Sunday 31 January 2010

Web n Play

Just a reminder that Sydney Thornbury from Web n Play is coming to talk with us on Tuesday. We'll meet as usual up in room 208 after school. Billy will be chairing the meeting. Try and grab a moment to check out their site to get a sense of what they do.


Bubble logo

In advance of tomorrow's meeting with the publicity team I thought I would share one of the logo options. What do people think? I tried another one with some dots, an exclamation mark and a question mark, but that met with spousal disapproval. Thanks to Freddie Darke for the bubble drawings.


Thursday 28 January 2010

The Measurement Shop

Check out the latest Tangled Feet project, The Measurement Shop. There are so many ways to measure things and so many things that can be measured. How happy are you? How can you measure happiness?

This project looks like another great opportunity for us to think about learning at Tallis using the talents of a fantastic group of actors and performers.

Monday 25 January 2010

Web 2.0 and Prezi

I've just managed to upgrade my Prezi account to the new, free educational version. It was a bit tricky because the form of my email address had to match a school website (e.g. .com) and our system doesn't work like this. I eventually realised that I could use my Tallis LAB account which is another tick in the box for Google Mail as far as I'm concerned.

Anyway, I was browsing through some really great Prezis when I found this one. It gathers together a lot of the ideas about and a rationale for using Web 2.0 tools in the classroom. It's American ( I still don't really know what K12 means) but applies easily to our experiments.

Just thought I'd share it with you and encourage you to get on board with Prezi. I still like Keynote, but Prezi is a whole new ball game.

P S Thanks to those of you who have joined the OK LDN Ning. More about this soon.

Saturday 23 January 2010

The Future of Learning

The always interesting Stephen Heppell articulating the connection between technology and the development of creative life-long learners.

Thursday 21 January 2010

iPhone app

I've just finished creating an iPhone app for Thomas Tallis School using the amazingly easy iSites.

The app, which you will soon hopefully be able to download from the App Store via iTunes, is a collection of all the blog feeds that are related to the school. At the moment, these are almost exclusively arts or creative learning based but, eventually, if blogging takes off, students and staff will be able to access the latest information about the school and the curriculum using this app. There is an Android version of the app on the way for anyone without an iPhone. Even now there are an amazing 25 different feeds from a combination of Blogger, Tumblr, Twitter and Flickr sites.

I'll let you know when it becomes available on the App Store. Exciting times!

Wednesday 20 January 2010


It may be that I'm having a bubble, but what would people think of branding the SCG with an image of a bubble? Why Bubble? I suppose it's playful, elastic, magical, the idea of created space, elusive, the idea of wonder, thought bubbles ... We could get a really nice graphic/logo created and use it without the word bubble. What do people think?


Tuesday 19 January 2010

I know it may cause some problems but is there a chance we could consider re-scheduling ARG mtgs to week B? I would love to be part of the group but I don't work Tuesdays A.
Pls, pls, pls.....

Chenai - the idea machine!

It wont surprise anyone to hear that Chenai has already come up with some great ideas. Check out her email to the publicity group. Also, Matt, if you're out there, can we have your up to date email address.

Hey everyone!

So had a bit of a brainstorming sesh with Mr Hawes after the meeting and it sent me on an idea frenzy as I do. Well to be honest I only came up with two. Anywho, here they are, in particular order (no typo):


Reference: There's a magazine called CTRL.ALT.SHIFT where a young journalist, Sian Anderson does "A Question of Port vs..." articles with different musicians and she asks them difficult WWUD (what-would-you-do) type questions. There are also certain army adverts which you may or may not be familiar with where they do a similar thing with options A, B, or C. Please take a look at aforementioned articles and advert, links below:

Outline of idea: Basically flyers, filmed interviews and FB page with a series of WWUD questions we would generate in connection with arts and commisioning, for example:

"You are in a limo with Jay Z. You've just have a productive business lunch at a very exclusive and his favourite salad bar. You make a funny joke and Jay bursts into unctrollable laughter. That's when you see the beatifully lush evidence of the salad you both just ate stuck onto his front tooth. Do you:

A Tell him he has a piece of green in his teeth
B Hope he notices it soon because you don't want to kill the joy
C Discreetly check your own teeth for any tell-tale bits
D Proceed to burst into your own fit of laughing, at rather than with"

Each option will have a certain number of points and we'd say something like if you got 20+ points come to bla bla bla and enter the next phase, which would be the activities on March 1. We could do this on film, perhaps using help offered by Tallis TV and Raihan. We use 1 or two periods to interview students with the same questions to be played in the foyer. This would be really great because we might get people crowding round and watching these vids because their friend is in it our even they themselves are in it.


Reference: Mr Hawes's mention of use of tutorial time and objects. Simple as! ;-D

Outline of idea: We could have envelopes, preferbly black and all secret-agent-esque with LOST PROPERTY printed on and an object e.g. glove, hat, keys with official school letter with the following message:

Dear [insert name of tutor here],

"Please volunteer five of your students to return this lost property to the rightful owners. They will be asked to participate in various tasks to determine the authenticity of their mission...."

And so on and so on. That one needs a bit more development.

What do you think? I'm leaning towards IDEA 1 hence the (no typo). If you have any ideas for any other strategies feel free to email them to me, or even track me down and discuss them. I also think it would be a good idea to post our ideas up on the blog as in the case of IDEA 1 we will need the help of the rest of our team.


Like many people I'm not a big fan of acronyms. I think one of the first tasks of the publicity group could be to come up with a name, a brand or a logo that better represents what the Student Commissioning Group might be about. I think engaging and interesting people will be much easier if we have an identity that captures the idea behind the group. Do we go down the route of picking a verb - create, make, engage, involve, enthuse...? Do we choose objects at random to stimulate ideas? Do we have a name that is evident in the logo, but never written? Can we promise not to drop any Es like flickr, screenr, tumblr ...

There's a prize for the first person to explain why the picture above links to SCG



Minutes of meeting

19th January 2010

Present: John Riches, KH, TWT, Chenai, Raihan, Billy, Matthew, Seb, JN, MST, RO, DL

1. HW - Sydney Thornbury will visit the ARG 2nd Feb to talk about Web ‘n’ Play and the prospect of working on a project with primary schools to develop new technology and drama skills this summer.

2. Establishing a Student Commissioning Group

Desire to use an SCG to get students to engage with and experience creative learning/experiences

JR invited people to consider challenges and potential problems:

Forming the group of students. How could we form the group?

Suggestion that the ARG students help form a commissioning group

Important to get some more people involved especially lower school

Need to recruit new members quite soon in order to complete one round of the commissioning process

Benefits of being involved: power to influence whole school development, UCAS statements, spending money,

Could approach year heads and tutors for nominations

Could we use assemblies to promote and recruit for the SCG?

Need students who are actively interested in the arts and who are already keen on pursuing a career in the arts

Should anyone be able to apply or do they need to demonstrate some kind of skills/commitment? Could we organise some kind of activity to help us select the most creative thinkers?

Could we work with the Tangled Feet group from last year as the core of a new group?

What should be the size of the SCG? Think about a range of roles for the individuals in the group.

If the ARG can devise a promotion strategy, could John organise an activity that would help us select the best people for the group? John agreed.

Do we need representation from each year group? Should there be a core group and a larger group of activists?


Promoting SCG Committee - Matthew, Mr Hawes, Chenai, Raihan (Tallis TV)

Activity Committee - Ms Hawkins, Seb, Mike, Mr O’Brien, John

Documentation committee - JN, Billy, TWT, DL

Date: 1 March 3:30-4:30 Venue: Drama Studio (tbc)

Monday 18 January 2010

Stdent Commissioning Group

Just to remind everyone that we have a meeting tomorrow (Tuesday 19th January in room 208 after school)

John Riches is coming along and is keen for the group to move plans forward for the Student Commissioning Group. You might remember that we talked about ways for a group of students to be given a budget to commission, manage and maybe produce work with a range of creative practitioners. It would be lovely to see as many of you as possible.


Sunday 17 January 2010

Making Learning Sticky

I came across this whilst browsing online (via Twitter) and courtesy of @fullonlearning (Full on Learning Blog). Click the image above to visit the document on Issuu so you can zoom in and read the text. The authors of the SUCCESS model are marketing experts who advise businesses how to sell stuff but I wonder if we, as teachers and learners, aren't also caught up the process of communicating ideas to which we want others to pay attention.

Anyway, I really like the list of qualities (sort of) here: Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional and Stories. Most of the memorable learning experiences I have had in my life have incorporated nearly all of these features. I certainly intend to keep these in mind the next time I'm planning a lesson (oh, I should be doing that now instead of writing this post!) On reflection, I realise that this post constitutes a lesson, of sorts, and that I have probably failed to include several of these features in what I've written here.

Back to the drawing board.

Friday 15 January 2010

Ofsted Report on Creative Approaches to Learning and Teaching

Ofsted have today published their long awaited report on creative learning. I haven't had time to digest the full report yet, but there seems to be an acknowledgement that creative learning is desirable and can yield amazing results for young people in a context of secure knowledge and careful planning:
The report, Learning: creative approaches that raise standards, confirms that pupils’ motivation, progress and attainment in primary and secondary schools were improved by creative approaches to learning such as:
  • stimulating pupils with memorable experiences and practical activity
  • allowing pupils to question, explore and challenge ideas
  • encouraging pupils to think creatively
  • supporting pupils to reflect on and evaluate their learning.

Follow the link above to download the report in pdf format. It would be interesting to know what you think of it and whether you believe that creative approaches to learning can have a direct impact on students' motivation, progress and attainment.

Here's an extract from the Tallis PRESS RELEASE to accompany the publication of the report:


Thomas Tallis School in Greenwich is recognised for Creative Learning Practice in latest Ofsted report

Ofsted recognises the benefits of Creative Partnerships and creative learning practices in its latest report: ‘Learning: creative approaches that raise standards’

Thomas Tallis School in Greenwich, a Creative Partnerships School of Creativity has been recognised for its outstanding approach to creative learning in Ofsted’s latest report, ‘Learning: creative approaches that raise standards’. The school was surveyed as part of the report which shows that creative learning practices in schools are improving standards and pupils’ personal development.

Ofsted visited 44 schools for the report and found that almost all were using creative approaches which had a “perceptible and positive impact on pupils’ personal development and on their preparation for life beyond school”. Eighteen of the schools visited are Creative Partnerships schools. Ofsted remarks that Creative Partnerships schools have seen “notable improvements in their levels of achievement and in measurable aspects of personal development, such as attendance”; whilst school leaders were confident about the value of the programme and its impact on teaching and learning.

Rob Thomas, Headteacher at Thomas Tallis School, commented: “We are delighted to be recognised in Ofsted’s new report and are pleased that this report identifies what we see happening in our school every day: that creative approaches to learning raise attainment levels, improve attendance and increase pupil motivation. As a Creative Partnerships School of Creativity, we will continue to further develop our teaching and learning practices to help to shape future education policy and practice."

Monday 11 January 2010

Inspired by Tallis

I received a lovely email today from Clare Burnett with whom we worked on the Inspired by London event:
Inspired by all of you, I have been experimenting with twitpic, audioboo, blogs etc and have just started a blog - I was going to post something on your blog but wasn't sure where to put it - along the lines of 'Inspired by Thomas Tallis'.

Encouraged by how freely the Thomas Tallis media team used their blog, twitter and other technology when I worked with them on the Creative Partnerships Inspired by London day, I have started my own blog. Any suggestions about how it could be better please let me know! Thanks for making it look so easy and feel so creative and for such a fun day. I've talked about it to loads of people. At the moment I have put one of Billy's photos he kindly sent me and a link to his photo portfolio up there.

Thanks Jon. I hope you're having a good new year. I enjoyed seeing some of the team in The Guardian before Christmas.


Take a look at Clare's blog which contains not only Billy's photo but an intriguing image of her studio wall. It's good to know that we have helped another creative person find a new way to share what they do with a wider audience.

Tuesday 5 January 2010

Minutes of our ARG meeting

Minutes of the meeting

Present: HW, JN, Chenai, Billy, Matthew, KH, Kristy
  1. Brief review of activities last term. Lots of opportunities to respond to external initiatives so would like more control of our own plans for the next two terms.
  2. Mr Hawes showed us a film made by Web & Play ( Should we invite Sydney Thornbury to talk to us about what we do and what her company could offer to our primary partners? Yes. Could be a transition project about primary secondary transfer.
  3. We looked at Battlefront 2 ( - young people's campaign website (with spin-off TV programme) Would any of the group like to take part?
  4. 'CreateVoice' V&A Youth Forum 16-21 year olds. Would be useful for anyone interested in working in the creative industries.
  5. How could we work successfully with Tangled Feet again? Mr Nicholls described the Facebook Feedback project and a conversation he has had with Kat Joyce about creating a kind of opera based on the stories and memories of the existing and ex-communities of Thomas Tallis School - a kind of social history. Could the Student Commissioning Group take responsibility for co-ordinating this project? John Riches (Creative Agent) visiting on 19th January to help establish this group. Who would be members of this group? How will they be selected?
  6. How do we encourage all subjects in the school to become more creative? How can we help to track, measure and evaluate the impact of creative learning across the school? We looked at the feedback from faculties. How could we help to highlight/showcase/interrogate creative learning in each area? Should we start with a faculty that is already very positive about creative learning E.g. Maths?
  7. Skills Swap - Posters have appeared around the school. We are not sure quite how this will work but we are still keen on the idea of staff and students working together swapping skills. We will create a display in the staff room for staff to "Seek" a skill and "Offer" a skill in return. How do we engage students effectively?
  8. We have begun to arrange possible pairs to engage in a version of "Faking It!" The idea will be to create 4 mini documentaries involving teacher swaps from different disciplines by half term. We then hope to involve more members of staff later in the year.
Meeting ended: 4:30pm

Create! Digital

Mr Nicholls passed this on to me and it looks like a fantastic set of courses under the 'Create' banner. There are courses on photography, digital media, film, animation and design. Have a look on their website and check them out. I'm not sure if you would need to be accompanied, but I'd be happy to come along. Nearly all the courses are on Saturdays. the Victoria and Albert Museum is a great institution and I think the courses would be well worth attending.


Monday 4 January 2010


I've just created a new podcast site using PodBean. Until now, I've been using Audioboo for podcasts but it's limited to 5 minutes of audio. I had a 26 minute podcast that I wanted to share online so had to find another solution. PodBean is very easy to set up and completely free. It looks very much like a blog and you can add various widgets (I chose our Twitter and Flickr feeds, for example).

Check out the maiden podcast which features an interview with me by the Creative & Media students following The Restaurant (Last Supper) performance for which they created major props, projections and sound effects. I talk rather too much but the students have some great things to say nearer the end about the effect of this experience on their confidence and self-esteem.

Check it out!

Seb's ePortfolio Presentation

This presentation by our very own Seb Wallis is a great explanation about how he created his ePortfolio using Weebly. Seb took to this task like the proverbial duck to water and has created an excellent, media rich site. This video was made to help him gain a very high mark for this unit of work. It proves two things:
  1. Evaluations don't always need to be written documents (and can often be more exciting and engaging when they are presented live)
  2. Seb is a very skilled communicator and has a real sense of pride in his web authoring abilities
We have experimented with using podcasting (using Audioboo on the iPhone) as another alternative to written evaluations during this unit. The new iPod Nanos with a video camera and the PSPs with camera attachment are other ways in which handheld technologies can assist is capturing students' learning experiences in a very immediate way. The advantage of this, apart from it being more direct and engaging, is that the resulting multimedia files can shared with a much wider audience.