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!
All About Me
It is really important that we help children connect with their own lives, now more than ever. Whilst I love to open up the world of creativity and explore language and symbolism, I also love writing from the heart.
Today's blog is about turning the camera lens on yourself and thinking about where you came from. It is a celebration of the things that you remember from your childhood and that were instrumental in making shaping the person you are today.
Writing about our lives
I cannot explain why, but this was a really challenging task. There is something hard to describe when looking at your own life - something pure and truthful. The words are sometimes hard to find as the experiences are so real and important to us.
The activity encourages you to take a look back into your childhood. For the boys, this meant analysing the lives they are living; for me, it took me back to the fond memories I hold dear to me. I imagine that, for some, this may open up challenging memories, those of loss or of hurt. We must not be afraid to write about these as they are part of who we are.
To get started, I read the boys my own poem:
All About Me
I came from the smell of applewood,
burning and crackling on the open fire.
I came from the taste of buttery crumpets,
the sweet warmth that hugged me from within.
I came from the reassuring touch of my father's cracked hands,
weathered from his many hours of gardening.
I came from the sound of musical theatre blaring through the house,
my mother dancing with the dogs.
I can still see the kitchen - the heart of the home,
filled with love, warmth and family.
© Jamie Thomas 2020
I explained to the boys how I focused in on the senses to bring this to life. I made a list of the smells, the tastes, the feelings, the sounds and the sights that I associate with my childhood. It helped me to picture iconic images from my past - almost like revisiting the photo albums of my mind. With these images in focus, the words seemed to come more easily.
With the boys, we created some banks of initial ideas - what they come up with made me chuckle...mostly about food - how typical! We then began to try to piece it together. But it all went wrong. The boys struggled to find the words. I have reflected on this all day and wonder if it was the lack of exposure to this sort of truthful writing that was the barrier, or the fact that they couldn't really focus in on what mattered to them whilst there were distractions around them. Having taken a break from the writing, we returned later on and used photo collages to support their ideas.
Upon reflection, I think that this has highlighted the importance of helping children engage in the world around them and in their own lives. We will definitely be exploring this style of writing again.
All About Me - by Joshua
I came from a whirlpool of melting chocolate,
swirling up like a mountain.
I came from the taste of glorious refrigerator cake,
squeezed full of juicy cherries.
I came from the touch of my mum's warm cuddles,
full of love and happiness.
I came from the sound of birds tweeting
from the trees all around my garden.
I can still see happiness
spread across cute smiles.
All About Me - by Archie
I came from the smell of rich ratatouille,
bubbling on the cooker.
I came from the taste of rocky refrigerator cake,
exploding with a mountain of marshmallows.
I came from the softness of mummy's hands,
stroking my skin.
I came from the sound of George Ezra,
shot-gunning through the house.
I can see a life full of cozy cuddles,
warm and snuggly.
If you are enjoying this blog, please do share it and spread the word. Thank you to all of you who have got in touch and shared some of the outcomes from what you have tried - we love to hear from you.
Do tune in tomorrow where we exploring:
My thanks to Pie Corbett, Julia Strong and the Talk for Writing team for inspiring many of the ideas explored in this blog.
This blog is copyright. All materials herein, texts and supporting resources are copyright to Jamie Thomas & Talk for Writing. They may be used to support children/staff/parents in home-learning ONLY and not for commercial gain or for training or sharing widely, in their original form or any variations. They must also not be shared online or on any social media platforms without prior permission.