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Three short stories to finish the year

July 22, 2011

Free to Dance!
We finished term with two whole school Power Up! days on the theme of Free to Dance – a world record attempt for the longest non-stop dance, to raise awareness of human rights abuse and democracy in Burma. Free to Dance is a campaign run by my former colleague Ben Hammond – find out more about HERE. If you want to do something similar, get in touch and I’ll share my resources.

Blackfen’s Got Talent:
For the last few weeks we’ve been running our Blackfen’s Got Talent challenge, where students have to learn a new talent – anything from juggling to touch typing – it’s up to them. The purpose of course is not to learn a new talent per se, but to think about HOW they learn something new.

It’s been a challenge to get students to focus on the process of learning rather than the product – the how, not the what. Our main prompt questions were ‘how have you learned what you learned?’ and ‘if you got stuck when you were learning, how did you get unstuck.’ Of course some students struggle with this because they did not have the language to answer these questions. So we had to teach them a new vocabulary of learning. One of their biggest challenges was staying focussed on the learning goal they had set themselves – many wanted to change their learning goal as soon as they reached a hurdle. Furthermore, some students didn’t realise how much time it takes to learn something. Learning takes time, is a good motto I think! I’ll write more about this next term.

Bus Campaigners
Back in April our Year 7 students organised a campaign to make our community safer. One of the issues they raised was travelling by bus, and so last week we finally had a follow-up meeting with our local bus drivers and Transport for London to hammer out some of the issues raised by students. This morning two students fed back the results of the meeting at our end of term whole school assembly. This is just another nice example of making sure that when students raise an issue or make a presentation or write a letter (what I call a ‘change action’), they are informed about the result of their action (what I call a ‘change outcome’). When students have enough experiences of change actions turning into change outcomes, they gradually realise that they do indeed have political power and that democracy can work for them. As that’s what Citizenship education is all about!

Have a great summer!

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