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ARTiculate newsletter: May 2018

Hello teachers!

With the number of ‘awareness’ days slightly overwhelming the calendar, it is most certainly forgivable if you’ve blanked them all out. May is full of them, by the way. While National Handwashing Day and International Dawn Chorus Day (5th and 7th of May respectively, if you have your diary to hand) might not get your pulse racing, one awareness worth being aware of is National Share a Story Month which runs throughout May.

So, if you are looking for a perfect sharing-book to celebrate, look no further than The Willow Pattern Story by Allan Drummond, a beautiful take on the story of the famous Chinese pottery design. It is ideal for reading together, alone or using it for your literacy lessons.

Scroll down for details on how to use The Willow Pattern Story to set your literacy lessons aflutter.

Greater Depth in writing CPD – Pudsey schools away day – April 2018I was delighted to be invited to present at the Pudsey Family of Schools away day last week. It was an opportunity to discuss achieving greater depth in primary writing. It was great to meet the teachers of Pudsey and they had some wonderful ideas as we followed hot on the trail of the mysteriously disappeared writer and illustrator, Harris Burdick.

For me, developing independent, creative and high-achieving writers is linked to shifting our view of children as writers and the importance of moving children towards the idea that they are authors with a unique voice rather than simply pupils in a literacy lesson.  Achieving this requires a whole-school focus on creativity, publishing children’s work, feedback and collaboration rather than surges on grammar, spelling and handwriting.

Feedback from the teachers was excellent with one teacher commenting: “Was a great session! Made me think of myself as a writer as well as a teacher.” Thanks again!

If you would like to book this, or similar, CPD for your school, please contact me at Info on training courses I offer can be found at

A book for your shelf: The Willow Pattern Story by Allan Drummond

This beautifully illustrated book tells the classic story of Chinese lovers Koong-Shee and Chang that is immortalised in the familiar blue and white pottery pattern that we know, love and take to charity shops. Actually, the story and has no basis in China whatsoever and was invented in England after the pottery design was already popular in the 1800s. But the story draws on stylistic elements of Chinese culture and is brilliantly retold and reimagined by Allan Drummond. The book is perfect for encouraging storytelling in Key Stage 1.

This resource can be purchased from my e-shop on TES online (click here to access).
You can get it for free by joining my mailing list. Email with the word 'subscribe' as the email subject.

Resource summary

Ideas for talking and thinking: Use the classic design as a visual story map to encourage thinking and storytelling…
Ideas for writing: Retell this love story through writing and performance…
Ideas for art: Create your own willow pattern plates…

Ideas for other books and films ideal for creative literacy can be found in my e-shop, click here to visit my website.

How can I get Stefan to work with my school?
When schools approach me, these are usually the things they need to know. Click on what your school needs to visit my website and find out more.
#1 We need someone to show us how to inspire a class or year group about literacy and writing.
#2 We want a creative challenge for a high-flying group of children.
#3 We need a boost for a group of children who struggle with writing.
#4 We'd love someone to offer regular creative classes at our school.
#5 Our staff want training on how to plan better literacy topics.
#6 It is none of those things, but we’d like you to...

Why not drop me an email at I’d love to hear from you!

Happy book sharing!

PS – after an enquiry about the research project in Cape Town featured in last month’s bulletin, I’d like to clarify that the film made in a primary school was independent of the research project. The film was made for the school and the children who participated – it was not for profit and is not publicly available.

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