Schools Workshops – phase 2.

This week I’ve led seven workshops in primary schools. Three of them were on ‘Five Alive’, for the youngest pupils – P1 to P3 – and the other four were for the ‘Standing Up To Hatred’ project.

Five Alive is part of the Healthy Living programme. I took in a box of food – fruit, veg, bread and eggs – and we spoke about where the food comes from, what it’s good for, and what foods the children like. Then we looked at exercise, and it was clear how much the children enjoy it and participate. In each of the classes we wrote class poems, finishing with an “I wish I could … because …” I thought they were all extremely imaginative and original. This type of list poem is very suitable for these 5 to 7 year olds, as it’s inclusive and open.

Phase 2 of the Standing Up to Hatred followed on from last week’s sessions. The classes were split; half doing photography with Leah, and the other half writing with me. Then today we did the other half-classes.

Last week we look at prejudging based on appearances, and I took that further by distributing some of my postcards.

I’ve been collecting postacrds for years, and I’ve got hundreds, so it was easy to make selections. The first part of the programme was an exercise in description. I had all of the children give me five facts about the person in the photo, based solely on the evidence of the image. It was interesting to see how judgments came into this section – so and so was ‘nasty’ or ‘kindly’, ‘weather-worn’.

Then I asked them to imagine they were the person in the photograph, and to write a diary entry or a poem based around the day the photograph was taken. We spoke about Anne Frank and her diary, which was both a record of events, and a reflection on her life.

Both yesterday and today I was overcome with the creativity and imaginative power of the children. It’s just fantastic.

Next week I’ve got another two Five Alives, and Phase 3 of the joint project, where the lesson plan will be based on their own photographs. I’m looking forward to it.


About sunnydunny

Poet, publisher, gardener
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8 Responses to Schools Workshops – phase 2.

  1. deemikay says:

    Children’s creativity isn’t encouraged nearly enough these days. When I was a student teacher I was chastised by the class teacher for daring to tell the children (P4s) that they could come up with “an idea of your own”. She told me that they’d done all their thinking “as a group” and they didn’t need any more ideas. This made me a wee bit angry.So it’s fantastic to read about some of the work you’re doing. Keep up the good work!

  2. Colin Will says:

    deemikay: thanks for your comment. I’m so grateful to have the chance to encourage creativity and imagination in schools, and the teachers I’ve met so far have been encouraging and supportive.

  3. Rachel Fox says:

    Yes, I’ve known a few people lately who’ve found the student teacher stage quite frustrating! Some trained teachers get a bit used to always telling everyone else what to do and can’t stop doing it, I think…Of course there are other marvellous, encouraging teachers too.Oh to be able to take part in one of Colin’s workshops though…sounds like a lot of fun.x

  4. deemikay says:

    Yes, there are some great teachers out there. And quite a few of my friends teach – I’ll give them a hard time if they stifle creativity!Have either of you heard of < HREF="" REL="nofollow"> Room 13<>? I was stunned when we got a lecture by Rob Fairley, the resident artist at Caol Primary School in Fort William. People round about me were shaking their heads saying “it’d never work” ignoring the fact that it <>does<> work, and at a lot more schools now.Almost makes me want to go back and teach…. well, ok, maybe not. 🙂

  5. BarbaraS says:

    Reading the progress of the kids and your good self, Colin, is really heart-warming. What we’re going to need now is more of this sort of encouragement of creativity, not less!Room 13 looks like a good model for a project. If someone is determined enough, it will happen.

  6. Colin Will says:

    Barbara: Yes, we need more creativity, and not just for the future of the arts, but for everything. And even at 10 years old, I think I’ve spotted two potential future writers. I hope they never let their imaginations be stifled or side-tracked.

  7. apprentice says:

    Sounds a marvellous and worthwhile project Colin. It can just take one event like this to change a child’s who direction and outlook.The first comment remonds me of the Harry Chapin song “Flower are red young man….”

  8. Colin Will says:

    Thanks A. Of course, much as I love this work, I haven’t written anything worthwhile lately, so I’ll be scraping the barrel for tomorrow’s poetry group.

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