"I believe I have seen a genuine correlation between children involved in the ARTiculate workshops and target children making Age Related Expectation (ARE)...Every child benefited with progress, clearly evident in their school books."
Simon, Y4 Teacher, Leeds

"Raised pupil's writing by at least 1 sub-level - developed their ability to apply knowledge. Hopefully we will see ARTiculate in our school again!"
Andrew Howdle, Literacy Coordinator

"Very inspirational and creative - lots of new ideas to improve writing and unlock children's imaginations."
Nadia, Year 4 teacher


Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Banter like the Bard, thou goatish, Earth-vexing clack dishes!

Macbeth Creative Writing Workshop
Week 1: Bard Banter
Text: Macbeth, adapted by Leon Garfield.

With the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death this weekend, I have taken the opportunity to introduce a little bit of bard banter into my creative workshops. Starting a writing and drama project on any of Shakespeare's plays can be a daunting task, but helping the children get to grips with some cutting Shakespearean language is a great place to start. It goes without saying that getting the chance to insult the teacher with some saucy, impish quips certainly helps loosen up the shy performers!

Using the fabulous Shakespeare Insult Kit as a starting point, the children were quick to get to stuck into a little Elizabethan trash-talking. Here are some zingers:

Wipe thy ugly face thou fishified, fat-kidneyed ratsbane!    

Hark! Thou logger headed, earth-vexing hugger mugger!

Lead apes in hell thou toad-faced, gorbellied flaxwench!

Hark! Wipe thy ugly face thou goatish, guts-griping malt worm. Quoth I, malt worm!

Ouch!

As we are focusing on Macbeth, the children reenacted the play's thundering climactic sword fight between the murderous Macbeth and the vengeful Macduff. Investing in a few plastic swords was a wise step and this really helped the children bring this scene to life.

As well as reading the text, we are using art as a way of building our understanding of the play. The children selected appropriate symbols to represent aspects of the story. Next week, we will overlay them with text: descriptive vocabulary about our gruesome tyrant, Macbeth. And a few blood splatters of course...

The Shakespeare Insult Kit can be found here (external link).
      

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Creative writing based on Hokusai's The Great Wave


The Great Wave - Creative writing workshop, Year 6

Week 1: Vocabulary development








Inspired by Japanese artist Hokusai's masterpiece The Great Wave, Year 6 are starting on a creative voyage to bring the iconic print to literary life! We spent some time poring over the features of painting: the spray, the wave, the boats and, well hidden, Mount Fuji.

After reading an account of Ellen MacArthur's sailing voyages, we began to generate some cutting edge vocabulary to give our writing some sparkle.

This was the process:
  • Children labelled the features of the picture, including parts of the wave (crest, barrel, swell, lip)
  • We chose personified verbs for the different features. 'Grabbing', 'scratching' and 'grasping' for the finger-like lip of the wave; 'screaming', 'slapping' and 'whistling' for the wind.
  • The group selected similes for each of the features. The wind became 'a bellowing dragon', the boats were 'a floating feather'.
  • We then wrote complex sentences using the vocabulary, building the complexity one stage at a time (see below). We even tried to include some Japanese characters!


The results were very promising and the children developed some very arresting, captivating images. Now we have applied some excellent vocabulary, the children are ready to write!