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Showing posts from June, 2017

Check out the trailer for our Star Wars film: Return of the Shadow Saber!

Courtesy of the media wizards at Leeds Trinity University's Trinity Vision, this is the first teaser trailer for the Star Wars film scripted, designed and starring twelve fantastic primary school children from two of my Leeds writing groups.

Enjoy and may the Force be with you!




From scribe to Force master - story writing with purpose

How do you craft a story for an audience? How can you encourage children to begin to think of themselves as authors rather than children in a literacy lesson? Key questions for teaching creative writing in primary schools and this week I discussed these ideas with a group of Year 5 children as we wrote the openings to our Star Wars stories.
The children agreed that a quick pace was important to writing and adventure story. Short sentences, using powerful verbs, limited descriptions - all things that help absorb the reader in a whirlwind of action.
What was trickier was knowing how to 'craft' the story for a reader who hasn't seen the planning process. How do we reveal just enough about a character, a place, a quest etc to root the reader in the story but keep them interested by what is NOT said? I call these 'suggestives' - how you suggest something to a reader without telling them. The origin of reading for inference that is taught in KS2, it is essentially writin…

Filthy wretch or poor thing? Rethinking the Island, KS2, Week 1

A treat for the final half term - a new workshop at a delightful school in Leeds! This half term I am working with two Year 5 teachers to develop a cross-year group, cross-curricular writing project based on my favourite picture book, Armin Greder's The Island. I've done this book many times and every time the response is different!
This week, we got to grips with the facts, possibilities and mysteries of the story. What do we know about the story so far? (we only ever read up to page 6 to leave it on a knife edge...) What doesn't this story tell us and what could we infer or predict?    
We looked at the crowd of islanders who 'welcome' the stranger's arrival. As in every class, country or community, no group ever sees the world the same way and we discussed how the islanders might react differently to the man. Is he a poor thing who needs to be rescued? Is he a curiosity? Is he a threat?
We each adopted an islander and took on their perspective for a great dra…

The mystery of the lost temple.... STAR WARS creative writing workshop, Year 5

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away a young warrior discovers a lost temple that will change everything....

This is the context for a Star Wars writing workshop that began this week with a class of Year 5 children. Drawing on their ability to think creatively, their understanding of how to craft an exciting adventure story and the Force (obvs), this week the children began to draw out story maps outlining how their adventure will unfold.

First we jotted down key questions to be answered: is the warrior a hero or a villain? what will they discover? what will stand in their way? What will they learn about themselves on the journey?

Some of their ideas have been terrific - especially the understanding that a great adventure story needs to have thrills and spills, a gripping opening scene and (mild) peril!

Star Wars is such an excellent vehicle for engaging reluctant writers in the classroom. They all want to shape a well known story that they love, there is lots of m…

Happy Chinese Dragon Boat Festival! 端午節快乐! Art with Year 1

端午節快乐! Happy Dragon Boat Festival!
Art class - Year 1 (age 5-6)

Signalling the start of summer, Dragon Boat festival is a Chinese festival of colour, flavour, sound and action. An event that takes place all across China, other parts of the world also celebrate the festival with a boat race - including our fine city of Leeds which hosts a boat race on 24th June 2017.


With my Year 1 class this half term we are exploring the sights and sounds of the festival starting with the beautiful Dragon Boat Flags that decorate towns and villages in the build up to the race before being awarded to the competing racers.

Here are some examples of our dragon boat flags that we made this week. Using pre-cut paper triangles, the children cut the spiky trim from a strip of paper. We then practiced some Chinese characters that describe our racers - fast, good, strong, brave and the champions - before painting them onto the flags with slim brushes and black paint. A job well done.

Next week... we start…

SALE! Buy my teaching resources for free!

Buy my creative literacy resources for free by using the discount code JUNE-OFFERS at my shop on TES online. Sale ends 30 June 2017!

Visit my shop at www.tes.com/teaching-resources/shop/articulate_education or click here and follow the link. 













Small print...
- voucher is worth £3 ($3.97) as are most of my resources
- first time buyers only
- see www.tes.com for full details

May the Force be with us - Star Wars film making project at Leeds Trinity University!

A few weeks ago, in a university not far away 12 primary school children teamed up with Trinity Vision media department at Leeds Trinity University for an epic film making project. The task: to write, script and film a new Star Wars film in four days. No pressure.


After devising several brilliant ideas for an exciting story plot, the children settled on an adventure quest to find a lost legend (no spoilers, sorry....) featuring merciless bounty hunters, an army of wicked Sith lords as well as heroes of the lightside, the brave Jedi Knights.

The children made costumes, masks, lightsabers and even robot armour with the help of the university students and staff.

After choreographing the epic battles, perfecting the script and rehearsing their lines, it was off to the woods to film it under the expert guidance of the Council of Elders at Trinity Vision.

The project was an excellent success. The children's fantastic hard work and enthusiasm was matched by the expertise of …