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.
Children will have a daily English lesson with their class teacher which 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, whole class 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. 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.
At Oatlands, we want all children to leave Year 6 able to read accurately, fluently and expressively and to carry with them a love of reading that will last a lifetime. We will ensure that they have experienced a wide range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry, classics, recent titles, books by a wide range of authors and books which reflect the lives of a broad range of people. They will have the opportunity to enjoy books in different places: our wonderful library, our class book corners and in our outdoor reading retreat. We read engaging class stories everyday and we will give our pupils lots of opportunities to discuss their thoughts and opinions about what we read. Those that particularly love reading may have the chance to become class librarians and share their enthusiasm with others. As writers, we want them to be able to express themselves eloquently and for different purposes and audiences. We will help them to develop a full range of writer's techniques including a secure understanding of grammar and spelling to enable them to communicate clearly. Your child should also have had the pleasure of working with visiting authors and poets and experiencing theatre productions during their time here.
"It's really fun and it's one of my favourite lessons, I love to learn." - Year 3 pupil
"I like English because it helps other people and myself." - Year 3 pupil
"I like to go wild with my stories!" - Year 4 pupil
"I like English because I can write loads of things and use lots of cool words." - Year 4 pupil
"We do speeches and writing and I love to write." - Year 5 pupil
"I love listening to our new class book." - Year 5 pupil
"I like that I can be creative when we write stories and diary entries." - Year 6 pupil
"I like how we do different activities like non-chronological reports and stories." - Year 6 Pupil
Mrs Nicholson and the class librarians have been working hard to sprinkle a little extra seasonal reading magic in our library. They have been chosen a selection of Christmas books to share with their classes and Mrs Nicholson has created some wonderful Xmas characters from books to decorate the space. We were also delighted to have received an early Christmas present in the form of a very generous donation of books from former pupil Alfie Bray. Once the librarians have sorted them they will soon be finding new homes to our book corners and fiction shelves in the library. Remember, we are always very pleased to receive any books that need rehoming, if you are having a clear out.
As part of our National Poetry Day celebrations in October, the Foxes read 'The Magic Box' by Kit Wright. We loved Mr Wright's imaginative ideas and reversed images and were inspired to create our own enchanting poems. We decided to send these to Mr Wright and were delighted and honoured on Thursday to receive a reply! Well done to all the Foxes for the incredible effort they put into and enthusiasm they showed for their poetry writing, and a huge thank you to Mr Wright for his thoughtful response! Miss Allenby
This week we were delighted to welcome back our friends at Image Theatre who performed their play 'The Reluctant Dragon' to all our pupils. We have really missed this traditional Autumn term treat in the last two years so for our Year 3 and Year 4 pupils it was a new experience to see live theatre in their very own school hall. As always there was lots of audience participation, songs to learn and even acting roles for a few lucky volunteers. As one of our Year 5 pupils said, 'I can't wait to see what they do next year!'
We have had a very enjoyable week of all things poetry, building up to our celebration of National Poetry Day on Thursday. Classes have chosen and learnt poems from the Poems By Heart website and then performed them in our special assemblies. In Y6 we even answered the register with lines from Lewis Carroll's poem 'The Mock Turtle's Song'. After exploring and performing poems we all composed our own. Keep an eye out for some of our best efforts on display in the reading corridor.
This term we have been busy developing an exciting new project to build on the love of reading in our pupils. As a staff, we have selected 8-10 engaging, challenging and diverse books that children will be expected to read during the year. There are classics, recent titles, fiction, non-fiction and poetry, books by a wide range of authors and books which reflect the life experience of a broad range of people. Whilst pupils are not expected to enjoy all books equally, they will have the opportunity to share their opinions in class discussions and to appreciate the viewpoints of others. We have invested in new copies of these books so that there are some available in every class book corner. Once your child has read one of the books, there is space in their passport to record the date they read it and write a review. We would also like parents to sign this section to acknowledge that the book has been read. The buzz in the classes who have already introduced their passports has been very exciting and we hope that the children will really enjoy reading, sharing and chatting to you about the book they have selected to read over the Christmas holidays. Happy reading! Mrs Wilkinson
This term Year 3 have been studying the Stone Age and have been busy working on persuasive speeches linked to the book 'Ug - Boy Genius of the Stone Age' and non-fiction writing about Skara Brae. Year 4 have been writing their own myths based on Theseus and the Minotaur. Year 5 have written powerful speeches about the plight of refugees after reading 'Oranges in No Man's Land'. They have also created vivid descriptions of the machine from 'The Alchemist's Letter'. In Year 6 we have loved reading 'The Explorer' and wrote our own survival stories. We have also been writing reports about animals that live in the rainforest and other ecosystems around the world.
To celebrate World Book Day 2020 we are excited to be welcoming the theatre group ‘West End in Schools’ to provide book based drama workshops for every class in school. Y5 and Y6 classes will base their work on ‘The Lorax’ by Dr Seuss as its environmental theme links in well with our current science and English topics. On World Book Day (Thursday 5th March), children took part in lots of exciting reading-related activities at school. This year we especially celebrated picture books and every child brought in a picture book to share. This could be a well-loved favourite from when they were younger or a more complex graphic novel or a comic-strip style book such as the Asterix series.
Travelling Book Fair
In addition to all this, from Tuesday 10th – Monday 16th March we will be visited by the Travelling Book Fair, which will stock many new and classic children’s books at bargain prices. Your child will be bringing home a £1 World Book Day voucher soon, which can be put towards purchases from the book fair. Remember, the more books we sell, the more fantastic new books we can earn for our class book corners. We look forward to seeing you there!
On Monday, some of our Year 4 and 5 children were selected to go to the Big Write Festival, which helped us with our story writing. Kate Pankhurst, children’s author of ‘Fantastically Great Women who Changed the World’ was also there, talking to us about her writing and creating process.
We started our story by doing a doodle of a character, thinking carefully about how their interests and personality can be represented in the way they look and what they carry. From there, a Pobble expert talked us through writing our story paragrpah by paragraph and what we should include in each. We had a great morning out (with lots of free pencils and rubbers!). Thank you to Pobble and Ashville College for organsing the event. Isla Gouldson, Year 5
(Isla also had some of her creative writing read out to the hundreds of pupils at the event; they were all impressed!)
During Y6 Book Club Jamie Broadhead shared a fantastic rap he’d created to promote the message – ‘Put down your console and pick up a book!’ The group were so impressed that they asked him to teach it to them. Enjoy the video of them performing it.
Hey you, hey you, hey you, yeah!
Come on mates from all around
Come on and listen to this sound
Yeah ooh, yeah ooh, yeah ooh, yeah!
Put your controller down
Grab a book and sit right down
If there's a book that you don't like
Read a bit more and it might be alright
Here are some authors you ight like
J K Rowling, Jeff Kinney, Michael Morpurgo
Give 'em a go!
Year 5 and 6 Book Club were invited to Harrogate Grammar School to see their library and explore some of their books. Their Year 7 librarians made recommendations - some of whom were previous students of Oatlands! We took away a list of recommendations and many ideas for books we want to read in the future.
On Tuesday the Year 3 and 4 members of Book Club took a coach to Harrogate Library. They were able to sign up for a library card, if they didn’t already have one and then take out a book! It was very exciting learning how the machine works and finding out that all the library books have a chip in their front covers. They also made origami bookmarks and took part in quiz all about the library itself and some famous authors.
Drama club got the chance to perform in the studio at Harrogate Theatre in December. They also met the cast of the Harrogate pantomime backstage during the interval and received some top acting tips. Mrs King
Years 5 and 6 were lucky enough to be invited to watch the technical rehearsal of ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ at Harrogate Grammar School this week. It was an entertaining production and gave our children a flavour of what’s to come! The children (and staff) all really enjoyed the performance and the kiss caused quite a stir!
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