Saturday, 28 January 2017

Writing with Wolsey House

The last three days, I've been visiting Wolsey House Primary School in Leicester, working with Years 4, 5 & 6 to deliver some creative writing days.

It has been great. Each day, around 60 pupils in each year group have gathered round tables in the 'big' hall and we have had so much fun describing settings, making up characters, listening to Granny Rainbow stories and then - of course - writing stories.

I'm sure I've said before that children's imaginations never cease to amaze me, and I'll say it again, now! The children have worked so hard and been so enthusiastic, it's a real privilege to be with them.

Looks a bit formal, but it was the best way so everyone
could see and hear me at the front

Half of just one day's enthusiastic scribblers!

And the rest...

The staff at Wolsey made me feel very welcome and have helped me enormously with their feedback so far. Y'see, one thing I will have to crack in these sessions, especially when working with groups of this size, is how to get the children started on their stories. Not being a teacher, I'm not very good at providing the structure that some of the children need to get going. A framework, if you will, rather than expecting everyone to be able to free-write once the ideas have come. Some children CAN cope with it - taking ideas and putting them straight into a story - but others need a story opener or an outline to provide direction. Was also told I needed to use my 'teacher voice' as it was a bit hard to hear me at the back...

See - I keep on learning, and hopefully, improving!

The weirdest thing about Wolsey House was the physical building; I had a strong sense of deja vu, because a lot of the older parts of the school are based on an open plan, honeycomb design. Exactly the same as my own primary school, Holywell, when I was there! (The original floor plan of Holywell had to be rethought after a fire destroyed most of the classrooms. The current design maintains the overall honeycomb shape, but the rooms are now closed off and the open 'activity areas' I remember so well are broken down into smaller ones.)

I struggled a bit with the early starts - 6am alarm for a 7.15am pick up (The lovely Mrs D, a friend from my Guiding days, is giving me a lift each day). It's a long time since I worked more than one full time day at a time - almost eighteen years - so it's a bit of a shock to the system. I was glad of the lie-in this morning! It's probably a good job I have the weekend to break up the six day block.

Yes, six days. Didn't I say? I'm back there next week to work with Years 1, 2 & 3! Can't wait...

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