Having participated in the inaugural Practical Pedagogies at International School of Toulouse in 2015 (reflections and sketchnotes, presentation)and then returned there for the second edition #PracPed16 (presentation and sketchnotes), I was over the moon when I was invited to participate in the part three, this time held in Cologne at St George’s School. This is what I said after the first two conferences…
…and do you know what? Edition 3 didn’t disappoint!
From start to finish, I laughed, nodded, puzzled and pondered. I didn’t stop for 72 hours, and am now utterly exhausted, but it’s the sort of exhaustion that comes from having had a good time, not wanting it to end and having lots to think about. It was lovely to meet ‘old’ friends and, as we discussed several times, pick up as if we’d seen each other last week rather than two or three years ago. It was also wonderful to make new friends, and deepen friendships made at previous meetings. For example, I loved having guided run home with Laura, exploring the woods and parks between school and the city and having a good chat as we ran.
As usual I sketchnoted my way through the conference. It was lovely – and also slightly weird – the number of people who greeted me with ‘oh, you’re the doodler!’ or ‘ooh! I thought it was you, I recognised your writing from Twitter!’ and also those that started to see my notes over the conference and sought me out to find out more. Below are my notes from the sessions I was able to attend. One day I’ll work out how to sketchnote my own session…
Opening keynote by Hywel Roberts – could be subtitled Let’s say… or How to teach Tyler. Via stories of teaching early years, kids in Barnsley, Vikings and an abandoned factory, Hywel shared his three words – imagineering, botheredness and phronesis – and challenged us to consider our curriculum.
After my first choice was cancelled, I attended a session on Language for Maths, a reflection on how games can be used to practice maths vocabulary. Without the necessary vocabulary, EAL students cannot enjoy success in solving maths problems, and the games we played and discussed required repetition of key words and phrases such as more than, fewer than, equal to, equivalent to, ratio, decimal and fraction. An interesting session that I’ll be feeding back to my colleagues.
My second session has not been sketchnoted as it was an immersive experience and to fully participate you have to join in rather than sit in a corner doodling, but I do have a photo of our island! Oh Brave New World; Getting to grips with Shakespeare, presented by Emma Bramley and Matt Wardle, took us on a journey through The Tempest focussing on Caliban as he is born (that was interesting acting…), loses his mother, grows, is ‘adopted’ then rejected and abused by Prospero. We considered the relationship between Prospero and Caliban, and ended considering what Caliban should do – follow Prospero and continue being ‘civilised’, stay on the island and stay ‘savage’ which raises all sorts of questions about what it means to be civilised, what isolation is, what freedom is, and what the power of language is. Was Prospero? Is Caliban? Very interesting and very challenging questions!
Session 3 saw me face another challenge – playing with LEGO whilst sketchnoting. Dominic Tremblay presented a session on Storybricks: Using LEGO for Literacy. He offered some advice on LEGO organisation as well as suggesting several ways in which LEGO can be used to provoke language sharing, reading and writing. A fascinating session in which my group and I wrote a Halloween story involving a witch, two children and a hero police officer. We were so engrossed in characters that our setting is rather sparse, but that demonstrated the need for greater coordination of effort, and perhaps reflected my preoccupation with sketchnoting… Here’s our story (imagine the children in the last picture – I didn’t take one after we’d moved them from scene 1 to scene 3!)