Saturday, 22 March 2014

Ties that Bind, Ties that Break

Year 8 have been working on a unit about customs and traditions around the world.
Final Preparations on the Exhibition
The unit stems from the novel Ties That Bind, Ties That Break by Lensey Namioka, set in China in 1911, about a young girl who fights the tradition of foot binding.

In addition to reading and talking about the issues raised in the novel, learners have also worked collaboratively to research customs and traditions of a country of their own choosing. In teams, they decided on a country and set off to find out about it in order to produce an exhibition at the end.

The unit has covered essential information literacy skills as learners explored strategies about how to search for information, as well as how to evaluate the information they found. They also explored how they best take notes, and how to use and reference the information they find.

In order to present their information clearly, learners also looked at how to use presentational devices such as headings, sub-headings, labels, diagrams, bold and bullet points to guide their readers to relevant information. They analysed some non-fiction and focused on how the visual layout can help you understand a text and locate specific detail. Using these skills, learners went on to develop a display using their research and non-fiction knowledge.

Each group had to fill one display board and include:

a title
a clearly labelled map
one piece of non-fiction, informative writing per person with references
at least six images with caption and references
one relevant physical object

The exhibition has been set up in the reception and will remain for a fews weeks to be shared with the school community.

See the full unit at

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Book Challenge 2014 - FEBRUARY REVIEWS!

7G and 8B have been challenged to read at least one book a month between returning to school on 13 January 2014, and finishing for the year on 13 June 2013.

Mrs Holly recommends some books she has read recently. February's recommendations include the Legend TrilogyMockingbirdA Wrinkle in Time graphic novel, and Every You, Every Me. Learners are also encouraged to read the Red Dot Book Awards 2014 selection to be able to vote for their favourite and have the chance to take part in the Readers' Cup later in the year

Each 13th of each month, learners should have published their opinions about one of the books they have read. You can read the published reviews here or link to late reviews in individual blogs on the right.

There is a great range of books included in the reviews submitted - including a huge Harry Potter book that Ned read faithfully to finish in time. Dionne read Fangirla book recommended to her by Mrs Holly. Dionne's review was sent out on Twitter to the author - who read it and responded:-

Watch this space for reviews round 2 - coming on 13th March!

Monday, 23 September 2013

New Year - New Bloggers!

2013 has begun - and Year 8 has a great new class of fantastic learners.

Enthusiastic about reading and writing, 8B can't wait to start sharing their incredible work.

Meet our GR8 crew by clicking on the links to the right.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Creating characters using receipts!

Sarah sharing her expertise about characterisation
We are lucky enough to have published author, Sarah Froggatt, as a parent of one of our learners. She came and shared her knowledge during Book Week and, this week, Mrs Holly invited her back to teach learners about characterisation.

Sarah covered the basics and the essentials using lots of great examples from print and film, such as Roald Dahl's, The Hitchhiker, everyone's favourite detective, Conan-Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, and even Pixar's The Incredibles.

Once learners had thought about and discussed characterisation, Mrs Holly introduced the receipts! Having collected receipts from staff over the past month, she has a exciting selection of varied and wonderful clues about potential characters. The idea came to her while reading our current novel-study Stargirl, whose protagonist has a penchant for following people in malls and coming up with stories about them. Stargirl uses these 'stories' to decide on how to be 'kind' to the stranger in some way (this also inspired the Random Acts of Kindness Project). Mrs Holly offered learners a 'lucky dip' from the bag of receipts. Using the items on the receipt, leaners are using the checklist provided by Sarah, to create exciting, dynamic and interesting characters.

Learners were really engaged by deciphering the items on the receipts and quickly began using them to infer characteristics such as age, race, gender, motivation etc. They said it was much easier to think up a character based on the receipts rather than from scratch, even though it was really challenging for some learners, whose receipts listed foreign exchange transactions or those with a only a simple vanilla latte...

Monday, 15 April 2013

Random Acts of Kindness

Year 8 and Year 9 have started on a Unit that asks do you 'Dare to be Yourself?'. This unit asks us to think about the need for social consciousness in the world as we embark on an exploration of what literature can teach us about ourselves and how we respond to others. Ultimately, it asks us to think deeply about the overarching questions:
Do you dare to be yourself?

Do you dare to let others be themselves?

Through reading, writing, thinking and speaking, this unit will explore the themes of conformity, individuality, tolerance and prejudice and has been designed to allow learners to gain confidence in their individuality and to find the strength to really be themselves as well as grow in their reading, writing, researching and comprehension skills. 

We will be reading the novel 'Stargirl', which encompasses many themes relevant to this time of learners' lives; the novel will allow them to make connections and gain strength in skills necessary for secondary school and beyond. Through analysis of a novel and by seeing the world through the characters' perspectives, it is hoped that these important issues will impact on their life and how they behave within it.

As part of their work, learners have been challenged to commit 'Random Acts of Kindness' - to just be kind to someone for the sake of being kind and to take no credit for it. Each week learners will write about their experiences - click on the links to individual blog posts on the right to see how the project is going. Click HERE to read more about this unit.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Almost there...

What is a 21st century classroom?

The time has come! For the past few months, Grade 7 and Grade 8 have eaten, slept and dreamt about this moment - the final presentation for the Senior Leadership Team happens ON FRIDAY!
Our soundboard

Learners have been working during breaks to get together to rehearse and edit their presentation, ready for the deadline.

In preparation and to ensure the presentation can be the best possible showcase for all their hard work, learners presented their final ideas to five volunteers who kindly gave up their free time. On Wednesday afternoon, our 'soundboard' came along to watch the final presentation and give some critical feedback via a Google Form developed from our co-constructed rubric.

All Octopus's Garden Project presenters were really nervous as they have worked really hard and it was the first time they had showed anyone else their work. However, they were kind and supportive of each other and did a really great job.

The Octopus's Garden Project team would really like to thank Mr Beach, Mr Brian, Mrs Robyn, Ms Barbara and Mr Paul for being our sounding board. Your comments, questions and feedback were encouraging and helpful - and now we have some great advice about how to improve for Friday.

Soundboard completed Google Forms to give feedback
The project team will work on final adjustments and rehearse a few more times before finally presenting to Dr Stuart, Mr Wade and Dr Rosie on Friday afternoon - what an awesome way to end a fabulous term!

Watch this space to find out if our pitch is successful!

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Guest Author!

For Book Week 2013, guest author and parent, Sarah Froggatt, visited Grade 7 to talk to them about writing. She shared her top twelve tips for successful writing and gave learners some great ideas for narratives.

We learned a lot about writing and are really glad she took the time to visit us and share her expertise.

You can learn more about Sarah and her writing by visiting her website, Endangered Tails & Historical Tails: stories for children:, or follow her on Twitter: @limeylimericks or Facebook: limeylimericks.