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Our World in Words


2015 saw us embark on a collaborative project funded by the British Council. We worked with three schools:

 Nr.9 School,  Elblag, Poland

XIV Istituto Comprensivo Karol Wojtyla, Siracuse, Sicily 

 L’école Marcel Lacoma, Guadeloupe, (France)

 

Our project involved promoting the teaching and learning of writing in each of our partner schools in order for children and staff alike to learn from each other and raise standards in this key skill. Children embarked on various writing projects to share between the schools, each with a global theme. Staff from each school held regular project meetings to discuss and share elements of our teaching, planning and assessment strategies. Children were given opportunities to collaborate regularly through the use of email, post and video conferencing.

Project Meeting 1  Lincoln     25/1/16 - 28/1/16

 Writing task 1: Children developed explanatory writing skills by writing about various aspects of their school, in a task we have called, 'A day in the life'. Following this meeting we shared writing (written in their own language and translated into English) from children in our partner schools and made comparisons between their schools and ours. 

We had a very busy week during our first project meeting. Teachers from the partner schools visited BJA. Together we observed lessons, shared the national requirements in writing at each age range and analysed writing In terms of standards and expectations. We also made exciting plans for next stages of our project, including holding a competition to design a logo for Our World in Words'.  The winning design from each school, put together to make one final logo, can be seen at the top of this page.  The winner from our school was Lucy, in Year 5 and is the third of the four logos. It was such a positive start  to working together as a team to promote writing skills, develop confidence and enthusiasm in our children's literacy skills.

 

 

Project Meeting 2  Syracuse, Sicily 18/4/16 - 22/4/16

Writing task 2: The theme of this task was sport.  Children in all four schools wrote instructions for sports they played.  At BJA we focused on a range of sports, including bench ball, football, scatter ball. Children in our Polish partner school focused on goal ball, a very popular sport in their country. We also wrote reports and profiles based on popular sports people and held Skype meetings and sent emails to swap information with other children involved in the project.

The second project meeting proved to be a very busy and constructive week.  Mrs James and Miss Kisby travelled to Syracuse, Sicily to meet with staff from our partner schools. We were also accompanied by Chris Williams who is a local British Council Ambassador and supports our school in our international work.  The school has pupils from age 8 to 13 (primary and middle school). We were welcomed by students from the school playing music, a range of dance groups and singing from the school choir.  A speech was made by the mayor of Syracuse and by the Head Teacher of the school. We watched a range of lessons and also visited the elementary school (Children aged 3 to 7).

The focus of this meeting was to share the ways in which teachers plan lessons and activities leading up to a final piece of writing. Each school had the opportunity to present the teaching sequence for the writing of instructions, methods were discussed and compared. It was really interesting to see the differences. Each school have agreed to take on elements of the practice of other schools in order to positively impact on the teaching of writing. We particularly liked the way teachers in Guadeloupe presented students with all the steps they would go through to reach the final piece of writing at the beginning of a unit of work. This is noted in the children's books as a reference.  We decided that this was something that we would adopt in our work to go alongside our working walls in the classroom.

 School Choir

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Project Meeting 3  Elblag, Poland   3/10/16 - 7/10/16

 

Writing Task 3:  Children wrote and shared a local legend.  At Branston Junior Academy we wrote story boards for the story of Robin Hood.  We had great fun doing this and it was clear that children put in maximum effort in terms of content and presentation because they knew it was going to be read by the children in our partner schools.  During the writing process we held Skype meetings with children in Guadeloupe and Poland and shared the work that we were doing. Mrs James, Miss Tysoe and Mrs Coates took this work to Poland where we exchanged it for the writing completed by the children in the other three schools.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During our project meeting we spent a lot of time in the Polish school. We observed lessons and spent time talking to the children about their learning, about their school and answering questions about our school. Children in the school are aged between 6 and 12.  We also visited a local Kindergarten and a specialist music school.

The focus of this meeting was to share classroom resources that we use to support the teaching and learning of writing.  We made comparisons between education systems and shared good practice.  We came away with some great ideas of things we can add to our every day teaching and which will have a positive impact on the way in which our children develop skills in writing. We specifically liked the way the children in Sicily created their own personal dictionary of technical vocabulary, sentence structure and spelling so that they could refer back to this in their work.  We decided to use this idea to support future English lessons.

 

 

 

 

 

 Project Meeting 4   Les Abymes, Guadeloupe 30/1/17 - 3/2/17

Writing Task 4: This  involved children writing about local environmental issues.  Here at Branston Junior Academy, we focused on two key issues; the volume of traffic outside our school, and the problem of litter in and around our school grounds.  Children presented these issues in writing to children in our partner schools. Issues that they explored included pollution, litter and recycling, and it was interesting to see that similar problems occured in these different locations.  These were then read by our international friends, as we read their writing, and we all exchanged emails to suggest possible solutions to the various problems. 

 

 

 During our meeting in Guadeloupe, attended by Mrs Simpson and Mrs James, we observed lessons, visited a kindergarten, were welcomed with Carribean singing and dancing, and held may discussions between teachers.  The focus for these discussions, on this occasion, was the way in which writing was assessed.  It was interesting to note that the requirements for the technical elements for writing, such as grammar, sentence structure and spelling, have recently become more inline across the four participating schools since the introduction of the new curriculum in England and Wales, altering the focus of writing from creativity to structure and technical elements.

 

 

 

 

 

Project Meeting 5  Lincoln  24/4/17 - 28/4/17

Writing Task 5:  Children in all partner schools gathered together everything they have learnt about Poland, Sicily and Guadeloupe and UK and, with some additional research, they produced travel guides for these locations.  They had to use a range of writing skills, including grouping and ornagising information, using headings and subheadings, selecting key facts and presenting their facts after applying editing skills.  

The grand finale!  Teachers from all of our partner schools joined us back in Branston for a celebration of everything that the project has achieved.  Again, lessons were observed by the visitors, and our children were given the opportunity to share their writing with teachers from our partner schools.  The week culminated in an 'Our World in Words Wow Day' where children were taught by the visiting teachers; an experience they all thoroughly enjoyed and will never forget! We ended with an assembly to celebrate the outcomes and were joined by a number of guests, including a local head teacher, Mr Simon Clark, Mr Chris Williams, British Council Schools Ambassador, who has supported our school in this, and many other international projects and Linda Barker from the Global Learning Programme. 

A Time For Reflection

All staff agreed that the project has had a positive effect on writing, mainly because it has provided children with a 'real' audience and purpose for the work they produced.  But aside from these obvious achievements that Our World in Words set out to achieve, the project has given so much more to the partner schools, staff and children; opportunities for collaboration, international coloperation, developing and strengthening the role that staff and children alike play as global citizens, and building and strengthening bridges across contrasting European locations. It has been a privilege to have been able to lead and coordinate such a project!   Mrs James 


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