Year 4 2021

Welcome to the 2021 Reading Gladiators™ challenges. Let the reading begin!

Updates

  • Heathrow Women’s rights

    Heathrow Primary Gladiators have written stirring speeches championing Women’s Rights in the 19th century. Should women be allowed to vote? Do they deserve the same freedoms as men? Have a read of our persuasive speeches and let us know what you think.

     

    Comments

    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 13th Jul 2021, 10:01pm
    Some powerful thoughts here Gladiators and some creative ways of presenting your thoughts regarding women's rights! You've convinced me! Well done! You have learned so much from this story.
  • 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.

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    Comments

    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 13th Jul 2021, 9:54pm
    This is wonderful. Your scrapbook shows how deeply you have thought about the issues raised in The Closest Thing to Flying. We are so pleased you will be sharing this with your school community. I expect there will be a waiting list for this brilliant story. Well done!
  • 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.

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    Comments

    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 13th Jul 2021, 9:54pm
    This is wonderful. Your scrapbook shows how deeply you have thought about the issues raised in The Closest Thing to Flying. We are so pleased you will be sharing this with your school community. I expect there will be a waiting list for this brilliant story. Well done!
  • 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!

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    Comments

    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 10th Jul 2021, 4:25pm
    These are just brilliant! Creative and meaningful. With the future in your hands we can all sleep easy! Well done Gladiators. You are an inspiration!
  • ‘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.

    Comments

    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 8th Jul 2021, 8:36pm
    I remember feeling the same. We get so close to the girls and their stories, it is hard to step away at the end - but that is testament to Gill Lewis's absorbing writing isn't it? We are looking forward to hearing your thoughts about the end of the story.
  • 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🙂

    Comments

    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 8th Jul 2021, 8:32pm
    Goodness what a lot of writing! We are delighted to hear that your pupils have been inspired by Sam Usher's illustrations. Have you got his weather picture books in school? https://www.bestbooksforschools.com/collections/all/author-usher-sam
  • 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.

    Comments

    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 8th Jul 2021, 8:27pm
    Your research and anthology sound fascinating and it is excellent to hear that you have also been inspired by the further reading recommendations.
  • ‘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…

    Comments

    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 8th Jul 2021, 3:36pm
    Gill Lewis certainly draws the reader in to this fascinating story in the opening chapters. Both girls have the reader cheering them on and wishing them well. I don't think your group will be disappointed.
    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 8th Jul 2021, 3:49pm
    I still spot details in the cover after looking at it for two years!
  • 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.

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    Comments

    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 6th Jun 2021, 6:17pm
    What a bright and attractive map with some excellent dialogue selections from the story. Well done!
  • Submission by Edenthorpe Hall Academy

    The Umbrella Mouse map Edenthorpe Hall

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    Comments

    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 6th Jun 2021, 6:16pm
    What a super map! Excellent geographical detail in addition to key places and Pip's feelings at different points throughout her journey. Great work Gladiators!
  • 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.

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    Comments

    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 6th Jun 2021, 6:09pm
    An excellent use of Sam Usher's brilliant illustrations to map Pip's journey. A well put together entry. Well done Gladiators!
  • 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!

    Download the file

    Comments

    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 6th Jun 2021, 5:52pm
    What an epic journey you have portrayed here! Such artistry and some super quotation selections too. Well done. You should indeed be very proud of the eye-catching end results. We hope this display will encourage others to pick up this wonderful war story.
  • 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.

    Download the file

    Comments

    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 6th Jun 2021, 4:57pm
    Great idea to work on separate sections in their bubbles and then bring it together to make one collaborative piece. The umbrella bobbing along the Thames is a nice addition and the inclusion of the very important code phrase too. We can imagine Pip saying it over and over to remember it on her long journey. Well done!
  • 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

    Comments

    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 24th May 2021, 11:26pm
    Brilliant comparisons with other texts. You will be theme detectives now...spotting all sorts of connections between the books you read.
  • 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.

    Comments

    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 24th May 2021, 11:28pm
    Madame Fourcade and Pip are inspirational characters. It looks like they have taught you a lot about life.
  • Who to Trust 4

    Comments

    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 24th May 2021, 11:17pm
    These annotated illustrations show a brilliant understanding of the story so far. I can spot characterisation in the speech bubbles and some excellent observations about trust in a wider context. Well done Gladiators!
  • 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.

    Comments

    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 20th May 2021, 9:33am
    It looks like you had a lot of fun with this title and developed your deeper reading skills along the way too! Great work Gladiators...keep it up.
  • 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!

     

     

     

       

    Comments

    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 13th May 2021, 5:23pm
    Super work Gladiators! What a brilliant collection of multi-functional umbrellas - all worthy of a place in the Gignese Museum! I expect to see the ingeniously named 'Protectella' on sale in shops before long too.
  • ‘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.

    Comments

    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 13th May 2021, 3:55pm
    I am so glad you are enjoying The Runaway Robot. We are so lucky to have talented writers such as Frank Cottrell-Boyce to give us stories that inspire debate and fun in equal measure. I hope your Gladiators like the ending. The Author's note makes for very interesting reading too.
  • 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

    Comments

    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 7th May 2021, 10:13am
    This is just brilliant. The narration, the vocabulary, the emotion - all superb. You have a wonderful cast of voice artists and such professional production too. I am so glad you connected with this book so well.
  • 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.

    Comments

    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 7th May 2021, 11:32am
    Brilliant art work Gladiators! Chalk is such an expressive medium - ideal for translating images in your imagination to the page.
  • 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.

    Comments

    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 7th May 2021, 10:19am
    A wordless text brings so much creativity. Brilliant work Gladiators.
  • ‘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.