To what are children drawn during a free read session?
“I had a few children who were completely lost to start with and I was sort of stood here watching them and seeing what they were up to and they were like, 'Can we do this? Can we do that? Where do I find this book?' They took a long time to just go and do something independently …
… but then it was really interesting looking at what books they gravitate towards, so with this massive range some of them honed in to, well, I really want to know about the Titanic so off I go, go and find that book, sit and read it.
I was just going to say, something I've noticed, about the seating and where they choose. I did it one week and then repeated it the following week and I noticed that the children were starting to push and shove and queue jumped to get to the front of queue and I think that was because they thought if I'm at the front of queue I can choose where I want to sit, I can get the seat that I want in the library or the best seat in the house or whatever. … It means a lot to them where they sit. It really does.”
Where do children go for support in writing?
“I'd expected that I'd be doing a lot of the pointing towards things and asking. My children are really good because if I say to them will you go and have a look at that, they diligently go and have a look at that so that wasn't too much of a battle which was very nice. I was kind of aware that I was doing it more because I was recording it and I was having this massive thing of is that okay because I've influenced the data, but then I thought, actually, when I do book journey at home I'm recording things because I want to do them so that's okay?”
When the final destination is a poem, how do we get there?
“… we looked at art, autumn art, again, how autumn's represented. We also looked at other children's poetry, if you just put in 'autumn poetry children' lots come up, so we looked at that. And you can get autumnal music so we listened to some autumnal music. So all these whether we physically went somewhere or technologically went somewhere, this all contributed to the final piece which was an autumn poem
Really for something like autumnal poetry to leave the classroom is important. We could have done it by not getting out of our seats but to leave and also to use the resources such as the books but also the internet and listening to music, it all contributed to their senses of what autumn is and I think adding the science to it was also a different slant.”
Where does writing go outside and where do children choose to sit?
“I've just tried to put a coloured dot by them to show where they started and then where they moved to.
Just a rough explanation of the landscape, there's like a wooded area here with some tables and chairs and benches. [...] Then we've got a sort of covered area with tables and chairs as well. The lesson that's on top we did with laptops and it was very cold. The second lesson, it was milder and we were writing in our books instead and so in all honesty I'm not really sure what this was showing me. I think the sense I got from them was they enjoyed it a lot more than being in the classroom. They still produced a decent standard of work and as much work as I would have liked them to produce. … It was just interesting to see how that ability to move a little bit around and sit however they chose and sit perhaps with whoever they wanted to sit with. Shackles of the classroom were kind of taken away a little bit. If anything I guess it just left me mainly with the question that we spend a lot of time making them sit at a desk in a specific way to write and how necessary that is.”