The use of quality authors as mentors is a proven method of improving pupils’ writing as well as building their inference and deduction skills. Following last year’s runaway success of 'Book Week', the school were keen to develop a whole school learning around one book, but this time, for a fortnight!
This year, a picture book without words (Flotsam by David Wiesner) was chosen so that the narrative could be deduced and inferred by the children. The teachers helped provide a narrative that would inspire and excite the children and allow them to step into the story.
On day one, a mysterious camera was found in the school hall and every class received a mysterious brown envelope with a book inside. Teachers acted in role as a variety of characters: Maxwell Smith, the investigator, needed the children’s help in identifying children in the story and their whereabouts; a couple of very dubious looking agents from S.E.A (Supernatural Environment Agency) also appeared, confiscated our camera and asked for suspicious information; and a parent guest starred as ‘Judge’ in our court case (thank you to Fran Gresty who was magnificent in keeping the braying hordes at bay!).
Rumours and intrigue spread throughout the school like wildfire and after the Year 6 children instigated their own special edition of the Wandsworth Prep School News, the whole school wanted these agents questioned. A court trial was booked and prosecution and defence councils interviewed the witnesses. Fortunately, the agents were sent to prison and given community service – cleaning the boys’ toilets!
Without a doubt, these whole school events capture the children’s imagination, but it was the purposeful writing, inference and deduction skills that were the real winners of the week. Children produced writing across all genres: diary entries, newspaper reports, Wanted Posters, stories, balanced arguments and non-narrative reports. And it didn’t stop there; project time was allocated to explore the book within the foundation subjects such as Art, Geography, History and D.T.
Learning objectives across the board were met through a purposeful, exciting and linked learning environment.
For our finale, on World Book Day, parents and pupils came together for our annual Character Catwalk and Book Breakfast. Children enjoyed stories with their parents over a croissant and Upper School shared their recently published 500 Word Stories for Radio 2’s competition. Many parents came in to read to their children’s classes, a ring of the bell during the day stopped everything so we could D.E.A.R (Drop Everything And Read) and money was once again raised for Book Aid International.
What a fantastic fortnight, we wonder what book will be chosen for next year…
See some photos from our Whole School Book fortnight in our photo gallery.