Anonymously Famous (thanks Ofsted)

I’m not a particularly huge fan of Ofsted. However I have just discovered some of my work has made it’s way into their Learning: Creative Approaches that Raise Standards report that was been recently published here. Although I am mentioned anonymously in the report there is a very small case study of a lesson Ofsted observed me teach during a creative learning survey inspection just over a year ago. It was based around multimodal analysis and production of writing with the stimulus of the Japanese anime My Neighbour Totoro.

They report that:

Examples of good practice encouraged pupils to make connections across traditional subject boundaries and to respond imaginatively to technology as a resource. This extended and reinforced pupils’ development as creative learners. The following example comes from one of the primary schools visited. Here an understanding of the choices made and techniques used in film-making enabled pupils to be analytical, collaborative and imaginative.

A snapshot of the lesson is then cited:

From criticism to creation

A Year 2 teacher combined reading and writing with other approaches to interpretation, evaluation and presentation. He encouraged pupils to make connections, ask questions and reflect critically on ideas and actions. He had chosen a Japanese film, My Neighbour Totoro, as the stimulus for learning, splitting the film into sections to study different aspects of the story. This session came as the culmination of work with pupils through which they had learnt to analyse film from the different standpoints of setting, sound, action and language. Discussion at the start of the session demonstrated that the pupils had a good understanding of these categories.

Each pupil was given a small whiteboard with the different categories as headings. During the first showing of the film clip, the teacher helped pupils identify key moments for focusing on the areas for analysis. During the second showing, pupils used the whiteboards to record their own responses across any categories they chose. They discussed their observations and evaluations, showing considerable knowledge and an ability to challenge each other constructively. They not only questioned and challenged each other’s responses to the clip ‘as film’; they showed curiosity and imagination in exploring the culture and assumptions that had shaped the film.

Finally, each pupil wrote an ending for the story they had been watching. The writing was highly imaginative, with a strong sense of place and, in many cases, a sophisticated vocabulary and range of expression.

Famous at last… in an anonymous fashion!

Pirates, Robots and Ideological Literacy

Original photo by 'Uncle Bucko' on Flickr

The slightly confusing title to this post sums up my slightly confused state regarding this blog. I have so many different things rushing around in my head at the moment that I sometimes forget to blog or simply cannot pick what to focus in on – life, literacy, work or just general observations of the world around me? For example today I have been thinking of the upcoming Pirate/Seven Seas themed week we are having at school, where I am really hoping to plan some ‘out of the ordinary’ stuff to really inspire my class. I’ve also discovered a really interesting way in which fans of one of my favourite TV shows Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles have utilised Web 2.0 technologies to try to revive the cancelled show. On top of that I am in the process of finishing off my first written assignment for the MA in New Literacies I am completing at the University of Sheffield and have lots of conflicting ideas about ideological literacy, of which I could post a series of blog posts about. So many different things – all linked to different areas of life…

Where do I start?

Next year I would like a… TARDIS (please)

I couldn’t let the major event of last week pass without writing a quick blog post. I’m not talking about the ‘big freeze’ but rather the finale to David Tennant’s association with Doctor Who. Most people who watch Doctor Who talk about who is ‘their’ Doctor – a large proportion of the people I know associate the show with the likes of Tom Baker and John Pertwee. I started watching the show when David Tennant took over the role of the Doctor, therefore most of the episodes I have seen feature him. It’s actually quite strange how you can become so attached to a series such as Doctor Who and when something like a complete change of cast happens it becomes quite significant. This is something that has been part of my life since 2005 and now the era has ended.

One of the most significant moments for me was when the Doctor went to see different companions at the end of the episode before he regenerated. The most poignant being when he visited the granddaughter of the woman he married and then the wedding of Donna, giving her a winning lottery ticket bought with a pound coin her late father had given him years before:

I am unsure what the new series will bring – it will probably be brilliant. However, this era will always be the one that I remember most as it has become part of my culture.