School Assemblies

 

 
And the winner is...
 

Great assemblies can really reach out and inspire your students. At teachingexpertise we took some time to celebrate the magic of these assemblies, by launching a competition to discover your most memorable assembly moments.

We had such a fantastic response but there could only be one winner! The lucky winner of an Optimus Education book of choice is Paul Goodwin; here is the winning story:

Always Read the Ending
When I was a teacher I had to step in to do an assembly at the last minute. The story left for me was unknown to me and concerned two squirrels. As it was a whole school assembly I tried hard to make it relevant to the whole Primary range. We talked about how cute squirrels were, did actions every time the two squirrels hopped scampered and snuffled. By the time that the story was nearing its end the children had fallen in love with the two squirrels. I then learned the most important lesson about taking assemblies... always read the ending first. After the last movement we did about them scampering and snuffling, the farmer shot them both dead! The look on the faces of the youngest children was painful to see. Apparently the story I had been supposed to read out had been on the opposite page in the book. Ah well.
Paul Goodwin, Headteacher

 

Paul says:
"Wow! What can I say? Thank you very much. I now know that the sacrifice of those two squirrels was not in vain."

 

The prize that Paul chose was The Gifted & Talented Coordinator's Handbook:

G&T Coordinator's Handbook

The Gifted and Talented Coordinator's Handbook takes you through the development of the role of the leading teacher and outlines the government’s vision of what the responsibilities of a leading teacher are. It offers helpful guidance on where you can get specialist training which can then help you to identify areas of need within your school as
well as highlight the areas that you need to focus on for improvement.

Click here to find out more about this fantastic resource

 
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Memorable Assembly Moments...
It was a very close competition, we had such a fantastic response. Here are some of the other great entries


Bullying Incidents
An assembly about bullying.
Started with a true story about a child that I had worked with that was autistic and was suffering from bullying. I had a large photo of a child at the front. As I talked about the bullying incidents I tore and ripped the photo. At the end the photo was in pieces and we discussed how being bullied can make you feel like this. Then discussed how we can mediate, restore and repair and as we did this we built the picture back up. At the end we discussed how we can support, help and restore but the damage is always there. As shown by the taped photograph. The assembly was almost a year ago now and the children still as me − almost weekly about the child that was bullied.
Marie Burgess, Inclusion Manager Highfield Junior school

All I Want for Christmas
Teaching an assembly just before Christmas
with a quite volatile year group, I had been talking about different things that people wanted for Christmas. Towards the end of the assembly I was using quotes for children whose Fathers were serving in Northern Ireland. I had read a few and the silence within the hall was deafening. The final quote was from a little girl who had not seen her Father for sixth months. She said "All I want for Christmas is that you come home to us safe and well". I left to total silence, with them realising how lucky they were to have their families around them.
Patricia Curry, Key stage 4 Business Studies coordinator and Citizenship coordinator

Such a Great Song
My daughter got me to listen to Willy Mason singing 'Oxygen'. I loved the lyrics and a notion jumped into my head. We had a great guitarist (Joe) in our House and several very talented singers. In our next House meeting I got Joe to play and sing the first line. I had six key singers lined up and the front and the House divided into sixths in front of them. The first singer stood up (along with her sixth of the House) and joined in on the next two lines - then the 2nd singer and her sixth of the House − and so on, At the end of the verse - the whole House is singing and then they all sit down and Joe sings the little refrain and it all happens again. Then we did it in a whole school assembly. At this point the sixths of our House are randomly scattered around the hall. When they stand up and join in the other 75% of the school are (a) electrified and (b) totally unsure about whether they should be joining in or not − the music wasn't introduced as a House event!! And it is such a great song with such great lyrics!!
David Palmer, Head of IT Dept Ackworth School

Not a Dry Eye in the House
Whilst an NQT (many moons ago)
I was in a fully inclusive school for children with physical disabilities. Friday special assembly and a year 4 boy called Callum who has cystic fibrosis gets an award. For the first time in his life he stands unaided and walks 5 or so steps to the Head Teacher. Not a dry eye in the house!
Philip Sharrock, Asst head Teacher

What is Fiction
Our head was doing an assembly
about what is true and what is fiction. During a long hymn he went off to the swimming pool, rode a bike in the pool and came back into assembly! The children did not believe him until they saw vide evidence!
Jenny Barlow, Head of science/head of year 8

A Young Man with a Big Secret
Working as a sixth form tutor
, it was often a challenge to get the students to participate actively in assembly. One remembrance day, a young man with a big secret and a huge need to maintain his street cred, agreed to participate. As two student laid a wreath at the front of the hall, he played the Last Stand on his Euphonium, although this was from the very back of the hall in the hope that no-one would see. We all glowed with pride for the risk he had taken, it was a euphoric moment! His risk paid off and he was held in great esteem for his skill.
Rhona Wilson, Primary B&A Consultant, Northumberland

Collecting an Award
Every time I see the autistic child I work with
go up in front of the whole school to collect an award. It somehow makes those many, many months of sitting outside with the door ajar (bit by bit a little wider) so worthwhile!
Angela Mundy, Special Educational Needs Learning Support Assistant

Acheivement Assembly
When I did an achievement assembly
. I asked everyone who had done something good for the school or an individual to stand up until the whole school were on their feet. This ranged from opening the door for someone or looking after a visitor etc.
Jacqueline Hines, Year head for year 7

Music Assembly
During playtime duty
a couple of staff discovered that one TA was an accomplished violinist. At the next assembly which was during activities week and themed 'music' she was persuaded to play the violin, to uproarious applause from children and staff. It's good for children to see staff achieving and being recognised for their talents.
Carey Smith, TA Sherston C of E School

Noah's Ark
At Hilltop SEBD school in Stevenage
I did a brilliant assembly (even if I do say so myself!) of Noah's Ark. Another teacher Gloria wrote the lyrics and I put it to guitar music and we created a mini musical. The pupils made an ark in art and masks for the beasts and incorporated percussion, poetry, singing and dance into the drama. It went down so well we repeated it for our parents. Our head even wanted us to take it round the local schools.
Moira Granger, Head of Centre, Eastern Area Pupil referral Unit

Pancake Day
To celebrate Shrove Tuesday
one year, I meticulously prepared to cook pancakes in front of the whole school. I went out and bought a small camping stove and gas, all the ingredients and fresh lemons. I practiced until late the night before ensuring nothing could go wrong (I'm not quite Gordon Ramsey). Come the day of the assembly I set up all my gear, had my class in the hall early, music playing and everyone really excited. The school arrived and I began my talk. I had everyone enthralled, hanging on my every word as I mixed the ingredients and lit the stove. The batter went in, cooked a perfect pancake and a lucky chosen child came and tasted it. What I'd forgotten to do however was to turn off the stove and before long smoke started to pour from my frying pan. It ballooned upwards, quickly finding the smoke alarm and set it off. The entire school had to be evacuated and then watched as the fire brigade arrived and I gave my apology to them. I think this will be one assembly that many of the students will remember for quite a time to come...
Tim Parker-Smith, ICT Lead Learner & class teacher at Longspee School

Don't Judge a Book By It's Cover
I remember doing an assembly on a "Don't Judge a Book By It's Cover". I opened up a tin labelled Pedigree Chum, peered at the contents and asked the children what it was made from. "Dog food" was the reply. The children were totally amazed and disgusted when I produced a spoon and asked any of them if they wanted to try it. The grimaces and eeughs were incredible as they then watched me eat spoonful after spoonful, licking my lips with relish. It was only later on in the assembly, when I'd recovered some resemblance of order, that I told them the tin was actually full of chocolate mousse. Appearances can be deceptive − don't judge a book by its cover!
Gill O'Neill, Teaching and Learning Consultant

Caring for Animals
Took an assembly on 'Caring for Animals' in a local primary school,looking at unusual pets just before a talk by the NSPCA on the difficulty of looking after reptiles, who inevitably end up in the care of animal sanctuaries when they were too big for their owners to care for.

At the end of the talk, some pupils were allowed to come up and talk about their experiences of looking after unusual pets. One child got up with a plastic bag (should have been suspicious) and proceeded to remove a snake that she had found in the garden the day before from the bag where it had spent the last 16 hours,trapped in the bag on the hook on the back of her bedroom door. I think it was the first time that the entire attention of the school was focused and I think we all stopped breathing for a moment or two.The pupil was extremely reluctant to give up the snake and had to be gently and quickly removed from the hall before the snake took off in search of freedom. So glad I wasn't scared of snakes and managed to act as if it was quite normal to have a snake plonked on your lap first thing in the morning without warning.
Anne Bridgens, teacher hanley Castle High School

Another Miracle
I always take my dog to assemblies whether in school or church. On one occasion, I was telling the children about Jesus feeding the five thousand with just five loaves and two fish. As a visual aid, I had five bread rolls and two sardines. After the talk I put them on the altar and then went to stand in front of the children to lead the prayers. We closed our eyes for the prayers, but when we opened them we found that the bread and fishes had completely disappeared. One of the children shouted out: "It's another miracle!" Then we noticed that Coffee, my dog was licking his lips. While we were praying, he had scoffed the lot. I felt it was quite miraculous that all 175 children had had their eyes closed and hadn't noticed what had happened.

When he became ill with cancer, I used this fact to talk to the children about this illness, as some of them had relatives suffering from this disease. I explained about his treatment and what might happen. He went on to live a good quality life for almost two more years. When he died, I used this as an opportunity to talk to the children about death and dying. We had a service to remember him and to say thank you for his life. I had a big response from parents who said their children had found this very helpful and reassuring.
Revd Anne Heywood, Vicar, St James' Church