Year 2 2021
Welcome to the 2021 Reading Gladiators™ challenges. Let the reading begin!
There are schools in this group:
- Edward Heneage Primary Academy
- New Pasture Lane Primary School
- Wyndham Primary Academy
- Chapel Street Primary School
- Ribble Drive Primary School
- Windy Arbor Primary School
- St Matthew’s C of E Primary, Birmingham
- Henley Green Primary School
- New Hall Primary School
- Montgomery Primary
- Percy Shurmer Academy
- Oaklands Primary School
- Muswell Hill Primary School
- Dallow Primary School
- Hallsville Primary School
- Keir Hardie Primary School
- Leedon Lower School
- Snodland CEP
- Carlton Colville Primary School
- Stock C of E Primary School
- Southwood Primary School
- The Albert Pye Community Primary School
- Bridge Learning Campus
- Wansdyke Primary School
- St Teresa’s Catholic Primary, Bristol
- The Willows Primary School
- St Joseph’s Catholic Primary, Derby
- East Hunsbury Primary School
- Castle Bromwich Infant and Nursery School
- Bellfield Infant School
- Kingshurst Primary School
- Brampton Primary School – Newham
- Ravensmere Infant School
- Rodings Primary School
- St Frideswide C E Primary School
- Alston Primary School
- Colmers Farm Primary School
- The Priory School – Edgbaston
- Just Imagine
- Sidemoor First School
- Knockhall Primary School
- Northumberland Heath Primary School
- Willow Bank Primary School
- Peareswood Primary School
Submission by Knockhall Primary School
Our Reading Gladiators Journey in Prints
For the Mini Challenge, the Year 2 Reading Gladiators team at Knockhall Primary School thought about what makes them good Reading Gladiators. Many have said they're good because they read a lot and therefore are inspired by what they read. Others have said that they are creative thinkers and good performers, being able to use different voices and expressions when telling stories and reciting poetry. The children wrote their strengths within their outlines of shoe prints, and to complete their activity, they drew two pictures showing two of their favourite books from their Reading Gladiators journey. Sasha and the Wolf Cub has been much enjoyed by the group and there are some lovely pictures of Ferdy in this challenge, but it's wonderful to see the other books being mentioned and celebrated in this activity. This journey has been a sheer delight and it has been a pleasure to be part of their magnificent adventure.
Week 2: Sasha and the Wolf Cub
For their weekly challenge, the children were given an extract from the beginning of the first chapter only, and they created their own illustrations depicting the scene. There are some incredible details in these drawings; as always, they are beautiful to see. In the session itself, we all took turns in reading the first two chapters, with myself reading the first chapter and setting the scene, and the children reading the second chapter in pairs. There was such a magical atmosphere in our library as the children read so beautifully with wonderful expression. Afterwards, we talked more about the white steppe and thought about what could happen in the next chapter. It was a productive and thoughtful session, made memorable by the magnificent Year 2 Reading Gladiators of Knockhall😊
Week 1a: Sasha and the Wolf Cub
In the lead up to our first session about our new book, I created this introduction poster on the iPad using KeyNote. This shows two different book covers, including our latest edition of the story, some illustrations from the book and some clues to the setting of the tale. The idea behind this poster is for the children to think about the book before reading it and encourage them to make their own predictions. I learned how to create this from a wonderful colleague at Knockhall , and it’s great to use a new skill in such a creative way. You will see the impact this poster has had on our session soon!
Week 5: The Phoenix of Persia
As our magical journey with this wonderful book came to an end, the children chose their favourite illustrations as part of their weekly challenge, and they recreated them through their own pieces of art. I enjoy seeing their drawings. They always make me smile as they are so beautiful to look at. In the session itself, we read the story together for the last time, creating an audio performance of our narration in the process to share with the Knockhall community. The children read the story beautifully and I could tell how confident they have grown as readers through this process. They should be so proud of what they have achieved as reading gladiators! 😊
Week 1b: Sasha and the Wolf Cub
The children studied my introduction poster closely and from it, they came up with so many ideas about what could happen. A few children gave so much detail in their predictions, it was almost like they were coming up with their own imaginative stories on the spot. It was such a delight to listen to them, and hearing a couple of the children talk about Christmas even made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside! The excitement was certainly in the air as we began our journey with Sasha and the wolf cub!😀
‘Sasha and the Wolfcub’ – Week Two
As you can see, we relished getting back to Gladiators after a week’s hiatus and were so excited to be having our first experience of Readers’ Theatre! We really got into character (especially the playfulness of Ferdy) and had great fun performing the scene to the rest of the group. After that, we watched some Cossack dancing and even had a little try at it ourselves. We are all really enjoying this story and loving the challenge of a longer chapter book.
Week 4: The Phoenix of Persia
For their Half Term challenge, we had a go at creating our own tales of the Simorgh. The children responded as creatively as ever, and I was once again very impressed with their efforts and their wondrous imagination. Here, we have one of the stories that can be seen as a follow on from the book, with the introduction of a new character. I like how the author of this story has taken the key messages from the original into account and applied them to her own tale. It was a joy to listen to all of the stories when we returned to school. During the session, we also had a discussion about family. I shared a delightful news story from a few years ago with the group. It was about a caring dog who adopted nine little ducklings after they were found waddling alone. I thought this related well to our book and it sparked a lovely talk amongst the children full of wonderful ideas.
Week 3: The Phoenix of Persia
Following from the previous session, the children chose their favourite fairy tales and either retold them or wrote new adaptations from them. Here, you have a retelling of ‘The Three Little Pigs’ and an adaptation of ‘The Princess and the Pea’, but this version is entitled ‘The Prince and the Sweetcorn’. The children’s creativity was celebrated in the session and they had the chance to perform their stories to the rest of the group. The Phoenix of Persia, along with the magical sound recording that accompanies it, has really inspired the children to think about adding expression to the tales that they read; hearing them read their own pieces of writing was an absolute joy! 😊
‘Sasha and the Wolfcub’ – Week One
We were so excited to find out what our new book is! Our visualisation activity pictures were full of trees, wooden houses and lots of snow. We weren’t sure what a steppe was, so we couldn’t draw that, but afterwards we found out that it is ‘a large area of flat unforested grassland in South Eastern Europe or Siberia.’ We have realised that we don’t know very much about Russia, so we hope that reading this book will help to expand our knowledge. Looking at the pictures on the slideshow really helped us to get a feel for the setting of the story though and we think Sasha’s sleigh looks just like Santa’s! We enjoyed reading the first chapter together and can’t wait to read on with our parents at home.
When we got back to our classroom after Gladiators, we shared the exciting news that we had won the mini challenge! Our whole class were so proud of us and we have displayed our phoenix with pride in our classroom for everyone to enjoy.
Submission by Leedon Lower School
Leedon Lower School Phoenix of Persia.
The Phoenix of Persia;
Imaginative, iridescent, intelligent
Colourful, caring, colossal
Pre-historic, perfumed, pretty
Regenerating, reborn, rainbow
Magic, motherly, mythological
Submission by Northumberland Heath Primary School
‘The Phoenix or Persia’
'The Phoenix of Persia' has been an absolute joy for us to enjoy and share with our parents/carers. We loved the exotic feel of the story, as well as the moral teaching us not to judge people by their looks of expect people to be perfect.
However, our absolute favourite thing about the book were the stunning illustrations! We had the most fun recreating the sgrafito technique used by Amin Hassanzadeh Sharif to produce our own simorgh collage. We first practiced the technique to see if pens or crayons worked better and discovered that crayons gave a nicer effect. Then, we covered whole pages of A4 paper with rainbow colours, before covering it over with black crayon and finally scraping away some of the black using cocktail sticks to reveal the beautiful colours underneath.
To complete our picture, we cut out the shapes of the simorgh's body and some feather shapes before forming our own beautiful phoenix to display in the school Book Barn. We added our alliterative descriptions of the simorgh afterwards to surround our brilliant bird. Our descriptions included :
Fabulous, fiery, phoenix
Beautiful, brave, bird
Amazing, awesome, Arabian
Persian, pearly, perfect
Rainbow, radiant, resistant
Splendid, strong, Simorgh
We hope you get as much pleasure from looking at our collage as we did producing it!
Submission by Knockhall Primary School
The Phoenix of Persia KHP Mini Challenge
This is our submission for the Mini Challenge, celebrating our current book 'The Phoenix of Persia'. Here, you will see some of the children's pictures along with a phoenix feather that they worked together to colour in. There are also some groups of alliterative words that the children came up with after describing the Simorgh. Around our feather is our favourite group of alliterative words; fiery, feathery and friendly. We hope you like our feather and the drawings :)
Week 2: The Phoenix of Persia
The Year 2 Reading Gladiators were invited to watch a video of the beautiful picture book ‘Mrs Noah’s Pockets’, which featured many more mythical creatures originating from different legends and stories. As part of their weekly challenge, the children chose a mythical creature to draw and describe using alliterative words. It was wonderful to see the different drawings, including a very colourful unicorn! In the session itself, we had an awesome discussion about traditional tales that we grew up with, mostly fairy tales. We realised that ‘The Phoenix of Persia’ share some common themes from our favourite stories; in the sense that something magical happens, there’s a mythical, talking animal involved and the story focuses around a family with Royal status. We watched parts of an interview with former children’s laureate, Chris Riddell, and this helped us discuss fairy tales further.
‘The Phoenix of Persia’ – Final week
We have really enjoyed sharing this story together over the last few weeks. Today, for our final session on the book, we did a shared read with the beautiful accompanying music playing in the background. It created such a wonderful atmosphere and we were transported to Persia in our minds! After we had read the story, we compared it to some other stories that we have read and decided that it is a fairytale, because it contains magic, royal family and soldiers. We ended our session with a lovely discussion about whether animals can be mother/father figures towards humans. The decision we made was that they can because they can care for us, look after us and also teach us things, just like our Mums, Dads & carers do! We even made a comparison between the Simorgh & Baloo in ‘The Jungle Book’. We are so excited to start our next book after half term, we can’t wait!
Knockhall group leader joins the challenge
Here you will find one of my own poems for the anthology. Inspired by something that I had seen during the October holiday, I decided to write a narrative poem, telling the story of what happened when a witch saw a mouse. I hope you like it.
Submission by Knockhall Primary School
Everybody Gather Round
As we have been reading 'Poems Aloud', the Year 2 team at Knockhall Primary School have been working towards the Mini Challenge of creating an audio poetry performance. We all have enjoyed Joseph Coelho's poems, and for me, it was so wonderful to see the children grow in confidence when it came to performing the poems. They have been absolutely brilliant!
We have also been inspired by the book to create our own anthology for the school library entitled 'Everybody Gather Round', which follows the same premise as Joseph Coelho's book; these poems were written to be performed.
For our mini challenge, we have created a performance featuring readings of Coelho's poems as well as our own. Please find the audio clip attached along with two accompanying slides showing some of our poems.
Week 1: The Phoenix of Persia
At home, the children created their own pictures of the Simorgh. They also came up with short descriptions about this mythical creature in preparation for the Mini Challenge. During the session itself, the children coloured in their own phoenix feathers and took turns in colouring in a bigger feather. Then, thinking about how they described the Simorgh previously, the children came up with a list of words to fill in a circle map. We then selected groups of alliterative words and chose our favourite group of words. You will see what we chose very soon! 🙂
Week 5: Poems Aloud
The Year 2 team at Knockhall Primary School continued to write poems for a special anthology that will be shared within the school community. As well as Joseph Coelho’s poems, the children were inspired by the early personification poems written by Roger Hargreaves, the author of the Mr Men books. They chose an object to write as and they each wrote a great poem, showing the feelings and thoughts of their chosen item. During the session itself, we worked together to create a speedy, energetic poem about a brand new superhero, Invinci-Boy! It was such an amazing session, one of the best ever! 🙂
‘The Phoenix of Persia’ – Week 3
We loved practicing our sgrafitto technique this week, ready for our mini challenge entry! We felt like real book illustrators when we compared our work to Amin Hassanzadeh Sharif’s pictures.
Week 4: Poems Aloud
The children continued to work hard on their own collection of poems, writing new ones and drawing wonderful pictures to accompany them. We also continued to work towards our Mini Challenge, creating sound recordings for our audio performance. As well as reading their favourite poems from our book, we also recorded ourselves reading our favourite written poem.
Week 3: Poems Aloud
The Year 2 team at Knockhall had been inspired by Joseph Coelho’s anthology to start writing their own collection of poems. Over the Easter holidays, we wrote at least three poems each based on our favourite things and memories. Some of the children were inspired by the Animal poems in our book to write their own. I’ve been amazed by their use of rhyme and rhythm, as well as their choice of words. During the session itself, we started to work on creating our audio performance for the Mini Challenge. It was wonderful to hear the children perform their favourite poems with great expression and magnificent enthusiasm 🙂
‘The Phoenix of Persia’ – Week two
The children came back this week, full of excitement at having shared the story with their parents. We revisited the story and had great fun with the choral reading! After that, we thought about how King Sam & Queen Aram felt when they had their much-longed-for baby and how their thoughts & feelings changed when King Sam saw the baby’s white hair. Our RG came up with some wonderfully rich vocabulary including – depressed, exhilarated & devastated. We cannot wait until our next session comes around!
The Phoenix of Persia – Week One
We are so excited to finally have begun our RG journey 2021! The Year 2s were the first lucky group to launch yesterday. We had a fascinating discussion about the origins of the phoenix and mythical creatures in general. They remained entirely captivated throughout the whole story and were all so excited to go home and share the tale with their parents as well.
Submission by Leedon Lower School
Leedon Lower School perform their own poem – When I’m Excited.
The Reading Gladiators have been very resilient for the past few weeks while they were on lockdown, then Mrs O'Reilly was shielding, then two of our bubbles closed and one stayed open so we couldn't meet. This was their version of Say How You Feel which they wrote together and then performed after only one practice. They're amazing says Mrs O'Reilly!
Submission by Bridge Learning Campus
Year 2 submission to reading The Shockadile Crocodile
Year 2 absolutely loved reading through the poems using different styles.
The confidence the children have gained with reading the poems out loud is astonishing and considering how the past year has been we are all very proud of the children.
Submission by Knockhall Primary School
Knockhall Primary The Misadventures of Frederick
Week 2: Poems Aloud
The Year 2 team looked at the poem ‘Don’t Look Now’, and after taking turns performing it (in a whispered, anxious voice), we worked together to create our own version of the poem, taking inspiration from a classic Thomas the Tank Engine story. The poem will be featured in the group’s own anthology that’ll be shared with the rest of the school.
Week 1: Poems Aloud
The Year 2 team started to look at the next book of their Reading Gladiators journey, Poems Aloud by Joseph Coelho. During the session, we chose some poems to read at random before focusing on the double page spread about animals. The children took turns in performing the poems, giving the animals different voices. It was such a delight to watch them and listen to their performances. For their weekly challenge, the children wrote their own animal poems to perform at a later date. On this update, you’ll see one of the children’s poems as well as my own.
Week 5: The Misadventures of Frederick
This showcases the awesome home learning that has been taking place. To finish their journey with this book, the Year 2 team explored the works of Emma Chichester Clark further. They watched a video taken from a recent virtual event and listened to Emma reading one of her own stories. Then they had a go at drawing her characters, including Plum (who is based on her own dog). One of the children was lucky enough to have his drawing seen by Emma herself, and to have her comment on it through social media. What brilliant news! 🙂
Week 4: The Misadventures of Frederick
The Year 2 team at Knockhall demonstrated some excellent home learning as they drew their own illustrations showing what could happen after the story had finished. They drew in the art style of the illustrator, Emma Chichester Clark, and created their own amazing pieces of art as a result. During the session itself, the team worked brilliantly together in fulfilling the mini challenge, creating a word hoard from the book.