Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Final session - the preview

Tuesday 28th August

Today was the final 'full' session where students and children from room 17 worked together.
We arrived at the class during break time to find a group of children barring the doors!
We were asked to wait until called for.

In order to clarify the role we were being asked to take, I asked one of the children what we were expected to 'be' today. She said "you are critics" and explained that this was the preview of the real opening, which would happen this afternoon for the parents. This shift of roles was interesting, and it seemed children had no problem seeing us as outsiders, even though we had been members of the museum up to this time (and the student teachers and I had even taken on roles as toys in past sessions)

Whilst waiting we spotted the museum signage [MHT] and posters around the school advertising the grand opening...

Children had name tags with specific roles for the opening. Some were 'front guards', others were guides and receptionists, others were posted at the computers and the 'comments' box. Over the hour or so we were in the room students seemed very absorbed in these roles and guided visitors through with great politeness.

We were shown into the museum and offered a map. The displays were set out in quite a bit of detail. Labels for the toys had been written out carefully. Some toys were displayed as pictures, others as actual toys. Some toys were also accompanied by an observational drawing based on the toy.  There were lots of notices to explain what was on show. Most noticeable to me was the way that children were talking about the exhibition, drawing on what we had done over the last few weeks. One child (T) spent quite a bit of time explaining to me how David's Teddy was now partially restored: "the neck is a bit stronger but they didn't get round to sewing up the rip. We are quite happy with the job they did" (all of this was imaginary - the 'actual' bear was just as he had always been). I also heard another student (N) explaining about the persuasive writing samples, "we needed to work out what was the best thing to do - we all had different opinions." Apparently someone was also heard to say "we got some ideas from Aristotle about how to make our stories better"... Nice!

The children had used modern technology to set up a QR code link from each exhibit to the class website where each toy's story was told on video by its author. Sadly there was a technical hitch which meant that the Ipads were not scanning the QR codes correctly (an unplanned productive tension!?) However, we were able to view the videos on the class computers.

There is a link to these stories here room 17 website

As I listened on the headphones, I noticed children had included a number of features from last week's session in their stories. Another thing I noticed was how some of the more complex vocabulary we have been using in class was incorporated. For example one story included a toy which was taken in for 'full restoration' - just like David's teddy! 

There was a 'play corner' with toys available that visitors could play with (I liked this idea). There was also a slide show telling the whole story of the toy museum and all the adventures we had together. Finally, at the end of it all there was a 'comments' box for us to give our feedback.

We were not the only visitors. At least two classes of junior children came through with their teachers and were guided through by their peers.

The student teacher who took a role as David (the client) caused quite a buzz when he reappeared at the door with the signal costume item (the beanie) on his head. I heard children spread the word "David's here..." and get quite excited about showing him around (even those who had already shown the student teacher their exhibit!). I appreciated how the student teacher took the time to ensure everyone got a visit and a word of appreciation.

After Davd's tour, our little group retired, leaving the toy museum still busy showing people around. It felt very much like "their event" and we look forward to hearing how the rest of the day went, and particularly the responses from parents.

Student teachers, I'm sure you noticed other details I have not recorded here. Please add comments and fill in some of the blanks.... (-:

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