- The Bridge - http://www.literacyshed.com/the-thinking-shed.html A moose and a bear literally crack heads trying to cross a bridge, if only they would use team work they would have been able to cross the bridge easily, like the two little creatures that come along after them. This film encourages discussion about respecting others and working together. Children could write rules about how to work collaboratively or could write a narrative from one of the characters point of view.
- Little Boat - http://www.literacyshed.com/the-adventure-shed.html In this short and silent animation the little boat is the hero. He sets off on an adventure along the river encountering many sights as he goes. Children could discuss the things that he sees and how he feels about it. This film could inspire 1st or 3rd person narratives or pupils could create postcards for the different places they visit as or on the boat.
- Bubbles - http://www.literacyshed.com/the-fantasy-shed.html This is one of the most watched films on The Literacy Shed. One little girl, all alone on a beach, finds a bottle of bubbles and when she blows them the bubbles take her on an adventure. The little girl floats up into space and down under the sea. Children could write descriptions of what she sees or create their own fantasy narratives about wherever they travel on their own bubble.
- The Clocktower - http://www.literacyshed.com/the-fairy-tale-shed.html This film can be found in the Fairy Tale Shed, like many fairy tale characters our heroine is stuck, trapped in a tower. In this film it is the clock tower, the girl is a ballerina and she dances perpetually making sure the clock keeps on turning. When she stops the world around her stops too, leaving her trapped in the tower. Children can write vivid descriptions, discuss what the dancer is feeling at different parts of the film and write a narrative describing her escape or rescue.
- Once in a Lifetime - http://www.literacyshed.com/the-fantasy-shed.html Another film from The Fantasy Shed. In this silent animation one man is sailing his ship through the clouds. His boat has a calamitous break down and he is rescued by a flotilla of flying turtles. There are certain parts of this film where children ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ out loud. Children can write descriptions of the flying turtles using their knowledge of show, not tell and other descriptive devices before writing short narratives, perhaps with a different flying animal.
- Dangle http://www.literacyshed.com/the-thinking-shed.html This film was produced by the BFI. A man is on a winter walk when he comes to a rope hanging from the sky. I like to discuss with the children, what would happen if he pulls it? Would they pull it? When the man eventually pulls it the world goes dark, he turns off the sun. He enjoys the power and enthusiastically turns the lights on and off until suddenly the rope falls from the sky leaving the world in perpetual darkness. I like to team this with a physical prop, a rope hanging from the classroom ceiling, the children decide if they should pull it or not and what happens when they pull their rope – children always come up with some very imaginative ideas.
- So Good To Me - http://www.literacyshed.com/the-music-video-shed.htmlThis music video is set in Africa, a little girl excitedly runs down stairs and into the garden to play with her pet but sadly, when she gets there the pet has disappeared. The girl makes ‘Lost’ posters, which the children could do too writing descriptions of their missing pet. Eventually she finds the pet she has been looking for – a giraffe. Children could write instructions for looking after their pet or wild animal.
- Whistleless - http://www.literacyshed.com/the-adventure-shed.htmlWhistleless has no whistle. Al his friends and family has a whistle - he sets off on an adventure to find a whistle. A wonderful animation for engaging EYFS and KS1 children. The children will be able to retell the story, describe the different 'whistlers' that we meet. The yellow man, the police man, the tiger and the elephants. The children can describe the cars crashing and how the little bird is feeling throughout the story.
- Marshmallows - http://www.literacyshed.com/the-fun-shed.html In this film a young adventure scout is sitting by the campfire toasting marshmallows. Little does he know that a monster is creeping up on him from out of the lake. The monster turns out to be a fan of marshmallows and does tricks in order for the young boy to give him his favourite snack. However, the monster turns a little scary when the marshmallows run out. The film ends comically when the young boy hides behind his pillow. The children can describe the monster in detail or retell the story with their own monster in it.
- The Black Hat - http://www.literacyshed.com/the-maia-walczak-shed.html
One day on one of his long walks the boy finds an old black hat and he places it on his head. When he takes it off and lays it by his bed, this is when the magic begins. Beautiful creatures emerge from the hat. The boy captures them in cages and looks at them each day, in awe of their beauty. One day the boy is saddened to learn that a bird has escaped. He searches the woods and finds it, he begs it to come back but it doesn't. Soon more birds escape. It is not until the boy sees this group of birds in flight that he finally understands that they look more beautiful when they are set free. He understands that they need freedom to let their beauty show. The children can retell the story adding in descriptions of their own creatures.
Do you have any favourites of your own? Please add them in the comments.
In no particular order these 10 films are those most popular with KS1 and the ones that Rob, the Literacy Shed’s creator likes to use in class workshops with KS1 children.
Writing assessment 2017 or Post apocalypse writing.
Part one – The content of the Interim frameworks 2016 and their adverse effects.
Has the dust settled on the 2016 assessments yet? No way I hear you say. I agree with you, I continually get asked about them on social media and when I go into schools. There is much debate on Twitter and Facebook about what the writing assessments will or will not look like next year at the end of KS2.
Will it look the same as this year? Will the interim framework just become the framework? I cannot imagine there will be many changes if any at all.
The way writing is assessed against the framework is, anecdotally, having a negative effect on the teaching of writing in some schools, especially where the tick list method is used.
Gone has the teaching of writing which focused on effect on the reader, an outpouring of the author’s creativity and feelings - to be replaced by staid pieces of writing whose main aim is to demonstrate the proficient use of complicated grammar and punctuation which is often unnecessary in quality writing. Pick up a novel – go on… get one now… open it to any page. How many exclamation marks, colons or semi colons does it have? I am guessing in many cases that they are rarely used and if they are used at all then they have been inserted sparingly.
This week I heard via Twitter of a child in Y2 being assessed as below expectations because she had only used exclamations in two of her moderated pieces of writing and thus didn’t demonstrate sufficient secure use. (Surely if the two were used correctly this demonstrates a secure understanding?)
The sad thing is that I can’t see anything being done about this at a governmental level any time soon. However, as teachers we can still focus on creating opportunities for our children to create writing which is creative and imaginative, which looks at the effect on the audience, develops vocabulary use and choice etc. Whilst teaching grammar in context as part of the writing journey, which can then be used by the children as and when necessary. This needs to be done, as it says in the National Curriculum, through the teaching of reading, writing and speaking and not as a separate bolt on. If this is done from year 1 onward, at a level appropriate for our pupils then we should see the effect in future years.
Part two – Flaws in the assessment process.
Recently many people have been expressing their displeasure in the moderation process, that they have been forced to produce tick lists and endless evidence for moderation whereas other schools have had quite a positive experience. Other schools didn’t have to experience it at all and we’ll just have to trust their results, with some teachers worried that they have been too generous or too harsh.
A friend of mine believes (and I am swayed this way too) if one school is moderated then they all should be. This would certainly seem fairer although it would come at great expense.
**Typing from my Anderson shelter**
It may be much simpler to return to the writing tests.
Not quite as they were before but still a one off test which would allow children to show off their writing skills.
I would personally go for a ‘cold’ write narrative which had an interesting and engaging prompt and a non-fiction ‘hot’ write.
How would that work?
Firstly, we would need a sea-change in what we (teachers) think the assessments are for. At the moment I feel that many teachers think assessments are a way of students proving how good they are, showing off their very best work which is why it is produced over a period of time with a number of rewrites. Is this really the purpose of the year 6 writing assessments though? Not really, the purpose is to level/rank children against their peers and use these levels/ranks ultimately to rank their schools against those in the LEA and nationally.
Not many pupils are going to produce their best piece of writing under test conditions, not many of us would. But what the tests would give is a standardised piece of work which can be easily ranked and compared across the country.
So what would these new tests look like?
They would be four hours long. Two hours for non-fiction and two hours for narrative.
Give children an engaging stimulus, an image or a short film and ask children to write a narrative piece based upon this. It maybe that if they are watching a film extract they could write a conversational piece, they could be asked to write a description of setting, character or both. They could be asked to write an ending for a short film or a piece of action. It would be short and not a whole narrative. Children should be used to this type of writing as it is standard fare in most schools. The two hours would allow for 30 mins thinking/planning time if needed followed by an extended writing session of 90 minutes which would allow some children time to edit and redraft sections.
(Disclaimer) This is just an idea that I think could possibly work.
Two/three weeks prior to the test date teachers can download a 2/3 week basic unit plan on a topic with key focus points, key information and key vocabulary. This, for example, could be Volcanoes, Castles etc.
The teachers then have 2/3 weeks to teach content and vocabulary whilst revising text types and applying them to the topic.
On the day of the test the task is revealed. Something like non-chronological report, recount of visit to… etc
The children at this point should have the content knowledge and also knowledge of text types in order to ‘succeed.’
Although in a perfect world none of this would happen, we would just teach our pupils how to write creatively, passionately and accurately without the need for testing.
As always I welcome your comments.
I like to use films with an emotional story line with children. It often leads to deep and mature discussion, allowing the teacher to draw out emotive vocabulary from the children who are then inspired to write using this language whilst including the emotional content in their writing.
I was thinking about the films that had an effect on me as I was growing up. I was born in 1982 and I still love watching children's films today, so I thought I would compile a list of the 6 saddest moments in Children's films. (I have 6 as I couldn't narrow any further to a 'top' 5)
I tried not to include 6 death scenes in the list, although this is often the saddest point of any film. Some of the obvious ones are not in there - Bambi's mother for example, but I have never seen that film (or Starwars!) I would also like to feature 'Land Before Time' - When Lightfoot's mother dies and the death of Mufasa in 'Lion King' but again more death scenes, so they only get a notable mention.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)
Toy Story 2 (2000)
Monsters Inc (2002)
How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014)
I watched this film with my 6 year old and we were both in tears when Stoick died, I have just asked Noah what the saddest part of any film he has seen is. He said when "Dumbledore dies or when Stoick dies." When I asked him why this was sad, he said "because Stoick was the leader so more people are sad." But "also he is killed by 'Toothless' - Hiccup's best friend so it makes it even worse for Hiccup." I think he puts it rather well!
I would be happy to hear your comments about the list. Maybe you agree with the tear ratings or maybe you would like to add your own scene to the list, please do so using the comments below.
A quick video of me exploring the Warhorse Interactive App. It has a mass of information on there. Start with the illustrated novel. Then you could open the timeline and read about key events including maps, images, audio and videos. There are also interviews with historians on the battle sites. You can then see an excerpt of the novel read by the author himself.
Rob from Literacy Shed