The Creative Teacher Project

An NQT Bringing Creativity to the Classroom


Leave a comment

Monday Provocation: A New Beginning!

Summer 2015 The Creative Teacher Project

Quite a bit of change around these parts this year! Not only did I move back to Kent, start my first teaching job in the UK, renovate my house and get married (yay!), I also made a positive but significant career move. Pals, I’m heading back to Primary School!

Something different for today’s Monday Provocation: I’m so happy to announce that I’ll be taking my first Year 4 class, and I truly could not be more excited! It will be a challenge to move from secondary drama teaching to the full spectrum of Primary education, but one that I’m going to tackle with a smile on my face. The team at Wainscott Primary is full of enthusiasm and passion for their jobs and for their students, and are excited by the myriad opportunities that technology can bring to our classrooms.

Does that sound right up my street, or does that sound right up my street? It’s definitely full systems go at The Creative Teacher Project!

I’d also like to take the opportunity to say ‘hello!’ to any of my new parents who have looked up the blog – thank you so much for taking the time to connect! I’d love for you to stick around and comment where you feel inspired to, and to be a part of the wonderful education community that WordPress is now home to. From the bottom of my heart, welcome, and I so look forward to knowing you better as the year progresses!

Advertisements


Leave a comment

The National Theatre Drama Teacher’s Conference 2015: Day Two Recap

Creative Teacher Project - NT Drama Conference 1
Creative Teacher Project - NT Drama Conference 2
Creative Teacher Project - NT Drama Conference 3
Creative Teacher Project - NT Drama Conference 4

Creative Teacher Project - NT Drama Conference 5

That’s Leonard (the puppet) and I!

 

My brain was more prepared on Day 2 and I remembered to take some pictures of my sessions! Well, one of them at least!

I was supposed to be taking a session on using the NT Archive on day 2, but it was undersubscribed. Luckily, I got to sneak into the puppetry session led by Finn Caldwell and Toby Olié of the newly formed Gyre and Gimble, who worked on Warhorse (!!!!). We were taken through some of their previous works, which was distinctly mind-blowing. They also worked on The Light Princess, a musical by Tori Amos. Incidentally I was lucky enough to be at the performance of The Light Princess on the NT’s 50th Anniversary – whoop! The puppetry in that production was truly amazing, so I was thrilled to be able to hear more about behind the scenes from Caldwell and Olié.

We were then allowed to get our hands dirty, proverbially speaking. They presented us with a drama teacher’s dream – a whole roll of brown paper! It doesn’t take much when you’ve got a room full of people with amazing imaginations. They took us through a basic puppetry making workshop, focussing on the three things that make puppets come alive:

  • Breath
  • Focus/eyeline
  • Weight

We separated into groups and made our puppets, then improvised a scene where we focussed on one of the above. It was excellent fun.

I’ve worked in puppetry a bit before, and was privileged to be taught by Philip Mitchell of Spare Parts Puppet Theatre in Western Australia. Having said that, it has been years since I have properly invested time in it, and I had become so rusty, that I truthfully would have avoided puppetry in my classes. So this workshop was an excellent reminder for me of the fundamentals. I found it really sparked my imagination, and I felt immediately that lots of slightly buried information was coming back to me, along with a spot of confidence. A really worthwhile couple of hours!

The second and final masterclass of the day was a voice workshop, facilitated by NT head of voice Jeanette Nelson. She used some young actors from the current NT Production of Dara to demonstrate a series of exercises we could use in class when helping our students with vocal technique. This was exactly the sort of thing I had come to the NT hoping to participate in. It was pitched perfectly, and Nelson’s knowledge of the mechanics of our voice was second to none. It was really incredible to be able to participate in a lesson taught, not only by the best in the area, nor the country, but someone who is at the top of her field in the world. Truly amazing!

My only reflection on the voice session was that it would have been great to have a handout. Like the puppetry workshop, I have done a lot of vocal work before, but I’d be the first to admit that I haven’t practiced any of it in at least 5 years, so anything I can take away with me to refresh my brain is much appreciated.

After the class, we had a debrief about the two days and what we wanted to see more of from the NT in the future. I was glad to be able to say thank you to the team that organised the conference, as I cam away more invigorated by my new profession than I have been for a long time. It was two days well spent, in my opinion, and I will be glad to attend future events!

If you attended the NT Conference I would be so glad to hear from you – even if we disagree! Please make yourself known in the comments.


Leave a comment

Monday Provocation

Because I’m a bit of a hippy, I’ve signed up to a daily provocation called Notes from the Universe, which is a daily email from “The Universe” with a little message of positivity for the day. I know. I am that sort of Drama Teacher – sorry not sorry. This is one I received last week, and thought I would share:

When you understand, Sam, that what most people really, really want is simply to feel good about themselves, and when you realize that with just a few well-chosen words you can help virtually anyone on the planet instantly achieve this, you begin to realize just how simple life is, how powerful you are, and that love is the key.

I thought it was really pertinent to me as a teacher. What would happen to our students if we made it a priority to make them feel good about themselves? Would it make them achieve more, or even more significantly, be better people? I think it just might.

 


Leave a comment

What Happened to Creativity?

On Monday evening, far later than I should have been, I was scrolling through some teaching related tweets. I tweeted about a new post of mine, checked out the #dramaed hashtag, and contemplated letting another Drama teacher know how much I love her blog (I totally chickened out on that one). I felt a bit smug for about 30 seconds, congratulating myself on how well I am doing this whole blogging thing.

Then I switched tabs and caught a view of my latest post. Right up the top, in turquoise letters on my favourite yellow chevron header, was the wake up call I didn’t know was heading my way. The Creative Teacher Project. My blog, about bringing creativity to the classroom. That isn’t what this blog has been recently, instead it’s something more along the lines of Confessions of a Student Teacher.

Although when I created this blog I wanted it to be a place for student teachers to come and find information they weren’t getting at university, I really wanted it to be a place where I discussed and dissected the creative practice of teaching. I missed being creative daily in my last role, and teaching was the path I chose to take instead. But I’ve realised I’m not sharing that creative journey here. 

So I’m going to have a little think about how I can work creativity in here a little more. I mean, it’s my name! I simply have to! But before I do that, I’m going to let myself come to grips with this whole teaching concept first, and I hope you bear with me. Can I become a better, more creative teacher at the same time as I actually become a teacher to begin with? I don’t know.

Shall we find out together?


1 Comment

Getting Myself Together

edited TCP

It’s the business end of the semester now at university, with an assignment due every week until we go on our final prac. I’ve strategically avoided my assignments up until now (it’s not a very good strategy, I don’t recommend it), but sometime over the last week I found myself looking in the mirror and thinking:

It’s time you got yourself together girl.

Do you ever have those moments? When you think you really have to start going to bed a little earlier than 1am, and getting up, dressed and ‘put together’? So I did it. Smashed out my assignment on diversity and turned it in online, went for a run, showered, before blow-drying my hair. 

It sounds superficial – and maybe it actually is – but I think of my hair as a metaphor for myself. It’s generally well behaved, leaning towards a bit curly and wild, often getting out of control pretty quickly if I don’t put any effort into maintaining it. It’s not naturally smooth and tangle free – I really have to work at it. But, when I do give it a little TLC, it doesn’t fight me. It will do what I tell it to do.

When I take care of my hair I feel like I’ve got my head together. I feel like I look more professional, and that makes me relax into the work I have to do, rather than feel like I’m already on the back foot because I don’t look the part. 

This isn’t to encourage you to get up early and blow dry your hair (or do something that men do!), but rather it’s a thought piece – what is it that you need to do to feel prepared, to feel confident to tackle the day, to feel like a teacher? What’s one small thing you can do, that isn’t necessarily work related, that makes you feel like you’re in the driving seat again? That makes creativity in your work easier?

For me? It’s blow dried hair, a blazer and a cup of coffee. The little things. 


Leave a comment

The Career Series

manifesto

The Family School Partnerships Manifesto

Based on some Twitter conversations I’ve had recently, I thought it would be interesting to gather some interviews on this here blog with people who have made their careers in the education sector. So first up, we have Michele Sampson of Michele’s Community Classroom Blog. Michele is a Family School Partnership Convenor for Catholic Education in Melbourne, Victoria.

Take it away Michele!michele

 

Tell me a little bit about you – how long have you been teaching for, and in what content area? 

I was a Primary school teacher in the Western Australian Ed Dept for more than 25 years. Over that time I taught in every year level but was most interested in Early Years education especially Pre-primary to Year 1.

What made you decide to be a teacher? Are you still teaching or have you moved on?

I always had an idea of myself as a teacher. I thought it was my service to the world. However, once I made the decision to move sideways and work in professional development for teachers instead of in the classroom, I realised that I no longer had the stamina or drive to be at the coal face and working directly with children and their families.

Can you please tell me what your pre service teacher experience was like?

I did 3 years at Mt Lawley College of Education (as it was called then) in a full time course to get my Diploma of Education. It was a great course with many amazing lecturers who were very passionate about what they taught and inspired me to be the best I could be. We did a number of pracs each year culminating in a long term prac which was one whole term in a school but broken into two different classroom experiences.

What did you like about teaching?

I loved the kids. I loved their spontaneity and enthusiasm. I loved being able to be creative and guide children through learning experiences that made them wonder and explore the world

Did you have an experience as a teacher that you would describe as a great achievement?

Every single child I taught who connected with a spark that I helped ignite I would consider as a great achievement.

What did you find was the greatest challenge of teaching?

The administrivia. Every couple of years there would be a new framework or a new way of collecting data and you sometimes had to jump through hoops for no real reason.

If you could give PSTs one piece of advice, what would it be?

Connect with the families of the students you teach. Reach out to them and get to know them as humans not just as the parents. Be curious about their story and share yours.

When you hear the phrase ‘creative teacher’ what do you think of?

Teachers going beyond the mediocre and crafting experiences for children and their families that use the richness of the children’s context with their enthusiasm and sense of wonder of the world so they can find meaning and love of learning.

Do you have a blog or a website that we can visit?

Yes – my personal blog: Michele’s Community Classroom Blog and especially this site for the family school partnerships manifesto: http://vimeo.com/80584793

 

Thanks so much for your time, Michele. If anyone would like to read further into the Family School Partnerships in Victoria, skedaddle over to them via the link!