Dear parent/caregiver, talofa, greetings,
Learning from chickens
In this newsletter you will find a story by Cameron in Room 13 called ‘My Skinny Chicken.’ You must read it – it is a beautiful insight into how a little boy sees the world. At first glance you might think, as I did, that it is just a simple little writing activity. You can imagine the teacher (Miss Kumar) setting up the writing lesson by talking about capital letters, full stops and similes (“as skinny as a pen”). You can picture Cameron toiling at his table to come up with something that will meet the teacher’s brief.
But if you read the story a few times you may, as I did, begin to wonder. Why did Cameron decide that the first thing he wanted to say about his chicken was that it is skinny? Why does he even like that his chicken is skinny – shouldn’t chickens be plump? Why does he call it a chicken and not a hen or bantam or chook? How does he know that his chicken likes houses? Where does the name Lulu spring from?
And from these questions you realise that Cameron knows an awful lot about Lulu the skinny chicken, more than he can tell with his pencil. You see how closely he has observed her appearance, her preferences and her habits. You feel how important she is to him - she is his chicken, not his sister’s or, probably, anybody else’s. And then you imagine how much Lulu is teaching Cameron about how the world works through concepts of ownership, friends, identity, nurture and difference.
As teachers we are inclined to over-analyse children’s learning, but we almost always do so with a checklist approach – are the full stops and capitals in the right places? Has the child mastered paragraphs? We overlook what the child is really saying and miss the wonder of glimpsing into the mind of that child. As a parent you have the time and intimacy to enjoy your child’s view of the world, but sometimes you miss out on the “skinny chicken” stories because they belong to school.
How we bring the two dimensions together so teachers and parents can both know their children better is a challenge and I offer two invitations for you to meet that challenge:
1. Join us tonight – Wednesday 12 June – at 6.30pm in the staffroom for an hour’s conversation about how you see home-school communications and other things.
2. Make sure you get to the parent interviews later this term. This is a chance to celebrate the “skinny chicken” moments in your child’s learning. Information about booking interviews is in this newsletter.
Have a great week.
The school calendar includes Board of Trustee meetings, PTA meetings, term dates, school events and activities . . .
For a link to the latest newsletter please click here . .
Find the answers to your what/where/how questions about Wakefield School.....