Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Let's Go Fly a Kite

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Let's Go Fly a Kite

Article excerpt

It was the day of the Sikh harvest festival Vaisakhi and Year 1 were to mark the occasion by making kites.

"You want me to do this with them all morning?" I asked their teacher.

"Yes, of course. Make it fun."

"You mean no phonics or maths?"

"Exactly. Go off timetable. It's only one day."

So I was in early, cutting up string and carrier bags and hunting down sticky tape, scissors and glue (key stage 1 teaching is essentially Blue Peter with phonics). The minute assembly finished, we got stuck in, and soon the room was littered with card, carrier bags and tissue paper.

There may have been no timetabled maths but I saw lots of practical maths as they measured string and folded kites. They used their reading skills to follow written instructions.

After they had tidied up, with the classroom more or less restored to its original condition, I led them into the playground. One little boy slipped his hand into mine. "I'm so happy, Miss," he told me. He wasn't the only one. They whizzed around the playground laughing and shouting.

I thought about this later, in the safety of my carrier bag-free KS2 domain. As I looked at my class, heads bent over their comprehension activity, I wondered when they last got to run around with kites. Are happy, exciting classrooms becoming the exclusive habitat of the under-7s?

"When I found out I wouldn't be teaching in Year 6 next year, I couldn't stop smiling," a colleague told me. "The Sats pressure this year, with the new assessment system, has been ridiculous. …

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