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Medium Ideas are aimed at congregations who are looking to expand their service within their local school. Many of these ideas require regular commitment from the congregation and are ideal for people with more time on their hands.

Entries in primary (11)

Wednesday
Mar022016

Invite a school to use your church as a concert venue

Many schools have large and thriving music departments with all kinds of groups and ensembles for pupils to participate in.  In one school, this began to cause difficulties as there was no space large enough to accommodate all the pupils involved in the school concert as well as all the parents, family and friends who wanted to attend. 

A local church saw this need and, as they had a larger auditorium which would be ideal for the concert, they offered to let the school use their building free of charge.  This had huge benefits for the school in allowing them the space they needed for all the groups to take part in the concert and to accommodate the audience. 

It also helped in building relationships between the church and the school and allowed the church to bless the school and the local community.  Members of the church were there during the concert to help with stewarding and they also worked with the school to help provide refreshments at the interval.  This gave opportunities for conversations between members of the church and members of the school community.

How could you start this yourself?

  • If you have a large church building that might be suitable, and you think this is something that might benefit the school, chat to your church leader(s) to gain approval for the idea.
  • Then, contact the head teacher and make the offer to discuss the possibility of using the church for a concert.
  • If the plan goes ahead, you will need to organise time before the concert for the pupils to rehearse in the church and get used to the venue.
  • You will need to find people in the church who could help on the night by stewarding, manning fire exits or helping with refreshments.
Tuesday
Dec152015

Running an after-school drama club

Drama is an excellent medium for engaging young people in thinking about big ideas. At its heart, drama is about telling stories, and through participation children grow in confidence, gain skills in presentation and learn how to use their bodies and voices. It also promotes trust, collaboration and listening skills.

Fiona Stewart, Foolproof Creative Arts, explains how to start, plan and run an after school drama club. In this article, the focus lies on running your club.

You’ve chosen your script, planned your programme and set a date for your final performance, and now it’s time to actually make it work. Here are some tips:

  • Pray as a team. Even though the content and purpose of the group may not be overtly Christian, it’s important to approach the club with the same attitude as an SU group or similar. Pray for the children as you get to know them.
  • Establish a routine for the club - make sure you leave time for arriving, catching up on the week’s news, going to the toilet, eating snacks etc. We encourage children to take off their shoes as it frees them physically and allows them to be more imaginative.Make sure you include some physical, vocal and imaginative warm-up exercises (there are plenty of resources available to help you find exercises for this). Try Drama Games for Classrooms and Workshops or 100+ Ideas for Drama for starters.
  • Keep the programme fast-paced and fun. Use a mixture of all together, group and paired work to keep children engaged. Set out your expectations early on and try and create an atmosphere where children can be boisterous and imaginative within a safe, controlled environment.
  • Put together a box of props and costumes that you can use. This feeds the imagination and helps the young people build characters.
  • Using music can significantly improve a mediocre performance - a little background music, or to cover scene changes and create mood. Also music is great for getting children moving.
  • Introduce terms such as ‘rehearsal’, ‘warm-up’, ‘director’, ‘stage-right’, ‘stage-left’ etc. early on as basic stagecraft is also part of the learning process, and adds to the sense of putting on a proper production.
  • Encourage the children to critique one another kindly and constructively. This encourages those who are ‘just watching’ to be more engaged. We usually ask two questions - what did you think was really good about the performance and can you suggest anything that would improve it?
  • The two basic rules of performance are don’t turn your back to the audience and speak loudly. You will have to reinforce this time and again.
Monday
Dec072015

Planning an after-school drama club

Drama is an excellent medium for engaging young people in thinking about big ideas. At its heart, drama is about telling stories, and through participation children grow in confidence, gain skills in presentation and learn how to use their bodies and voices. It also promotes trust, collaboration and listening skills.

Fiona Stewart, Foolproof Creative Arts, explains how to start, plan and run an after school drama club. In this article, the focus lies on planning your club.

Once you’ve got your team together, had permission from the school to start a drama club and have done some advertising to the potential members, it’s time to get started! So, how do you do that?

  • Decide what you’re going to work on for the term - will you use a script? Write your own? Adapt a story? Familiar stories are often best. You might want to gather ideas from the group, talking about the stories (films, books, TV programmes) that they like. 
  •  If you’re using a script, think about the reading stage of the children in the group. Reading a script is a different skill from reading aloud in class and you may need to find imaginative ways of telling the whole story before you plunge into a first read. Remember that some scripts may not be available for performance or use (e.g. anything currently being performed professionally, many Disney-owned stories). There are lots of scripts available through websites such as Treepress and Lazybees, and we often recommend buying a copy of Julia Donaldson’s Playtime which is written to help young readers. 
  •  If you’re going to devise your own script from a story then there are some resources that will help you do this. Drama Games for Devising by Jessica Swale is a good starting point. 
  • If you choose to dramatize a Bible story remember that many children will not be familiar with the passage. It’s a good opportunity to let them explore the passage for themselves and find its meaning. 
  • Working back from the performance date (probably the last session of the term), put together a realistic programme of what you’ll do each week. Make sure you include some physical, vocal and imaginative warm-up exercises. Try Drama Games for Classrooms and Workshops or 100+ Ideas for Drama for starters. 
  • Enjoy showing friends and family what you have worked on - think about whether you could get some other Christians to organise the ‘audience’ side of the performance by mingling with the families, serving refreshments and hosting well. 

Next week, Fiona will explain how to run an after school drama club.

Wednesday
Nov252015

Starting an after-school drama club

Drama is an excellent medium for engaging young people in thinking about big ideas. At its heart, drama is about telling stories. Through participation children grow in confidence, gain skills in presentation and learn how to use their bodies and voices. It also promotes trust, collaboration and listening skills.

Across three articles, Fiona Stewart, Foolproof Creative Arts, explains how to start, plan and run an after-school drama club. Below the first part which highlights what to keep in mind before starting a drama club.

If you have people in your church who are dramatic, enthusiastic as well as confident in working with children, an after-school or lunchtime drama club is a great resource to offer your local primary school.

  • Before you approach your local head teacher make sure you are confident of what you are offering. You can consider something that has a Christian core, using Bible stories or seasonal material. Alternatively, you may opt for something that is not overtly Christian. In our experience a school is likely to be more comfortable with the idea of non-religious themed drama in the first instance.
  • Make sure you are clear on your Child Protection Policy and that your volunteers are PVG checked.
  • Think about the age group you want to work with. We tend to work with P4 and above, but even within a P4-7 range there is a vast difference in ability and confidence.
  • Many people’s idea of drama is a grand performance of a complex script, and most children will come with high expectations of creating a show stopping production in a matter of weeks! Be realistic about what you, and they, can achieve with limited time and resources.
  • Remember that not all children are skilled readers, and many will prefer to create their own dramas from a story stimulus. By using games and storytelling exercises you can create a club that is fun to attend and produces something decent for parents and others to watch at the end of term.
  • Plan back from the end of term. If you decide to put on a performance for parents gather some people who can help you with welcome, refreshments and chatting to the audience.

Next week, Fiona will explain how to plan an after school drama club.

Monday
May112015

Sports Coaching

If you are looking for opportunities to serve your local school and you enjoy sports, it is possible to combine the two. Most schools have football or other sports teams which often need volunteers, either to run them or to help out. In addition, most schools would be open to new clubs if you are able to set up a sports club the school does not offer. 
 

Where to start?      

  • Firstly, contact the school and find out what sports
    clubs they already have and when they take place.
  • Secondly, work out what you are able to offer the school, whether you can support an existing group or organising a new one.
  • What time are you able to commit and for how long? If you are starting something new or restarting a club, you will need to agree with the school when the activities will take place, what age group it is for and how long each session will last.
  • Work with others in your church to ensure you are linking up with other relationships that there may be with the school. It is likely you will need to get someone else to help you, either from the school or the church.
  • Contact the headteacher to meet up so you can talk through what you can offer.
  • You will need to plan your coaching sessions making sure they are engaging and fun.
    You might want to consider some basic coaching training for the sport you wish to coach. For example, football, rugby union or a variety of other sports.
Friday
May162014

Musicians in schools

A local musician, supported by his church, offered himself to a secondary school to be used in “any way they wished”. He began by putting on a small lunchtime concert every Thursday in the concourse / social-area of the school, and encouraged participation from other musical students. The response was excellent, and over time, staff consistently commented on the benefits saying “the atmosphere is better when you are in here”.

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Friday
Jul262013

Golden Time Clubs

Golden Time is run by many schools as a special time at the end of the week for pupils to engage in a different learning activity. It is often a reward for good behaviour, and can be limited if behaviour has been poor.  Schools like to provide a range of options, and what you might offer is only limited by your skills and imagination. Examples include: knitting, sketching, dance, Bible story-telling club, model making, athletics, baking, sign-language, growing vegetables, film making, chess, face-painting.

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Friday
Jul262013

Story Sacks/Topic Boxes 

Story Sacks focus on telling one particular Bible story through a wide variety of methods. They comprise of at least two story or picture books, props and/or dressing up clothes to act it out, colouring pages and worksheets, pictures, games, toys, and perhaps even a puppet. They also contain a Teachers Folder which gives details of items in the sack and ideas of how each can be used.

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Monday
Nov192012

‘School Run’ initiative 

Exercise of any kind might physically be demanding but usually leaves participants feeling more confident, refreshed and motivated. The ‘School Run’ programme encourages children and adults to take exercise in the form of a run before the school day starts. It sets out personal targets for the individual and helps them to focus positively on improving their fitness.

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Monday
Nov192012

Primary 6/7 Mentoring Groups

A mentoring programme that targets P6 pupils can be established using the YMCA Scotland’s Achieve Your Potential resource. This kind of project has supports many young people who benefited from having their own mentor. It can help them with the transition to secondary school and prepares them for their big move. The mentors are all volunteers from the local church. Although not a requirement, good volunteers are retired people bringing with them many years of life experience.

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Monday
Nov192012

Open the Book

Open the Book offers a structured programme of themed and dramatised Bible stories that fits comfortably into primary assemblies.  Volunteers use drama, mime, costume and props (and possibly staff and pupils) to tell stories in a way that is lively, engaging and informative,  initially from the “Lion Storyteller Bible.” This is “topped and tailed” by comments and a prayer from the Open the Book materials. A Headteacher may request a time of reflection instead of a prayer, which should be observed. It could also be used in an RME lesson.

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