You can’t stop the… learning?

Coming to the end of a very hectic half term week where my ‘to-do’ list is appearing strangely complete. As part of my resolution to try new things this year I decided to visit London and see the musical Hairspray. Most of the children I’ve spoken to think it’s brilliant – nearly as good as High School Musical, so I decided to give it a go.

I thoroughly enjoyed it – what an amazing show it was and the cast were fantastic at what they do. Above is a video of probably the most famous song from the show – although it doesn’t look half as good as seeing it live.

The show is very light-hearted but actually tackles some very serious issues; mainly racial predjudice and segregation in the 1960s America. This reminded me of some of the work I read by Barbara Comber about critical literacy and how texts can be used as a means to open discussions of controversial issues in a frank and open manner. The children in the audience were clearly understanding why such prejudice is wrong.

Would you class a theatre production as a’text’? If so then Margeret Meek’s immortal ‘texts teach what readers learn’ mantra is clearly evident here. I really think this could have a place in the classroom. Probably unsuitable for the year group I teach but something to consider for the future. Then I thought about what texts I could use to address such issues and one particular set of stories told by a character called Uncle Remus

I will reveal more later. 

A fresh look…


 I haven’t had much time recently to do any work on the Multiliteracies Learning Initiative. The website is getting a considerable amount of daily traffic so I feel the need to add to the content.

I’m really lucky to have so many great people willing to work as part of the teacher group and as critical friends.  I think over the next few months we will be able to do some fantastic work.

Above is the new logo for the ‘MLI’ – I prefer it so much more than the old identity. Hopefully I’ll get round to doing some work on the website soon and updating that too.

Finding time…

Another half term arrives and once again I wonder where time is disappearing  to.  The reason is partially because the past half term has been so short and yet so jam packed with things to do.

I was hoping to read the above three books over half term: Critical Literacies in Action, Desirable Literacies (co-edited by Jackie)  and the new Web 2.0 for Schools book by Julia and Guy. However, it looks like the writing of end of term reports and catching up with paper work is going to take over. I was hoping to re-read ‘A Pedagogy of Multiliteracies’ too before UKLA Greenwich. I can but live in hope…

Injecting SATs with a strong dose of popular culture…

SATs arrived into my classroom this week without fanfare or pre-warning. I won’t teach to the test and I give them little acknowledgement in my class. They are not the backbone of our curriculum, they are an assessment tool and nothing more.

My class entered the classroom to see their desks rearranged in rows (something I had to do). None assumed we were doing tests and instead commented that it was like ‘High School Musical.’ I thought this was brilliant, popular culture taking over SATs. So while most other Year 2 classrooms have been having test weeks, we had a ‘High School Musical’ week which included special quizzes. Popular culture has won this one…

High School Grumble 2

OK, so I caved. I watched High School Musical 3 and enjoyed it. After my previous blog post where I grumbled about the franchise escalating out of control, I felt I should watch the latest film. I was really pleasantly surprised. The finale of the series (above) is very touching and signifies the end of the cast’s association with the films. Disney were appearing to be ending on a high and went up in my estimations. Then I found this and started to grumble again. Children need to learn that things don’t last forever and that all good things must come to an end. I think Disney need to learn this too.

In the meantime I am looking forward to watching Studio Ghibli’s latest animation Ponyo, which looks original and breathtaking.