Last Thursday 8 SENCOs from our cluster met at the wonderful Art and DT studio at The Michael Tippett School to share expertise, discuss challenges and programmes that are working well with pupils within their schools and learning more about the work of The Michael Tippett School, the special school within our cluster. There was a very productive exchange and we shall be meeting up again in the Spring. Thanks to all staff who attended and to The Michael Tippett School for hosting.
Last week the year 3 children from St Saviour’s used Leon and the Place between to inspire explorations in shape and colour. Artist Liz Atkin has been working with year 3 teacher to support children learn how to use watercolour and oil pastels and our project encourages the teacher to take those skills and encourage the children on a journey of risk taking and experimentation with their subject. The lesson was carefully structured and planned so children built up their skills during the lesson. Children experimented with watercolour on small pieces of paper to see what effects they made, moved on to practise drawing circus performer outlines in their sketchbooks using pastels and then put their skills together on proper watercolour paper. The children were encouraged to experiment with background colour to create a mood and theatrical lighting effects and to fill their paper. Some wonderful results from the children who produced a range of work which they viewed together and gave feedback.
On Friday our drama practitioner Simon Batchelor, made his second visit to St John’s to support their Year 3 and Year 4 teachers. Year 4 began their new topic ‘ Is it better to be a child now or in the past’. The teacher very effectively narrated some of her own childhood recollections which the children acted out as they listened, including writing and posting letters to relatives abroad, phoning friends, listening to records, climbing trees and going shopping. The children then made their own group pieces showing these actions and fast forwarding to their own today. The children’s work showed a lot of thought both on content and acting quality. The teacher is now thinking she can teach the majority of this topic through drama going forward. In the afternoon year 3 worked on their new book for the term, The Day I swopped my Dad for 2 Goldfish by Neil Gaiman. The plan is that the children will translate this book into a playscript over the next few weeks, so using drama to produce dialogue for the scripts was an excellent start. Children worked in partners to ‘sculpt’ characters and create their thoughts as they reacted to each other. Both lessons were led by their class teachers, with Simon giving some direction and showed how skilled the teachers are becoming at leading drama in their classrooms. In addition to their main activities, the teachers are now using a range of drama games that support focus and working collaboratively, setting them up for getting the most out of the sessions. The photo shows children working together on a 10 second object of a spaceship!
Last week we held another of our year group meetings – this time for year 3 and 4 teachers across the cluster. Teachers shared examples of pupil’s work in Maths, English and topic work from this term and also looked at and discussed examples of writing we moderated earlier this year. It has been very productive to get teachers together early in the academic year and we hope this supports deeper discussion when we do moderation together in February and March 2019.
This morning year 1 children from Archbishop Sumner Primary started their new half term by bringing together the knowledge they had learnt from last term into self portraits, experimenting with colour and developing their skills with watercolours. The children were encouraged to look at their own faces through mirrors and to experiment with colour to fill their page and create contrast in their images. This produced a great range of styles and ideas and freed the children from trying to emulate a portrait the teacher might have done themselves as a starter. Artist Liz Atkin was on hand to give advice and encourage the children’s creative thinking. This all part of our 2 year programme developing Growth Mindset through the Arts, funded by Paul Hamlyn Foundation.
Last night children from year 5 at St John’s Angell Town joined forces with singers from Black Thrive,Woodlawns Community Centre, the Pegasus Community choir and professional opera singers from Pegasus Opera to form the Pegasus Windrush Choir and celebrate 70 years since Windrush. The Brixton Learning Collaborative were delighted to be invited to be part of this event, highlighting the outstanding contribution of the Caribbean community to the UK. This was part of a programme of music performed at the highest level to a packed Lambeth Town Hall. The audience were also treated to a special performance by Nadine Benjamin, currently performing in Porgy and Bess at English National Opera. The children from St John’s sang with enthusiasm and style following 5 weeks of expert training from professional coach and choir director Allyson Devenish. A special thanks goes to Mr Obika, their class teacher, who looked after the children for this and Saturday’s performance at Tate Library, giving his time over half term. Congratulations St John’s for all their hard work and great singing.