Tuesday 30 June 2009

Day 2 in the tent house!

Hi Matt here. Today we started looking in more detail into how we could use the tents but also every day objects. Here are some of my pics of the day! As you may know I am not good with computers so the pics may be scattered around.

Feedback from the staff creativity INSeT

I thought you all might like to see the feedback from the ARG's presentation to staff. You will remember that we asked staff to think of a creative ambition for Tallis to have achieved in three year's time and then a yearly plan on how we might achieve that ambition. I gathered in all the ambitions and sorted them into some groups. Although the headings are my own, the bullet points are the responses from staff. I haven't edited them and I have included all the responses from the meeting. I have put some ambitions in more than one box because they were hard to split without rewriting them, and there are a few that didn't fit easily into any of the boxes, which isn't to say that they are not important or interesting.

If you click on the image it should direct you to a PDF version. I'd be really interested in what you think. Are students' ambitions for the school the same as the teachers'? Are some of the ideas exciting or surprising? Do think there have been any misunderstandings? Mr Nicholls and I are going to be talking to leadership Team next week about how we might use this feedback and what it might reveal about attitudes and approaches to creativity, and I wouldn't like to do that without having consulted everybody first.


Monday 29 June 2009

Creative learning conference

I received this email today from my friend Emma at Live Magazine. If any if you are interested, let me know and I'll see what I can do:

This is a free technology/youth/creativity conference on the south bank this saturday. We're taking some LIVE contributors. If you have anyone you think would like to come, send me their names and email addresses and I can register them. I think upto 20 could come from you - they just rang to say they have extra spaces available. You would also be able to go if you were bringing some young people along. Have a look at the schedule, it does look pretty interesting - mini TED I think is the look they're going for.

Have a look at our website ( http://www.2morro.org/ ) and the schedule so far (http://2morro09.sched.org/)

-- Post From My iPhone


'Creativity may have killed a few cats, but evolution certainly eliminated many more incurious ones.'
Guy Claxton
in 'Wise Up'
I came across this list of quotations recently (via Twitter) and thought I'd share the link with you. I think it's important for us to remember that the tide is turning in education and our thoughts and experiments at Tallis are supported by numerous writers and thinkers who all advocate the idea that schools should be about nurturing talent and finding as many opportunities to be creative as possible. Here are a few of those thoughts.

Pictures from today

Here are a few pictures from today, I'm about to upload the rest to Flickr.
Click here for all the images (can be downloaded from here too)

Sunday 28 June 2009


For the Tangled Feet residency: The picture above is the result of an online game, where the game starts as an image of a key hole - empty and plain. 4/5 artists then have added an image or something else into the key hole to make a collaborative final image. But who's to say when the image is finished? it could do on forever. I thought this game might be an idea to have an empty A3 or bigger keyhole on classroom walls where it's unlikely to be torn down. And people can add to it - even if it's just their name - anything. And can display these at the end of the week. What do you think?

Saturday 27 June 2009

Mind the Map

Sunday 5 July 2009, 2.30pm

A crash-course in mind mapping focusing on the creative potential of diagrams used to visualise ideas. 

Hayward Gallery - Southbank FREE but have to book tickets.

If it's of interest to anyone, I just saw it and thought it related to the generating ideas topic...


Tuesday 23 June 2009

Meeting Notes

Thanks everyone for another stimulating meeting. We seem to have about 14 people so far confirmed as participants in the Tangled Feet residency next week. This includes Tom T, Matthew, Tom W and Amber from the group. We may get some more volunteers tomorrow so I'll publish the final list to staff (and you) by Thursday afternoon. We discussed several ideas for the residency including the following:
  • the need to document the various aspects of the residency using a variety of techniques and media
  • setting up a Tallis Talk stream so that participants and audience members/witnesses can feed back their impressions
  • the importance of showing the process of the work created
  • the potential for showing work in progress before school as people arrive, at break and lunch times and after school
  • the possibility of making and sharing food
  • the possibility of using sound and installation work to engage audiences in unusual ways e.g. leaving messages around the building, in teachers' pigeon holes, on white boards at the start of the day, in year bases etc?
  • the possibility of holding a special performance of "Home" on Friday afternoon for an invited audience (including students, teachers, governors and parents?)
We have agreed that Tom T, Tom W, Matthew and Amber will represent the group at the Creative Agents' Conference on Wednesday 1st July. I will need slips returned ASAP.

The format of our 1 hour input will be:

9:45 Arrive at the October Galleries and set up
10:00 Ice breaker activity - Idea Generator?
10:10 JN to deliver Keynote presentation about the work of the ARG and its impact this year
10:30 Questions from the floor
10:45 Activity - design the perfect Creative Agent
11:00 End. Visit exhibition.

Let me know if I've missed anything out or if you have some other suggestions for the two lists.

Monday 22 June 2009

Creating sketchbooks by thinking laterally

Thanks to Mr Hawes for this link to a great site about making sketchbooks in the classroom.

Another Use Of Blogging... By A School

When revising for my Film Studies exam I came across this blog. The teacher uses it to upload subject specific information and the students create their own blogs to keep track of the learning in film studies.

What do you think of their Blog? Here are the links:

The Main Blog
A student who has not been updating their blog!

Quite interesting

Thanks, Tom

Friday 19 June 2009

Creative Agents Conference Invitation

We've been invited to do a small presentation to all the London Creative Agents at a special conference on 1st July. The venue is the October Gallery (the gallery specialises in promoting the Transvanguard and is currently hosting an exhibition of the work of Gérard Quenum, hence the image above).

Anyway, Judith Ackrill sent me this email today confirming some of the arrangements and suggesting a couple of themes for us to get our teeth into:

Dear Jon

Great to speak to you just now, and thank you again for getting involved with this creative agents day.

We agreed that the theme of the students presentation would be along the lines of 'how do we communicate with each other and with the school about creativity and what effect is this having?' In other words, a sort of case study for the AND creative agents to hear about.

The session could include a projected presentation from a laptop (we can provide the laptop); we are also checking whether the broadband signal is good enough to use live on-line examples, and I'll get back to you about this. You might also bring handouts.

The creative agents enjoy active sessions, and we agreed there should be time for questions and discussion.
One of the topics you would like to cover, either in the presentation or as a question back to the agents, is 'how can we promote this way of working to other schools and groups?'

If the students would like to include an activity for the agents as part of the session that would be fine too. Let me know if you need flipcharts.

We agreed you would talk to John on Monday about how/whether he would like to be involved, perhaps introducing the school or taking part in the session. Also you'll speak to John about the idea of the students leading an active warmup for the agents for 10 minutes at 10am; if they would rather not do this pls let me know and I'll find someone else.

Nuts and bolts: The session (including the 10-minute warm-up) runs from 10am to about 11. The room is upstairs and there will be about 30 people in the 'audience'. We can provide squash and coffee and biscuits after the session, and I understand there may be 6+ people in the group including yourself. Ideally you should arrive a little early, in time to check out the technology and get your bearings - say 9.45?

I'll forward information about the October Gallery next week, with the names of the creative agents and AND team and final news on the broadband question.

It would be good to know how many of you are interested in taking part in this presentation. It would be a great bit of evidence for your Arts Award portfolios and I'm sure you'd all do a great job. I'm seeing John on Monday, so if you could let me know over the weekend either by email or via a comment on this post, I'd much appreciate it.

Wednesday 17 June 2009

Shine Competitions

Check out the Shine website for chances to enter exciting competitions with great prizes. It would also be great if you could have a look at the stuff we've uploaded from Tallis. We are currently the featured user (look in the bottom right hand corner of the homepage). The more people look at the Tallis content, the more it will be featured at the front end. Finally, you can register to upload your own content (music, photographs, video, words...anything really) and share your work with other folks around the world.

Tuesday 16 June 2009

Tangled Feet Rehearsals

I just wanted to say how impressed I have been with the way in which you have manged the publicity and arrangements for the "Tangled Feet" residency. I'm also immensely appreciative for all the contributions you have made to the blog, meetings, developing The Manifesto and countless other contributions. Look forward to seeing the film and working with you on the next steps.

Thanks again,


Thank You

Just wanted to say a BIG THANK YOU to all the members of the ARG for helping to present the Manifesto to (almost) the whole staff body this afternoon. I hope you found the experience interesting. I'm especially grateful to the students who stayed much longer than normal and having managed the difficult process of interviewing candidates for the Tangled Feet residency prior to the meeting. It would be good to get an update on how this went and what your plans are for the week of the 29th. I'd like to suggest that you are all involved in the project with Tangled Feet so that you can benefit from their ideas, get involved in some of the activities and, most importantly, help to document what happens. Those of you planning to enter yourselves for the Arts Award will be able to get some great evidence for your portfolios. Anyroadup, you were great this afternoon and a credit to the school. Cheers team!

Arts Award

This is just a quick post to ask about progress on achieving the Arts Award for those of you involved in the Tangled Feet residency and the work of the Action Research Group. I missed out on the initial training and I know there are some key things that must feature in each of your portfolios in order to gain the accreditation. It might be worth reviewing what those things are now so that we can make sure that we all record what needs to be demonstrated either on the blog or elsewhere. I think we worked out that it was OK to demonstrate achievements online but I just wondered if there was a need for an additional portfolio of some kind.

Sunday 14 June 2009

Launching 'Project Noodle' and 'The Creative Manifesto'

Hi everyone,

I thought it might be a good idea to go over the running order for Tuesday's meeting. I have asked for us to be second on the running order so we would probably start our bit at around 4.30 - 4.45. I have asked for the tables to arranged in year groups so that there will be a mix of subjects in each group. There will be two tables per year group so when we ask for people to work on the task the year groups will split in half - probably about seven or eight people per group. It would be great for there to be a representative from Creative Tallis in as many groups as possible. I know Tom will be preparing himself for an 'A' level the following day (good luck mate!) So we should have:

Myself, Tom T, Matt, Seb, Billy, Raihan, Amber, Miss Piwko, Miss Hawkins and Mr. Nicholls

So to the running order:

5 mins - Mr Nicholls will start by giving some history for what has happened in the school and the ARG up until this point and also make some links to the national context

5 mins - Mr Hawes will introduce 'Project Noodle' (There will be noodle salad and chopsticks on the table) and show the wondeful website Mr Nicholls has made. Then Mr. H will explain and introduce the three year planning task that we did last time with the Leadership Team. Mr Challenger and Mr. Murray, we hope, will be noodling on their guitar whilst this happens.

20 mins - Groups work on three year task and then we invite feedback

5 mins - Introduce the Creative Manifesto and explain how it came about. I was wondering whether our group's very own Student Governor could take this on - Tom, I know you'd be brilliant at it, as would any member of the group who was willing to take it on.

20 mins - Groups identify one Manifesto point that they think is crucial and come up with some action points that will enable that objective to be worked towards/achieved. They can also identify one manifesto point that they feel needs more work and explain how it might be improved. Groups feedback on these two points.

That takes us up to the hour mark - what do we think?

I'd also like to allocate some jobs:

1. I will make the noodles and have them in authentic takeaway pots to put on the tables. I was wondering if I could dash to the Nicholls kitchen to do that Tuesday period six, but I can also ask Ms Khan to let me use her room. One volunteer to help would be greatly appreciated.

2. We will need enough copies of the three year plans and Creative Manifestos for the meeting. We need at least 14 of the 3 yr plans and I think it might be nice to have at least 28 manifestos. Could you print these off Mr. Nicholls?

3. I know it might not be practical to use Tallis Talk to feedback on the day' but would it be a good idea to open a topic for people to contribute to after the meeting. Could you do this Mr Nicholls?

4. Shall we all meet up in room 208 after school (Monday 15th 3.20 -3.40) so that we can over plans for Tangled Feet rehearsals and anything we need to discuss for the staff meeting?

Apologies for the monster post, and hope to see you after school tomorrow,


Tangled Feet

Kat Joyce emailed today to suggest that we create a long list of ideas for the Tangled Feet residency. I said I'd put a post up here to get the ball rolling. So, what would you like to see happening between our volunteers and the Tangled Feet crew. Remember, the main theme is "Home", how we define it and what it means to us. The school is moving home within the next couple of years and folk at Tallis have a variety of feelings about the current home. Students will soon be moving to Tallis from their primary schools and Year 13 students have just left their Tallis home for university and world of work.

Also, it will be possible for groups of students and artists/performers to work on a range of projects simultaneously. For example, one group could devise a short site specific performance to be shown at lunchtime whilst another group could be preparing a soundscape and yet another might be designing an installation.

Please respond to this post with your suggestions for possible activities so that the folks at Tangled Feet can prepare themselves and we can all get hold of the necessary resources.

Finally, I think it's important to send a letter home to the parents of the selected 20 to inform them about the residency. Has this already happened or do we need to write something for Tuesday? Are we going to have reserves in case some people drop out before the 29th? Are you expecting to be part of the team who works with Tangled Feet? All this and more can be revealed in your comments.

Finally, finally, how do we plan to document the residency and evaluate whether or not it has been a success? Any thoughts?

Tom Tom Magazine

I have just created a Tom Tom Magazine Facebook group. We decided to do this in one of our meetings.

I'm trying to get all Facebook users that go to Tallis to join, so if you're on Facebook and you haven't yet joined the Tom Tom Group then visit the group page and join.


Saturday 13 June 2009

Project Noodle

We've been working on the new website for Project Noodle. Can you all take a look and tell us what you think?

Friday 12 June 2009


This is the 5th draft of our Manifesto for a Creative Tallis and the one we will be presenting to staff on Tuesday 16th. Try to familiarise yourself with the statements before then. I think it's important that staff understand the process we have been through to create the manifesto and that it represents the essence of our research this year as a group. There will be an opportunity in the meeting to talk to staff groups about the manifesto and respond to questions about the content. This is a great opportunity for all of us to have an impact on whole school change and a great way to demonstrate just how intelligent and ambitious young people are when given real responsibility. We will have about an hour to explain the journey we have been on, ask staff to complete the three year backwards planning document and respond to the content of the manifesto. If you have any good ideas about the best way of doing this, post your suggestions as comments. have a great weekend!

Web 2.0 joins the English language

Hey All!

Thought I would just show you all this it is a news papper article from a well known uk paper (I wont name it :P)

It basically says that the 1,000,000 word to join the language is "WEB 2.0: The next generation of web products, coming soon to a browser near you."


Thursday 11 June 2009

"What's in a name?"

Thomas Tallis have decided to set up a new course for Year 8 and 9 next year. It might sound slightly unusual in that, at the moment, it doesn't have teachers, a curriculum, rooms or even a name! What we do have is a set of guiding principles that we will use to help us get things underway:

"To make students take more responsibility for the content, processes and outcomes of their learning"

The plan is for students to develop their problem solving and enquiry skills and then maybe think about developing new media skills to make, share and reflect upon work that has its foundation in their own interests. This is all very well, but I'm really struggling to come up with a name. The wordle above contains some of the important ideas that I associate with the plans, but I can't quite get a combination to work for me. All ideas much appreciated.


Tuesday 9 June 2009

The Tannoy Announcement

Hey all,

Me and Matthew are going to do a tannoy announcement tomorrow at both registrations and maybe thursday to,
we were wondering what we should say over the tannoy and if we should make it funny,
what do you guy's think?


second draft (final - hopefully)

myself and Billy gave up another lunch time to try and sort the video out, although we where more interested with the new apple range.

Here's the link

Hope you enjoy!

Billy and Tom

PS: The video may not beable to be viewed till 1500

Monday 8 June 2009


Just received a positive tweet about our new website from the Ideas Foundation. Thought I'd share it with you. Plus, our presence on Twitter has raised at least one pair of eyebrows.

-- Post From My iPhone

Raihan' recruiting film

Raihan has made this film to encourage interest and participation in the upcoming Tangled Feet residency. I like his use of Live Type to animate the text and create interest in the project. It's another really effective element in the publicity campaign that you are putting together. I think you are doing a such a creative and effective job on this (which is no surprise given all your talents).

You can see his promo film playing on the screen by reception - I'm looking forward to peering over the balcony to see how people respond.


Saturday 6 June 2009

Sharing The Creative Manifesto

Mr Thomas came to speak to me yesterday with a really exciting opportunity for the group. He was clearly very impressed with the group when they presented The Creative Manifesto, and has given us the opportunity to share our ideas with all staff at a whole school meeting on Tuesday 16th June. Schools always have packed agendas, so it is really good news for us, and the school, that they have given us an opportunity to share our thoughts on, and plans for, the development of creativity at Tallis.

Mr Nicholls and I thought we could ask staff to consider the manifesto and complete the three year planning task, much in the way that the Leadership Team did a few weeks ago. We thought that we might ask staff to work in Year Team groups to make sure that there was a good spread of subjects in each group. Would the ARG members be willing to work with a group each, just like we did last time?

One thought that occurred to me was that last time it was easy to feedback because there were only twenty or so people in the room, so how could we allow for some feedback either at the meeting, or on the day? Could we set up a Tallis Talk topic and provide groups with a laptop to leave a comment and try and share some of the feedback on a screen at the end. I thought I could collate the three year plans and put it on the Blog or Creative Tallis site.

Mr Nicholls has The Creative Manifesto and the Three Year Plan ready to go. I was wondering whether Tom might be willing to introduce the manifesto again? I will look into ways of managing and sharing the feedback effectively. I don't know the precise timings yet, but I will try and get us on near the start to save you having to hang around, could people get back to me to say if you are available? It will be a great opportunity to demonstrate how a group of students and staff can collaborate to develop the learning experience of the whole school community.

Hope you can all make it,


Musician’s Dice Are d12 Kinds of Awesome!

Musician’s Dice Are d12 Kinds of Awesome!

Posted using ShareThis

Internet Mapping Project

The internet is now so vast that it's often difficult to see your place in the great scheme of things. Check out this site which encourages everyone to draw a folk map of the internet, indicating where they perceive their home to be. Some amazing drawings!

P.S. We now have a brand new Share This button at the bottom of each post so that you can share content with your own social network.

Friday 5 June 2009

The Video!

Here is a draft of the video me and Billy have been making today... what do you think? Are we hedding in the right direction? Is the sound ok? Anything that we should change? I had a but of trouble thinking what to put at the end at the moment it seems to just finish... any ideas? (did that make sence?)

The video might not be avalible straight away (it was still processing at 1423)




Online magazine maker

This website it really cool, quick and easy to use. Don't kow if it will come in handy for any of you but look at it anyway it may be useful someday! You can browse hundreds of other peoples work, create a free account and it will even let u upload your videos for flickr and youtube.

Huge Apologies!!

Hi guys,

I apologize, as i have not been able to complete the task of creating the video for the television downstairs.. This is mainly due to it being in need of improvements to make the Ad more appealing towards the audience. I probably feel i need to be more professional with not only the video but with the team...

I'll try to improve it on Friday which will hopefully be ready the week beginning, if anyone has any great ideas feel free to give me your advice!

Sorry again,

Thursday 4 June 2009

New look for our mobile blog

It's taken me a while to work out that there are quite a few new looks available for our Tumblr mobile blog. In the end I went for this fetching wooden desk and polaroid frames option. If you haven't had a go at Tumbling yet, here's a reminder of the email address:


Using this address you can post quotes, pictures or regular blog entries direct from your mobile phone. There's even an option to post audio but, unless you have the iPhone app, you may need to go to the website for this.

Wednesday 3 June 2009

The Island

When I first joined the school, nearly 20 years ago, and began teaching in the English Faculty, there were a number of resources created by The English Centre which were designed to encourage students to produce a variety of texts for particular purposes and audiences. The trend then was to teach writing in the context of extended projects, often with a multi-disciplinary element thrown in. Then, of course, came the National Curriculum.

One of the resources that proved popular with teachers (and some students) was "The Island". This small booklet (accompanied by another with a similar theme called "School Under Siege") provided a range of writing tasks linked to a dramatic scenario. In the case of "The Island", the class was meant to imagine that they had been marooned on an island, cut off from civilisation and were responsible for their survival. 20 years later and "The Island" is making a strong recovery at Thomas Tallis School as a stimulus for thematic study at KS3. This may have something to do with the disappearance of KS3 tests but it may also be because all good resources are eventually taken up by a new generation of teachers.

However, this being the 21st century, there are things we can attempt today that were impossible back in the early 1990s. One of my colleagues asked me this afternoon if I could help him set up a blog for his English class so that they could use it to post their experiences of being desert islanders. This was really easy to do and here is the link. Whilst I was at it, it seemed like a good idea to create a website where more resources could be located. We are hoping that this site will become a resource that other teachers may want to refer to when they get stuck into "The Island".

We are also hoping that students will blog in and outside school and get their parents involved. The opportunities for peer and teacher assessment online are really exciting and it will be cool to see thye story of their island adventure taking shape online and shared instantly. I think we should keep a close eye on this experiment and lend it our support by getting involved in commenting on the posts.

Yesterday's meeting

So an update of what we said:

  • The interviews will be on the 16th of June - the drama studio is already booked from pd.6 onwards
  • We are definitely doing the maze idea starting from the dhi room to the drama studio
  • Tom and Billy are making a video about Tangled Feet to go in the drama studio (and they are meeting Thursday to do this with each other)
  • Raihan is making the video to be played on the screen outside the office by the end of this week
  • Matthew and Seb have made some posters and will start putting them up this week (and in tutor bags)
  • If assemblies are still running then a quick mention in those too)
I think that's all.

So a week and a half until the interview to get word spread.