Marvellous Marking and Merits from Mum
May 8, 2016

It’s one way to get your mum’s attention when she’s marking Year 9 rendering homework: Do the same homework and add it to the pile with the request that it also gets marked! Fantastic effort, Dylan 👌

Top Tips for a Top Notch Performance
February 27, 2016

  
Can’t beat a bit of constructive feedback! The adjudicator at this year’s Milton Keynes Music Festival was very good – through her group evaluation, ideas and tips for a top performance, all the young musicians learnt that: a ‘phrase’ is a musical sentence; ‘articulation’ is the pronunciation of the notes – clearly defined or slurred through use of the tongue; ‘dynamics’ determine how quick or slow, loud or soft; try and rid yourself of the music stand if you can; and to bow and appreciate an audience’s applause.

Also that musical language like ‘tempo’ is Italian. Dylan would like to know why Italian – any offers on an answer? 

Story time on planet Earth
August 1, 2013

bestspeaker

STORY TIME ON PLANET EARTH

Boy: What’s that?

Mum: It’s a ‘Best Speaker’ ribbon – I won it in my Toastmasters Club, it’s like an award.

Boy: Can I borrow it for my bedroom, like I borrowed your old swimming trophies?

Mum: You can HAVE it if you like?

Boy: No. I have to WIN it, I can’t just have it.

Mum: OK.

Boy: We need to have a competition. I’ll say “put your hands on your head” or “put your hands in the air” or “put your fingers in your ears” and the first one to do it wins. The one with the most points wins the ribbon.

Mum: We could do that, but it’s an award for the sort of speaking where you tell a story.

Boy: But who can I tell a story to? Not just you, that wouldn’t work.

Mum: What about your teddies?

Boy: OK, I’ll tell a story to my teddies and you have to tell me if it’s good enough for the ribbon. Don’t just say it’s good though – you can say if it’s not good enough.

Mum: OK, how about I tell you the things I liked about it and also things you could do to improve it?

Boy: Yes! And if there are more things that you liked about it than things to improve, then I win the ribbon. But not if there’s more things to improve than you liked.

Mum: OK – Go on.

Boy: Once upon a time, there lived a boy and his name was Tom. He lived with his mum and he grew up to be really happy in his house. Then all of a sudden his mum died, and his dad had to look after Tom all by himself. One day, his dad took him out for a walk in the woods and it was very strange because it all looked like winter, but it was the middle of summer! The End.

Mum: That was great!
I loved the storyline – it was a bit sad wasn’t it, but very interesting and you had some really good ideas in there – like summer looking like winter.
I also like the structure, you had: a beginning – once upon a time and it was great how you gave the boy a name, Tom; a middle – where he was happy in his house and then the mum suddenly died; and an end – where things started to look different.
I also liked the expression you used in your voice when you were telling the story – you made the ending sound very mysterious.
I liked it so much that, the only thing I could suggest if you wanted to improve it would be to think about using some more describing words – adjectives.

Boy: I know what describing words are – it’s when you say a thing and then you describe it!

Mum: Yes, so you could have said something like “he grew up to be really happy in his BEAUTIFUL house” or “HEAVENLY house”.

Boy: Yes, I see… So was it good enough for the ribbon?

Mum: Yes! I liked three things about it, but could only suggest one thing to improve, couldn’t I?

Boy: Was it three? Yes – I liked the storyline, the structure and the expression you used in your voice.

Boy: Oh yes. I WISH I could stick it on my wall.

Mum: Here [passes some white tack].

Boy: [Sticks the ribbon in the centre of the world image on the OU Frozen Planet poster by his bed] I want to stick it here because I look at this poster every night. I read all the parts of it every night – it helps me when I’m not feeling sleepy.

Being good #2
February 28, 2013

beinggood2D: What does it say on that big piece of paper?

Me: ‘Your Ground Rules’

D: What does that mean?

Me: It’s the rules that the school children wanted to make when I was doing the speaking work with them.

D: What were their rules?

Me: One was that they wanted the group to all turn their phones off. Another was that they wanted the group to tell the truth about what they thought of each other’s speeches, but to be nice about it. Another was to be quiet and listen…

D: We have those rules at my school!

Me: What are your rules?

D: Be Safe; Be Kind; Be Helpful; Tell the truth; Listen – No, they don’t start with ‘be’ – every rule has to start with a ‘be’. But there IS a listen one, that starts with ‘be’.

Me: Be a good listener and be truthful?

D: Yes!

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