Exotic pets join us for a school workshop!

As a small business I try to do my best to support charities local to me, or the school I am working in. A teacher from St John Fisher School in Peterborough had been in touch to ask if they could book a workshop, but she wanted the children to be able to interview someone real, maybe even go out and about in the local area.

Due to transport constraints and the fact that there was nothing within walking distance I decided to ask a local charity if they would like to come in and be interviewed. The Exotic Pet Refuge is a charity which rescues and looks after exotic pets that are far from the norm. In fact they have an alligator, snakes, owls and several monkeys among their menagerie, which almost equals a zoo!

Two lovely ladies from the refuge came into school and brought with them a bearded dragon and a corn snake for the children to hold. I had instructed them that they weren’t giving a talk – they were being interviewed!

Before they arrived we talked about the questions we would ask, particularly the background information – how the charity had started, who was involved, the most unusual pet, the funniest story etc. Each of the students in the class had a question to ask and I explained the importance of note-taking and checking details to them. I also told them to listen out for emotive expressions from Pam, the founder, as it’s always good to include a quote or two in the article.

Some of them picked up some great quotes and even used them in their headlines when they wrote up their article later. Most of the group picked up on the best quote from Pam: “The refuge is me and I am the refuge – I live it, breathe it, sleep it.”

The students wrote some fantastic articles and absolutely loved the day. I’m sure lots of parents were hearing all about it that evening!

 National curriculum requirements met by this workshop:

•             Make notes, draft and write, including using information provided by others

•             Revise, edit and proof-read through:

•             Reflecting on whether their draft achieves the intended impact

•             Restructuring their writing, and amending its grammar and vocabulary to improve

•             Coherence, consistency, clarity and overall effectiveness

•             Paying attention to the accuracy and effectiveness of grammar, punctuation and spelling