Anywhere, anytime.

I have had some incredible SOLE sessions lately and I feel really honoured.

I am particularly excited about five SOLE sessions I had on two consecutive mornings recently. 

I asked a group of 10 year olds ‘should we have one universal language?’ The thinking, the questions and ideas that came up were fab. 

I asked the question again to another group 30 minutes later but skyped my new friend and co-ordinator Moumita in Kolkata in and we told the group how we’d met in Kolkata and how we managed to speak with each other but because I don’t speak Bengali and although Moumita’s English is amazing sometimes we got confused. 

The young people responded to our question and our context with fantastic debate and passionate discussion. It was fantastic.

I followed this session up another 30 minutes later by skyping in to Chandrakona where the group had simultaneously answered the same question and I came into the session at the end for feedback. 

They told me loads of amazing ideas and were very passionate that we should all learn languages and learn about each other’s cultures. Those young people there were amazing examples of that in practice as their English was incredible. I was so proud of them and so thrilled to see them again and hear their responses too. 

The answers from all groups had some cross overs and it reminded me how fantastic learners are and how given conditions and circumstances anywhere – learning is possible. It was so energising.

The day after this we tried some SOLEs in our icafe space at our Sunnydale Campus with some more wonderful young people. 
It was so reaffirming that with the right conditions learning can happen anywhere anytime. A reminder to staff too that Room 13 is wonderful but not essential as SOLEs can happen anywhere (and that we knew this already before Room 13 as some staff have been doing SOLEs with me for the past 7 years in all sorts of classrooms and many still do!)

We explored an issue that had been on the radio that morning about a report stating that our pets don’t like cuddles. We explored a question about whether animals really do understand humans. 

The answers were really interesting and had some really big concepts behind them.

We followed this up with a session exploring the question ‘is reading a magazine in a shop stealing?’ I was thrilled by the examples and questions that continued to stimulate including –  if you borrow a library book and don’t return it on the due date is that stealing? If you eat a grape in a supermarket is that stealing? What about wearing clothes in a shop for a while? How long is it ok to use things in a shop before you have taken too much? ….

Lots to think about. Great thinking. Love it. 

Brilliant sessions that remind us all that it doesn’t matter where you are as long as you have the Internet, each other and a big question that inspires you!

Magazines and Bananas

Had two great SOLE sessions recently that involved magazines and bananas. 

Is reading a magazine in a shop stealing? 

The group of 9/10 year olds were really ready to get started after my little story about the trip to the co-op i’d had recently were i’d seen a customer study a magazine in the shop from front to back and put it back without purchase. 

Some of their responses included:

Isn’t theft- if the magazine is not taken it’s not against the law 

You should pay full price if you read it in the shop otherwise why do you have to pay for magazine

It’s like people in a Clothes store wearing the clothes first then trying to put them back and sell them. You should be able to buy things that other people haven’t used. 

It’s about Fairness. 

It’s not a legal crime but it is a bit of a crime – yes 

Fairness is important. If you damage it or mess with it you should buy it. They could check with security or cctv.

The front cover is designed to make you want to pick it up and see before you buy. The Supermarkets want you to look and get caught up in it so you’ll want to buy it and finish it. It’s part of a bigger plan.

Not a yes or no. We have some rights and responsibilities so you should buy it if we want to read it all or damage it but should be able to look before you buy. 

Not theft. That’s only if you take something from where it belongs.

People read them all in a shop why bother to sell them. 
It is stealing.

I asked another group of amazing 9/10 year olds:

Can I buy of bunch bananas with a bunch of bananas?

I told them my tale about not having change for a car park and wondering if I could use/give something else but money was all I could use there as it was what the other people who ran the car park wanted. 

Some of their ideas: 

Trading is an easier way of buying food if you’ve not got much money. You can swap and trade for things you want, that are different or better for you. They did it in the old days instead of money.

Ripe bananas and unripe bananas – you could switch 

No- if you had same bananas no point swapping- so why swap 

Depends – what shop you went to/ what the bananas where like, where they’d come from, how they taste, how ripe they are- you may need something in particular. 

No- if I had battered mouldy bananas someone might not want to swap their ripe bananas.

Trade – depends if your friend wants that. 

If you want to make Banana bread for example you might need the ripest ones and yours might not be ripe so you could sell yours for other ones. 

It depends which way you want to use them and why you want them 

(Supply and demand)

It depends what the bananas mean to you. Hard to decide.

I hate bananas – I’d like to swap for apples. 

What do you value?

Why swap any if you’ve already have some? 

It depends what everyone wants in the first place.  

Ha ha ha!

So what does make a good joke?

Let me try a few on you….

Did you hear the one about the roof?…no, it’s ok, it’s doesn’t matter, it’s over  your head.


Why did they decide not to let Elsa hold the balloon?…because she was likely to ‘let it go’

What do you call an alligator in a vest?…. an investigator


What did one pencil say to the other?… you’re looking sharp!

41055_beauty.png….enough already?!!


Well this was the question I posed to two groups of students from Vane Road Primary, who, incidentally had a very sophisticated sense of humor.  I figured this out because my joke telling was met with either all the answers or a deadly silence!

So what does make people laugh, why do we laugh at somethings and not others, what does make a good joke?

The two groups gave us insight into what they think.

” a good joke turns your frown upside down”, “you can use words or riddles, or puzzles or stories to tell a joke”, “they help us relate to each other”, “they are funny when we have the same knowledge and understanding”, “they can be written down in a book though cos i’ve got a great joke book i like to read and it makes me laugh”.

One group explained that “jokes should not be offensive, racists or about your appearance because some people will feel bad and you don’t want to be nasty.  A joke can be polite and still funny.”

Another group said…..”it’s all about the timing”, It’s about keeping your attention”, “it’s about making the punchline relevant to the topic”, “i like jokes with funny accents”, “sometimes jokes are funny when you are not supposed to laugh” and someone added a lovely statement “that a good joke makes people feel happier”.
I asked for some examples- I got lots so i’ve just selected a few. Enjoy.

Why did the banana go to the doctors?….it was not peeling very well.


What do you get when you cross a snowman with a vampire?…Frostbite

What to do you call an owl magician?…’oooh- dini’


and a one that puzzled us (ok it was probably just me) for a while, but Jack helped those of us who were a bit slower.

 If there are 30 cows and 28 (twenty eight/or twenty ate) how many didn’t? 10