Tag Archives: education

A Thousand Thanks

Dear readers,

Thank you so much for visiting my blog and liking my posts. We are now a thousand strong! I am so grateful.

You are all awesome!

Sending you all big hugs. Stay well and stay safe.

El x

Thank you!

The Far Away Land

THE FAR AWAY LAND

 

Strands

floating,

reaching out –

hair in a breeze,

holding onto cliffs,

their jagged angles like

shards of glass, all broken and

sprinkled with hot ice that can burn

exposed shivering fingers and toes;

where whispering winds steal my breath away.

 

 

Copyright held by ©Eloise De Sousa (2020)

 

Tuesday Catch Up

Stay well and stay safe.

That is my new catch phrase for communications. It is simple and succinct, and hopefully expounds the depth of my feelings towards those with whom I communicate. How strange it is to watch the world tilt on its unsteady axis, reeling and writhing from the threats and effects of a virus. To see the deprivations of human nature as well as its heights of generosity. Indeed, if I were a writer, I would classify this as a perfect plot line for an apocalyptic tale.

With a family of six and additions that kick the number of humans up to eight very large, hungry adults and children in a household, I am feeling the pull of peer pressure to join those panicked shoppers stripping shelves and aisles of their staple goods. Succumbing to that fear would add me to the ranks of hoarder, the selfish individuals who think of their own survival instead of the good of the whole community. Sitting on the fence though, I see both sides. My hubble is high risk and, knowing that I wouldn’t have to go out for food for a very long time, is appealing. But, looking at it from a community point of view, I couldn’t live with myself if I knew I was taking supplies away from the vulnerable members of our society. Where do you stand in all of this? Should we be questioning our morals at a time when survival seems to be key? My simple answer is: read some history books. Who do we celebrate as being the heroes during the worst of our past – the survivalists or those that sacrificed their safety and supplies for others?

With thoughts of survival in exclusion, keeping our minds and bodies active is the order of the day. I’ve had to think of ways of continuing my Writers’ Club without meeting face to face with my members. Thank goodness for the internet! I am able to offer a subscription to any family who wants something to do during school closures and isolation. Keeping children active, interested in varied, fun projects and motivating them to use their minds will stop cabin fever and stimulate continual growth of their minds and bodies, just in a different setting. Check out my Book Corner on Facebook if you are looking for ideas on how to keep your children entertained or active. Subscribe to the Writers’ Club for interactive sessions, webinars and online classes that will keep them entertained. I will add a form at the end of this post for that purpose.

Community is everything. In our area, we have some unsung heroes organising groups to care for the vulnerable on each street, making sure they have enough food and provisions for their isolation period. Keeping that outlook, no matter how tempting it is to hide away and survive on our own, is very important. For those that watch the Walking Dead, you know what I’m talking about! Community means survival and sacrificing those extra bags of pasta or toilet rolls means a family who can’t afford to bulk buy will get a chance to eat and enjoy comfortable ablutions too.

To close this Tuesday Catch Up, I would like to reiterate my initial message in this communication: stay well and stay safe. Try to limit your media intake to preserve your sanity and though it’s easy for me to say, try not to stress out. If you need help, reach out to friends and family. If you don’t have anyone to talk to, message me. I’ll be happy to chat to you from under my rock, in my cave, sipping on tequila. Feel free to join me for a chat there!

 

For those interested in subscribing to the Writers’ Club, fill out the form below and I’ll be in touch.

Young Writers: Showing and Telling – how to find balance

www.linkedin.com/pulse/young-writers-showing-telling-how-find-balance-eloise-de-sousa

Because I’m not worth it!

Safe guard!

Shout out self worth.

Keep communication

Open and safe and free for all –

But me!

 

 

 

Pic courtesy of https://twitter.com/scottdurairaj/status/833692383401406464

 

 

Blasting Off to where tiny people go

Working with children of all ages has its benefits and hardships. Meet me at the next stop on the blog tour where I share a bit about working with children who have cancer.

Lisa has already provided us with a place to land, so click on the pic to join the merry band.

lisa presents for preemies

Stop over at the Orchard

Hello and welcome back to the Blast Off with Space Dust Blog Tour. Today’s stop over takes us to the very talented, Nicola Parkinson, the owner of the Orchard Book Club where we are lucky enough to settle for the day.

Click here to visit her page.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the tour so far. Who is your favourite character in Space Dust? Do let me know.

Created by Nicola at Orchard Book Club

Author Week

It’s that time of year again at our little primary school, when we gather the children and throw them into a time machine, a fantasty world or, in this case, an evacuee’s body and transport them to another place. Welcome to this year’s theme: The Midnight Garden. Continue reading

Bona Fide

A child approached my desk at work today and asked a question:

“Did you compete in writing competitions

when you were our age, Mrs D?”

My curiosity as to why he would ask such a question was stalled by my need to flex my credentials, describing writing competitions I had won from a young age and my experience of writing poetry and stories throughout my youth. Watching his expression of surprise and then understanding, I went back to my original response and asked him, why?

He surprised me. He said, “Because we do a lot more writing competitions now, more than before. I thought that it was because of you!”

It took me a moment to think about this. I couldn’t deny the fact that I supported and campaigned for many writing opportunities within the school – it just didn’t occur to me that I was huge part of the influence – or, at least, the children thought so. Being a part of a wonderful literacy team that pushes for children to have these opportunities didn’t necessarily mean that I was the reason for change. Maybe it had always been there, but not so prevalent as we have it now with all the clubs and enrichment days.

One might say I’m over-thinking it, but this child’s answer touched a nerve. You see, I have been fighting a complex for many years. The stigma of who we are when our super-writing coats hang back in our caves while we go out into the real world to fill our coffers has confused me. Am I a writer pretending to be a librarian or am I a librarian pretending to be a writer? Can I call myself a writer if I have not produced a book in that last few years or can I call myself a true librarian working part-time?

All these questions float around and stew…and stew…and stew! The way I identify myself during introductions has changed too. When I first decided to become a fully-fledged writer, I shyly mumbled that I was a wannabe author. After my first book, my shoulders pressed back and I declared my author status to friends and acquaintances. Now that a few years have passed since my last novel, I’m back to being a Librarian – the title of author gathering dust at the back of my cave.

Drawing back to my earlier conversation with said pupil, it dawned on me that I am one in the same person. I am a writer, author, librarian, sad cow who hypothesizes over her silly titles when she has so little time as it is and mother! I’m influencing young minds to read and write and enjoy it.  I’m fulfilling all roles, titles, whatever-you-want-to-call-it and it’s okay. I don’t have to be one thing and not acknowledge the other. As long as I stay true to my profession: someone who shares in the experience of the written word, in whatever capacity, I am being true to who I really am. And that pleases me immensely. I am a bona fide writer/librarian!

It’s a trivial thing but something I wanted to share with you. Do you find certain roles/titles waylaid as you plough through life? What’s your take on this subject?

What a week!

A while back I used to write a post called Saturday Confessions; it was a way of opening up and sharing things I had never shared with anyone else; kind of releasing the inner me onto you, the unsuspecting public! 
Well today I have woken up with that same feeling, due to the fact that I’ve achieved another awesome week at work, which I shall go into more detail about in a tick.  The other part is due to the incredible amount of work my fellow staff put in to make our school a cut above the rest.

Yesterday, I spent my break time duty walking around a playing field full of happy children, laughing together, singing in groups, challenging teachers on duty to races and encouraging them to play games, which the staff happily obliged in doing. The setting was almost too perfect to my cynical eye for the joy I felt was overwhelming. How on earth could 200+ students be so happy and content at the same time? I kid you not, those kids were beaming!

Now this leads me onto the reason why I was happy to volunteer to write an enrichment week for the teachers. Watching them and seeing just how much effort they put into their work, how much time and energy they place in getting the detail right to cater for every single child in their class and the support they provide for those lagging behind as well as the advanced students – it makes me proud to be a part of their support team. 

With careful consideration as to how we would utilise the resource, I had to write up themed lessons that would inspire the children to use their abilities in literacy and showcase their imagination, mixed in with technical writing skills for moderation. Not only that but giving the theme enough traction for the teachers to plan mathematics and science based lessons on it made it more challenging. With my Literacy Co-ordinator giving me her list of requirements, we banged out the objectives for the week and I began my planning. 

If I had to combine the time spent on creating the enrichment package, I would say it took me a week, maybe more, to get it right. That included meetings, editing and re-drafting of some lessons. Since time is not exactly free in this life, I spent my spare moments to piece this all together. 

Once the completed product was ready, I presented it to the deputy head (who is also the  head of junior literacy) and  Literacy Co-ordinator (who happens to be the head of early years Literacy). My theme was space, genre type: science fiction, and it roughly covered descriptive writing, diary entries, formal letter writing, code breaking, plotting a map and creating plants and animals found on a planet in our galaxy. There was, of course, more added details to make each day fun for the children and we included ideas (from the teachers) on artwork we could create during the week.

Once the package was approved, I made sure to role out a teacher pack and student pack so that everyone was on the same page. 

I’m not going to lie and say it’s an easy task or that there are no hiccups along the way. Some children respond beautifully to these specialised writing tasks, whilst others shut down completely and find it overwhelming. But that’s where the staff step in and make it all possible. Like superheroes, they descend onto the unsuspecting child struggling in the corner and sit with said child till they understand what is required of them. The teaching assistants work their butts off to support the teachers and by the end of the week, we have children from Reception through to year 6 using the same enrichment package and producing work on the same theme. 

It’s really exciting! 

For added effect, this year I included a link up with the National Space Centre in Leicester (from the midlands whereas we are based in the south of England) and we held a virtual classroom in the hall with all 200 children in attendance. They were so well behaved; we were very proud of them all. The space commander answered their prepared questions and the children got to interact with the presenter and watch video clips from NASA. They were pretty spellbound when they saw footage of the first jumping spider in space and I was hooked to the screen too!

To close the week off, we all dressed up as book characters, the staff choosing to dress as aliens in underpants! I’ll share a pic with you that my Headteacher took which I assumed was of just the book but included me. We ran an assembly celebrating the work from each year group and listened to stories read out from their missions. I got to read Aliens in Underpants Save Earth to the children and we all had a good look at the artwork created throughout the week.

Yes, as I said, it was a lot of hard work and creating the package was wonderful, but watching it get rolled out across the school made it all worthwhile.

Last year, the children went on a quest to save a baby Phoenix; this year they became space cadets and had to save the world and travel to Proximate B. If I’m asked to write the enrichment again, where will I take them next year and what will they become? Who knows, we might just go back in time or become something fantastic!