So I’ve never written a blog before, but I’ll try my hardest. This is going to be about, not a specific lesson or school trip, but classroom activities in general. Out of a test and a practical lesson in Science, which one would you remember more: the boring, tedious, slightly scary task of filling out a paper about something you learned, or a fun practical lesson, that literally teaches you about practical uses of Science in general? Probably the latter, yeah? That’s because enjoyable things tend to stick with us more, and that’s why I’m talking about it. The enjoyable lessons in school, where you get up out of chairs, sometimes take your blazer or tie off, put on goggles that make you feel like a real professional, and play around with exploding bubbles?
Ok, so that’s my example. I thought about something in a lesson in school that I found enjoyable, inspiring or easy to learn from, and exploding bubbles pop to mind (pun not intended, I promise). The picture below is from early year 8, if I remember correctly. Early Year 8! That’s ages away, like a year and a half away from where I am. And why did I remember that particular lesson instead of lessons filled with writing and hand aches? Because it was fun. It was easier to remember, so the lesson itself stuck in my mind. Well, it was exciting anyway. I wasn’t standing with the class because I was scared. But the method still works. That lesson, as well as teaching me to never mention flammable bubbles around Miss Gilligan, taught me that it’s possible to inflame bubbles, delicate things of water and soap, if you put enough methane in it. It taught me methane is a greenhouse gas. It taught me it’s flammable, and other stuff like the fact you can hold a pillar of fire with methane and bubbles (NOT BORING AT ALL).
All in all, if you want to learn something that seems boring, think up some fun experiment related to it, and learn the heck out of it. And yes, I have used Science as an example, but it works for all lessons. Can’t be bothered to learn Macbeth in English? Put on a little play for the rest of your year, or your class, or your friends and family. Maths and number trees getting you down? Go find a real tree and stick pieces of numbered paper on it and take photos. Art can’t get boring, and neither can Music. History or Geography? Do a role-play pretending to be historic characters and use their speech patterns and appropriate language (I’d pay to watch Jack the Ripper fight Napoleon) or make a to-scale pop up map with poster paints. To learn something properly, you have to do something memorable that links everything like a giant lasso. If you already found a lesson valuable, then fab! If you don’t, then get to work MAKING it memorable and valuable. Think of a real life situation where it’d be needed, and act it out! Children usually learn if they have fun and experience it, and secondary school students are no different. Even if you’re in year 11, you could still get a newton metre and lift chairs up with it. That’s all from me this time. Bye!
-By Lauren Enderson
I was one of the lucky year 10 students who were given the chance to participate in the “Jack Petchey speak out challenge”. I started off the day feeling very negative about the experience as I’ve never been a very good public speaker. I was scared about forgetting what to say, mixing up my words and making a fool of myself. Throughout the day we were taught about what makes a good speech: delivery and content. We started by doing simple speech exercises in small groups and building up our confidence, then we began to write our speech and at the end of the day we presented to the rest of the group. Choosing a very interesting topic on paper I managed to get through my speech to the group. I felt extremely proud of myself. If you had told me earlier in the day that I would be able to do that I would not have believed you. I feel very privileged that I was given the opportunity to learn so much and I encourage students in the future to complete the day of activities, as it is a great opportunity.
By Desni Shilling
I was selected to participate on a trip to Cambridge University Press to experience a once in a lifetime opportunity to work with pupils from other schools and learn new skills that could be useful later in life. I was accompanied by three other students from Passmores: Laura Jephcott (Year 10), Brook Turnstill (Year 9) and Jack Tucker (Year 9). On arrival we were given tea and treats and then we listened to a presentation given by member's of Unilever Corporation and representatives of Cambridge University Press. We were then divided into groups made up of students from all schools and we were given a task to complete; my task was to design a logo for The Brighter Thinking Forum. The brief given was to create a logo that was a good representation of the ideas for brighter thinking. My group decided to brain storm the concept which gave us a good starting point and from this, we worked together to design the logo and create a PowerPoint presentation which we presented later in the day. We returned to our school groups and were then given another task to think of ways that we could publicise the idea of Brighter Thinking to a wider generation. We believe the best way forward is to encourage schools to attend presentations given by celebrities that would attract students to attend. This experience broadened my knowledge of how businesses operate and what it's like to be in the working environment, as well as making me realise how hard you have to work in a modern business operation. Throughout the day I was stretched to do things that were out of my comfort zone, which increased my self-confidence, improved my speaking skills, built my business mind and demonstrated the importance of team working. Overall the day was a complete success, which I thoroughly enjoyed and I feel as though I have matured in my outlook on business.
By Harry Burton
I think trips are a fantastic way for students to learn. I have been on many trips this year that have helped me with many different skills. Most importantly, Poetry Live, this trip was very beneficial to all students that went on it. It taught us things we would never have been taught before and has prepared us for our future learning in English. I think a lot of people learned a lot from this trip as it was a more interesting and practical way to learn, rather than staying in the classroom. A quote that relates to this is "Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn." We were involved in the trip by asking questions, singing along, laughing and enjoying it. I defiantly learnt a lot from the trip and think more educational trips like this should be put into place.
By Tatum Smith
On Thursday, all of year 11 took part in option x all day for aspire day. My option x is ICT with Mr Benham, and I found this aspire day very useful because I was able to catch up with a lot of missing work and I was able to become up to date with the coursework. My coursework involved creating a database on Microsoft Access and creating various Microsoft Word documents describing and explaining different areas of the database – it was for a school prom.
As the day progressed, we learned about building computers and were even able to analyse computer parts and see how they are put together. The majority of the class joined in with a high level of interest, although I carried on with my coursework. After lunch, we were greeted with pizza as a start to our last lesson. This seemed to help the fellow students concentrate; they seemed to get a lot more done. We each paid £1 towards the pizza and by the end of the lesson, everyone had completed their work. Overall, this aspire day was very enjoyable for me as everyone got on with what they needed to do and the lessons were quick and useful.
By Hannah Wills
I'm my English class, we are given the chance to, after we have completed a certain topic, present a lesson to the class in pairs or small groups about a certain part of the topic. Our most recent topic we used was on the book Heroes. These presentations really helped me as for one, I get the experience of teacher which the profession I want to go into and it helps me understand a lot more and I am able to take more notes to assist me when I come to revising for my English exams. These sort of lessons I find really valuable as they give me much more confidence which I can apply to more subjects so I am able to speak out to a class and contribute my ideas.
When the Japanese students came to Passmores in March 2014, I was paired with a 17 year-old girl named Ryoko. While she was visiting the school we did many activities together such as cooking where she taught us to cook two traditional Japanese dishes and we taught them how to make scones. Not only this but made presentations to the whole group about England and our traditions and they made a presentation about Japan and their school. I found this a really valuable learning experience as it opened my eyes to other cultures around the world.
By Kira Nurse
My most valuable learning experience would be having the Japanese students for a wonderful two weeks. Throughout the two weeks, I was able to learn about their culture and way of life. This helped me broaden my horizon of learning and trying new things as we were lucky enough to enjoy their cuisine which was such a amazing opportunity to be presented with. I wouldn't exchange those precious weeks for anything as that was a once in a lifetime experience that has changed my view on the outer community and world. I hope that some day we can exchange this experience with them or another culture to help our learning to be more valuable and educational for our future. I learnt that their way of life is so unique and special to their culture and how everything is so different everywhere you go. The town we live in is nothing compared to the great world around us and everything we do has an impact on us and they way others live but when you meet someone who doesn't know the effects of your life, they can show you how to appreciate everything you're presented with. I'd like to conclude by commenting that everyone should take on every opportunity they're offered because if we miss these tiny experiences, we can't better out education or the life we live.
By Robyn Shilling
On Thursday 11th December 2014 the GCSE Art, Graphics and Photography students all visited the Tate Modern. I found the trip enjoyable and I especially loved seeing the Turner Prize Exhibit, the exhibit was full of depth-filled artwork that left me feeling like I never wanted to leave. I loved seeing the sculptures and deciphering their meanings; I found the whole experience thought-provoking and enlightening while also being awe-struck by the sheer weirdness of some of the exhibits. My group and I journeyed through the labyrinth of halls that held amazing artwork while completing our tasks; Art and Graphics had to sketch a piece of work they liked and perform an analysis of it while I got to photograph and enjoy the exhibits. I also got to hear a lecture from an Art scholar; I loved every word, it was so interesting.
This year I was offered to go on the Cambridge University trip to visit the University campus, architecture museum and have a lecture about options available to us if in the near future we wanted to apply to Cambridge University. I found this trip very valuable as it allowed me to see the tough competition of students wanting to study at Cambridge as undergraduate students. This inspired me to try and get the best possible grades so I can later on apply to Cambridge University. The lecture also informed us on what grades we would need to be given a conditional offer depending on what subjects or career path you want to take. I know aspire to get them grades in my chosen subjects. I found it an enjoyable trip because it showed me the different paths I can take to reach my chosen career and what I would need to do to get there, in the process inspiring me to try harder in what I want to do.