On 23rd June, we were fortunate enough to welcome the Young Shakespeare Company from London to KEHS. Bournville, Bordesley Green, Holy Family, St George’s and Chadvale Primary schools came to take part in the workshops that they provided.
What can seem like a very daunting and difficult collection of literature was made easily accessible and very interesting. The company sent one of their members to educate and involve the children in an exciting workshop about Macbeth. The children were very engaged from the start and taking on active roles meant that it was interactive and more real so that they could begin to grasp the story more effectively.
Even the teachers were amazed at how engaged and animated the children were. One of the teachers actually explained her anxiety about teaching Shakespeare but the workshop was hugely successful in encouraging their pupils to want to learn more and also at exciting the teachers about teaching it in the future. The company also provided booklets with follow-up activities which were really useful.
The feedback was great, some of the comments included:
- Very interactive! Super introduction to the language of Shakespeare.
- Children loved the ‘shocks’ and twists of the story. Very engaged!
- Interaction between the children and the storyteller was very effective – students appeared captivated.
- Questioning helped secure the understanding of the play.
Summer Challenge Workshops
On Wednesday 24th June, we also had another opportunity for several Birmingham primary schools to come to KEHS and be involved in various summer challenge workshops throughout the day. There was a morning and afternoon session which included workshops in English, History, Local History and Spanish. Pupils from Bournville, Oasis Academy, Our Lady’s Catholic, Holy Family Catholic and Lea Forest took part. The children really enjoyed being in the classroom, they seemed fascinated by the school building itself and the facilities. A couple of pupils even expressed their desire to attend in the future.
The English sessions were inspired by writers of the French Oulipo movement of experimental writing. Our staff used a variety of creative tasks, collaborative activities and speaking and listening activities to provoke more original, sophisticated and productive creative writing. The focus was on challenging traditional narrative methods, encouraging a more imaginative use of vocabulary, structure and form.
In History, children learnt about medieval times, learning from working with a range of different written, visual and hands-on resources that were used in order to develop their confidence in analysing evidence. Pupils looked at the Anglo-Saxon language, amongst other stretch and challenge activities, all of which were designed to develop their linguistic and reasoning skills. These sessions inspired pupils’ curiosity about the past and challenged their thinking skills. There were practical and observational activities to explore the Middle Ages including puppet shows and Archery, which was particularly exciting for them.
In Local History, children were given the opportunity to research the past of an area of Birmingham. Our budding amateur local historians gained an understanding of how people used to live through the examination of census returns, photographs and maps, and then they compared this with how things are today. They took on the role of detectives looking for clues into the past using these fascinating documents. This session encouraged independent learning, it developed research skills, it gave children the chance to look at material they may not have seen before and it also inspired their intellectual curiosity.
The workshops focused on a variety of subjects but most importantly, the children were engaged and introduced to new ideas and information. The Spanish Language appeared to be a completely new experience to most. Children were given an introduction to linguistics and culture. Using a series of activities and games, they explored the basics of Spanish speaking, giving them a flavour of the language and encouraging them to develop it outside the classroom. They were also immersed in Spanish culture, looking at the cuisine and past-times of the region as well as very relevant topics such as the World Cup.
Feedback included comments such as:
- It was a wonderful morning. The children loved the setting and activities.
- Good range of challenging activities, pupils were given opportunities to ask questions which was fantastic!
- Further Spanish please!
- Could sessions be longer?!
- Teaching staff were really engaging and children responded really well to them.
Overall, this day was a huge success. Lea Forest even showed their appreciation on Twitter by posting various photos of the day.