Year 4 2021
Welcome to the 2021 Reading Gladiators™ challenges. Let the reading begin!
There are schools in this group:
- Becket Primary
- Edward Heneage Primary Academy
- St Joseph’s Catholic Primary, Derby
- New Pasture Lane Primary School
- Edenthorpe Hall Academy
- Gleadless Primary School
- Wyndham Primary Academy
- East Hunsbury Primary School
- Medlock Primary School
- Chapel Street Primary School
- Ribble Drive Primary School
- Windy Arbor Primary School
- St Matthew’s C of E Primary, Birmingham
- Henley Green Primary School
- Montgomery Primary
- Percy Shurmer Academy
- Oaklands Primary School
- Kingshurst Primary School
- Alston Primary School
- Muswell Hill Primary School
- Dallow Primary School
- Hallsville Primary School
- Keir Hardie Primary School
- Brampton Primary School – Newham
- Leedon Lower School
- Heathrow Primary School
- Danbury Park Community Primary School
- Snodland CEP
- All Saints’ CEVA Primary School
- Wentworth Primary School
- Stock C of E Primary School
- Arthur Bugler Primary School
- Priory Junior School
- The Albert Pye Community Primary School
- Rodings Primary School
- Bridge Learning Campus
- Wansdyke Primary School
- St Frideswide C E Primary School
- The Willows Primary School
- Iver Village Junior School
- The Priory School – Edgbaston
- The Dolphin School
- Colmers Farm Primary School
- Just Imagine
- Gwenfo CW Primary School
- Sidemoor First School
- Edinburgh Primary School
- St Louis Catholic Academy
- Knockhall Primary School
- Northumberland Heath Primary School
- Willow Bank Primary School
- Peareswood Primary School
- Platt Church of England Primary School
Submission by Heathrow Primary School
The Closest Thing to Flying Scrapbook
Heathrow Primary School Gladiators have enjoyed putting together their scrapbooks, thinking carefully about the significance of the images and themes present in 'The Closest Thing to Flying'. We explored parallels between the characters' lives, and discussed their reactions to the atrocities inflicted upon them. The children were captivated by Kitty's unswerving pursuit in achieving freedom for women, and we compared that to today's version of democracy. How have things changed since the 19th century? How far have we come? Do women still have equal rights? What does true feminism look like? This book really gave the children food for thought, challenging their stereotypical views of women and men, and leaving a lasting impression on our minds and hearts.
Submission by Knockhall Primary School
‘The Closest Thing to Flying’ Scrapbook
Throughout our journey with Semira and Hen, we have been completing a series of activities, relating to our book. Our work has been gathered together to form a special scrapbook, which celebrates Gill Lewis's engaging novel and will later be shared with the rest of the Knockhall community. In our scrapbook, there are diary entries, written by the children as they take on the role of Semira, as well as beautiful drawings of the mysterious yet intriguing feathered hat that Semira finds in the first chapter. There are also informative bird fact files and wonderfully written poems about the joys of cycling. Also in our scrapbook, I've included some information sheets that I have made to show my group. I hope our scrapbook inspires the rest of the school to pick up a copy of 'The Closest Thing to Flying'and experience this wondrous, thought provoking journey for themselves.
Submission by Heathrow Primary School
Heathrow Primary School Gladiators – Peaceful Protests!
Inspired by Kitty's drive to effect change in her society, we had a think about topics we were passionate about to improve our society. The children designed persuasive placards to demonstrate a clear, effective message!
‘The Closest Thing to Flying’ – Weeks 3 & 4
This book has really inspired us to think about issues that we feel strongly about and that we would be willing to protest about or stand up for. We decided that we would protest for women’s rights, animal rights, against slavery and for alcohol to be banned.
We also talked a lot about the strong female characters in the book and how Kittie inspired both Hen & Semira to fight for their freedom from oppression. Their bikes symbolise freedom and power for both girls, as they give them the opportunity to get away from what it is that is keeping them prisoner. Semira’s bike even gives her the confidence to stand up to Robel in the park. Our whole group had a great time acting out this scene and really got into their characters with passion and flair.
We have really enjoyed reading the book and are so close to the end now, we almost don’t want it to end despite the fact that we can’t wait to find out what happens.
Week 5: The Umbrella Mouse
For their Half Term challenge, the children worked on their short stories for our anthology. Here, you will see an extract from one of the children’s work along with his wonderful senses map. His story is about Rip, one of the many rescue dogs who saved many lives during the Blitz. In the session itself, as we were coming to the end of our journey with Pip, we chose a moment that stood out to us from the book and drew pictures of it, using the beautiful illustrations by Sam Usher to guide us. The children wrote key quotes relating to their chosen moment and gave their own descriptions to say what had happened and the significance of the event in relation to the story. They worked so hard in the session, and their drawings were amazing, really capturing Usher’s style🙂
Week 4: The Umbrella Mouse
Inspired by the courageous animals who served during the Second World War, the Year 4 Reading Gladiators started to create a special book for the school library at Knockhall; an anthology of short stories about the brave rescue dogs and carrier pigeons who were later awarded the Dickin Medal. We were inspired by David Long’s beautiful book as well as ‘The Umbrella Mouse’, but we planned to write our stories in first person rather than third, as so to give the animals themselves a chance to tell their heroic tales from their perspective and giving them a voice. In our session, we started work on our anthology with a group story about Royal Blue, a pigeon who was owned by King George VI and was later given the Dickin Medal for being the first pigeon to deliver a message from an aircraft forced to land in enemy territory.
‘The Closest Thing to Flying’ – Weeks One & Two
We are really enjoying this book, especially the historical aspects and seeing the differences between Victorian times and now. We had so much to say when we were comparing the two different parts of the front cover and even noticed some things that our teacher hadn’t!. All of us agree that Robel is not a nice man at all and we want Semira and her Mum to be able to escape from him and be free. We cannot wait to find out what happens further on in the story…
Submission by Heathrow Primary School
Heathrow Primary School Gladiators
Heathrow Primary School Gladiators created maps to plot Pip's journey from the Umbrella Shop in London to Normandy, where she meets the Noah's Ark animals. The children recorded pivotal moments along Pip's journey showing how she is shaped into a strong and resilient character through her adventures.
Submission by Edenthorpe Hall Academy
The Umbrella Mouse map Edenthorpe Hall
Submission by East Hunsbury Primary School
East Hunsbury Primary School Yr4
We loved reading about Pips journey. The children mapped out her quest showing her journey throughout the book, we also talked about her feelings and emotions at each milestone.
Submission by Iver Village Junior School
Pip: One small mouse, one big journey!
Reading Gladiators from Iver Village Junior School, Buckinghamshire, thoroughly enjoyed plotting the start of Pip’s journey, from The Umbrella Shop until The Hollow in France. We started by finding key locations from the book and paired these with quotes from each chapter. After everyone had selected a location, we got started on planning our map and drawing. You can see how we used the quotes to influence our pictures. This helped up to imagine what Pip was feeling at each point in her journey. We also used the way that Pip travelled from place to place to help us plot the map. We are so happy with the way our map turned out!
Submission by Wentworth Primary School
Wentworth’s Map of Pip’s Journey
The children worked in their bubbles to create different parts of the map - England and France.
Camera, Lights, Action!
Heathrow Primary School Gladiators enjoyed dramatising a scene from ‘The Umbrella Mouse’. The children had to think about using their body language, gestures and expression to bring this scene to life. They had great fun in performing this!
Week 3: The Umbrella Mouse
The children continued to read about Pip’s quest and in the session, we discussed more about Pip as a character. We wrote adjectives to describe her personality within a circle map and included examples from the story so far around it. We also explored more about the incredible rescue dogs and brave carrier pigeons who served during the Second World War and were later awarded with the Dickin Medal.
Week 2: The Umbrella Mouse
As part of their weekly challenge, the children looked at different pictures of the actual umbrella shop in London, James Smiths and Sons, along with an online video showing a tour of the place. Using these resources, they had a go at writing descriptions about the shop. One child wrote his description so vividly it was as if he had actually been there himself. During the session, we started to read about the Dickin Medal and its recipients, including GI Joe, who is featured in our book.
Week 1: The Umbrella Mouse
Before reading their next book, the Year 4 Reading Gladiators created fact files about the Second World War as part of their weekly challenge. This helped the children to understand the setting of their book and the events that took place during this hard, dark time.
Themes in ‘The Umbrella Mouse’ 2
Themes in ‘The Umbrella Mouse’
We also examined major themes from the novel and had philosophical discussions about what they meant. It was brilliant to see the children making text to text links by finding similarities between ‘The Umbrella Mouse’ and ‘The Runaway Robot’, as well as linking their learning to our class text – Macbeth. Have a read of what the themes meant to them.
Who to Trust 4
Who to Trust 3
Who to Trust 2
Who to trust?
The children encountered a few animals in ‘The Umbrella Mouse’ and had to think about who Pip could trust and why, and what we can learn from her experiences. They did this using a combination of illustrations and dialogue from the text, thinking carefully about where Pip’s trust was misplaced.
‘The Runaway Robot’ – Week 5
We have finished this wonderful story and thoroughly enjoyed it! Today, we made comparisons between ‘The Iron Man’ & ‘The Runaway Robot’ (which we did very well because we studied Ted Hughes’ book in Year 3). After that, we analysed the illustrations and decoded what impression they give of Alfie & Eric’s relationship. We also played Simon Says, which was a lot of fun! We chose to end our session with a choral read and a little bit of acting – recreating the frantic car journey of Dr Shilling & Alfie. We are really excited to find out what our next book will be after half term.
The Umbrella Mouse
This term, the Year 4 children at Heathrow Primary are reading ‘The Umbrella Mouse’. This spellbinding tale of courage is about a mouse called Pip Hanway, who gets caught in the conflict of WW2. Residing in an umbrella shop, James Smith &Sons, her world is suddenly shattered when a bomb destroys everything that she holds dear. Now, Pip must venture forth bravely in search of a new home. The story explores the harshness of war through the eyes of a mouse, and the beautiful illustrations truly brings the story to life. In keeping with Sam Usher’s style of illustrations, Heathrow Primary Gladiators designed an umbrella to help the Secret Army fight against the Axis Powers. Have a look at the hidden mechanisms in our umbrellas and let us know what you think!
‘The Runaway Robot’ – Week 4
We began our session with a collaborative read of Steps 21-25. Every week, our expression when reading and use of the punctuation to guide us is improving more and more. After sharing the steps together, we used the definitions to identify the different characters in the book. We then had a great debate inspired by the statements about robots and humans. We have learnt that we have some very different opinions within our group! Our favourite part of the session was doing our walk acting – first we walked like a character from the story and the rest of the group had to guess who we were being. Then, we walked like we were in a certain mood and they had to guess how we were feeling. It was great fun! We are so close to the end of the book now and can’t wait to find out how it ends.
Week 4: Chalk Eagle
At Knockhall Primary School, the Year 4 Reading Gladiators have been exploring ‘Chalk Eagle’. In response to the mini challenge, the children have been writing their own retellings of the story before parts of their work were stringed together to form a group narration. We created an audio performance of our narration for the challenge.
Here’s hoping that you and the RG team enjoy our take on such a beautiful tale.
Knockhall Reading Gladiators retelling of Chalk Eagle
Chalk Eagle Retelling Y4 RG
Week 3: Chalk Eagle
In the lead up to the session, I read through the different versions of ‘Chalk Eagle’ and chose elements from each one to create a group retelling of the story. Then, during the session itself, the children created a special audio performance of the story to share with the school. Here, you will see the first half of our story, along with more beautiful chalk eagles that were created by the children during the second part of our session.
Week 2: Chalk Eagle
During the Easter holidays, we each wrote our own retelling of this mesmerising picture book. When we came back to school, some of the children read their stories to the group. It was delightful to hear them bring their tales to life. Some of the children continued to work on their stories during the session whilst others had a go at creating their own chalk eagles, creating beautiful pieces of art.
‘Runaway Robot’ – Week 3
We began our session by sharing chapters 14 and 15 reading together. After that, we added to our ‘Role on the Wall’ diagram of Alfie – it’s interesting to see how Alfie’s character evolves throughout the story. Our favourite activity of this week was ‘Readers’ Theatre’ though. We really got into character (especially ERIC) and even got to perform our scene on our playground stage! It made us feel like real actors.