Somebody or nobody

6CM performed a class poem entitled Somebody or nobody at this morning’s Rosendale ‘poetry slam’ hosted by poet and rapper Breis.

 

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We used Emily Dickinson’s I’m Nobody! and Muhammad Ali’s Last night I had a dream as inspiration and wrote poems about being a ‘somebody’ or a ‘nobody’.  There are a series of poems that respond to one another.  Breis gave special mention to Myah (for her performance) and Jim, Archie and Nathan (for their words).  Later, Breis came into the classroom and read the children’s poems back to them – which was exciting to listen to.

Here are the poems in the order they were performed.

Somebody or nobody?

Why be somebody
When you can be nobody.
Why have fame
And have many know your name.
Why not be backstage –
Instead of in spotlight’s cage.
So why be somebody,
When you can be nobody?

Nina, Olivia and Sylvie

I love to be in the spotlight
I love to have fortune and fame
I love to be up on stage in sight
So people can call out my name.
I love luxury and riches
No matter the cost or price
Sometimes it lands me in stiches
But I don’t mind rolling the dice.

Nell and Sarafina

Sometimes it’s nice to be simple
Who needs fame and fortune
Just to live a simple life
And one you won’t regret.
Who needs to be in the newspaper
Who needs to be on TV
Just live a life – a simple life
And that’s the one for me.

Ellie

I’m great, unlike you!

You crumble like cake
You got jealous of my hair
Whilst you wear a wig
Like Donald Trump
You think you’re so big
I’ll get you a grave to dig
And your wallet’s getting thinner
Mine’s bigger
Like my lyrics

Archie and Jim

We are cool
We left school
We lurk late
We strike straight
We sing sin
We drink gin
We jazz in June
We will die soon.

Caspar and Mohammed

My name’s Nathan
My cut stings
Like a bee
I’m just a wannabee
Stop trying to steal my sweets!
You can’t see me
In my lambourghini
Which is black
I’m black
I’m invisible
So you can’t see me
So stop trying
I’m perfect
So crown me.

Nathan

The spotlight shines on you
For you crave it.
You are a somebody
You hate the gloom
And I’m a nobody
At the back of the room
Watching you walk
Listening to you croak your name.

Ignas

I’m angry, I’m angry
And I just can’t keep it in
I wanna scream and shout
I really wanted to win
Then rain falls down
Filling my shoes to the brim.
How lonely I am
As the anger kicks in.

I’m angry, I’m angry
My life is a lie
My brain keeps teasing me
I wish I could die!
I am so weary
I sleep in day
And wake up to the sound of a light.

I’m happy, I’m happy
I’ve just had an idea
How about I make some friends
And do it with cheer.
Little did I know,
There was someone at the door,
And I didn’t hear.

Myah

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The Scottish play

Letters from Macbeth to Lady Macbeth, written after hearing the witches’ prophecies, by Caspar, Wayne and Tanya.  Do you think they capture something of the Shakespearean style?

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My dearest wife,

‘Twas the dunnest battle but I assure thee I am well. Just before I start I pray that thee burn this letter after ‘tis read. The battle was against Norway and there was a countless number of deaths on each side but we were victorious by the skin of our teeth. The field that we battled on turned incarnadine.

I am tired of risking my life for this weak and feeble king. I am going to unburden my dunnest thoughts and I pray for you to stay by my side no matter what happens. I think what if something were to happen to Duncan? We are third in line, but what if Duncan’s sons were to just disappear also?

I must tell thee, dear wife, I have been alive for some time now but this is the strangest thing I have ever seen. After the hurlyburly of the war, when I was riding back home to thee, I saw three old crones. They said, All hail Macbeth, Thane of Glamis, All hail Macbeth, Thane of Cawdor, All hail Macbeth, who shalt be king! How doth they know my dunnest thoughts?

(Caspar)

My dearest wife,

I have really important news of the utmost urgency. I hope this letter finds you healthy and well. I have sent this letter to tell you I have completed my duty for King Duncan. As you know there was a battle that had a great mass of bloodshed. The battle was against the Norwegians and as general I led King Duncan’s army to victory. There was an onslaught and there was a horrific cost as one thousand, two hundred brave men died.

I must unburden myself of my dunnest thoughts of becoming King of Scotland. I’m tired of fighting for the old and feeble king. I am constantly alarum’d as I am the most fierce fighter he has ever had.

My dearest wife, the most strange things have happened. After the hurly-burly of the battle, Banquo and I noticed three haggard old crones, sucking in the despair of all the deaths. I drew my sword and demanded them speak. My wife, I must tell you that I feared them. Their rasping voices like a stone on iron chanting, All hail Macbeth, Thane of Glamis, All hail Macbeth, Thane of Cawdor, and All hail Macbeth, he who shalt be king. Then they said, All hail Banquo whose son shalt be king. Dost the old crones prophecies mean aught?

(Wayne)

I hope that my letter gets to thee. I send this letter to thee to tell thee I am healthy and well and I have done my job for the king. The battle against Norway was bloody and ugly but at the end we were victorious.

I’m very sorry but I have to tell you my deepest, dunnest secrets. I have been having these thoughts about being King of Scotland. I want to be more that Thane of Glamis. I want to be something bigger and better.

This morning I was on my way back from the war and I came across three withered old crones. I told them to move but then they said, pointing their crooked fingers at me, Hail Macbeth, Thane of Glamis. Next, another one said, Hail Macbeth, Thane of Cawdor. And then suddenly one said, Hail Macbeth who shalt be King of Scotland! Then the crones disappeared and the king’s messenger came and said the king is making you Thane of Cawdor…. Art all the crones prophecies to come true?

(Tanya)

Thoughts about war

We ended our study of the Second World War by reflecting on war generally; on whether war can ever be justified; and on whether, as individuals, we think that we might ever be prepared to fight in a war.  

Although the Second World War is now part of history, we discussed the terrible fighting currently taking place on the edge of Europe (images of Aleppo in Syria that we looked at were similar to many of the images that we had studied of cities destroyed in the Second World War).  We agreed that, although we are fortunate to live in a stable part of the world, we should not think of war as something that only happens in other places to other people at other times, and that it’s important to develop our own views and understanding about issues of war and peace.  Here’s a selection of the reflections.

Ignas said: “I’ve learned that “the Second World War was a horrific time of death and anger and that we should try to prevent war in the future.”  Jim similarly: “..war is unimaginably awful and scars people for life”.   Nell said, “I have learned how lucky we are to be in a safe part of the world and how we should be grateful for our health and homes.”

Ellie wrote: “I’ve learned that war is about blood and bravery, right and wrong, and great and evil leaders.   War is life changing and always life ending.  My views on war haven’t and will not change.   I believe that if you start a war out of choice your innards are ugly and black and you are inhuman to be so cruel.”

The children reflected on what had helped them to understand the nature of war.  Sarafina said: “I’ve learned that the Second World War was a cold, dark, dangerous time in history….  What helped me understand was family history, other people’s points and perspectives , and stories of what happened to them.”  Nina: “The family histories made me understand war from different perspectives.  Images of war helped me see what was going on.  The Silver Sword makes me realise that children go through dangerous times too.”

There were lots of different points of view on whether war could ever be justified.  Ignas: “I think that we have to be prepared to fight but we have to try every resort before we do… we are fighting for peace not for fun.”   Temmyyaa:  “I have learned that war isn’t about yourself, it’s about people you care for…. I would be able to fight for my country, the people I care for.”

On the other side,  Caspar: “I’m an absolute pacifist, because I hate the idea of killing.” Sylvie:  “I think I am a pacifist.  I just think it’s wrong and I couldn’t bring myself to kill people living who have feelings and families who care for them.  And if it wasn’t war, we could have been friends.”  Sarafina: “I am an absolute pacifist.  I would never, ever go out to fight in a war.  People don’t understand what they’re doing.  As soon as they sign their name, their life has changed.”

Nell tries to take a balanced view: “ I don’t feel war is a solution but in a way I understand why we had them because the Nazis needed to be stopped.”   Jim says, “War can be justified and can bring out good leaders.   Also we can learn from it and make sure it never happens again.”  Do you think Jim’s right?  Can we learn from history?

World War II

We’ve begun by discussing the lead up to the Second World War.  We used this video as a prompt: Lead up to World War II  (a little wordy, and might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but worth a look).  We also watched  footage of Neville Chamberlain’s ‘peace in our time’ speech and listened to his subsequent Declaration of war

200px-neville_chamberlain2

Then we asked the children to write a little about what they already know about World War II and, more importantly, what they want to know.  They came up with extraordinarily deep questions, some of which we will try to explore in subsequent weeks.

On understanding war and the morality of war

  • Why did a species turn on itself? (Daisy) 
  • I want to know why people wanted to kill each other when they could have a world of peace.    Why were people OK to “accidentally” bomb houses of innocent people? (Olivia)
  • Why do we have to be so cruel to our own kind?  How could we be so stupid to kill countries for six years? (Sarafina)
  • What was the point of fighting.  Do we get anything out of it?  (Nathan)
  • Why was it so inhuman? (Wayne)
  • Why we couldn’t sort things out another way? (Nina)
  • How did the war spread around the world? Why? (Myah)
  • Will there be a World War III (Emily)

On Hitler, the Nazi Party and Germany

  • What triggered [some] Germans to be extremely cruel, killing machines?  (Archie)
  • Why did so many die just because of one person? (Sylvie)
  • And some very black humour from Sylvie: how many trees were used as death certificates?
  • If Hitler hadn’t died [and had won the war] what would he have done next?   (Tanya and Caspar)
  • We are all human.  Why did Hitler think Jews were so bad?  (Emily)
  • Which country killed more people: England or Germany?  (Archie)

On what life was like during the war, how the war affected the local area, and the role of women in wartime

  • How did families cope during the world war?  Where did families live and what did they eat?  (Nathan)
  • Why couldn’t women fight in war? (Olivia)   
  • What kinds of things did the women do? (Sylvie)
  • Was the local area bombed?  
  • What was our primary school doing in WW2.  (Sylvie)  
  • When did Rosendale Road get hit by a V2 rocket? (Faith)

Learning about being a scientist

science-03

We asked the class to round off this half-term’s science project by reflecting on what they felt they had learned about science.  Here are some of the extremely interesting and thoughtful responses.

Sylvie wrote: ‘I have learned that science isn’t about the teacher knowing the answer to the question – it should be about the children finding out for themselves.  It is about trying something new, combining as much information as you can from other scientists, then putting it together into a new experiment.  Use what you know.  Ask the questions that can be useful.  Change the world for good.  But it’s not just about the bigness of changing the world in enormous ways.  You should also do small experiments that add up to a better understanding of the world.’

Sylvie captures the spirit of scientific enquiry – but using science to change the world for good is a great point too (and not one that we much discussed).  Microbiology, as many other areas of science, has so much potential for both good and harm.  Nina said that ‘Science gives us power over our surroundings’ and Zeca that ‘Science is basically everything.  It’s like the future.’  So we must surely want young scientists to give thought to the purpose and goals of science at the same time as generating new knowledge.

Patrick said, ‘I learnt to think like a scientist.’  Caspar, ‘Ask lots of questions and don’t hold back.’  Archie said:  ‘I have learned that in science you can’t really do an experiment once because the results sometimes vary… Science is about doing experiments and finding out new stuff about the world by asking questions.’  

Eleanor compared science to a large experiment with endless possibilities.  Mohammed said something similar: ‘What I like about science is that there is always a new and better experiment.’  And Jim came up with a great idea for continuing his team’s experiment, which was to use yeast to generate CO2 and then use this to see whether mould will grow on bread in an atmosphere of CO2 or whether it needs oxygen.