We met with Erica after our group discussion on what ideas we wanted to pursue and proposed our initial instinct as to which would be the best to choose. Like the rest of the group, Erica thought that the Maths idea would be the most obvious idea to take further as it embeds learning into a clear narrative and would benefit the children and has the power of making maths (a subject many children find difficult or hate) more desirable and straightforward.
The only issue Erica raised was a plot thing, as she was slightly confused as to WHY the shape collector wanted shapes and why Isabel had this triangle in the first place and why it was so special. I’m pleased Erica made this point as it really made me think about logic behind it and the possible queries or questions the children may have to understanding and accepting the plot. Realistically, children do tend to be very accepting of new concepts and the imaginary world as they are used to fantasy situations surrounding them on the TV, books, games etc. all the time. However, it proved to me that as a company we had to be completely solid and understand ourselves the motivation and logic behind our characters and the story line. My initial response to Erica’s questions of WHY was ‘IT JUST IS!!!’ which I realise now is a stupid answer but in my head it just made sense as I had accepted the idea of ‘another world’ where shapes were precious and that the Shape Collector was greedy and wanted them all to give him power over the kingdom. I think during the devising process we need to elaborate on this and think out a genuine and well thought out back story to support the plot.
The other idea we raised to Erica was the idea of using Makaton sign language to make it accessible to other children to and raise the awareness and importance of communication. We also discussed the idea that arose in the group discussion earlier about friendship and making friends and I suggested that perhaps we could use this as a stimulus for a story about including everyone and making friends with people even if they are not like you, and that you don’t have to be the same to get on and that you don’t have to speak the same language etc. This raised a lot of points as in retrospect it goes back to the idea of bullying on a surface level but almost reversed to show the positive side. Also, if the idea was to make it more accessible and open up other schools and centres to visit this would actually be counterproductive as the children at specialist deaf schools would already be fluent in makaton and be surrounded by people who are in the same position as them. Lou then raised the notion of using her Nonsense word poems and teaming that with makaton as both are essentially their own language. The idea of nonsense poetry was popular as we thought it would be easy to follow a narrative and create exciting characters however this raised the problem of copyright if we used published poems.
As a group we had confirmed that we wanted to use the two key subjects Maths and English as the stimulus for our two TIE projects as from our research we could see that these were the areas that lacked the appropriate resources and teaching despite being the most important foundations of learning. With that decided we were only left with the task of thinking up an idea for the second group to do based around English and literary skills. We looked at the curriculum as a group again and searched various topics such as:
- Phonics (which I thought would be hard to do in isolation whilst holding a narrative and engaging the children).
- Nonsense words and real words (apparently there is a national test were children must be able to differentiate between the two and use phonics to sound out words).
- Poems (where everyone speaks in rhyme).
- Storybooks and Reading (following the tale of nursery rhymes of traditional fairytales and promoting the love of reading)
The most appealing and realistic idea was the concept of following a fairy story and promoting the love of reading, perhaps basing the structure of the already existing TIE show ‘The Magic Book’. I suggested the idea of a character from one of the well known fairy stories getting trapped in the wrong book and having to find their way back to their own story – which I personally thought was a really good idea and starting point but I’m not sure the rest of the group understood the concept fully.