Lockdown Poetry

During online tutoring lessons, I have started doing some poetry writing with some of my students. We’ve focused on things relating to Coronavirus and lockdown. Here is one of these poems, written by a Year 6 boy. What I love about this poem is how some of his ideas are generic, things that everyone can relate to. Other ideas are specific to his own experience and his own family. Here it is:

Lockdown Life

Illness is as bad as covid-19
The world will never forget
This tragedy
Is leading us into what we don’t know.
C
ure to be in sight
Just like the rainbows give light.

Grandpa and Grandma locked in the house like prisoners
Looking out for the kitchen scissors
For home haircuts

“No, no, wait in line for your turn in the queue
Got to be early to be at the front
Stand 2 metres away and where a mask”

The boring speeches Boris makes to tell us
No school
Stay at home
Stay alert
You can meet with one friend in a park.
Go back to school

Thank bin men and clapping outside your house
Videoing the trumpet player in our street
Jumping the hopscotch with our feet
Older people look forward to taking the bins out

Seeing people on calls and phoning
Playing on the ipad with my friends
Missing my Grandpa who talks about the milkman
I can’t wait to be able to get out of the house

By Jack Phillips

Weekly creative lessons online for £5. This week: Music

To help our children with their new learning from home experience and to help add some structure to their week, I am offering small group lessons on Zoom, focusing on humanities and creative subjects. This week, it’s music!

Have you seen the Royals cover on YouTube using a cup for percussion? If not here it is:

Royals – Cover by Sarah Stone

Tumbler Cup Glass - Free vector graphic on PixabayIt is this video that has inspired me for this week’s creative lesson. All your child needs is a table and a cup! We probably won’t get as good as Sarah Stone but we can look at some basic rhythms and patterns and try to invent our own too. Participants will begin to learn to read a type of musical notation and will learn about basic music timing.

The session will last for about an hour on Tuesday 31st March, starting at 11.30am and it will take place on Zoom. It costs £5, there are no more than 6 participants and it is probably best suited to those aged 9-14 (but anyone with an interest in music can have a go!)

To book a place or find out more, email me: rocksolidlearningtutoring@gmail.com

Weekly creative lessons online for £5. This week: Art

To help our children with their new learning from home experience and to help add some structure to their week, I am offering small group lessons on Zoom, focusing on humanities and creative subjects. Each Tuesday at 11.30am, I’ll offer a different subject. The session will last around 1 hour and costs £5 per participant. It will cater for a maximum of 6 children. I am trying to organise activities and learning that could be appropriate across various school year groups and require little or basic preparation or resources on your part.

You do not need a Zoom account, just an email address for me to send a link to (so I can invite you in) and a tablet/laptop with a camera. WhatsApp on a phone would also be good for sharing images of our work, if needed.

Tone image

On Tuesday 24th, I’m offering an art session for 9-14 year olds that will focus on the topic of tone and depth in watercolour painting. We will paint a basic landscape scene in watercolour using just one colour. You need watercolour paint, a mixing palette of some description, a pot of water, a paintbrush and some fairly thick paper/card (art paper would be best but not essential).

If you are interested in booking or finding out more, email me at rocksolidlearningtutoring@gmail.com

The value of editing writing

Children don’t often enjoy editing work. I remember when I was young, I would think ‘But I’ve already written it once, it’s done – why should I do it again?’ It seemed pointless. As a student at college and university, and as an adult, you soon recognise the need to edit and you often do it without thinking.

It’s something we need to guide and encourage children with. When they see a great improvement, they start to understand the importance of editing. In February, I worked with a Year 7 girl, looking at the Narnia film where Lucy first steps into the wardrobe. Watching it a few times and then pausing at appropriate moments, we spent some time writing the story as though we were CS Lewis. In fact, I left her to it – to write what came naturally to her. Here is what she put:

As Lucy carefully opened the door, searching for a place to hide, she came across a large room that looked dusty and abandoned. At the bottom of the room, a large mysterious object stood proudly covered in a wizard cloth. As Lucy cautiously approached, rain crashed down outside hitting the windows. She leaned for the cloak. Nerves filled her. As she took a peek, she was mesmerised and pulled the cloak off. It tumbled to the ground like a large parachute. In that corner stood a massive wardrobe covered in patterns. As Lucy turned back, she pulled the handle and heard the click of the latch and the creak of the door and it was open. As she carefully stepped in, she was surrounded by coats. She slowly shut the door. She was smug. As she walked backwards, she felt for the back of the wardrobe, but it seemed to go on forever, until a sharp thorn-like object pricked her finger. As she slowly turned round, she realised another world awaited her – a winter wonderland. Lucy cautiously stepped out of the wardrobe wondering if it was a dream. Everything was covered in snow. As she checked if the wardrobe was still there, she saw a glow. As she got closer to the glow, it turned into a lamppost enveloped in snow, from top to bottom. Lucy was confused. What would a lamppost like this be doing here? She reached out for the lamppost, checking if it’s real.

There were things in this text I was particularly pleased with: similes, dashes, questions the use of sounds and feelings, and some great word choices. During the next session, we talked about four areas for editing: tenses, punctuation, paragraphing and sentence structures – particularly starting sentences in different ways. It did not take a lot of effort to look at each of this in turn and make a few changes. Here was the end result:

Lucy carefully opened the door, searching for a place to hide. She came across a large room that looked dusty and abandoned. At the bottom of the room, a large mysterious object stood proudly covered in a wizard cloth. As Lucy cautiously approached, rain crashed down outside hitting the windows. Nervous but intrigued, she leaned for the cloak. Taking a peek, she was mesmerised and pulled the cloak off. It tumbled to the ground in ripples, like a large parachute. In that corner stood a massive wardrobe covered in patterns.

As Lucy turned back, she pulled the handle and heard the click of the latch and the creak of the door and it was open. When she carefully stepped in, she was surrounded by coats. She slowly shut the door, feeling smug. While walking backwards, she felt for the back of the wardrobe, but it seemed to go on forever, until a sharp thorn-like object pricked her finger. Slowly turning round, she realised another world awaited her – a winter wonderland.

Cautiously, Lucy stepped out of the wardrobe wondering if it was a dream. Everything was covered in snow. As she checked if the wardrobe was still there, she saw a glow. On getting closer to the glow, it turned into a lamppost enveloped in snow from top to bottom. Lucy was confused. What would a lamppost like this be doing here? Uncertain, she reached out for the lamppost, checking if it was real.

Please encourage your children to edit their writing – it makes a difference!

The Distance Learning Scheme for children aged 7 to 16

Rock Solid Learning is pleased to launch a new educational service, meaning a wider range of families can benefit from having a tutor at hand. The Distance Learning Scheme allows students near and far to receive a solid educational experience, without the commitment or expense of having a tutor come to your home. Through this scheme, children work through carefully chosen coursebooks independently at home, in a way that is helpful to them and in constant consultation with the teacher. After sending images of the completed work to the tutor, you can rest assVideoured that it will be checked thoroughly. The real plus, though, is the production of a personalised 10-minute video providing feedback on the work your child has done, with errors explained and hints and tips given. The teacher will monitor your child’s progress, suggesting which pages to complete next and offering further worksheets where consolidation is needed.

WHO IS IT FOR AND WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?

This scheme works best for children who are happy to work on their own, knowing that they will get feedback and support from a teacher after they have tried their best independently. An organised and encouraging family is a great help, providing time and space for the child to engage in their learning.

For KS3 and GCSE learners, maths is available.

For KS2 learners, reading comprehension, grammar, creative writing and maths are offered. It would work best with Year 5 and Year 6 pupils but enthusiastic Year 3 and Year 4 pupils could enjoy this way of practising their skills too.

The benefits of distance learning include:

  • It encourages the child to have more independence in their learning, rather than relying on adults telling them what to do.
  • Children are more motivated to work through revision guides and coursebooks knowing someone is going to look at their work.
  • Children feel they get to know their tutor through the videos and communications.
  • There’s no specific time or date for learning. Fit the distance learning around your lives, with no regular commitment.
  • Videos are tailored to your child’s needs and the specific questions your child has done (unlike general YouTube teaching videos).
  • Children learn the importance of clearly communicating their work so that another person can understand it – an essential skill for exams.
  • It’s significantly cheaper than having a tutor come to your home.

HOW IT WORKS IN SUMMARY:

We’ll have a free ten minute Skype or Facetime call to introduce ourselves and discuss your child’s needs. Based on this we will find an appropriate coursebook that your child can use. (Suggested coursebooks are listed further down). You are welcome to suggest any topics you wish to cover and feel free to raise these at any point.

Your child will work through one or two pages of the coursebook at home themselves, using spare lined/squared paper for any working that cannot fit in the coursebook.

Photograph or scan the pages of the coursebook and any extra working, and share them with me via Google Drive. At the same time, pay £12 to the Rock Solid Learning bank account. 

I will give you a minimum of half an hour of my time to check the work and pull out any examples that I want to raise or work on with your child. I will film a 10 minute video directly responding to your child’s work, discussing errors, methods used and clarity of communication on the page. If there is time, I will show your child a harder example, walk them through an exam question on the same topic, or show them something that would be a ‘next step’ in developing this topic. If your child did exceptionally well in their work and there aren’t many corrections to explain, I will spend some of the video pre-teaching the next page(s) of the coursebook, highlighting any potential problems or quick-tricks that could be used.

I will share the video with you via Google Drive and aim to have this done within 48 hours (Mon-Fri). I will also suggest which pages/how many to cover next.

There is no long-term or regular commitment with this distance learning scheme. Share work with me as often as you like!

SUGGESTED COURSEBOOKS:
These are some of the recommended coursebooks but we are not limited to just these if we can find one that suits your child better.

GCSE Maths:
GCSE Edexcel Mathematics The Workbook Higher Level ISBN: 9781782944072
GCSE Mathematics The Workbook Foundation Level ISBN: 9781782944010
Pearson Mathematics Revision Workbook ISBN: 9781292210889

KS3 Maths:
KS3 Maths The Workbook Higher Level ISBN: 9781841460383

KS2 Maths:
SATS Question Book Advanced Level ISBN: 9781782944201
Year 5 Targeted Question Book ISBN: 9781847622136
Year 4 Targeted Question Book ISBN: 9781847622129

KS2 Grammar:
Year 6 Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling ISBN: 9781782941347
SAT Buster Grammar Book 1 ISBN: 9781847629074

KS2 Reading:
KS2 Comprehension Book 1 ISBN: 9780721711546
KS2 Comprehension Book 2 ISBN: 9780721711553
KS2 Comprehension Book 3 ISBN: 9780721711560
KS2 Comprehension Book 4 ISBN: 9780721711577

KS2 Writing:
We will create individual tasks specifically for your child.

WHAT DO I NEED TO MAKE THIS WORK?

  • A child who is on board with the idea.
  • A copy of the agreed coursebook (and spare paper!)
  • A means of photographing or scanning the child’s work clearly.
  • A Google account in order to access Google Drive so that we can share documents and videos (if you have Gmail, you’re set to go).
  • An email account for correspondence.
  • Online banking in order to pay for each session.

READY TO MAKE IT HAPPEN?

Head to the Rock Solid Learning website and fill in the contact form!

 

Please note: Since Google drive has a 15GB data limit, videos will be removed after 7 days. Please ensure you have watched the video in this time and download it if you wish to keep it for future reference.

 

 

 

Encouraging young story writers

I was working with a pupil last week when he asked me to read through a scary story he was writing for school. He wanted my ideas on a good ending and then showed me a book that he had used to help him with some of his writing.

How to write your best story ever
https://www.christopheredge.co.uk/books/detail/how-to-write-your-best-story-ever

The book is called ‘How to Write Your Best Story Ever’ and it’s by Christopher Edge. I instantly liked it. It’s colourful and engaging and has tips from famous authors and extracts from great books that back up the points and skills the author is trying to promote. There are sections on creating settings and creating characters. Then there are sections on each type of genre. It’s great and I can see KS2 children particularly treasuring the book and being greatly inspired by it. 

 

Check it out and see if your child might want it for Christmas!

 

Rock Solid Readers: Roald Dahl’s ‘Boy’, Goodbye school

What does Dahl mean when he says ‘Nothing is fabulous any more.’

What did the headmaster mean by his response when Dahl returned having got the job?

Find three consecutive short sentences – Dahl likes these!

How do we know from this chapter that Dahl came from a privileged family?

What is the effect of using ‘and’ when listing objects carried around Newfoundland?

Find three adjectives to describe the country. What are their prefixes?

What impression does the word ‘sombre-suited’ give us of businessmen?

What idea does the word ‘swarm’ of businessmen give you?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of being a writer according to Dahl?

How do you think Dahl’s mum was feeling when she heard the news?

Would you be excited to go to a place with a black mamba? Why do you think Dahl was excited?

What was similar and what was different when you compare Dahl’s school life to his life in Africa?