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Day 24 - Fire (creative ideas for home schooling)

For anyone new to this blog, the idea is simple - each day my boys (Joshua - 9 and Archie - 8) choose a stimulus that drives the learning. We hope that you enjoy the blog and can take some inspiration from what we love doing - making learning as engaging as possible!

Fire

Fire is such an amazing thing! I find myself drawn to it, fascinated by the shapes and colours, the way it moves and sounds. It also has such extremities of meaning, from the depths of Hell to the wondrous elevation of celebration.


This weekend was Archie's, birthday and we camped out in the garden. The highlight of the evening (in my opinion) was the fire. Toasting marshmallows, burning sticks, telling stories and enjoying its warmth as the night drew in. Today's blog is inspired by these events.

English

  • Poetry & figurative techniques

  • Memories

  • Using the senses


Giving children first-hand experience is essential; it strengthens the imagination and fuels discussion through close observation. In his book, Poetry in the Making, Ted Hughes encourages children to look closely at the world around them. He asks them to try to become the thing they are describing so that the words almost take care of themselves. This got me thinking.


We began with the experience - building, igniting and appreciating fire. Of course, the marshmallows helped! Whilst we stood around the fire, I asked the boys to look closely at it and observe. I wanted them to talk about the colours and shapes they could see, the smells and sounds. This caught their imagination and began to get the cogs moving.

The idea was to then personify the fire by becoming it. I wanted to describe the life of the fire, from birth through to death. By imagining we were the fire, we could start to imagine what it may have felt, tasted, seen and thought.


Here is what we did:


Activity 1: word generation

In order to get the vocabulary flowing, we began with a 2 minute brainstorm. All you need is a great picture or film clip...or fire itself. Encourage the children to write down as many words as they can linked to fire. You don't want them overthinking this, nor stressing over spellings. Just get them to write hard, fast and in silence. Then share all ideas and magpie from one another. All great writers steal each others ideas!


Activity 2: Shared writing

With the word banks in place, I then wanted to model how we could write as if we were the fire. I showed the boys how a simple phrase like 'I remember...' opens up the world of opportunity. Drawing upon all of the vocabulary generated, and using their ideas to drive the poem, I modelled how to write the poem. As the poem developed, we identified some of the key themes that would fuel the writing: birth, memory, emotion and death.


The Life of Fire

I remember being born,

the sharp strike of the match

and I burst into life.


I remember my first taste,

smoked hazel,

I devoured it hungrily.


I remember growing,

fierce flames flickering,

illuminating the darkness.


I remember dancing the Devil's quickstep

as voices chorused around me,

fuelled by my magnificence.


I remember scalding

the sweet, sticky skin of blistered marshmallows,

prodded into my fiery fingers.


I remember the frenzied clawing for life

as the embers grew

and my flames fizzled.


I remember the cold,

suppressing my life

as I faded into nothingness.


© Jamie Thomas 2020



Here are our written and recorded outcomes:

The Life of Fire by Joshua

I remember being born,

a sound of lightning blowing my mind.


I can still hear my snap,

crackle, pop, boom and burp.


I can remember using my tongues

to taste soft marshmallow, making them burn.


I remember being a little fire staying still,

but I got bigger and I waved wickedly

in the distance.


I remember hunger

and then I died.



The Life of Fire by Archie

I remember being born,

the dangerous flames flickering fast.


I remember my first taste,

delicious hazel,

burning quickly in my belly.


I remember growing

fierce, fiery and ferocious fingers.


I remember dancing

to the sound of the bewitched banjo.


I remember the sweet, soft, stickiness

of marshmallows.


I remember feeling proud

as people danced around me.


I remember shivering in the darkness,

forgotten and alone.


Then my memories died.

Maths

  • number bonds

  • doubling and halving

  • multiplication


Today's maths focused on 'quick-fire' recall (excuse the play on words). I am often stumped at how the boys can understand complex methodologies but struggle to halve numbers such as 75. Whilst we have tried to make this a part of everyday practise, this is still an area that needs constant revisiting.

Hit the Button is a game that the boys love. The joy is that it gets them practising all of these key fundamentals in a fun and engaging way.

https://www.topmarks.co.uk/maths-games/hit-the-button


If you are not familiar with this free resource, do have a look - it's great!

We are so thankful to those of you who have inundated us with stimulus requests. We have made a list and will do our best to explore as many as we can. Tomorrow, we shall be using the following stimulus:


Foxes



My thanks to Pie Corbett and Talk for Writing for inspiring many of the ideas explored in this blog.

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