The refugee bus

Anybody out there heard of Creative Partnerships?

We have an ongoing relationship with them at school. They give us some money every year and we fund creativity in two ways. One is through one-off projects . This is what, apparently, most schools do with it. We also (and primarily) fund one year promoted posts. As previously mentioned, mine is related to getting pupils blogging, whilst others are promoting creativity in maths with low achievers, working on P4C (big questions), promoting competitive creativity online and encouraging creative writing.

Our big project for the year is the refugee bus. A trailer which aims to demonstrate to the pupils what it is like to arrive in a foreign country, not speaking the language and having to go through customs. The aim is for the kids to appreciate how traumatic the experience can be as well as learning about the difference between migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. We have a lot of prejudice bubbling under the surface I suspect, not helped by the national media.

My part in this was to take my Y8 bloggers who will be going through the experience next week and simply asking them “What is a refugee?”. The answers were fascinating. “Someone who travels around the world but has no identity”. “Someone who had to leave their country because of war”. “They’re a bit like a tramp, but the government gives them a house”.

I refused to tell them anything. Whether they were right in their assumptions, whether this person would be male or female, whether they would speak English, where they were from… Instead I told them to make up the details. They had to invent a refugee and describe who they were, and who they are now. As I said earlier, the results were fascinating.

One of the first pupils to name their refugee called him Mowglai. Another wanted to call her refugee Lloyd, because he didn’t have to be foreign. Two thirds went for male refugees, and two thirds went for non-European. One pupil had a refugee with a private jet who flies around the world staying in posh hotels. All very interesting.

Next week they’ll be posting about what they found out in the ‘bus’, with a further, conclusive post a week or two later. Fascinating stuff and it really makes me want to do more of this stuff where we challenge the way kids think rather than just teaching them how to make PowerPoints about theme parks.

To visit the blogs themselves (and PLEASE leave some comments), go toĀ 

How to blog

So, I’m now the resident blogging Tsar in school and as such I really ought to be getting pupils blogging. Just before we broke up for Christmas I got two of my Y7 classes to write an introductory blog post, having watched “Blogs in Plain English”. This week I also got a Year 8 class to do the same.

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In order to help those with weaker literacy skills, and to improve the general structure of the blog entries I’ve come up with a very basic writing frame:

  • What the post is about – a one sentence introduction
  • What happened – a description of the events
  • Why it mattered – how it made you feel, what it made you think, how your view/opinion/attitude changed

Has anyone come up with a better/more comprehensive guide or writing frame?

I’ve held everything in moderation for the time being so we can examine the quality and structure first, but the resulting posts will appear at the Blogs @ Egglescliffe site shortly and I hope you’ll offer comments and encouragement to the pupils.