This case study was submitted by Sue Fulton, a Y3 teacher at Newby Primary School in Bradford.
Context : Year three pupils, group 2 of 5 (90 children in the year group)
The activities were carried out within the literacy lesson as a stimulus for talk and writing with the aim of stimulating the boys’ enthusiasm for writing. At the beginning of the year many of the boys were reluctant to write, found it difficult to concentrate during writing activities, had poor sentence structure and vocabulary and wrote very little.
What we did:
We used the film ‘El Caminante’ from the BFI DVD ‘Story Shorts’.
During oral work the children worked in pairs before sharing with the larger group.
1. We listened to the soundtrack of the film and listed the sounds we could hear. Many children had the idea that something exciting was happening when the tempo and volume of the music changed.
2. We discussed what kind of things are exciting and many children linked excitement to feeling scared which led to us watching the film to discover what was exciting/scary in the film.
3. Children worked in groups to watch the film again in ‘expert ‘ groups looking at Cs and Ss and fed back to home groups (Jigsaw activity). I gave each group a very simple focus question and this worked well but support was need for feeding back. However I feel I could use this activity again with more success now that they know the process.
4. Going back to the exciting/scary theme we focused on three still images of the tightrope walker and brainstormed words to describe his thoughts as he started out, got into difficulties and finally succeeded.
5. Using these words we shared ideas about how we could use these words to write a poem with three verses each linked to one of the pictures.
6. The children then worked independently with their own words to produce their own poem:
The Tightrope Walker
Balance, be confident, don’t look down,
Look forward, don’t take your feet of the rope, concentrate,
Try not to wobble, take a deep breath, think success,
Impact: All children, particularly boys, were engaged and had good ideas during oral work. They enjoyed orally rehearsing how to put the words together and many boys finished first! The poem worked well because they could see where it was going and it didn’t feel like an extended piece of writing, even though it took a few days to complete.