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  • Writer's pictureChristopher Jelley

A Forgotten Landscape

Storywalks with Severn Beach Primary School, Bristol.

Day two of my time with Severn Beach school is complete, and the project feels like it is shaping up well. The initial works have been about geo-tagging narrative and content to place which began with 'The Fire Fly Feast' Storywalk. The synopsis of this tale is about a king who will die if he eats the same food twice, and long ago he had eaten all the regular foods so now he was eating crazy and exotic concoctions in a bid to stay alive. In the story he eats 'Wasp Sting Soup' 'Termite Tart' and 'Centipede Samosa' (I think you get the idea!)

So after the pupils finished revealing the geolocated story out in the school grounds, the next job was to give each pupil a chapter of this tale and ask them to design and write up a new food for the king. 'Octopus Eye Pie' and 'Caterpillar Cupcakes' were amongst the new kings offerings.

Their new writing was written directly into the storywalks engine which displaced the original narrative and before the day ended we went back outside into the school grounds for the pupils to read their own geotagged creative writing, brilliant.

Day two began about grid references, mapping and co-ordinates, which conveniently tied in well with the yr 4 curriculum topics (I have been doing my home work you know!)

The session began with a few gremlins bugging the Storywalks system as a new set of secure certificates had come online but the old ones were busy making mischief and disrupting everything. So we quit whilst we were ahead which was a shame as one of the groups had already progressed to the harder numeracy questions of the second walk I had prepared.

Back inside, I regrouped, changed tactics and began to work on their creative processes by using my Story Shells (pictured). These are simple limpet shells with interesting words written inside, and with paired up pupils we created new imaginative narratives half inside the real world and half inside a story. I love leading this task as the story trail goes wherever the imagination wants it to, it feels so natural and fluid.

After lunch we then drew inspiration from The Lost Words book by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris. It inspired us to create riddles from nature words and by the end of the session, all pupils had begun to create a nature riddles about Squirrels, Wasps, Tarantulas and even Cockroaches! These were written up in their literacy books so we can polish and integrate into a digital walk later on.

So the Forgotten Landscape works are progressing, the pupils creativity is blooming and their knowledge of geotagging content (image and text) though the Storywalks system is developing nicely. The next phase is to develop further story ideas (here Michael Loader will take the lead) and then we can integrate their narratives into the local landscape to create trails and story narratives part in this world and part in another.

The final big day of Saturday 14th July is when all this work will be celebrated as part of the village gala, the pupils will lead Storywalks and let their creative writing shine.

Thanks to Michael Loader for getting me on board with this project and also The Forgotten Landscape team plus Severn Beach Primary School who have been so receptive.

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