Primary children wrote ‘thank you’ letters!

Written by Sally Hunt.

I spent a morning with a beautifully behaved Year 4/5 class at Farcet Primary School – I don’t think I’ve ever seen children so excited to see me!

This group were full of questions and very keen to learn all about being a journalist and start interviewing and writing up their articles.

We had a bit of fun with some carboard Justin Bieber face masks I had brought in. The children paired up and one was ‘Justin’ and the other was the celebrity reporter. They all loved it and the ‘Justin’s’ said some very funny things making some great articles!!

A few days later I had a lovely email from the teacher. Every one of the children had written me a thank you note and she had attached a selection for me to see.

Letter from Yr 5 Farcet Primary

Transition - Primary to Secondary

Written by Sally Hunt.

I am finding myself increasingly asked to do transition school workshops as an introduction for primary school children to secondary education.

In a nutshell, groups of Year Six students from different feeder primary schools spend the day at their potential new secondary school. They spend the morning with me learning about how to interview people and write up an article about what they have learnt.

The afternoon, or later session, is then spent meeting and interviewing key people from the secondary school. This includes a few teachers, sometimes the head of departments, such as sport or maths, an administration person such as the Business Manager or Bursar, some sixth formers and some new Year 7 students.

They learn lots about the school, especially when they are interviewing the current intake of Year 7’s. We will have prepared our questions earlier, so the younger children will be asking them about the difference between primary and secondary school, the best and the worst things!!

At the end of the interview sessions the students write an article about the person and what they have told them. The articles are put together and displayed on a board back at primary school so other Year 5’s and 6’s can read them.

The children go back to primary school very enthusiastic and excited about starting big school. It helps the secondary school to promote itself and gives them an edge over other secondary schools in the area who are all competing for the same children.

Read more on this subject in the ‘About our School’ tab under ‘Workshops’.

International students getting a taste of British journalism!

Written by Sally Hunt.

I had the absolute pleasure this year of working for the Oxford Royale Academy’s international summer enrichment programme held at various different Oxford University Halls. Over the school holidays I did two workshops a week with children in two age groups – 13-15 and 16-18.

These young people had come to the UK from over 90 different countries and were staying on a residential basis. Over the two-week period they took part in many academic and sporting workshops as well as enjoying visits to London and gaining a full immersion into the Oxford student environment.

I had to adjust my workshop to make it very ‘British’ and also to make sure I was keeping these very bright students engaged. Some of them spoke several languages and went to international schools back home in the country they lived in. We usually focus on the town or city we live in, but as these students came from all over the world it was fascinating to hear about their lives. We did a session on ‘what is the worst thing about where you live?’ Despite many of their home cities sounding like glamorous places to live it was interesting to hear some of the negatives – terrorism, pollution, poverty, insects, heat etc.

One of the mock interview sessions we did was with our very own ‘Royals’ – better known as Will and Kate! They could choose to interview Will or Kate. All the Wills got to wear a Will face and the Kates got to wear a tiara! The students loved the dressing up and the result was some great interviews – given free rein, the ‘Royals’ got up to all sorts!!

Over the weeks the students produced some excellent articles and mocked up newspaper front pages.

I hope I will be working with other groups next year as they had such a great time and learnt so much. I came away knowing why I love my job so much!

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Voice actor for famous cartoons takes part in our workshop!

Written by Sally Hunt.

It’s not often that I’m joined by a celebrity, but Barr Beacon School, in Walsall, organised to bring in voice actor Marc Silk to give a talk and to be interviewed by the students during our workshop.

So I worked with a very excited group of mixed year 7 and year 8’s in the morning, teaching them how to interview people and take notes in preparation for the star guest who has worked as Aks Moe in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, Danger Mouse, Johnny Bravo, Pingu, Scooby-Doo & Shaggy!

When he arrived I was as amazed as the children at how highly versatile he was at his repertoire of voices. We had prepared our questions and the students were really good at remembering to ask how to spell things and checking the accuracy of the notes they were taking.

We spent far too much time interviewing him and listening to his fascinating stories so none of the articles got completed. But we all had a fab day and the students learnt loads about how to write a report for the paper about a visiting celebrity.

Barr Beacon School, Walsall Barr Beacon School, Walsall
Barr Beacon School, Walsall Barr Beacon School, Walsall
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