English taster session for Year 5 & 6 students – a report by Ryan Horlock, Year 12

DSC01795On Wednesday 12th November, The Purbeck School welcomed Year 5 and 6 students from primary schools across the catchment area for an introductory lesson on how English was taught by teachers here.  The Purbeck School is definitely proud of their current amazing English results in both GCSE and A Level, under the guidance of relatively new Head of English Mr McNaughton.  Because of this, we thought it would a brilliant idea to show younger students what to expect when they graduate to secondary school – whilst also showing them the fantastic facilities they will be able to use when they get here.

Students were put into four groups, each associated to a specific classroom and teacher: Miss Smyth, Mr McNaughton, Mr Ryan and Mr Knight.  Whilst there, they were taught – with the assistance from some sixth form volunteers – how to make an amazing newspaper front page.  Within each classroom, the students (and a few of the parents!) split into groups so they could work together as a team for the upcoming tasks.  The lesson started off by giving each student a selection of celebrities, places and items, and they were set the task of creating a news story which they thought would make front page news.  And having Luis Suarez hitting President Barack Obama over the head with a hammer whilst on the beach was definitely headline news!

To then make this into a great newspaper story, the lesson then got them making the greatest headline, photo and caption that they could.  The students were taught how headlines usually included puns, alliteration and a surprise element to them (whilst getting example headlines and ranking them in a Diamond-9 formation) – with “Bag of Terror” definitely fitting that last category.  The pupils were then handed a selection of 16 photographs, and had to pick their favourites, keeping in mind camera angle and colour, before drawing their own front page snaps to go with their story.  Of course, no newspaper photo can go without a caption, and the task of creating an amazing one was like bread and butter to them – they took it all in their stride!

Finally, we needed the actual story for the paper.  And to help with that, the children were taught the inverted triangle method on how to structure their story, with most important information first and the least important information being included at the end of the story.  Everyone there did amazingly, all of the kids put their upmost effort into creating the best breaking news they could – same can’t be said about some of the parents!

After finishing the session with a Q & A about how The Purbeck School and the English Department work, it was time to head home.  But, all in all, the day couldn’t be seen as anything else besides a huge success, and The Purbeck School greatly anticipates the next time we can hold another day like this.  A massive thank you to the children and parents for taking part, and of course to the teachers and sixth formers who, without them, the day simply wouldn’t have run as smoothly.

Ryan Horlock, Year 12

*The next next sample lesson will be with Art on the 2nd of December.  Please contact Anne Rowan, (email annerowan@purbeck.dorset.sch.uk or telephone 01929 550077) for further details.*

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