English Subject Leader - Ruth Wilkinson
At Oatlands Junior School, the English Curriculum aims to deliver broad, balanced and diverse learning experiences to all children, where they have opportunities to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. An English Curriculum that:
-develops fluent and critical: speakers, listeners, readers and writers.
-empowers children to communicate their deepened learning and mastery of skills across the curriculum.
-drives the core understanding that writing is both essential to thinking, learning and communicating as well as enjoyable in its own right.
-creates a love of reading in pupils to promote lifelong learning and enjoyment in a range of texts / media.
In English teaching focuses on a mixture of direct teaching and differentiated individual or group tasks. It covers a full range of reading activities including phonics sessions, shared texts, guided reading and individual endeavour where children progress through different stages of books until becoming a free reader.
Writing activities develop accuracy in spelling, grammar and punctuation as well as writing for meaning across a range of different genres. Extended writing opportunities are provided both within English lesson and through other subjects. Children are given the chance to write for real purposes, such as creating magazines for peers and writing persuasive letters to national leaders on important issues. All pupils develop a writing portfolio, which showcases their development as writers across the key stage. Opportunities for children to listen to and work with authors and poets are greatly valued and we would warmly welcome any parents, carers and members of the community who would like to come in and share their passions for reading and writing.
Oatlands pupils have continued to wow us all with their wonderful writing skills in and out of school. Penelope McCreanor in Year 5 recently won a prize at the prestigious Ilkley Literature Festival with her poem, ‘Claudia’s Crazy Cooking’. She performed her poem to a full audience during the prize-giving after first giving us a sneak preview in our celebration assembly. Here she is receiving book tokens and a certificate from the local poet/ rap artist Andy Craven-Griffiths who performed a clever and funny poem on the day which included the names of all the winners in the different age categories.
Meanwhile in Year 6, Flossie Linford was inspired to write to the author Emma Carroll about her books. We have been reading ‘Letters From the Lighthouse’ as our class novel this term and have been captivated by the story of evacuees Olive and Cliff and the mysterious disappearance of their older sister. Flossie was delighted to receive a lengthy personal reply from Emma Carroll and hopes to correspond with her in future.
Yesterday we celebrated a belated World Book Day where the whole day was book orientated, including a ‘Brilliant Book Review’ on our favourite book. We brought in our favourite books and we had fun sharing them with our classmates.
In the morning, we visited different classrooms and looked at different types of books to share them with our friends, it was so much fun. These rooms included: poetry, fantasy, picture books, newspapers, animal stories, history books, myths and legends, audio books, comics and Roald Dahl stories.
We also had visit from poet Annaliese Emmans Dean who took a fabulous assembly, telling us about her books. These books are about wildlife in our country – we were lucky to have her perform a selection to us.
Some children were lucky to go out with Annaliese to a workshop. In this workshop we looked at Cinquain poems and had a go at writing our own. This is a group from Year 6’s Cinquain poem:
Eat it with sauce
Different shapes and sizes
Macaroni and spaghetti
Over the last two weeks, children who go to Book Club with Mrs. Nicholson have visited Harrogate Library, where they had the opportunity to find out about how the Library works, how many books are in the Library, and to choose from the wide range of books available for them to borrow. They all made a fantastic corner book mark – so no need to use any of those unusual items they found out that people sometimes use, including a slice of tomato, a rasher of bacon and false eyelashes!
Did you know that you can also borrow audiobooks, DVDs and mini-computer boards? We didn’t, until this visit. We also found out that the Library holds a number of activities throughout the year, all of which can be found on their website. If you haven’t been to the Library yet, go and see how many books there are. You might even find a joke book so that you can tell better jokes that this:
What does a tall building and a library have in common?
If you want to know the answer, ask one of the members of Book Club.
What a fantastic performance by members of Drama Club run by Harrogate Theatre. The children have spent this term learning scripts and acting techniques, to prepare for a performance taught by Lizzie. They spent the afternoon at Harrogate Theatre in the Studio rehearsing and preparing for the early evening performances to family, including a technical and dress rehearsal. There was a real treat and surprise for the children after all their hard work in rehearsals, when they were invited backstage to meet the cast of Beauty and the Beast. Children had the opportunity to ask questions about being an actor and pantomimes. Inspired by the actors, children then performed twice, Don’t Open The Box, a story about the tale of Pandora’s Box based on Ancient Greek Mythology to their family and friends. Our talented children delivered outstanding performances confidently and there were many inspiring moments. It was a real treat to watch these performances and a wonderful production enjoyed thoroughly by all. Chris Tulley, Chair of Governors and RKLT Trustee and Mrs McNerney who attended the performance, expressed how amazing the children were, thanking Lizzie and Harrogate Theatre for providing this opportunity for our youngsters. The children were presented with a certificate after the final performance. Thank you also to Paige and Abigail’s mums who helped and supported the visit. A joy and delight to watch: one we will always remember.
OJS Book Club visited Waterstones and each had a £10 book token to redeem. They all thoroughly enjoyed browsing in the children’s section. The staff were very helpful and guided the children to books and authors of particular interest. It was lovely to see the buzz and discussion, as they shared their recommendations and choices. They also helped each other calculate the total cost of two books, before paying at the till. Great teamwork! Staff from Waterstones and members of the public commented on how lovely it was to see children so well behaved and excited about books. The bus trip back to school was very quiet as the children were hooked into reading the first chapters of their new books. Mrs Nicholson, who runs book club in school, can’t wait to hear the reviews at the next meeting in the Library. Thank you to Mrs Sanderson, Mrs Walker and Mrs Bonnar who help on this wonderful trip. Miss Weir
On Wednesday 1st November, fifteen Year Six pupils walked to Harrogate Grammar School for a writing workshop with Alan Gibbons – an author from Liverpool.
In the first half, he told us all about him and his life. We found out that he used to be a teacher, and won the Blue Peter Book Award against Jacqueline Wilson, Michael Morpurgo, J.K Rowling and David Almond. He later told us about his great books, some of which were serious and had a meaning behind them, and others were just funny! We had a chance to buy one of his books and get in personally signed. After a break, Alan led us in a workshop where we created a modern retelling of the Dracula legend. It was a great morning it really inspired us as writers.Elsa Gordon and Sophie McCormack 6FW
Our first House Event of the year – the Oatlands Junior Performance Poetry Slam has been a fantastic success with wonderful, creative performances from every year group. Each of the houses put forward an individual, a paired and a group performance which were then given feedback by our panel of judges – Mrs McNerney, Mrs Coyne, Mrs Grimer and Mrs Gerry. The teams had already gone through an audition and had been enthusiastically coached and encouraged by our hard-working house and vice captains.
We were all thoroughly entertained and impressed by the exceptionally high standards of performance. A huge thank you and well done to all the children who took part.
Joint winners of individual category: Emma Trayford and Josie Robinson
Winners of paired category: Hollie Bassham and Chloe Brett
Winners of group category: Lily McIntosh , Esme McComb and Ruby OliverOverall Highest scoring House: Green Kingfishers Mrs Wilkinson
This term we celebrated National Poetry Day, the theme of which was ‘Freedom’. We started the day with an assembly where we shared poems by Robert Louis Stephenson and Alfred Lord Tennyson. We enjoyed trying to guess which animal Tennyson was describing in these lines –
“He clasps the crag with crooked hands
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ring’d with the azure world he stands.
The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls,
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.”
Any ideas? If not, your child should be able to give you the answer! We also watched videos of Roger McGough and National Poetry Day Ambassador, Michaela Morgan sharing poems they’d written especially for the occasion.
Back in classes we all worked on different games and activities to give us ideas for our own Freedom poems. After drafting and editing and our work we were very impressed with the results and the wide variety of styles across the school. Here are a couple to give you a flavour
Feel Free to Dream
Dream your way through life,
Free to be yourself!
Dreams whisper freedom
Freedom is an open land
Dreams are cheerful scenes,
Freedom chases opportunities!
Dreams glide through the skies,
Freedom finds fairytale endings!
Dreams are like snowflakes being caught,
Freedom is a kingdom filled with love and joy!
Dreams are here all through life,
Freedom is there through bad and good!
By Georgina Scott 6G
Flying high in the clouds
Rising above the Earth
Every bird has freedom
Enjoying the thrill and the
Dance of the wind
Over mountains, seas and cities
By Luke Clarke 3H