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How to get children to be ‘Sound Detectives’ before producing great writing

Of course there will be examples to counter this but the Kenyan education system, on the whole, is not known for getting children to think for themselves, ask questions or be creative. So it’s a challenge to take creative writing and poetry into this system and get the kids to open up and take risks in their writing rather than following a prescribed pattern. But I do enjoy a challenge.

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My wonderful friend (and Magic Pencil assistant!) Piia outside the classroom

Today Class 5 focussed on their sense of hearing. They became sound detectives, collecting sounds from the classroom, the playground and their memories of home before writing their own responses to Roger McGough’s poem ‘The Sound Collector.’ Finding the right vocabulary to fit the different sounds was a challenging exercise for many but they did brilliantly.

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Listening for and noting down sounds from the playground

Here are a few examples of their work:

The swishing of the curtain / The bubbling of the bathtub / the pumping knees of the children / the creeping of the cat (By Salome)

The hissing of the snake / the chirping of the bird / when you disturb the baby / the crying noise she makes (By John)

The howling of the wind / the buzzing of the bees / when they collect nectar / the beautiful sound they make (By Doris)

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