Your school are going to travel around the world in 80 hours (or a little over !).
They’ll learn about the countries flags, culture, customs, human and physical features, the weather, capital cities, famous landmarks, traditional costumes, food and a myriad of other amazing facts.
There are many ways of running this fabulous off-timetable event. Here is just one version. You could easily adapt this to suit your particular circumstances.
Your pupils are going to travel to the five continents of the world. Each pupil is invited to visit one country each day. They must visit all 5 continents to complete their journey !
Organisation – An Illustration
Assume 300 children and 20 staff / helpers.
We run the activity for 5 days, and each day, there will be a choice of 20 activities, (4 activities per ‘continent’)
So we need
4 European activities (from 4 different countries)
4 African Activities (from 4 different countries)
4 Asian Activities (from 4 different countries)
4 Australian / Oceania activities (from 4 different countries)
4 Antarctic Activities (could include the Arctic as well)
Each teacher / activity leader will lead the same activity each day, (this simplifies planning, and allows time for better planning and provision). Obviously each day you will be teaching a different set of children.
Send a letter home, explaining the vision for your event. Ask for ideas and for contributions. (Wouldn’t it be perfect if you could find a willing parent who originates from one of your countries or who has close ties with it – especially if they can speak some of the language.
Parents are often very willing helpers and want to show-off their hidden talents. They will often offer to run activities. Help them develop ideas, and offer (perhaps) to keep group sizes low, and restrict courses to appropriate pupils. easyPLAN can be of tremendous help here.
As preparation for the event:
- Study a globe or map of the world. Identify the continents.
- Ideally, have a list of the available activities ready for the children to study. Can they find their chosen continents/countries ? Can they plot their route across the world (maybe draw this onto a prepared worksheet)
- What language is spoke in their chosen country ? How will they say “Hello” ? What sort of food will they eat ? What sort of clothes should they wear ? Is there any landmark that they would love to see ? What is the capital of their country ? etc etc etc.
- Have a closer look at the purpose and function of passports and borders. A super idea is to make a passport which will be stamped in each country.
- Can they calculate the length of their journey.
Obviously if you are using easyPLAN, the children can be choosing their courses at this time too !
We don’t want to be too prescriptive here as it is the individual ideas of your colleagues that is most important.
For each country, you need a choice of 4 activities. It might be helpful to think of ‘themes’ for each country to help develop the activities,
- History (American founding fathers, the french revolution, the ancient egyptians)
- Famous people from that country (Artists, composers, inventors, writers)
- Landmarks & Physical features
- Sporting heroes
. . . . and then identify your chosen countries on each continent. So, just to get the ball rolling . . .
(Most obvious countries first)
France (Prepare a french family meal, paint like a renaissance artist, horrible history – The French Revolution, Learn about famous french people – Napoleon, Marie Curie, Monet etc
Italy (rich in culture, famous people, landmarks, food)
(Potentially more interesting / challenging countries)
(More obvious countries first)
. . . . and so forth. For ‘Antartica’ we tend to stretch the definition a little to include all polar regions / cold countries ! (So we include Alaska, Iceland, Antarctica, Newfoundland etc). You can cover:
- Polar Research / Climate Change
- Polar explorers (could include survival ideas)
- Indigenous people
- Russia and Siberia (settlements, industries, culture)
- Alaska (settlements, industries, culture)
Check out our help pages for advice on how to make your off-timetable event the highlight of your school year.
How to set-up and run the perfect off-timetable event
I could hardly believe my ears !!!!
Brilliant, bonkers, or maybe inspiration for a fantastic story writing event.
Author Nick Hornby has established a “Ministry of Stories” to inspire the next generation of writers and playwrights.
At the front is a fanciful mock-up of a Dickensian shop, stocking Harry Potter-inspired products such as rolls of “fang floss” and jars of “human snot”.
But in the back there is a classroom space where children will be taught the fundamentals of story telling.
You simply MUST see the BBC video of this click here
More details below:
The Ministry of Stories was founded by Nick Hornby and co-directors Lucy Macnab and Ben Payne. Hidden away at the back of The Monster Shop (where else would you expect it?), the Ministry of Stories provides a free space for fresh writing by young people. Here in Hoxton we provide workshops and one-to-one mentoring. The services are provided by volunteers: local writers, artists and teachers, all giving their time and talent for free.
The MoS is inspired by young people, and aims to inspire them to transform their lives through writing. We work closely with schools, supporting the work of teachers, but our great benefit is that we provide one-to-one mentoring for young people to enjoy imaginative stories, improve language skills, increase abilities in communication, add to social and educational confidence.
So – this has set me thinking. What could be done as a whole school event to emulate and expand on this concept ?
- Decorate/dress/re-work the school entrance for the event.
- Invite local writers to participate.
- Develop theme based story writing activities
- Stage activities in themed rooms
- Could some pupils/teachers illustrate selected stories ready for publication.
- Publish stories on a dedicated part of the school web site (or maybe a dedicated web site for the event)
- Hold an end of week exhibition with public readings.
- Could some pupils transform stories into scripts for performance (or recording or video)
I’ll develop this further over the coming weeks – so please do check back, and as always, we welcome your own ideas / shared experiences.
Every year on 21st March UNESCO celebrate their World Poetry Day.
According to UNESCO, the main objective of World Poetry Day is to “support linguistic diversity through poetic expression and to offer endangered languages the opportunity to be heard within their communities”.
From their site:
Moreover, this Day is meant to support poetry, return to the oral tradition of poetry recitals, promote teaching poetry, restore a dialogue between poetry and the other arts such as theatre, dance, music, painting and so on, support small publishers and create an attractive image of poetry in the media so that the art of poetry will no longer be considered an outdated form of art but one.
UNESCO encourages the Member States to take an active part in celebrating the World Poetry Day, at both local and national level, with the active participation of National Commissions, NGOs and the public and private institutions concerned (schools, municipalities, poetic communities, museums, cultural associations, publishing houses, local authorities, etc.).
Choose a poem (or 2 or 3 or more). Each group is a TV production team. Their job is to present the poem on TV. What images will they use to accompany the poem? They could be still photographs, film, fine art, cartoon… . Rough out a storyboard showing how the images work together. Choose suitable music. Then complete the storyboard, or go on to produce the video and show it to the rest of the schoo, and parents.
Many sustainable development issues are addressed in stories. This can be a good way into thinking about quite difficult concepts such as global warming.
“It’s not fair” readily trips off many children’s tongues. This area is very much linked to ‘rights’ and is well served by reading material, photos etc.
Children can begin to empathise through stories that we are all interdependent. Through books they can explore commodities, historical connections and present day interdependence through food, tourism, music etc.
- Bring a storyteller or performance poet into school, if possible someone from another culture. Your local Development Education Centre may have lists of people to invite (see contact list at the end of this booklet.)
- Encourage the children to tell stories orally.
- Use freeze frame or hot seating or Post-it notes to put them in a story.
- Create and use story sacks.
- Arrange for a puppeteer to come into the school.
- Let children work in groups to create puppets to retell stories (e.g. Anansi tales).
- Use a world map to track where books have come from, or their settings.
- Borrow or buy some dual-language books (see below) and learn to greet each other in different languages.
- Each class could focus on a book or books from a certain area and research that place.
- The focus of the week could be narrowed to, for example, books about and from Africa, books about ‘Moving’ (refugees), ‘Food’ or ‘Sustainable Development’.
- Curriculum areas other than literacy could be brought in, eg geography, music, art, maths, citizenship, science.
So how about a concrete/shape poem one day and a narrative the next. With a whole day the children can really explore a stimulus to the full.
The courses could be a mix of warm-up games and free-writing, ending in a finished piece. (A real sense of achievement at the end of the day for the children).
So the result is a longer narrative with different authors. A truly original ‘shared piece of writing’.
The end results could be published and shared as whole school.
A great opportunity for children to read others work with an editors eye and build on another’s creative flair – not an idea for the faint hearted but could really excite the reluctant writer!
Also – this is a great opportunity to invite an author at the start of the week to ‘launch’ the event – or as an exciting finale to round the week off !
Also – how about a public recital to the parents and various members of the community?
You could add a whole new dimension to National Book Week with children choosing courses based on authors or book titles. Or you could have a theme such as fairytales (often used in KS1). National Book Week
This year we used ‘The Umbrellas’ – but you could use any picture
A Thousand Words Use the picture to enlarge student vocabulary and increase fluency. Discuss the painting saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Project the image. Challenge your pupils to write down as many nouns, verbs and adjectives they see in the picture. How close to a thousand words did you come? Pass the picture on to other classrooms and see if our school can approach one thousand words together.
Fictional Writing (Ubrellas or your own picture)
- Write a postcard, either from one of the characters in the painting, or perhaps from the painter describing the painting process. These could be returned. Extend this idea to letter writing.
- Diary entries. Perhaps the child holding the hoop. Why is she there ? What are they watching. Is she smiling etc.
- Internal monologues of real or imagined characters
- Play scripts
- Story / Narratives – You are restoring the painting and scrape off some paint and discover . . . . . .
- Ghost story based on the child
- Jump into the picture . . . what happens next ?
- Painters story
- List poem – with modern equivalent
- Concrete – shape of a picture narrative
Non Fiction Writing
- Newspaper report about the commission
- Explanation about why this painting is important
- Comparison between this and another painting.
- Persuade the museum to purchase the painting
- Report about how the painting is being used at your school
- Advertise the picture for sale
We hope these topics based on our picture choice has inspired you. So why not go ahead and choose your own picture . . . maybe something more relevant to your area or school ?
- How many different languages are spoken in your class ?
- How many different languages are spoken in your school ?
- Which countries use these languages ?
- Can we make contact with other schools in these countries ?
- Can your teachers provide basic tuition in another language ?
- How old are the languages that we have identified ?
- How does language evolve ?
- Should we safeguard endangered languages ?
- Can we use technology to understand and translate other languages ?
- Who are UNESCO
- What is the United Nations ?
About International Mother Language Day
International Mother Language Day was proclaimed by UNESCO’s General Conference in November 1999. The International Day has been observed every year since February 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism
More information on UNESCO
Extract From UNESCO Site
Languages, with their complex implications for identity, communication, social integration, education and development, are of strategic importance for people and the planet.
There is growing awareness that languages play a vital role in development, in ensuring cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue, but also in attaining quality education for all and strengthening cooperation, in building inclusive knowledge societies and preserving cultural heritage, and in mobilizing political will for applying the benefits of science and technology to sustainable development.
As language issues are central to all fields in UNESCO’s mandate, the Organization promotes an interdisciplinary approach to multilingualism and linguistic diversity involving all programme sectors: education, culture, science, communication and information and social and human sciences.