions!)

Sorry to hear about your cancelled flight. Maybe we should have borrowed the stretch lim and I could have driven you all the way home!! Thanks for an inspiring session earlier this week. I think you have made a considerable impact in SCE, a positive one of course!
Keep on rockin’


Absolutely inundated with magical comments from your session on Wednesday – a big thank you once again and feel sure we will see you again in the not too distant future.


Hamm-ing it up!

| March 14, 2007 | Add Your Thoughts 

Presented at the Service Children’s Education conference in Hamm, Germany, today. This is a really well run and interesting conference, with forces school staff from all over Germany, England, Cyprus, Gibraltar, Brunei and beyond. I had the challenge of opening the conference with a two and a half hour session! I know I had fun!

I was also lucky to sit in on a couple of interesting and informative sessions. I was particularly impressed by the presentation by Wendy Collins and Fiona Aubrey-Smith, from Ranvilles Infant school in Fareham. They are using a VLE to enhance the curriculum, but, originally, have started their approach based on children exploring the potential rather than mainly focussing on their staff’s use. I was impressed that Fiona, only in her third year of teaching, presented (and answered challenging questions) in an assured and informed way whilst always having a smile on her face. She portrayed a clear understanding of the impact their innovative approaches have on the achievement of children.

I am near R.A.F. Lyneham tomorrow. Shame we couldn’t have sorted out a direct flight between the two. 🙂

Hi Tim, 

I’d like to say a very BIG thank you, on behalf of us all, for your input at our conference last week. According to the evaluations, you offered us the perfect start for the two days and folk from the Falklands and Cyprus commented that your session alone was worth every hour of the journey. Everybody there was clearly inspired by your work and creativity and, as you know, it’s the greatest teacher who inspires! 

Myst3 did eventually arrive and has been sent to the folk who were at Hamm, so no doubt we’ll see some of the fruits of your labour when we visit schools. One teacher, who was only able to be at the conference on the Wednesday, got the ball rolling on the Thursday with the class he was teaching! 

Sorry to learn from your blog that the journey home was less than smooth and straightforward but glad to see you at least made some new friends to share the frustration! 

No doubt we’ll be in touch again Tim and we’ll look forward to working with you again. 

Very best wishes, 


You are welcome. You and your colleagues run a fine conference sir!

Mae’r defaid wedi bwyta fy brechdanau! * (Actually, not true… we had a lovely lunch!)

| March 9, 2007 | Add Your Thoughts 

A really fun day at St Roberts Catholic School, Aberkenfig, Bridgend, South Wales, today.

This is a school that “glows”: The children arrived into the class with huge, warm and friendly smiles, completely un-thrown by the many adults sat around the edge of the class observing the lessons. They responded in an equally impressive fashion, writing at pace and in notably neat, and increasingly imaginative ways. We explored many ways of developing their writing, including simile (cyffelybiaeth) and metaphor (trosiad)

I loved the carefully restored old school desks. These are reserved as a privilege of being in year six.

I enjoy (Dw i’n mwynhau) this kind of day: a mixture of presentation, lessons and discussion with colleagues. I would hardly call this “going to work” (mynd i’r gwaith) as I, too, learn a lot from the process.
Llongyfarchiadau (congratulations) to Mrs Took, the staff and children of St Roberts and the visiting teachers, for a thoroughly rewarding visit.

Diolch yn fawr

Pob lwc!
Pob dymuniad da!

Mae’n braf i’ch gweld chi (It was nice to meet you)

Impressed? Well here are a few more versions of that last phrase:

(I am missing a few recordings (Welsh being one of them, sadly) so would welcome any more help in trying to make the remaining few)
Thank you to Jerry, Ahmul, and Jeroel for your contributions already!
The power of Audacity! – the best FREE audio recorder. Well, except for one…
Click the links to hear how it should sound:

Afrikaans Aangename kennis.
Albanian Më bëhet qejfi që u njohëm.
Amharic Siletewawekin Des Beelognal.
Arabic Sorirart Biro’aitak
Armenian Ourakh em kezi Hantibelov.
Asturian Prestosu de conocelu.
Azerbaijani – Çox s,adam.
Basque Pozten nau zu ezagutzeak
Bengali Porichito hoye valo laglo.
Bosnian Drago mi je sxto smo se upoznali.
Breton Plijet bras on
Bulgarian Priatno mi e.
Cantonese Rho go hing ying sik lei.
Catalan Encantat de conèixe’r-te.
Chipewyan Seeneey see neyghan neeneeyah
Cornish Da yw genev metya genes
Creole Kontan.
Croatian Drago mi je.
Czech Te^s^í me^.
Dagaare N poO pElEE la ne n nang nyE fo.
Danish Rart at møde dig/Dem.
Dutch Leuk je te ontmoeten.
English Nice to meet you.
Esperanto Plezure
Estonian Väga rõõmustav.
Eurish Suava t’occurre. / Suava v’occurre.
Farsi Khosh’halam Az Di’dane Sho’ma.
Finnish Mukava tavata sinut.
French Enchanté (de faire votre connaissance).
Frisian Yn ‘t wolnimmen.
Galician Moito gosto
Georgian sasiamovnoa
German Sehr erfreut. Freut mich (, Sie kennen zu lernen.)
Greek He’ro poli’
Gujarati maLine aanand thayo
Hawaiian ??
Hebrew na’im le’hakir otcha (m), otach (f)
Hindi aapse milkar khushii huyii
Holooe Ë-tàng sék-säi lí, chin hoan-hí.
Hungarian Örvendek
Icelandic Gaman að kynnast þér.
Ido Me joyas renkontrar vu.
Indonesian Senang berkenalan dengan anda
Interlingua Il es un placer facer vostre cognoscentia.
Irish Tá áthas orm bualadh leat.
Italian Felice di conoscerla. Felice di conoscerti. Piacere.
Japanese O-ai dekite ureshii desu.
Korean Man-na-so Pan-kap-sum-ni-da
Latin Suave est tibi occurere. Suave te cognòscere est.
Latvian Jauki ar Jums tikties.
Lithuanian Malonu Jus matyti.
Luganda [Nice to meet you]
Malaysian Seronok berjumpa dengan anda
Mandarin henv gao xìng yù jiàn niv.
Marshallese Iakwe
Mazahua arupahnkáh
Norwegian Hyggelig å treffe deg.
Occitan Encantat!
Polish Mil/o mi cie, Pana Pania, poznac’
Portuguese Muito gosto.
Brazilian Portuguese Prazer em conhecê-lo(a)
Quechua ??
Romanian Imi pare bine de cunos’tint’ã.
Russian Ochen priyatno.
Serbian Drago mi je da smo se upoznali.
Sesotho Ke thabile ho kopana le wena.
Sinhala Hambu Una Eka Loku Sathutak
Slovak Tes^í ma.
Slovenian Lepo, da sva se spoznala.
Spanish Encantado de conocerle.
Swahili Nafurahi kukuona
Swedish Trevligt att råkas.
Tagalog Ikinagagalak kong makilala kayo.
Thai dee-jai-tee-dai-pob-khun
Tswana Ke itumetsi go go itse
Turkish Tani,stž-gžmžza memnun oldum.
Ukrainian pryyemno z vamy zapiznatysya
Vietnamese , Râ’t hân ha.nh
Welsh Mae’n braf i’ch gweld chi.
Xhosa Kumnandi ukudibana nawe/ukukukwazi
Yiddish zeyer ayngenem aych tsu trefn
Zulu ngiyathokoza ukukwazi

Thank you too, to

* A sheep has eaten my sandwiches!

Hi Tim,

Thank you for such a fantastic day! My colleagues and I have gained so much from watching you in action today. The pupils had a great time and the quality of their written work was brilliant.

I really feel that this day, followed on well from the initial training I had at Bryngarw. I was able to see what you were talking about on that day, in action, and identify ways in which this “game” can be presented and used with the children. For me, it is much more important to actually see you demonstrating a session, than to just listen to how you would carry out a lesson with pupils. I was able to see how you would deal with any issues that arose and how you further develop pupils work. Today, I was able to see how this would link in with other areas of the curriculum, as well as cluster projects such as the Hull Talk Project. This, I feel is essential, as it ensures that it is not felt as an “add on” or an extra thing to do. It can be incorporated into what is already taking place in our schools.

I hope you have a good weekend. Thanks again,

Barbara Harris

Look carefully…

| March 2, 2007 | Add Your Thoughts 

Muhammad Abdul Bari, Patch Adams, Sir David Attenborough, Quentin Blake, Malorie Blackman, Bono, Bill Bryson, Jimmy Carter, Shami Chakrabati, Sir Arthur C Clarke, Bill Clinton, Richard Curtis, HE XIVth Dalai Lama, Leonardo Di Caprio, Placido Domingo, Anne Fine, Arun Manilal Ghandi, Bill Gates, Sir Bob Geldorf, Jane Goodall, Mikhail Gorbachov, Al Gore, Seamus Heaney, Quincy Jones, Robert F Kennedy Jnr, Alicia Keys, George Lucas, David Lynch, Cameron Mackintosh, Nelson Mandela, Michael Morpurgo, Andrew Motion, Ben Okri, Jonathon Porrit, HRH Prince Of Wales, Anita and Gordon Roddick, Michael Rosen, Joanne Rowling, Arundhati Roy, Salman Rushdie, Tim Rylands, Dr Jonathan Sacks, Steven Spielberg, Bishop Desmond Tutu, Earth Wind And Fire, John Williams, Rowan Williams, Jaqueline Wilson, Oprah Winfrey, Naomi Wolf, Stevie Wonder, Tiger Woods…

All will be revealed…

It’s not rocket science 37

| March 2, 2007 | Add Your Thoughts