Elli Characters

Effective Lifelong Learning Inventory Characters


There is an organisation based at the Innovation Centre at the Bristol and Bath Science Park called ELLI whose mission is to help people in schools, colleges, universities and businesses, from all over the world, to learn to be the best they could possibly be, whatever their age or stage in life. They do this by teaching The EFFECTIVE LIFELONG LEARNING INVENTORY. You can find them online at elli.global

As far as I understand it, there are 7 parts, or dimensions that they have established that make people effective lifelong learners. These are; (and I quote from the learning partnership.com

  1. Changing and Learning– A sense of myself as someone who learns and changes over time.
  2. Critical Curiosity- An orientation to want to ‘get beneath the surface’
  3. Meaning Making – Making connections and seeing that learning ‘matters to me’
  4. Creativity – Risk-taking, playfulness, imagination and intuition.
  5. Interdependence – Learning with and from others and also able to manage without them.
  6. Strategic awareness – Being aware of my thoughts, feelings and actions as a learner and able to use that awareness to manage learning processes
  7. Resilience – The readiness to persevere in development of my own learning power.

At Ashley Down Primary school they have embodied these personal skills into 7 different characters.

  • A Flexible Cameleon, who understands how to change and learn.
  • A Curious Cat, who has critical curiosity.
  • A Linking Spider, who understands meaning making.
  • A Creative Unicorn, the creative one
  • A Busy Bee, who is interdependent
  • A Planning Owl, who has got the strategic awareness, and
  • A Stickability Tortoise, who knows how to persevere.

If you look at the picture above you’ll see there are two additional characters, an elephant called Elli and a Toucan. Now if I’ve got it right, These characters are used in a story context, Toucan and Elli being the protagonist and companion and they meet all the other characters on their adventures, and the various skills they learn from them enable them to succeed on their quests. Nice!

A teacher at the school called Steve Lewis suggested that it might be good to have these characters on the school playground wall. I think this is a great idea. I think it could be really effective if the characters were painted in situations that clearly demonstrated their individual skills, in a way that the kids could understand and find memorable. How to do this deserves some careful thought, experimentation and consultation with the children of the school as we can be sure there will be some clear opinions about exactly how a unicorn can be creative, and an owl plans.

Watch “Puppet Wizard, Shepherd and Sheep” on YouTube

We’ve managed to get our first Puppet Wizard tutorial video up onto utube, before helping the year 2 kids in Ashley Down Primary school make some clothes peg puppets tomorrow. This is partly a response to the teacher Charlie Baughan telling me that sometimes kids take in the information better from a video, than from being shown in person. So now this is available to them to have playing in the classroom during the puppet making activity.

We’ve actually been planning to start making regular puppet making tutorial videos for a while now, it’s just taken rather longer than anticipated to get them started. I have to confess that we’ve got a way to go before we reach the kind of production quality we are hoping to achieve, but  the best way to improve, in my experience,  is to get started.
Please have a watch an let us know what you think. I think Tula makes an excellent presenter, and Rufus is already a handy little editor. A family team!

Nativity Puppet Patterns

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Here’s some nativity character clothes peg puppet characters. Each one is printed twice, looking to the left and right so each character can have a conversation with all the others, while looking directly at them.

Tula and I filmed a video today demonstrating how to make them. Hopefully we’ll get it online tomorrow.

Number 15 in school.


I had a go at using drawing to explore the number 15 with a year 1 class at Ashley Down Primary school today. I’ve never done anything like that before and didn’t really know how it would turn out. The class are learning about the number 15, so I turned the number into  characters and they went on an adventure. Tula came and helped and we drew the events out on paper on an easel I  the corner of a class room. It was cramped, and we were squeezed In next to the kids drawers, where they keep their work and they kept on needing to get to them, but despite this, it seemed to go reasonably well.
We looked at adding 10, adding 5, adding 1 or 2, what numbers added together make 15 and tried to put it into a story context. For example; Number 15 goes into a bakers a to buy 15 biscuits but the baker only had eight left. To make it up to a total of 15 snacks, how many cakes would number 15 need to buy? You get the idea.
Here’s how he paper looked at the end;



Next time I do it I’ll have a clearer idea about what it’s likely we can achieve, and certainly find a less cramped place to set up.

Buffalo Bill clothes peg puppet


For the short bit of time Tula was in school this morning I did these clothes peg puppet templates for Charlie Baughan to use with his class. They are studying Brisol local history so obviously Brunel is there.
Less known about is Colonel Coney who when to North America and brought back to Bristol with him Buffalo Bill and his tribe who formed a huge circus. According to Charlie there were 4 train loads of people involved and 500 horses. It must have been pretty impressive! I’m going to do him and his class some more characters to help their learning.