Giving Voice

Monday, 30 November 2015

Jolly Jokers Shine

I was so proud of the staff and students at school last week. Voice Box went really well and everyone enjoyed it! The children have worked so hard to learn and rehearse their jokes and all did brilliantly on stage! 41 children performed their jokes in front of a hall packed with children, parents, staff and the judging panel. Our judges included Michael Harvey from Business in the Community, Trevor Frost from TD Stockbrokers, Richard Burgon, MP for Leeds East and Harry Gration from BBC Look North!

The week leading up to Voice Box was busy with helping children to prepare and practice their jokes. I did some additional rehearsal sessions with some of the children on my caseload who needed a little bit more specialist support with practising.

Over the half term holidays there was a competition for the children to design a poster advertising the event. There were lots of creative entries and the winner got a £10 gift card. All the posters have been displayed around school in the week leading up to Voice Box and the children were eagerly counting down to the big day!

On the Thursday afternoon we had a complete run through of all the jokes, to check the children were happy with what they were doing and to help them with projecting their voices etc. We also wanted to check that no one had changed their joke from the original entry (which only happened a couple of times!)

On the morning of Voice Box Laura (SENCO) and I decorated the hall ready for the afternoon. Laura bought some lovely star bunting and I had blown up some balloons. We put the medals and winner’s trophy on a table at the front and I put the Giving Voice pop up banner in the middle of the stage.

We set up a table for the judges near the front of the hall, decorated with vases of fresh flowers, Giving Voice goody bags and chocolates! Each of the judges also had a record sheet to score each of the children’s jokes to help them remember when they were choosing the winner!
My dad made calendars for each of the judges with facts about SLT on each month and some fab photos that he has taken himself.
All of the children were brilliant and so enthusiastic. The rest of the school enjoyed watching and it was a really lovely afternoon.

Harry Gration talked about how welcome we’d made him feel and how much he enjoyed the tour of the school before the competition began.

Before the winner was announced Chris (Head Teacher) said Thank You to me for bringing Voice Box to school and Harry Gration presented me with a beautiful bouquet of flowers! I thought this was very sweet and the flowers are still looking lovely now.

The winning joke was brilliant and performed with enthusiasm (and props!) I submitted this to RCSLT earlier in the week and wish him lots of luck in making it to the Grand Final at Westminster.

Tilly and Tom enjoyed meeting the judges!
Judges L to R: Trevor Frost, Michael Harvey, Richard Burgon MP, Harry Gration
Following the event there has been a lot of Twitter activity including from the judges. Harry Gration also mentioned the school on BBC Look North that night which was very exciting for us all!

Laura posted on Facebook that night and mentioned that Speech and Language Therapy Transforms Lives! I thought this was lovely and every mention helps to get the message out even further.

I love how much of a team effort it has been and it would not have been possible without the enthusiasm of the head teacher and SENCO Laura. The children have loved it and are still telling jokes. It’s brilliant how it has got everyone communicating in such a positive way.

One of the teachers made a fab video slide show and I love how Tilly and Tom even made an appearance!

We are hosting the Leeds final on Friday 11th December and are looking forward to doing it all again! It’s not too late to get your school involved – my niece’s school did their whole Voice Box competition in a day so it doesn’t have to take a lot of planning. Further details can be found on the RCSLT Giving Voice website.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

The Final Countdown!

Just over a week until our Voice Box competition and planning and preparation is truly under way. We will be spending the coming days shortlisting the children who will be performing at our competition next week and allowing them time to practice delivering their jokes. We are all very excited as BBC Look North are coming.
The lunch time joke clubs and joke workshops (on No Pens Day) have all been going really well and it’s lovely to see the children’s enthusiasm for telling jokes. The joke workshops also highlighted which children struggled with the concept of jokes and those whom found it difficult to understand the jokes due to the vocabulary (e.g. many of them struggled with ‘Why did the boy go to bed with a pencil? So he could draw the curtains!). This allowed opportunity to talk about what makes a joke funny and also explore some of the vocabulary they didn’t understand (i.e. duel meaning of draw in this example).
I cannot walk down the corridor at break time without a child telling me they have a joke. It’s also lovely to hear the children telling jokes to each other and I’d like to think this is something that will continue after Voice Box is over!
My niece is telling her school about Voice Box tomorrow in assembly and they are having their competition on Friday (with tomorrow night to think about their jokes!) I am so proud that Toni has taken this into school and asked if they can take part. It’s not too late for you to do the same!
Last Friday, my dad hosted a launch of his new DVD ‘The Spirit Lives on’ (about Ashington Coal Company) and a preview was screened at the new community cinema in Ashington. He invited Ian Lavery, MP to the event and I was delighted to have the opportunity to chat to him again. He said he noticed on Twitter that I met Richard Burgon and told me to keep up the good work. I told him about why I met Richard and about my involvement in Voice Box in Leeds. Not wanting to miss an opportunity, I gave him another Giving Voice pen and got a photo with him. I told him I brought another pen for him in case his previous ones ran out and he said the last one had just before he left the house! Haha. It was nice to see him again, and see him continue to support the local community. It was a lovely evening and I was proud to be there and support my dad.
Ian Lavery, MP and me
I am looking forward to the next week and getting ready for Voice Box! The children have  worked so hard and I am looking forward to hearing them perform their jokes on stage! Thank you for reading!