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Many of you might have watched or participated in the wonders of Friday which was Children in Need. While I was casting my eyes over my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, I saw the photos of people showing off their super hero costumes. I really miss these days from school and I thought I would waffle this week about what makes it a special day, not only for the charity, but for the children and learning.

Our version of the X-factor - staff band - groovy bass player!

Our version of the X-factor – staff band – groovy bass player!

I am one of those annoying people who actually like dressing up and participating in charity days such as Children in Need and Comic Relief as well as days such as World Book Day. As well as dressing up I would also attempt to adjust the lessons and activities so that the children’s learning reflected the essence of the day.

  • Understanding of the Day – While I was teaching in primary schools there was a term which OFSTED used called Community Cohesion. Schools are an integral part of a wider community and play an important part within them. However, as well as a local community, they are part of the much wider community, including the whole of the Uk and world. I often feel it is very easy to become entrenched within our own local community and days like Children in Need allow us to make the connection with the happenings of the UK and world. While dressed up in a crazy outfit and engaging in a range of fun activities allows us all to reflect on our situations within the wider community in a less ‘heavy’ manner.

  • Back to Front day

    Back to Front day

  • Being part of something – After a day of being a superhero, story character or just wearing my clothes back to front (Comic Relief) it is often the evening’s activity to sit and chill at home watching the television’s coverage of the day and other fund raising activities. With all of us, there is that feeling of knowing that we have been, in some small away, been part of the event and day. Our small contributions have been taken and added to those millions of pounds which are flashing across the screen. I always used to say to the children that no matter how much they brought in to donate, they could look at that total and know that some part of it was because of them. They had contributed and they were part of the massive group effort. I would often reflect on this with the children at a later date as part of the PSHE lessons, usually when talking about team work or our Purple Book. No matter what we (as in the class) did – we were part of the event and did our bit. That is definitely something to celebrate.

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  • Making a contribution – Although this next snippet is a small one, it is probably one of the most important within this waffle. Whenever a day like Children in Need was approaching I used to ask the children themselves to become more involved. Rather then telling their parents the night before that they needed a complete space suit created, I would always encourage them to be a part of the creation of their costume from the planning to the making. As well as their costume we would also talk about giving something up in order to make a contribution on the day. Rather than asking their parents for a quid for non uniform day, actual use some of their own allowance or even say – “Instead of buying me sweets this week, can I give that money to the charity”. I was hoping that this would make the whole day more personal for them and links back to that feeling of being part of something.

  • Lessons on the day! – Charity days can sometimes feel like the last day of term. You know its going to happen but you need to somehow encourage the children to learn throughout the day – despite their excitement and the wealth of additional props that abound within the classroom. Trying to get the Flash to do his mathematics can be problematic. However, one answer to the engagement would be to create the activities of the day to reflect the cause. Within our school we used to have a World Water Day – this was a day when we raised money to contribute to charities to provide clean water across the world. During the computing lesson on this day, we made computer games using Scratch based on the idea of ‘zapping’ the dirty water and saving the clean. In a similar way, mathematical problems which provided answers which would crack the codes for superheroes could be used as well as persuasive letter writing to encourage the positives of wearing clothes back to front for ever – Have you ever used a positive, negative interesting sheet to explore this?:). The use of activities like this allows the children not only to continue to participate within the day but also provides a real context for them to apply their skills to. Something which you know I am a strong believer in.

  • This has been a slightly different waffle today and I hope I haven’t come across too heavy about things. As a heads up, I will be having an article in the next issue of York Talk and later there will be a special Wilson Waffling Live recording focusing in on the discussion forum about homework. I look forward to hearing your comments and ideas, please add them in the comments below or send them to me via Twitter(@iwilsonysj), Facebook, Google+ or email.

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    Have fun, engage and I’ll catch you later


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