In my active citizenship course, I participated in a project at Earls Hall known as ‘The Gruffalo Project’. This project took place during the summer of 2008 for a period of four weeks at a primary school in the local area known as Earls Hall Primary School. Here, every alternate Friday for about two months, I would go to Earls Hall and make a story with assistance from pupils from the age of 7-8.
We used videos, pictures and voices to create the story based upon the book called ‘The Gruffalo’. As well as participating in this project, I also assisted the Year 4 pupils to read which benefited them greatly. There were about 15 students from Southend High School for Boys that participated in this project and we were split up into groups of three with four Year 4 pupils in each group. The objectives and aims of this project were to assist the Year 4 pupils to continue and enhance their education by using creative and enjoyable teaching methods.
For this project, we needed many resources. In the planning stage we realised that we needed to make a story with videos pictures and voice so we needed a camera for this. After filming our story, we then needed to assemble all that we had done using a program called Photostory. During the planning stage we did encounter some problems; such as that inevitably, as we only had one hour at Earls Hall including the journey times, there was clearly not enough time to complete all the tasks that were required. To solve this problem we needed to work quite quickly and efficiently with the children whilst doing work externally at the same time.
For this project to take place, we needed pupils from both sets of schools. In our group there was three Southend High School for Boys students and two Earls Hall Primary School students. In our group we had to communicate efficiently to make sure that our task was completed. We also made sure that instead of the pupils from SHSB do the work, we decided that the younger pupils would have a say in what to do and make them more involved so they had a better learning experience.
As we decided to let the younger pupils get more involved, there was a good working atmosphere and the children seemed to enjoy this type of teamwork, so this links back to the main purpose of this project. This meant that we worked well as a team and we seemed to work efficiently on the task required. The children that we were working with were very excited and enthusiastic about the project and they had very creative minds- full of ideas which made our job easier.
On the first week we met, we heard and assessed the Year 4 pupils’ reading ability. To do this, we used traditional teaching methods to help the children to read longer words and this helped them, and therefore this helped them in the future to read other challenging words. On the second week, we started getting on with the project by making masks. On the third week, we started to cut out the masks and create the script for the project with assistance from the pupils.
On the final week, we took photos of the scenes that we wanted to include in the project and then assembled the photos as mentioned before on the program Photostory. On this program, we used our voices to make the scenes more realistic and the children seemed to enjoy this. We then showed this presentation to the whole class and the other children seemed to enjoy listening and seeing our photos and speeches.
However, during this we did come across some problems such as when the children had to take the SATS exams and therefore we missed a week spending time with them. But to solve this problem we made masks in this period of time so we used our time wisely. This meant that due to this missing week we did not have enough time to work on the scripts and for that reason we had to complete the scripts at home.
Overall, I think that this event was a success for all parties- the organisers and the audience. This is because our main objective was achieved which was to enhance the pupil’s knowledge whilst using creative and enjoyable teaching methods. The organisers contributed a lot by providing us with the equipment and they thought that the children benefited from this experience. Personally, I enjoyed myself by hearing what they had to say and what their view on the world was like and I found it extremely rewarding to help younger children to enhance their knowledge and in the future, I think that I will think about this experience when developing my own knowledge and this will help me to hopefully become a successful person.