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Hello again from KIT HQ,

We hope you had a restful break and managed to enjoy a snow-flecked stroll or two. Among an avalanche of postponements, KIT was grateful/relieved to deliver several adventures to schools during the Autumn term. We’d like to take this opportunity to salute the heroic, stoic artists and teachers who collaborated with us to make it possible. In this newsletter we’ll tell you about some of our favourite moments from last term, showcase a new coding adventure and share a case study conversation with a partner teacher.

Autumn 2020 Headlines
Over the autumn we delivered 8 Adventures in Learning to 640 pupils in 6 schools.
Highlights included:

- Year 3 at St Peter & St Paul School joining forces with the mysterious hero from their topic book, The Promise, and campaigning to save their local park when it was threatened by dastardly developer Richard Stark.
- Nanoo the alien crash-landing her space ship into the gardens of Lady Margaret Primary School and asking Year 1 to help her repair it, teach her a noodle dance and send her home safely.
- Year 6 pupils studying WW2 buying an old suitcase on and discovering it was filled with the original belongings of an evacuee from 1941. They worked out the ex-evacuee’s identify, before inviting him (now aged 85) to their school to be reunited with the suitcase and the memories it contained.
- Playtesting our Escape Room In a Box with the perspicacious pupils of The Holmewood School. The Escape Room, designed for and with autistic young people, will (hopefully) tour to the libraries of Manchester in the spring.
- Running our Adventure-making For Teachers CPD workshop with a brilliant cohort of NQTs, working with them to create immersive launch events for upcoming curriculum topics. 
- Some nice words: “A fantastic experience” Y3 teacher talking about The Promise, “Nanoo, You’re gorgeous” A Y1 pupil addressing an alien, "Richard [Evans] was incredibly engaging - the children hung on his every word all morning". Year 6 teacher, following the finale to their WW2 Evacuee Adventure. 
Pupils settle down to what they think will be a normal day at school when unexpected visitors arrive in their classroom informing them that they have been enlisted to participate in ‘a new government teaching initiative’. A large crate arrives and from this emerges a one-of-a-kind humanoid robot teacher: ClassBot 450 LX (LeX). Unfortunately, when pupils test Lex, she dramatically malfunctions and teachers are unable to fix her. It's down to pupils to delve into LeX’s source code, discover what’s wrong and fix her. As the story unfolds, pupils learn the basics of algorithms, logical thinking and coding while exploring the philosophical and economic questions posed by anticipated advancements in Artificial Intelligence.

A co-production with Potential Difference, Classbot 450 is a new week-long Adventure in Learning for primary schools, designed to inspire young people to learn computer programming using live immersive theatre and an accessible coding interface.

This project has been generously funded by John Lyons Charity and ‘Supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Arts Council England’ and will be piloted in 3 North London schools in the spring.

Case Study with James 

James is a Year 4 class teacher at St.Peter & St.Paul Catholic Primary School in Islington.

James and his class were in the middle of our adventure, A Cat Escapes, in March 2020 when the first COVID lockdown began. Having confirmed that all pupils in this class had access to a computer or device at home, KIT and James worked together to move the adventure online without losing momentum.

A Cat Escapes is based in the world of S. F. Said’s Varjak Paw book. Jasmine, Varjak’s cousin, has been cat-napped and Varjak himself contacts the class to ask for their urgent help. Lockdown started shortly after pupils had received their first letter from Varjak, meaning we’d already piqued their interest and were able to use digital tools to continue the story through their home learning platform:

“I was really impressed by KIT’s use of multimedia. The really clever use of emails, texts, phones, that’s what changes it. You bring the Adventure into the real world by putting it on the internet and into real life.”

Our trickiest challenge was replicating the live theatrical finale where pupils lure the catnapper into the classroom to allow the eponymous cat to escape. Our new plan was for pupils at home to send letters to the catnapper giving her an array of reasons to get out of the house and let the cat escape. Here’s the video our catnapper (played by the brilliant Fran Moulds) made in response to pupils’ letters:

In addition to finishing the story, this persuasive writing task also met one of James’ writing targets:

“They were really motivated by the project; it will stay with them.” 

The adventure ended with each pupil receiving a hand (paw) written postcard from Jasmine herself through their letterbox, thanking them for their assistance and signing off with a trademark pawprint.

“The kids loved it…. Couldn’t get much closer to the magic of the day, and I received many happy messages from parents.”

Tom Bowtell - Director
Anna Myers - Producer
Monique Kellay - Administrator


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KIT Theatre · Flat 83 Co Operative House · 257 Rye Lane · London, London SE15 4UR · United Kingdom

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