PUPILS ditched ink and were forced to think in new ways when their school banned pens for a day.
Almost 300 youngsters at Sharps Copse Primary in Leigh Park tackled literature, maths and other subjects in all sorts of fun ways without writing anything down on No Pens Wednesday.
In maths lessons, plastic shapes were moved around to create irregular patterns and children worked in teams to crack puzzles like how to make a square out of several straws of different lengths.
The topic of the ancient Egyptians in history involved modelling scarab beetles out of clay, and in literature boys and girls answered questions about stories from memory.
Deaton Willis, eight, said: ‘It was a brilliant day and I enjoyed making scarab beetles which taught me a lot about the ancient Egyptians.
‘On a normal day we would have been writing about them and drawing pictures.
‘I like learning by doing things and because I didn’t have to write everything down I used my imagination more.’
Hannah Eallare-Neale, ten, said: ‘The maths puzzles which we solved in groups were so much fun and taught me a lot about good teamwork.
‘It is so different to what school is usually like – we were using our eyes and communicating with each other more.
‘In the literacy lesson I really wanted to use my pen to take notes, but I had to rely on my memory to answer questions about stories that were read to us.’
Doh Doppgima, eight, said: ‘It was fun not using pens for a day, because I enjoy speaking and listening which I did a lot more of.
‘Doing practical exercises helps you learn more about a topic.’
No Pens Wednesday is a national speaking and listening event led by The Communication Trust to encourage schools to put down pens and pick up language.
Teacher Andrea Hazle admitted the challenge shed a new light on learning for both staff and pupils.
She explained: ‘No Pens Wednesday gave children the freedom to communicate their ideas without having to write anything down, which allowed them to be more imaginative and fun.
‘As a result we’ve had an incredibly lively time with lots of communicating and sharing of ideas – the children have risen to the challenge brilliantly.
‘It was also good for the teachers to see how much they rely on making notes.
‘The creative ideas they came up with to get around the ban on pens were great.’
Head Carol Koerner explained how the event built on the school’s record of encouraging communication and debate in lessons as well as in everyday school life when problems arise.
She added: ‘The skills of listening, debating, arguing in a diplomatic way and resolving conflict are so important.
‘If you can communicate effectively and clearly you will be successful in almost any walk of life.’