In 2014, the MakeBelieve Arts team ran a touring show of Journey to the Centre of the Brain, our theatrical exploration of the human mind, how it works and why it makes us feel the way we do. This year, we’ve run another two tours, visiting schools all around the country from children in Year 2 all the way up to Year 7. Supported by the Wellcome Trust, we wanted the show to give young children an understanding of how their brains function in a thought-provoking and engaging way, making the science behind emotions and cognitive processes accessible to everyone; even the teachers found that they learned a lot from the performance!
Having moved our main hub to Corsham in Wiltshire we were keen to lay down local roots and to tour rural areas. This we managed to do, visiting schools who have not had quality educational theatre before. The tour took us to Wiltshire, Somerset, North Devon, Dorset and thanks to the films being seen on the website, the island of Guernsey.
Journey to the Centre of the Brain features nine-year old Zac, on the night before a big test. Having not prepared himself with revision, he gets anxious, wishing that he could fly away and not have to worry. During the night, he finds himself transported into his own brain, where he meets with the various sections: Neo Cortex, Hippocampus and Cerebellum, who teach him about how they work and communicate to process ideas and feelings.
Responses from pupils have been wonderful, and the show has clearly helped them to learn in an exciting way, which inspires them to share this knowledge with others. One Year 5 pupil was proud to report that they had taught their mum something about the brain: “she didn’t know about the Neo Cortex”. It’s here that the show is most effective: teaching young pupils about rather complex scientific ideas in a way that they can understand, as well as how it affects them.
“They realise the strength their brain holds… [the show explains] how this relates to their learning”, said teachers watching the show earlier this year. They also saw the value in the show for themselves, finding an understanding of how different teaching techniques are important in reaching all learners.
Alongside the show, we released a number of accompanying films that discuss various parts of the brain in detail, using catchy songs, humour, acting and animation to engage young viewers with the content. Pupils found that the short films inspired a number of imaginative discussions, such as: “what’s the most important part of the brain?”; “what would happen if you didn’t have a memory?”; and “if you had little people inside your brain, what would be inside their heads?”.
Day Out in a Balloon was the most popular video, as after seeing all the films explaining how the various parts of the brain work, this final episode shows exactly how the
Amygdala, Temporal Lobe, Neo Cortex and Hippocampus work together to handle situations. By examining events and concerns that affect young people, the films help to relate emotions and ideas to real-life issues they may have dealt with before, helping to explain exactly why they feel the way they do.
We’ve been thrilled with the response to the show and we hope that everyone has learned something about themselves and others through it!
Please see the evaluation and films at www.worldinsideme.co.uk
This week we focused on the importance of saying ‘yes’. Without saying ‘yes’ to each other, we would not have been able to successfully break free from the corner of the room to the door without stepping on the floor. Just look at that teamwork!
We also learned that a story about finding a fiver in your car could lead to a robot revolution.
And we decided that sometimes saying ‘yes, but’ can be just as useful as saying ‘yes, and’, because it helps ideas to build and become as powerful as they can be. But if you were only ever to say ‘no’, you wouldn’t ever get anywhere. And considering that our pupils wanted to go live in the worlds of Futurama, Harry Potter, Gotham City, and the world of the spirits, it’s a good thing they learned when to say ‘no’ and when to say ‘yes’.
Our brilliant year sevens turned their thoughts to everyday conflicts this week. The group demonstrated their impressive use of the cockney accent as we growled ‘oi’, ‘get out of my pub’ and ‘leave it’ in a hilarious game of Eastenders before we turned our attention to resolving conflict in a more reflective way. We improvised a range of school based conflicts, including friends arguing about not keeping each other’s secrets and picking on the ‘new kid’.
Then, as a group we discussed what each person needed and worked together to find a peaceful resolution to the problem that saw both parties getting what they wanted.
It was a real pleasure to see the group really thinking about what somebody else might need, and how this might be interpreted incorrectly in the heat of the moment! It would, perhaps, lead to a less exciting episode of Eastenders though…
Our brave Yr 7s from John Roan demonstrated their excellent listening and supportive skills when we discussed what we need from each other in order for us to be able to work at our best.
There were some very articulate and clear reasons given for why we need the things we need. And between them, the pupils agreed that respecting someone means treating them the way you would like to be treated yourself; that it is perfectly possible to respect someone you don’t like; that you need honesty in order to be able to build trust; and that you can’t really achieve what you want to achieve unless you are helping everyone else in the group to work at their best, which is why you need kindness, friendship, affirmation, positivity and co-operation, at the very least.
(above picture: the washing line of needs)
The answers came thick and fast from the Yr 7 pupils we’ve been working with at John Roan on Friday morning:
“I’m really proud of working together with people I don’t know very well yet”
“I made friends with people I had never met before today”
“I won the game!”
“We worked together to make statues of a rollercoaster and a cable car”
“I had lots of fun”
(above picture: a cable car as imagined by the students)
Apart from working together to make rollercoasters, cable cars, statues of Egyptians and Rocky Balboa, the pupils also decided that the Olympics would have been even better if their suggestions for Olympic sports had been taken up. Among the sports the pupils would like to win gold medals in are: sleeping the longest, staying awake the longest and eating the most chocolate. We can only hope the International Olympic Committee is paying attention.
A transition triumph took place at The John Roan Secondary School this Tuesday.
Over 60 Year 6 pupils from 8 primary schools based in the Olympic Borough of Greenwich came together to meeting and greeting the people that will be moving into, and through, secondary school with.
Working with a drama practitioner, film maker, poet and flashmob director, the pupils produced their ideas and inspirations in answer to this question:
IF THE OLYMPICS ARE COMING AND THE EYES OF THE WORLD ARE ON LONDON THEN WHAT DO WE WANT TO SAY?
We created our messages to the world. First up, lines of lyrical loveliness from Paul Lyalls and his poetic companions:
The Real Monopoly
Walking through Monopoly Town
A parade of umbrellas going round
The smell of fuel engulfs us
Shops full of fashion making people feel dizzy
Weather changing all the time
It’s so, so busy.
Cars buses and trains rushing
White vans on a mission
Faster trains on the underground, people pushing
London Bridge is falling Down
Huge landmarks scatter
Time always matters.
Immense skyscrapers tall as they can be
Dancers with ebony eyes
Sometimes the bright golden sun comes to visit
The smell of vinegar on chips
Buses full of perfume
Hello on everyone lips.
Ice cream vans roaming down the street
Alarms running through ears
The night filled with yellow light
Red signs catch your eye
Advertisements go by.
Neon colours everywhere
Big red balloons in the air
Slowly spinning Big Ben
The time is near
The time is clear
As we count down to our Olympic year
People walking talking about it all the time
This is our chance to shine.
Azariel, Armand, Gracie, Lulu, Leila, Ashley, Libby,
Tiegan, Jack, Harry, Nicholas, Lucas, Irida, Hannah,
Jump Ahead July 2012
How to achieve at secondary school…
We are looking forward to NEW SUBJECTS, new things and stuff we haven’t tried yet. We’re a bit worried we might get it all wrong and might be the only ones who get it wrong. So we thought we could do revision, got to classes outside of school and after school clubs. And it’s ok to make mistakes, no one is perfect!
To help you remember DIFFERENT TEACHERS names, write them down in your planner.
When you’re making NEW FRIENDS, if someone is alone be the one to try and talk to them because they might be scared.
We hope you follow these rules, and don’t always be afraid. Be yourself and don’t try and be something you’re not. Try and find courage in yourself. Be confident in what you are doing. Don’t worry about what other people think of you. Don’t let people get to you when they call you names. Get friends who you can trust.
Live up to your full, get set go…
We think the Olympics is going to be a SPORTY, EXCITING, OLYMPIAD, with lots of TOURISTS and MAYHEM!
We tuned into OLYMPIAN TV to investigate how athletes inspire young people to carry on. Kicking Chika is awesome, I’m inspired that he trained so hard and is now 29th best in the world.
And Karnam Malleswari, an Indian weightlifter, started at 12 so she had lots of motivation. She’s really amazing!
What inspired us about Usain Bolt is that he broke 2 Olympic records in 2 years!
Then over to SURVIVING STARS where Alana Nichols proved everyone wrong who said you can’t do it because you’re in a wheelchair!
RUN, JUMP AND THROW with Jessica Ennis. She was told she had an injury – OH NO!!! But she carried on and succeeded – WOW!!!
Our TRANSITION TRIATHOLON advice:
If you’re worred about MAKING NEW FRIENDS remember that there will be other kids going on their own. You’ve got new friends to make so you’ve got more friends to invite to your party and a bigger group of friends.
It will be fun to learn NEW THINGS that you don’t do at primary school – geography, history and building stuff in technology.
Remember to RELAX over the summer holidays so you are REFRESHED in September. You can go on websites that let you practice what you’ve been learning at school.
Adios, and peace out! 🙂
All of our INSPIRING ATHLETES have gone from low to high. Even when they’ve been injured they have been DETERMINED to get back on top and become an Olympian. Alana Nichols didn’t let getting paralysed get in her way.
We hope they all do well in London 2012. You have to admit the Olympics are difficult and you are competing against the worlds best.
As for secondary school. Try and get geared up and get in pole position!
Make sure you’re ready and you have your books, your oyster card, your tie!
We have to go to totally different classrooms for all of the subjects which is a bit scary, but we’re excited about the NEW SUBJECTS at secondary school: sport (athletics & rugby), physics, languages (Mandarin & Spanish). Learning new languages is good because if you go away you can talk to people and ask for things.
Give NEW TEACHERS a good impression and don’t judge a teacher before meeting them.
Try and get to your school in advance: what stop to get on the bus, what stop to get off, how far to walk.
Bye bye and good luck!
If you’re scared of going up to people to make friends, if you think about it they’re probably just as scared to come up to you. So instead of doing nothing just go up to them.
In primary school there is skipping ropes and hula hoops and in secondary school there might not be, but you can find other things to do: football, rugby, chatting to your friends.
FINDING YOUR WAY AROUND:
There might be loads of older children crowding round but remember there will be other Year 7s in the same boat so stay together.
There might be lots of teachers who are really nice one day and then really strict the next. You have to perservere, or try a time when they’re not so busy.
We’re excited about the new subjects and going into things like science in more detail.
There might be loads of pages and this might be frustrating and confusing. But just like we said to the St Joes Dons, you can ask your parents and teachers for help.
3 OLYMPIC ATHLETES TO GIVE US INSPIRATION:
Karnam Malleswari inspired women to go into the Olympics because she was the first woman from India to get a medal.
Chika Chukwumerije never gave up and it is inspiring to find this out.
Usain Bolt had a trainer who believed in him which helped.
If you don’t have friends you’ll get lonely and if you get lonely you’ll get scared and if you’re scared you’re less likely to get any friends at all so it’s just better to go in and make as much as possible.
Don’t worry about getting lost – just explore!
Your planner will have a map and timetable but don’t lose it because you might have to pay for a new one!
The Olympics are coming, and so is Year 6 transition!
We started by looking at different athletes and seeing what we can learn from their stories.
What inspired us about Jesicca Enniston was how she started off as an athlete – entering a competition and winning a pair of trainers. We were inspired by her journey through life. And even though Alana Nichols was paralysed from the waist down she still lived out her dreams.
Usain Bolt’s advice is “listen to the people who teach you”, he didn’t want to do the 100 metres but his coach told him to carry on.
When we were training for transition we thought about lots of different things.
Here’s are our thoughts:
“People say be who you are and I get that but some people expect you to be different and it can be difficult to live up to that”.
“When you go to the interview at secondary school you’ll see who’s in your class so if they have the same subjects as you at the same time just follow them and you won’t be the only one getting lost”.
“Between lessons you’ll have a break and during the break you need to have fun and without friends it wouldn’t be fun and you need friends to help you”.
“When you go to your school for a taster day you can meet the people who will be going to your secondary school and you can make friends with them that same day”.
“If you want to make a friend don’t be shy and just go up to someone. If they dont like you for who you are then just leave them and go to another person”.
“If you get a new friend you can meet their friends”.
“Alot of people find homework difficult at secondary school. However when you’re at home when you’re not doing something majorily important you can sit down and do your homework instead of wasting time”.
“If you’ve got new subjects, ask your friends about them, you can look in books and on the internet to help yourself prepare and you will learn from your new teachers”.
“Its going to feel quite weird having different teachers for each subject but you’re form tutor will get to know you and support you”.
SCHOOL UNIFORM AND EQUIPMENT:
“If you only have one school uniform and get it dirty it will take a while to clean it so be careful with it and keep it clean”.
“If you buy something really expensive and lose it you’ll be really upset so just buy cheap pens and things”.
We found out about some athletes and used them as inspiration for our training for transition.
Jessica Ennis had a foot injury and thought she would never run again but after a year she recovered – never give up on your dreams!
Alana Nichols had an accident and even though she was unable to live her dream she continued and what inspired us is that she conquered everything and she done it.
Chika Chukwumerije came from a rich background and some people from a rich background won’t do anything but we think he’s done pretty good for himself.
Karnam Malleswari. We find her inspirational because she was the first Indian woman to get a medal and she was lifting weights since she was 12.
Ussain Bolt trains all day, every day and every week. What we found inspirational is that he was playing football and cricket and then he found out he was a fast runner and became the fastest in the whole school.
Our transition training was for these 3 events:
GETTING LOST: If you’re worried about finding your way around school because it’s so big ask someone where this place is.
HOMEWORK: If you think you’re not going to get enough time to do the stuff you usually get to do remember that at some point you can have a bit of fun and then study and then have fun. Have a schedule. Also, go over to your friends houses and help each other study and stuff like that.
MAKING FRIENDS: If nobody from your school is going to your secondary school and you think you might make friends with the wrong person smile and say hello.
Thank you for listening to our advice, hope it helps!
From our inspirational athletes we learnt that…
Hope and inspiration are more important than anything as even against injury these athletes kept on going and even when one had a serious injury she didn’t give up.
We came up with our own ideas of how we can keep going and not give up:
We thought about how you can help yourself with getting to know different teachers – classes with different teachers will be different so you need to listen to them.
And if there’s lots of hard homework – why don’t you try homework club so you can help each other and work together?!
We found out about 5 different athletes and thought about what was inspirational about each of their stories:
Alana Nichols: American Wheelchair Basketball Player
She had a snowboarding accident and carried on with her hopes and dreams and won a gold medal in Beijing.
Karnam Malleswari: Indian Weight Lifter
Was born in a small Indian village and began weightlifting at just 12 years old. She was the first ever Indian woman to win a medal.
Usain Bolt: Jamaican Sprinter
Because he didn’t believe in himself but his coach took time and gave him good advice to help him. He didn’t start being a runner he played football and cricket on the streets with his brothers.
Jessica Ennis: British Heptathlon and Pentathlon Athlete
In 2008 she had a really bad foot interview that she told her doctor about. She was scared she would have to stop being an athlete but what’s inspirational about her is that she just kept on going.
Chika Chukwumerije: Tae Kwondo Athlete
His father was a politician and paid for his lessons. You may think that he had everything handed to him on a plate but embraced the opportunity he had where many people would have thrown it away.
We used these inspirational athletes to help us think about how to train for our transition and HALSTOW’S HANDY HINT IS…write your teachers name down!
1. Just think of going to secondary school as like starting a brand new primary school – only harder work!
Just be yourself and don’t try to change anything about you to impress other people.
2. If you’re lost don’t be afraid to go and ask someone and if someone else is lost help them find their way.
3. To not get in trouble with the teachers, if your friends are speaking to you tell them, ” tell me later”.
We hope these tips help you!
Hey from ESCHER Class, we’ve been taking part in the TRANSITION TRIATHALON TRAINING…
Just like an athlete is persistent in preparing for the Olympics we are getting ready for secondary school.
Here’s our top tips, read away:
1. If you get lost, don’t panic, stay calm and you’ll stay safe, ask a teacher or another student for help.
2. Take your planner every day and make notes so you don’t forget your homework.
3. Always have confidence to make new friends.
Then KAHLO class added their tips to success:
1. It will never take too long to do your homework.
2. If you work hard and get your homework done first, you will have time to relax.
3. And always make a good first impression!
MakeBelieve Arts is Moving On Up with Year 6 pupils in the Olympic Host borough of Greenwich.
Working together in partnership with the John Roan Secondary School and 8 primary schools across the borough, we bring you our brand new blog.
You will be hearing from the Year 6 pupils who are all training hard for their transition to secondary school. They will be bringing you their top tips for how to be the best you can be.
With regular updates you can follow their progress right here, and remember to keep those comments coming!
This organisation has been awarded a Transformers grant, funded by The National Lottery, through the Olympic Lottery Distributor, and managed by the East London Business Alliance