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Spring Workshops: The My Town project

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Saturday 4th October was a busy day in Clanwilliam, with the last of the walking groups visiting town ‘before the summer begins’ (wrong, it began on Saturday) and a triathlon being run in the vicinity. CBN children took to the main street for a spot of photo-journalism.

We began by starting a map of Clanwilliam with red dots for the highlights. Fast food outlets went on first (including two hot-spots for boerewors (sausage) rolls on a Saturday.

We discussed the principals of group writing and particularly how careful the compiler needs to be when assembling the fragments of writing. The writers remember their own words very clearly and immediately spotted a joke reference to hay fever – then allowed it as Lesley was also in the group. There were nods of approval as they heard their words faithfully recorded.

This kind of writing is enjoyable for children who find it difficult to write a sustained story on their own – using their language of choice. It provokes lively (sometimes extremely lively!) discussion and group consensus. There is a strong desire to be positive about the topic, but a sense of reality too, as in the discussion of teenage pregnancy and of drinking and driving.

After a brief outline of the principals of photography (in the unlikely event of any of the participants ever using an old fashioned SLR camera again) we headed for the town to take pictures of people and places in the bright morning sunshine. Normally we would have used the iPads for this, but it was a bit crowded for that on this morning. There were some good opportunities for photo-journalism, including the etiquette of photographing people and explaining what you wanted the photographs for.

After all the talk of ice cream, we felt obliged to have some before the children headed home.

Interest in the project was sustained over three sessions, with ideas being added and words changed. The group took turns to read aloud – and criticize their own work.

Images taken by the group