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.