I’ve known Renita for a while now. Originally from America, Renita now lives in Wigtown, which the book town in Scotland, with the most stunning views across the estuary. When I’ve performed at the festival, the children have all been whipped up to a frenzy by Renita, who welcomes them in and “settles them down” [...]
I spent my last day in Rhondda Cynon Taf at Oaklands Primary School today. They are getting ready for an inspection on Monday… good luck all!
Years three and four came up with a brilliant idea for what to take to show and tell day on another planet, following up the theme in Ricky Rocket and a present from Earth. One girl, who turned out to be a bit of a bibliophile and would be author, suggested taking a book. So obvious, I never thought of it before. What a great example of Human technology – all the other aliens would be really impressed – it even works without batteries.
Some of years five and six were intrigued by my graphite stick and stayed behind to have a go themselves. I’m always asked what it is I use to draw with and the children are always surprised that it is a block of pencil. They always love the way it fills large areas when I draw on the side of the block.
I’ll admit it – I’m very tired at the end of the week, but it has been fascinating having such an intense experience in five different schools. Each school is quite different and, as ever each group is entirely different, depending on the dynamic of how it is made up. How any government or education department could ever think that one system could ever fit every school staggers belief.
Wales dropped the year six Sats a few years ago now, and the difference between Welsh and English schools is very evident in the more relaxed atmospheres of staff rooms and the amount of creative work to be seen displayed around the place. The sooner we drop Sats in England and drop the manic Thatcher/Blair curriculum the better.
Thanks for a great day and enjoy the inspection!
If I thought Cwmaman was at the top of the valley yesterday, I was mistaken. Way up high, much further on is Glynhafod Junior School, where I was today. A couple of hundred yards further on the village stops and the mountains continue – wild and empty.
Year Five and six came up with a new idea for how Viking Vik invented football. Another school I went to suggested that he made a ball from a pig’s bladder, today we had a leather bag full of leaves and sheep’s wool, which was a more satisfying plot. One girl went on to improve the story by bringing in a bit of enmity between Vik and his half brother, Wulf. In her story they invent dodgeball!
With year four, we got into a quite deep conversation about what the children would take from Earth to an alien classroom on show and tell day, as Ricky Rocket has to do in A present from Earth. One boy suggested a gun, which made us question what this would say about Humans!
Year three came up with a great idea for Monster Boy. An giant Electric Eel is living in a pond in the Forest and is electrocuting things. Monster Boy puts it’s power to good use, lighting up a fairy light walk through the Forest that brings in the tourists in their droves – great!
The school is almost 100 years old. In the staffroom is a wonderful push-button control panel, which I guess once rang bells in different classes. One button is marked, Master. Is this to call up a previous, frightening, overpowering headmaster or just a master button that rings all the bells at the same time? I’d like to think it is the former!
Thanks everyone for a great day.
The days are getting longer and longer and the sun was shining this afternoon so, having got the lie of the land yesterday, I went for a walk up the the mountain above Cwmbach this afternoon. I think it’s called Tyle Robert. Either way it provides stunning views across the Cynon Valley. I can see all the schools I’m visiting this week from up there.
I think I’m falling in love with Lichen. It’s something you don’t normally take any notice of – it’s just there – but it’s much more interesting and beautiful when you look closely.
I was surprised by a vista that appeared through an avenue cut through the trees. I really was on the top as the view is of Merthyr Tydfil on the other side of the mountain!
I’m staying across the valley from Aberdere in Cwmbach. This late afternoon I went for a walk up the mountainside following a trail made very muddy by horses, crossing streams by stepping stones and taking care not to slip and hurt myself so far away from civilisation!
At the start of the footpath the hedge is made entirely of Japanese Knotweed! According to the news this morning, they have found a weevil that can get rid of it. It will probably move on to eat something else and devastate another area of wildlife if they release it.
I’m very attracted to lichens at the moment. They seem very fractal in their design. maybe that’s what I like. I came across a dead sheep too. I’m not sure if I’m meant to report it or who to.
turning back into the lane from the footpath I noticed the woodpecker on the telegraph pole. It turned out to be plastic! What a wonderful bit of street art!
A lovely walk on a lovely mountainside. I don’t suppose this area is high on the tourist trail ratings, but it certainly has a lot to offer.
I had a great day at Cefn Primary School today. I’m there as part of the RAISE project, improving writing skills though oracy. I’m staying the whole week here visiting a different school each day. In all, I’m visiting 17 schools in Rhondda, Cynon, Taf.
Where am I? I’m staying just outside Aberdere, which is in the Cynon Valley in South Wales. There’s a pretty view of the lights at night at the cottage I’m staying in. It’s lovely and warm, I’ve got tv and internet so I’m happy. There’s a mountain right above me, so I’ll probably have a walk up it tomorrow.
I’ve been reading my stories and explaining where the ideas come from. Then I ask the children for their own ideas for the characters. I’m amazed how every group comes up with completely different ideas. I do a lot of pulling and pushing, once a direction appears, in the hope of coming up with a basic plot that the children can then work on themselves.
The project is helping me too, actually. Talking about the ideas from a writing point of view clarifies my ideas about the stories and characters. Talking about them, I’ve come up with a few ideas myself, and have to try and remember them and get them written down after school, before I forget.