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St. Francis de Sales Catholic Junior School

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Enriching Experiences

Enriching Experiences

Alongside high quality texts to inspire our writing, we endeavour to provide opportunities for all pupils to write for a purpose and enjoyment whenever possible. These experiences foster a love for creativity, artistry, word play and publishing. Our goal is for these experiences to inspire our writers of the future; develop our pupils' own authorial voice and most of all, to cherish writing as an art, which can be enjoyable for everyone.

Participating in a 'Zoom' Discussion with Oxford University Academics


As part of Year 5's persuasive writing topic, pupils explore Shakespeare's 'Julius Caesar'. This involves many exciting Oracy opportunities to support pupils when interpreting the main characters. Following a post on Twitter about this work, an academic from Oxford University was impressed and made contact with our school. 


A highly enriching experience was able to occur due to the relationship built with Oxford Classics. Via 'Zoom', a discussion about Brutus and Caesar took place. Along with this, pupils were informed about some of the persuasive devices that were used by the Romans. Impressively, our pupils had already been making use of some of these in their English books! 


This highly enriching experience now takes place yearly for all Year 5 children. What a privilege!


"When my class took part in this discussion, I got to answer a question from one of the people from Oxford University. To answer it, I decided to use a sentence opener to follow on from an earlier point made by Lily. I felt proud when the response from the people was that our class has excellent oracy skills!" Hollie 


SFDS Debate Week


During the Autumn term, all pupils are provided with the opportunity to develop their debating skills. Throughout 'SFDS Debate Week', pupils are provided with unseen debate motions and stimulus evidence sheets. Pupils then have a set amount of time to write their own debate speeches for either the 'Proposition' or the 'Opposition' side of the argument. 


A representative from each Year 5 class is chosen to participate in an Upper School debate competition in the school hall at the end of 'SFDS Debate Week'. The unseen motion is revealed to pupils with only a short amount of time for them to then prepare their speeches. 

"I felt really happy to be chosen to represent Class 12 because I really enjoy debating. Also, to be chosen was an amazing opportunity to develop my confidence and oracy skills. I no longer feel as shy about speaking in front of an audience." Lexie

Bringing a Wordless Picture Book to Life


As part of a recount (diary entry) writing topic, Year 5 explore the completely wordless picture book 'Small Things' by Mel Tregonning. The children make their own inferences about the boy's mental health as he seems to be having a hard time in school.


To build empathy for the little boy, this involves many Oracy opportunities and drama too. Despite the book having no words in it whatsoever, our pupils are able to build on this enriching experience to use very ambitious vocabulary in their final diary entries. 

"This book hooked me in right from looking at the front book cover. I really enjoyed getting to freeze frame parts of the boy's experiences and then bringing them to life by describing in role to his sister what he was going through. This helped me to write my diary entry." Frankie

Celebrating the Legacy of the Suffragettes 


Year 5 enjoy writing newspaper reports to recount how the Suffragettes stormed Parliament Square (following the King's speech once again ignoring their pleas for equality between men and women). This involves the pupils using drama and their oracy skills to develop suitable eyewitness quotations. 



"It felt a bit emotional when we were singing along to the song sung by the Suffragettes. I tried to imagine how the women marching would have felt as they were heading towards Parliament Square. I also liked learning the golden nugget fact about John Brown." Lottie

'World Book Day' Celebrations: The Power of Words!


To continue Year 5's exploration of the completely wordless picture book 'Small Things', pupils were challenged to use poetry to bring the main character's emotions to life.


Also, pupils researched the author of their current Story Sessions book 'Journey to the River Sea' and wrote biographies about her (Eva Ibbotson). 

'Small Things' Emotion Poem Previews

Still image for this video

"I was very proud of my poem because I was able to use lots of figurative language. Also, I loved finding out golden nuggets about Eva Ibbotson to include in her biography. Did you know that Eva used to have a governess when she was a child like how Maia has one in 'Journey to the River Sea'?" Amelia

We Are Writers!


In the lead up to our World Book Day Celebrations, every child in the school writes their own 100 word (Lower School) or 200 word (Upper School) story about a topic of their choice. The pupils choose their own style of narrative: sci-fi, adventure, mystery, fantasy: the list goes on... and compose their own narrative being mindful of how to tell a full story in a precise way.  After polishing and a few tweaks, these stories are collated and published into a school book, which each child receives on World Book Day. More recently, pupils have been challenged to write their own poems for the latest editions! 


You can find our books in our school library as well as our local one too: Spellow Library. At Spellow Library, we are the featured authors on display and have performed our stories for the local community to celebrate our fantastic writing.


"Writing my story was really fun! It is my favourite topic each year because I know that I can take it home and share it with my family and friends." Ava