Monday, 31 October 2011

Bonfire Night

A few years ago, when I was freelance and visiting many primary schools, seasonal displays appeared to be in danger of disappearing – the exception being Christmas, of course. In my earlier teaching years (aka the good old days) autumn would see the corridors and classrooms full of leaves, berries and nuts and the orange frieze paper running out. For a while (post Literacy Strategy) these were replaced by displays of neatly written and mounted pieces of 'persuasive' writing, carefully annotated to point out to any interested passer-by, how very well everyone was meeting their educational targets…
In these days of a slightly less centralised curriculum and greater environmental awareness, I’d like to think that celebrating the changing seasons is once again a part of every child’s educational landscape.
The video below was made last year and, as I watched it again today with 5th. November approaching, it seemed to me to have caught somehow a little of the excitement Bonfire Night can bring to a child of any age.  I can take little credit for this: the bonfire at Heveningham Hall in Suffolk was immense the fireworks splendid and Brian Eno’s music just… soars. I’d be delighted if a teacher or two used the video to refresh their classes excitement prior to a Bonfire-inspired  activity.  Please let me know if you do.
So sit your class down in a darkened room with a dataprojector and ask them to imagine: the cold night air on their faces, the smell of wood-smoke and fireworks and the taste of hot dogs. Then turn up the volume and watch this: