A Look At SHINE’s Literacy Projects

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It’s World Book Day 2017! This year we’d like to share with you some of the excellent literacy projects we’ve supported. These have been found through our Teacher-led Innovation competitions, which Teachers can enter to win grants to support their projects. Not only do we award grants however, we also help the Teachers launch their projects, offering them advice, monitoring their progress, and helping them expand their project to the next level.

Here’s a summary of some of the projects we have supported over the last couple of years…

Gavin Summerfield, Heber Primary School, 2015

Gavin has been a primary school Teacher for twelve years and is passionate about using technology and computers to engage reluctant or disadvantaged learners. He aims to create a love of stories and reading and a passion for lifelong learning for all his pupils. The NAO Robotics Story Telling Club encourages students to create and retell stories through the humanoid, educational robot NAO. Younger children can interact with the robot through its voice recognition and speech capabilities, while older students will learn to program it to combine literacy and computing into a series of storytelling lessons. Last year, all 49 students who attended an after school club as part of this project, learnt to program a robot to retell a story successfully, with 80% making substantial progress in literacy.

Rosie Osborne: Eltham Hill School in Greenwich, 2016

Play Righters works with a core group of 25 female students, from across all year groups, to write and perform plays. Rosie’s project addresses the lack of women playwrights available for study in school, whilst the students produce their own plays.  So far, the group has been working with the Royal Court Theatre to develop a writers’ toolkit and are going to be creating their own performance based around women. They have read a variety of plays by female playwrights and have been exploring their own characters in performance. They recently got to work with the playwright Laura Lomas and are now continuing to work with other writers from the Royal Court. The entire school community will be involved in final performances of their work, and the results of Play Righters will be shared across the borough.

Michelle Lockwood: Saint Bernard’s Catholic High School, 2016

Michelle Lockwood won support from the Let Teachers SHINE competition last year for her Spelling Beats project. Michelle aims to help children improve their spelling with the help of music, rhythm and rhyme. Michelle recognised that spelling is a common weak area for many children, having a knock on effect on their other work. The challenge is making spelling seem fun, whilst making it memorable. This is where music comes in. Michelle is working with a games developer and graphic designer to create the Spelling Beats game. The game lets children take on the role as DJ, whilst they learn the rules of spelling in a fun and engaging way. Eventually this game will be made available online and will include tutorials and a number of classroom activities, so Teachers will be able to develop their own lesson plan from the site. Although the project has only been running a for a few months, Michelle has already noticed a significant difference to the students’ attainment in her own classroom.

To find out more about our Teacher-led Innovation projects, you can visit this page, or see a full list of our Let Teachers SHINE projects here.