Triumph over disaster

It's Wednesday morning, it's 9am, and I am in Swindon demonstrating shared writing with a focus on "personification". The children wait expectantly.

The teacher hovers nearby. But we cannot get the interactive whiteboard going. Miss stands on a chair pressing buttons. Children call out advice.

But the screen is as interactive as porridge.

Then it comes to me - "The Day the Projector Died". We look around the room and single out objects - a clock, the window, a chair. Then decide what might happen to them on such a catastrophic day. "The day the projector died the curious clock waved its frantic hands the weary window glared glassily the cheeky chairs twiddled their thumbs..." We bring each object alive, with a dose of alliteration and the odd simile.

And the whole incident reminds me that some of our best moments arrive like a godsend. Creative teaching can be planned - a mood established, a focus fixed, ideas created together. But some days the plan just will not work.

If the projector breaks down, do not panic. Learn to listen to and trust your creative, spontaneous voice

Pie Corbett is a literacy consultant

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