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New Year: New Projects

A little late in coming but I’ve been busy with projects – some new, some recycled.

Coming soon:

The mini-enterprise project. Working with year sixes on aspects of running a mini-business. They have to work in teams, partners and individually to work through a series of tasks (like the Apprentice but without the firing). This has worked really well in all the years I’ve ran it and gives the children a chance to showcase skills they might not always get to use in the classroom. We always finish with an interview, where each one of them has to have an individual chat with two professionals: sometimes local business people, sometimes teachers loaned from other school, sometimes governors. This is a brilliant ending to the project and gives them an opportunity to grow in confidence, perfect before our summer performance. I also take them to Frankie & Benny’s as their treat.

Summer performance. End-of-year shows/productions/performances are an integral part of any year six and a sort of reward after the hard work and slog through the cold start of the year in preparation for SATs. In previous years, we have put on Shakespeare 4 Kidz versions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Macbeth (scroll down to see all posts on the link)- challenging indeed. When I tell people we are doing Shakespeare, they look at us in amazement and raise their eyebrows in disbelief/respect/prospect of exhaustion? This summer I am toying with either The Tempest or Romeo & Juliet – we will see.

Grammar Test. The lovingly-named #spagtest is coming this May and, after seeing the sample tests, have had a mild panic. It was going to be hard work ensuring our sixes achieved the levels they needed in maths and writing and now they have to sit this beastly, boring test too. I know they should know what’s in there, that’s no excuse, but it just seems so intense. I will be posting some of the resources I make on here, soon.

Chrome Books. So, after seeing a tweet stating that they were getting a load of Chrome Books on trial, I jumped on that digital bandwagon and our shipment are expected soon. I will be posting about what we get up to when they arrive. Am pretty excited, just hope our WiFi can cope with it.

Investors In Pupils. Our PSHE lead and learning mentor are working towards the IIP standard and as part of it, we are doing several different things, such as: children writing their own non-curriculum targets (I can tie my shoelaces, I will tidy my room once a week, I will bake my teacher a delicious cake etc); sharing what the school budget is for and how it works and giving them a class budget; instead of class rules, we have rights & responsibilities – works well; I also introduced jobs, nothing new, but if the children want to do a school-based job: tidying book shelves, toy monitor, audio-visual team, hall monitors, they have to apply for it. Application Form. We are just starting out on this but know that no school in Derby has the standard yet. Exciting.

ICT revamp. My biggest job this year has to be the complete overhaul of the ICT curriculum. I have burnt the QCA folder and scattered the ashes so am in mid-completion of the long term plan for ICT across KS2. I want it to incorporate the new skills that children have and make it relevant and engaging. I have used @ianaddison’s ictplanning.co.uk to help with this.

E-safety. Alongside the new ICT curriculum, I wanted to make children and parents aware of how important e-safety is. I am running a couple of events this year and am hoping that it is something that will have a real impact on all.

#batttuk. I am working alongside my not-so-twin-like wingman @mrlockyer on a project called battt – basically, we are aiming to get more teachers involved in twitter (bring a teacher to twitter), we know how useful twitter is and want other teachers to reap the benefits of the digital staffroom. We are presenting at the teachmeet following Bett 2013.

There is a load of other stuff, but this will do… for now.

BGW

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Posted by on January 12, 2013 in Family, Thoughts & Musings

 

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Macbeth: The Making of a Monster V

Well, today we had the first rehearsal after our half-term break. It was ok. If we had several weeks before our performance, I would be feeling nervous about completing it in time but confident we had a spell-binding show on our hands.

We don’t have several weeks!

We have 19 days!

I am not normally a man prone to panic; I feel comfortable that I can deal with most situations but the slow, creeping dread of dress rehearsal day (16 days away) looms near and shows me that we are not going to be ready…

Just to add a couple of other variants into the mix, we have three days out for our French residential and a couple of days worth of transition (by a couple, I of course mean 4 or 5). There is also sports day (Olympic-themed of course) and many other mini-things that all eat away at our all ready over-crowded and rapidly-diminishing timetable.

Having said all that, I feel good. We have a talented cast and once the make-up is applied, the blood is made and the lights are on… we will have a show.

By the pricking of my thumbs… something hectic this way comes.

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2012 in Literacy, Thoughts & Musings

 

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Macbeth: the Making of a Monster IV

Just a quickie this time… click the LINK and go see the Witches.

‘…those black and secret, midnight hags!’

 
 

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Macbeth: The Making of a Monster III

As if my already frazzled mind doesn’t have enough to cope with, I decide to get involved with lights. I mean, what I know about lighting rigs is probably not worth knowing, right?

 

It comes to me an hour before I’m to leave for half-term that the old and dusty rig we currently have (3 redundant spots facing the wrong direction) is to be replaced in our week’s break. Good news, I hear you say. You’d be right, constant blogger, for this year’s Monster, a decent lighting rig is going to add all the ambience and shadows we need. It will turn our Macbeth, Banquo and Macduff into the eerie, terrifying creatures they are, and as for the Wyrd Sisters…

 

I know nothing about spotlights, apart from that I’d like different gels (colour plates, for the uninitiated) and a dimmer switch for each. Apparently, that turns the job into a mega operation. What do I know, I struggle with re-wiring a plug! So, why was I =desperately scrabbling around with our brilliant site manager and fantastic bursar to negotiate a deal for said lights? Because I know it’ll be worth it. And here’s me thinking the director’s role was just yelling at the children: “louder, faster, more intense…” Hmm, perhaps not.

 

Lights (with new positions, gels and a dimmer please), camera, action…

 
 

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Macbeth: The Making of a Monster II

Half-term is here, phew, time to breathe a sigh of relief. Thank goodness, one more block to go… Not so for me, constant blogger. For me, the end of this half-term simply means we are closer to the end, which means closer to unleashing the monster. A monster that is by no means even remotely tamed and ready for the summer!

 

Since last you read, both auditions have taken place and casting is set. Sure, there may have been a few upsets with children not getting the role they initially desired but now, they are up for the challenge – which is good, because a challenge it will most certainly be.

 

We get back after half-term on the 11th June to a frantic, transition-filled week (we feed to 12 different schools this year) and final preparations for our residential (we head for northern France on the Thursday). We get back on the Monday of the following week for more mayhem involving sports day prep (there’s that other big event in London this year…) more transition and the occasional game of rounders whilst we try to fit in much-needed rehearsal times.

 

I figure, we have 16 days (!) before the big unveiling and a mere 13 or so before our first dress rehearsal. That’s right, 13 days before a group of eleven-year olds and a frazzled teacher attempt to put on Shakespeare’s Macbeth, arguably one of his most challenging and iconic plays.

 

Easy.

 
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Posted by on June 1, 2012 in Thoughts & Musings

 

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Macbeth: The Making of a Monster

So, summer term is here and with it come all the trappings of madness, mayhem, musicals, moving on and… monsters. Last year, Team Six put on a show-stopping performance of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Admittedly, it was the S4K’s version, but, nevertheless it was still a monumental challenge for our 11-year-olds to step up to.

 

Some junior schools do touch upon Shakespeare in year six (some earlier) and they may embrace Romeo & Juliet, flirt with AMSND or get dark and moody with Macbeth – we did all three. And The Tempest too. Our children loved it, they found the language difficult (who doesn’t?) but they adored the characters; they found the plots, the twists, the tragedies and the imagery totally spellbinding. So, I foolishly (after seeing a live version of it in Wolverhampton with the children) decided that AMSND would be our end-of-year performance. What a stroke of genius/madness that turned out to be. Despite the exhausting nature of putting on performance, the visit from our friends, transition, leavers’ discos/ball/prizegivings et al, it was still a thrill to see these young children tackle Shakespeare and to do it so well.

 

I cannot take all the credit, to do so would be a dis-service to the team. It was a whole team effort and nobody takes more credit than the children themselves – they were astonishing. The songs, costumes, acting and general performance left parents in tears of joy, sadness and amazement.

 

How then do we top last year’s? What to do to continue in the wake of such a marvellous production? I did toy with the idea of putting on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – I’ve done it before and that too was excellent. But, after a short discussion and with this year group in mind, we settled for the metaphorical monster that is Macbeth.

 

We have a smaller cohort than last year (60:75) and there is a serious lack of girlpower but, Macbeth it is. Auditions begin this Friday with some of the team watching out for who has the deceitful powers of Lady Macbeth, the raw strength and poise of Macduff amd the ability to twist and turn in the skin of the titular role.

 

So hold on, buckle up and check in. This summer term is going to be a monster of a ride.

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2012 in Literacy, Thoughts & Musings

 

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