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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 drama session, arguing whether he should be allowed to stay or not and why. We then looked at how our perspective can colour our judgement of new people. The children developed banks of vocabulary that could describe the new arrival before writing from an islander's perspective to describe the man. 

Adopting personas to act, talk and write through is an excellent way to allow children to personalise their learning, to draw on their experiences and to ensure that all their writing is different! See the pictures to see how we got on.

Next week... how can our perspectives shape the world around us? We look at settings and how the islander's perspectives will influence how they see their homeland - a sanctuary to be guarded or a paradise to be shared?  

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