Thursday, June 16, 2005

The Magic Keeps Coming

I was with the Downley School again today. This time I was in the classroom, working on poetry (which was just as well as it lashed it down with rain for most of the morning). I led a workshop exercise with Year 3 that used the artefacts we had dug up on Monday to explore the past. I was delighted at the enthusiastic way they describe their finds.

I asked them to use their senses (“how does that boot feel?” “What does that flint look like?”). They embraced this idea wholeheartedly and came up with some very novel and vivid images. They had particular fun creating new words to describe the noise of their chosen object being lost (or thrown away). Onomatopoeia in the making! Tssch! Schwang! Phump! These words then gave their emerging poems a sense of music and movement. In one noisy example, a boy came up with a single word that described the sound of a whole town being lost!

One of the most enjoyable things about working with this age-group is when they begin to write with authority. At the beginning of the morning, a number of children in this group worried whether they were ‘doing it right’. However, by the end of the morning they had made an imaginative leap. They had discovered a character, a voice for their poem, who told the story of how ‘they’ had lost the object we had found at the dig.

The children had moved from being listeners to speakers; to being story-tellers and bards.


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