Read, Write Inc. In Action
Following a leadership training day and a whole school implementation day last month, Read, Write Inc. has begun. The staff have also been very busy preparing all the resources and buying equipment for storage. School is now filled with a whole new set of phrases all connected with the programme. Special friends, Fred in your head and chatty friends can be heard in many classrooms as the staff use the different terms used in the scheme.
Next on the agenda is storybook training sessions and then the new books can be used. So far the staff are really enjoying the scheme and so are the children.
'One-Day Creative' Shakespeare Workshop - March 2022
The pupils in Primary 5 have been studying Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare earlier this term and, to further develop their understanding of the play, they took part in a workshop run by 'One Day Creative'.
Matt was the leader of the day and he led the children on a journey through a world filled with love, friendship, loyalty and the bitter sting of betrayal. Along the way, they investigated key themes, tumultuous relationships and the narrative structure. The children had opportunities to include some of the original text from the play and some certainly had the the gift of the Shakespearean gab!
The children were impressive at remembering the main events of the plot (and the tricky names of the characters), also using their drama skills that they had practised preparing for the Christmas show at the local theatre.
Well done to everybody and thank-you to 'One Day Creative' for supporting our learning and creating memories of a thoroughly enjoyable day.
World Book Day 2022
World Book Day was special this year as it was the 25th World Book Day Celebration. We celebrated the occasion in a variety of ways this year. Everyone gathered in the school hall to listen to the story about The Word Collector and this was followed by a parade of children from each class. Members of the school council awarded certificates to various children for a variety of reasons. Every child in school received a book token and three books especially published for WBD.
The children then returned to the classrooms and the KS2 pupils read their favourite books to younger pupils. Some classes tuned into the online activities and events broadcasted live as the day progressed. There were book treasure hunts, quizzes and more competitions throughout the day and a good time was had by all. The adults in school never like to miss out on an opportunity to dress up and everyone looked amazing.
New Reading Scheme
Over the past twelve months the staff have been discussing the implementation of a new structured, synthetic phonics based reading scheme and, after visiting our local reading hub and looking carefully at the schemes that have been validated, Read Write Inc was selected.
Research has proved that the systematic teaching of phonics gives children the basics to be able to quickly read simple words. Once they have learned the relationships between letters and sounds, children can then use this knowledge to read unknown words.
The new reading scheme, with a phonics focus, will provide the children with the skills and knowledge to crack the reading code, allowing them to access to a whole new world of written texts.
All staff in school involved with the teaching of early reading will receive high quality training before full use of the scheme. However, they have already been peeping into the boxes!
Children's Classic at Keswick Theatre
The annual opportunity to attend Keswick Theatre went ahead this year after the disappointment of last year seeing the show cancelled due to COVID 19.
Since 1999, when the new theatre in Keswick opened, the children in Key Stage 2 have attended to watch the Christmas performance. The selection of performance is usually a children's classic story and this year was no exception with a fantastic dramatisation of Tom's Midnight Garden.
First published in 1958, this beautifully-written novel is a ghost story with a difference. A poignant examination of relationships, growing up and the passage of time, it is today considered one of the classics of children's literature. Phillipa Pearce won the annual Carnegie Medal and in 2007, for a celebration of the Carnegie's Medal's 70th anniversary, a panel named Tom's Midnight Garden one of the top ten Medal-winning works and the British public elected it the nation's second-favourite. Some of the children had read the book before watching the play and others spoke about reading the book following the experience. Whispers of - 'The old woman is Hattie you know,' were heard going down the rows of children in the audience and the behaviour of them all was exemplary - testament to the quality of the show.
An Opportunity to Perform in a Local Theatre
In December 2021, after a difficult year to be able to perform in front of a large audience, the pupils in Years 4/5 and 6 held their Christmas production in a local theatre.
This year's performance showed, yet again, the talents of the children at Bridekirk Dovenby School. The script was full of jokes and the audience could be heard laughing from the start to the finish. The children sang and danced with enthusiasm and the smiles on their faces showed how much they enjoyed the experience. It's always a fantastic opportunity for the children to work as a team and appreciate the skills of their peers; giving them memories that will last.
The only question asked at the end of the show was: 'What play are we performing next year?'
Wait and see!
Whole School Enrichment Days
Living and attending school near Cockermouth, the birthplace of William Wordsworth, lends naturally to the children experiencing the life of William and his family through visiting the houses he lived in. During 2021, a significant amount of money has been invested in developing the educational opportunities at Grasmere. In 1799 William Wordsworth arrived in Grasmere aged 29, largely unknown and writing innovative poetry in a new style. Whilst living at Dove Cottage with his family, Wordsworth wrote many of his greatest poems and his sister Dorothy kept her Grasmere journal. The children all visited Grasmere in November 2021 to discover the story of this remarkable time in William's life.
Their experiences all included a guided tour of Dove Cottage, directed activities in the museum and a workshop that was specifically structured to be of interest to the different ages of the children from Reception to Year 6.
Drama in Lessons
Drama is incorporated into many of the English lessons in school. It supports the teaching and learning in many different ways. Drama helps to develop the speaking and listening skills and it is about far more than this. Activities are structured so they help children understand texts in more detail. Children are encouraged to perform parts of the texts and this can help with interpretations and give children more confidence with ideas for follow-up work.
Hot-seating characters from stories can help children to understand how a character may be feeling at different points in the story.
Acting out scenes from: ‘The Sleeper and the Spindle’.
Two pupils have been awarded prizes in the Cockermouth Rotary Club’s 2021 writing competition.
One was the joint-winner overall across the seven schools that entered the competition for her enthralling account of delivering a lamb in Blindcrake.
All Year 5 and 6 pupils across Cockermouth’s primary schools had been invited to enter the competition, writing a short piece entitled “My Happiest Day”. Bridekirk also enjoyed success in the Year 5 competition, with a pupil coming in second place across the schools for her emotive tale about a trip up Scafell Pike with her family.
Additionally, two more pupils were both awarded second place in the Bridekirk Dovenby entries.
Despite Covid restrictions preventing a formal awards ceremony from the Rotary Club, students received certificates and prizes in school.
Proud pupils hold certificates and prizes
At Bridekirk Dovenby School, we believe that primary school children participating in drama, experience an increase in self-confidence. We also have confidence that listening and speaking skills also improve through performing on stage. Plays are chosen to develop the children's knowledge of stories written by famous English writers. The children perform in a local theatre to packed audiences every year.
Scenes from the most recent performance of ‘Oliver Twist’
We have an excellent stock of books in school for our children to read but, every month, new books are being published and we work tirelessly to keep up-to-date with new releases so we can ensure our children have opportunities to read ‘old favourites’ and also contemporary fiction, that often addresses issues that they face everyday.
We also select books that help promote cultural diversity as having a better understanding of others can prevent children from developing prejudices later in life - helping them to empathise with people different from themselves.
An area we are planning to expand our book collection is non-fiction books. Our older children have regular timetabled access to ‘Read Theory’ and ‘Accelerated Reader Articles’ but expansion in our provision of non-fiction material is planned for the future.
Our English coordinator is a member of ‘University of Manchester Reading Group’ and has regular on-line meetings and follow-up tasks. The school is a member of ‘Poetry by Heart’ and Mrs Taylor and Mrs Herbert shared with trainee teachers some of Bridekirk Dovenby School’s ideas to enhance children’s writing at CTT last month.
Regular reference to ‘Book Trust’ also keeps us in tune with most recent book releases and which books are popular.
From Year 1 upwards, we put all children in the driver’s seat to develop their reading skills. The children are guided to selecting books from their 'Zone of Proximal Development' which means the books are a perfect level to improve their love of reading , while engaging quizzes and activities help hone students’ reading skills with authentic practice—encouraging growth.
We have a whole school celebration at the end of every half - term to share the achievements of the children. Certificates and trophies are awarded for a variety of reasons.
Who has read the most words in each year group this half -term?
Who has read the most books in each year group this half term?
Who has improved their reading level by the most points this half term?
Year 1 readers receive their certificates and special awards at the end of the year for children in school who read over 1,000,000 words -some as young as Year 3!
Authors at Bridekirk Dovenby School
Sadly, the coronavirus pandemic has curtailed opportunities for authors to visit us in person - something we have really valued in recent years, with authors such as Helen Haraldson and Cathy Cassidy visiting last year - but we have not let that prevent our children from connecting with them. Making use of excellent live web platforms, our younger children Zoomed in on a special Gruffalo afternoon.
For KS1 pupils, a trip to Dove Cottage helped them to experience first-hand the house where William Wordsworth wrote some of his poems.
KS2 pupils also visited Dove Cottage and attended a Workshop developed in partnership with the Armitt Museum Ambleside. Children had the opportunity to: explore poems and diary entries by William and Dorothy Wordsworth through an interactive story and Dorothy’s journal. They also had a guided tour of Dove Cottage and explored the interactive museum to enhance their knowledge.
Cathy Cassidy signed her books and Helen Haraldsen spoke about her work as an author
Mrs Taylor, our Year 6 teacher at Bridekirk Dovenby School is very proud that one of the pupils she taught a few years ago, Rachel Pattinson, loved writing so much, that she went on to write her own books and they were published.
In addition, Andrea Haley was a teaching assistant at our school and she talked to the children about writing her book:
'The Spider's New Friends' and the process of having it published. Many of them bought her book.
World Book Day - 2021
Reading for pleasure is the single biggest indicator of a child’s future success – more than their family circumstances, their parents’ educational background or their income. At Bridekirk Dovenby School we strive to develop a life-long habit of reading for pleasure and the improved life chances this brings them.
World Book Day is a perfect opportunity to spend the day celebrating great books, having fun and, of course, our teachers love dressing up along with the children. Reading changes lives through a love of books. In order to promote reading for pleasure, every child had the opportunity to take home a bag containing books for them to keep.
Writing is the most complex of the four language skills which are reading, speaking, comprehension and writing. Writing incorporates almost all the other three elements. Given the reality of our highly dynamic and interconnected world, to be able to write effectively and precisely is an imperative competence that must be aimed at. This makes teaching writing a significant activity.
The teaching of writing at Bridekirk Dovenby School is based around the work of Pie Corbett - Talk for Writing.
Shared writing lies at the heart of teaching writing. This is the generic term for writing with and in front of the children as a precursor to the class writing more independently. It is the key moment at which writing is taught.
The teacher uses the assessment of children’s writing to decide on the key ‘progress points’ that need to be focused upon during shared writing.
These may be aspects of composition or a more general aspect of writing behaviour (eg using a plan to develop plot).
There are two key, interrelated processes – ‘demonstration’ and ‘joint composition’. Shared writing is pitched about one level above the children’s own writing so that they are constantly engaged in progress. The foundations for becoming writers are taught in Early Years and then built on in KS1 using talk for writing. Mrs Taylor has developed this further into upper KS2 with her own model for the teaching of narrative writing.