Samantha Densham’s Visit to our School
Great excitement ran through our school on Thursday 25th January, 2018, as we welcomed Sam Densham. Sam is our ‘Author of the Month’ and we were absolutely delighted that she agreed to visit us.
Sam ran an inspirational workshop with all children in Years 5 and 6 to begin. She explained all about her life and work and she was hugely impressed with how much we already knew about her! Sam wrote, directed and produced the fantastic Aladdin production that we watched at the Savoy Theatre in Monmouth, earlier this month. She explained that she has written many pantomime scripts and she also thoroughly enjoys acting. She has written novels, too - but she has never been brave enough to get them published. We were overwhelmed when Sam offered to read the opening few pages of her most recent novel to us. We are the only people who have ever heard it! It was fantastic.
Throughout the workshop, Sam referred to Willow Class’s ‘Working Wall’ and she was thrilled that we teach the writing process in such a clear way. She emphasised the importance of the ‘editing and evaluating’ stage - and she explained that she often makes many, many changes to her work as she writes - and as she reads - her texts. It was wonderful for our children to hear how real writers polish their work - just like we do at Ellwood.
Afterwards, a Year 5 and a Year 6 pupil confidently introduced Sam to our whole school in an Assembly. Then Sam talked to the children and answered their fabulous questions, before asking if she could return to our school again soon! She praised the pupils and said that she had never met such wonderfully enthusiastic, polite children. What a compliment!
Sam then presented our weekly awards and she was very excited to meet our ‘Writers of the Week’. She was overwhelmed by the standard of our children’s writing and she was delighted to see that each piece of work on our Writing board in the hall was about our Aladdin experience! Well done to Oak, Chestnut and Beech classes for writing superb recounts of our trip - and well done to Sycamore and Willow for writing fascinating letters to the cast of Aladdin. It was fantastic to have real purposes and audiences for our writing and Sam said that the cast would be delighted to read our letters and opinions about our trip.
Sam mentioned that her lifelong ambition is to perform at the Minack Theatre in Cornwall. After her visit, Willow Class wrote letters to the theatre (using emotive, persuasive language) to help make her dream come true. We really hope that we are successful!
We love meeting real authors and meeting Sam was no exception. She was full of enthusiasm for writing and performing - and we all feel inspired after meeting such a kind, helpful lady. We can’t wait to welcome her back in a couple of weeks.
Thank you, Sam!
Whole-School Theatre Trip
We enjoyed a fantastic start to our English Week at The Savoy Theatre, Monmouth, today. OH YES WE DID!
Three buses were needed to transport us (including a huge 70-seater) and we were all very excited as we pulled away. At the theatre, we laughed, sang, danced, cheered and occasionally hissed when the baddie, Abanazer, appeared. Our children were superb members of the audience and the staff at the theatre praised their impeccable behaviour and huge enthusiasm. There was a lot of dancing in the aisles! The pupils were especially enthralled as the company, Spontaneous Productions, had joined with the local youth theatre academy, The Savoy Youth Theatre. This meant that the chorus and smaller roles within the pantomime involved children and young people who were the same age as some of our pupils! Their singing, dancing and acting has inspired many of our pupils!
We are very grateful to our fabulous ‘Friends of Ellwood School’ who donated towards the cost of the trip so that costs could be lowered for families. We also feel very lucky that our staff members (including our wonderful lunchtime supervisors) are always willing to attend these occasions so that trips can go ahead.
We had to wake lots of happy, tired children as we arrived back at school and we were all very excited that it was dark upon our return. We hope the children slept well this evening! Thank you for your support and for allowing your children to experience the magic that was Aladdin.
Since the trip, our wonderful writers have been busy! Well done to all of the children in Oak, Chestnut and Beech for creating fantastic recounts of the experience. Our older pupils produced impressive, personalised letters which were sent to the cast of Aladdin. We love having real purposes and audiences for our writing – and we love having real inspiration to write. Well done, everybody! You are all superstars!
Our Aladdin Work
Can you tell that we were inspired?
Year 6 pupils take their ‘Buddy’ responsibilities very seriously. Each week, they look forward to spending time with their buddies in Oak Class. Year 6 children love hearing their buddies as they read their reading book aloud and they are trusted to write a comment in Oak children’s Reading Records!
When Oak children have had time to enjoy reading their book aloud, they choose a book from their book corner for the older children to read to them. The children often choose books from their list of ‘One Hundred Brilliant Books to Read’ so that they can tick it off when they have enjoyed the story.
Both classes have a fantastic time and Year 6 can’t believe the progress that the little ones have made with their reading since September.
It is a pleasure to watch the buddies playing together at playtime and the little ones know that their buddies are always there if they ever need anything.
On Tuesday 3rd October, 2017, Sycamore Class and Willow Class enjoyed an incredible Macbeth-themed experience at the enchanting Puzzlewood forest, just down the road from our school.
Throughout the day, the children used fantastic improvisation and drama skills, together with teamwork and cooperation. We enjoyed an outdoor workshop that was led by a wonderful professional actress. She helped us to think about the characters within the famous play and she encouraged us to create our own gory spells. Her enthusiasm for the play and its language really inspired us - helping us to show great confidence as we became wicked witches who scared and impressed her in equal measures!
After a short break, Macbeth himself came to collect us so that he could lead us into the woods for the performance. We became his army and we were very excited as we followed the path!
The play was captivating and we loved following the actors around into new areas of the wood. It was a wonderful setting and we enjoyed the most perfect weather - a crisp Autumn day with beautiful sunlight shining through the leafy canopy.
As the story unfolded, we became entranced. We worked hard to try to understand Shakespeare's use of language and we joined in with the witches as they cast their spell.
Our listening skills were superb and the acting team commented on what a superb audience we were. We are very proud of all of our fabulous children who represented our school fantastically well - and we are all looking forward to producing inspired work in our classrooms.
Please enjoy our photographs below to see a taste of our special day. We hope our memories will remain with us forever!
This month, we have enjoyed two whole-school celebrations of language. It was great fun finding out all about Roald Dahl and we really enjoyed celebrating his Birthday. All classes enjoyed listening to one of his classic tales, 'The Enormous Crocodile' - and a variety of work was produced in his memory. What a great day!
We also enjoyed celebrating National Poetry Day. Each class enjoyed hearing, reading and performing poetry. Children in Willow Class entered the Premier League Primary Stars poetry competition which focused on the theme of 'Resilience'. The children wrote some beautifully imaginative poems and we can't wait to hear from the judges in the Spring term.
UPDATE! January, 2018
Pupils in Willow Class were delighted to receive a letter congratulating them for being amongst the first one thousand schools to return their 'Resilience' poetry competition entries. To reward the children's hard work and enthusiasm, a book bag full of brand new poetry books was sent by the Premier League Primary Stars to the class. Fantastic! Well done, Willow Class!
We are looking forward to finding out whether any of our writers have been chosen as winners in the competition but in the meantime, the children know that they make us proud each and every day at Ellwood School.
If you were unable to attend either of the Phonics meetings, please use the presentation below to understand how we teach and learn phonics at Ellwood School. Please see Miss Peart (Oak) or Miss Abbott (Chestnut) if you are unsure about any aspect of our methods. Many thanks.
Are You Looking for a Brilliant Book to Read?
These lists will help children to choose engaging, high-quality texts to read.
In our classrooms, we have used the lists to find great class books. Willow children are enjoying 'Wolf Brother' (by Michelle Paver) and Sycamore children are reading 'Stig of the Dump' (by Clive King). Children in Beech, Chestnut and Oak have already enjoyed listening to (and reading) many books from their list. On Roald Dahl Day, we all enjoyed listening to 'The Enormous Crocodile'.
At home, please encourage your child to think about their selections when choosing their library books. Do you have any of the recommended books on your shelves at home? When your child has read a recommended book, they should put their name on the list of titles in their class.
One Hundred Brilliant Books to Read in Reception, Year One and Year Two:
One Hundred Brilliant Books to Read in Year 3 and Year 4:
One Hundred Brilliant Books to Read in Year 5 and Year 6:
We can easily find our 'One Hundred Brilliant Books to Read' as they have gold star stickers on them and they have their own extra-special shelves! The shelves don't stay full for long, though! We love being exposed to great reads in our classrooms and our teachers choose books from the lists for our class books, too.