Year 6 2021

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

Updates

  • Submission by Knockhall Primary School

    The Choice Is Yours: Chosen by the Year 6 Reading Gladiators

    The Year 6 Reading Gladiators at Knockhall have enjoyed reading Jan Mark's anthology of intriguing stories. As they have been reading the book and choosing stories that they would like to read, they have been writing reviews about them. Recently, the team decided on a favourite title from the contents page and once this was done, one child designed the front cover using Google Drawings while the others worked on the introduction and the inside title page. Our anthology would have featured 'Birthday Girl', 'Charming' and of course, 'The Choice Is Yours', and while I haven't been able to include them in the file, you can read some of the reviews that have been included in our anthology. We soon hope to share our reviews and our chosen favourite tales with the rest of the children in Year 6 and Key Stage 2, and by doing so, we hope that this inspires them to pick up the book themselves and embark on their own journey with this variety of short tales.

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    Comments

    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 10th Jul 2021, 4:59pm
    Some super choices and a comprehensive introduction and more clever use of technology to express your ideas. We are so glad your enjoyed Jan's writing and will be sharing it with others too. Sadly this collection is now out of print but it will live on in Knockhall and through the advocacy of your Reading Gladiators. Well done!
  • Week 3: The One That Got Away

    As well as working on their main short stories for our anthology, the children read a selection of tales from Jan Mark’s book and wrote story reviews about them. Here, you will see three reviews about the tales ‘Chutzpah’, ‘Charming’ and ‘In Black and White’.

  • Week 2: The One That Got Away

    As the children continued to explore Jan Mark’s anthology, the team took the opportunity to look at other examples during the sessions. In this case, the team read a few extracts from Shaun Tan’s visually stunning book ‘Tales from the Inner City’, and taking inspiration from the selection, they wrote their own short stories based on the illustrations. It was an absolute joy to read them! I was amazed and taken back by their magnificent creativity and story telling abilities. I was beyond impressed! I especially love the cliff hangers; these captured the mysterious atmosphere of some of Jan Mark’s tales. These stories were going towards our own anthology, which we started to work on for the school library. This was an awesome start to our project, and I can’t wait to see what other stories we come up with!😀

  • Week 1: The One That Got Away

    In the lead up to our first session about our new book, I invited the children to look through my own anthology of short stories, to help them understand the concept behind anthologies and how one can choose the stories that they would like to read from them. As a passionate writer, it was very interesting to hear what some of the children thought about them, and it was a joy to know that they liked them. In the session itself, I introduced Jan Mark’s anthology through some role play, with a little help of a mischievous, miniature bat called Dennis (named after the Maker of Mischief himself). The children were confused and bewildered by the sight of a small match box with a miniature bat inside. They were soon aghast when they found out the truth. Putting their thoughts to paper, their words came together to form the group’s own version of ‘The One That Got Away’ – one of the children came up with an awesome title, which summed up the whole event brilliantly!😁

  • Week 4: The Space We’re In

    To finish our journey with Frank and Max, the Year 6 Reading Gladiators used iPads with the website Padlet to create their own discussion board, showing what they had learned about autism from reading the book as well as the new ideas and thoughts that they have gained. It was an informative, productive discussion and I could not help but be proud of my group for what they had achieved during the course of reading this book🙂

  • Week 3: The Space We’re In

    For the Half Term challenge, the Year 6 Reading Gladiators were given extracts from Libby Scott’s wonderful book ‘Can You See Me?’, which focuses on Tilly, a girl with autism. The book is based on Libby’s own experiences and gaining ideas from Tilly’s diary entries, the children had a go at writing their own entries, taking on the role of either a different character or Max as a teenager. When I read through the entries, I was taken back by how much understanding and empathy the children have towards those with autism. As someone with Asperger’s Syndrome, I truly appreciate the children being open minded and see that despite the difficulties, people on the Autistic Spectrum can still achieve so much. It’s been an honour to share my own experiences with the team and bless them for allowing me to be me.

  • ‘The One That Got Away’ – Week Two

    After a week’s hiatus, we were excited to get back to our Gladiators session this week and share the short stories that we had read. ‘Birthday Girl’ seems to have been a favourite with us all – we loved the ghostly, supernatural nature of the tale. Today, we enjoyed reading ‘Nothing to be Afraid of’ and analysing the relationship between Anthea and Robin. We compared them to ourselves and younger siblings, agreeing that we all try to scare them in a fun and playful way. It was so clear at the end of the story that Robin enjoyed playing with Anthea, as he asked to go to the park again!

    Comments

    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 8th Jul 2021, 3:33pm
    Nothing to Be Afraid Of was a favourite of mine when it was first published! and yes Birthday Girl is delightfully chilling. Glad to hear you are enjoying these well written short stories - such wonderful inspiration for the children's own writing.
  • ‘The One That Got Away’ – Week One

    Well, what can we say? – our first session with this text was very eventful! Miss O’Rourke tried to fool us with her creature in a matchbox and even though we weren’t all entirely convinced that it was real, we got swept away by the excitement of the situation and chaos ensued. So much so, that one of our PE coaches came in to check that everything was ok, because he had heard the commotion outside! It was so funny, we are obviously excellent actors.

    After introducing the book and having a look at the titles, we picked our favourite one and designed an alternative front cover for the anthology with the title that we had picked. We love the fact that we have the freedom to choose which stories really catch our eye to read before next week and we are excited to share our thoughts with the rest of the group.

    Comments

    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 16th Jun 2021, 11:54am
    There is such a buzz coming from this post - thank you for sharing your success with week 1. Oh to have been a fly on the wall! Your cover alternatives are great too!
  • Submission by St Michael Catholic Primary School

    The Space We’re In

    A Gladiator at St Michael's Ashford

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    Comments

    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 6th Jun 2021, 6:06pm
    A striking title for this poster which includes some of the symbols and coding used by The Autism Society and Frank. Well done to the gladiator who produced this on behalf of your group.
  • Submission by Weston On Trent Primary School

    The Diverse World We’re In

    We designed this poster to show that the world of autism is not that dissimilar to the world of non-autistic people. We all have fears, we all react to certain things in different ways, and we all have some order to our lives.
    We have depicted Max and Frank holding hands, eating Quavers, looking at the stars, holding hands. They are sat on a golden ratio, which was an important symbol to Frank, and there are also codes and symbols hidden in the poster that link to the book.

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    Comments

    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 6th Jun 2021, 5:57pm
    A poignant poster showing the spirit of this beautiful story. Very clever use of coding and the golden ration too. Well done!
  • Submission by East Hunsbury Primary School

    East Hunsbury Primary School – The Space We’re In – Group 2

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    Comments

    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 6th Jun 2021, 5:38pm
    A clever display which shows Frank's doodling style and captures many of the key aspects of the relationship he has with Max. Very well done!
  • Submission by Iver Village Junior School

    The Space We’re In

    The Iver Village Junior School Year 6 Reading Gladiators were completely absorbed in this beautiful book. They were captivated by the characters and really felt that they learnt so much about Max's condition; empathising with his brother throughout the story.
    They were extremely keen to research Autism and enjoyed planning how to present the information they discovered on our display board in the hall. "We want everyone to understand what life is like for a person who has autism and how we can all help them."

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    Comments

    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 6th Jun 2021, 5:35pm
    It is a delight to see how much this story has influenced the gladiators to help others to understand autism. Your varied and colourful display captures some important elements of this condition and will undoubtedly make others stop and think too. Well done!
    Avatar
    Rachel Bjorck 10th Jun 2021, 2:40pm
    20 8 1 14 11 25 15 21 We loved the book and are recommending it to our friends!
    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 10th Jun 2021, 2:49pm
    You are very welcome! Excellent - and completely appropriate to do so today - #Empathy Day.
  • Submission by Knockhall Primary School

    Th Skylarks War Knockhall

    Here you have four engines from the Penrose Class with descriptions and quotes from key moments within our story.

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    Comments

    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 6th Jun 2021, 5:25pm
    These trains say a lot about this beautiful story. Your individual contributions are very appropriately displayed together. Well done to those Gladiators who contributed.
  • Submission by The Albert Pye Community Primary School

    Albert Pye: The Space We’re In

    It means Max sees and feels the world differently...
    The NOISE of the MUSIC and the CLUNK of the PINS and the FLASH OF THE LIGHTS and the SPLASH of the WATER...
    B
    R
    E
    A
    K
    I
    N
    G

    D
    O
    W
    N
    He can't help it!
    And then the world stopped spinning and then all the CHAOS rushes IN.
    Time feels like it's fallen apart....
    My heart cracks.
    I sit on the sofa and I CRY.
    4 5 16 18 5 19 19 5

    Max likes Neil which is weird because dogs make noise and jump about suddenly...
    I howl like a wolf when I see him in the morning. Max likes the howl and he pulls my hand until I do it again and he stares at me in his wolf suit.

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    Comments

    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 6th Jun 2021, 5:09pm
    A varied and informative display. You have demonstrated a very good understanding of some of the themes and characters in this story. Your display should pique the curiosity of others and encourage them to read this brilliant book. Well done!
  • Art isn’t a code… or is it?

    While we were working towards the Mini Challenge, the Year 6 Reading Gladiators at Knockhall Primary School looked at the Golden Ratio in more detail. This concept was mentioned in our book, ‘The Space We’re In’ with Frank saying afterwards that art wasn’t a code. He thought the Golden Ratio was nothing but a swirly line. During one of our sessions, we put this statement to the test by using templates of the Golden Ratio to create our own drawings. This activity inspired us to think about Frank’s quote further and the children submitted their opinions to me so that they could be included on this poster, along with their amazing artwork. We leave you now to come up with your own opinions on the matter. Is art a code or do you think otherwise?🤔

    Comments

    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 16th Jun 2021, 11:52am
    It is fascinating isn't it. Looks like you had a great discussion with some good evidence to support your points.
  • Week 2: The Space We’re In

    As part of their weekly challenge, the children were asked to create their codes using the code key on the front page of our book. I took part in the challenge too, so that when the codes were gathered together, a game was created similar to that shown on the quiz show ‘House of Games’. Here, we’ve called it ‘School of Games’ and the children found the puzzles fun to solve (despite one or two teething problems!). We also worked on our own doodles, inspired by Frank, drawing our favourite things, the places we love and the characters we grew up with. It was amazing to see the different creative approaches to this activity; some wonderful ICT skills were also demonstrated.

  • Week 1: The Space We’re In

    The Year 6 team started reading their next book, ‘The Space We’re In’. The session acted as an introduction to Autism and allowed the children to discuss what they already knew about it. As someone on the Autistic Spectrum myself, having Asperger’s Syndrome, I shared some of my experiences and talked about what it was like for me in my school years. It gave the children a unique opportunity to learn about the Spectrum from a personal perspective.

  • Week 4: The Skylark’s War

    As the Year 6 team continued to read this book, they also explored war poems written by those who fought during the First World War. This week, they continued to write as Clarry and Rupert, writing about their experiences and feelings during this hard time. One of the children submitted an amazing poem, which bought a tear to my eye. It’s powerful as well as emotional.

  • ‘In the Key of Code’ – Week 4

    Our AI drawings were all pretty similar, despite us not discussing what we thought AI was beforehand. We all thought of it as computers or robots that are watching us and gathering information. We then had a vibrant discussion about social media algorithms and their pros/cons. The last part of our session was spent debating whether robots make good companions (especially for older people). The consensus was that they were a good thing, but that they would need to be upgraded regularly to make them more invulnerable to hacking. This was because we didn’t want them to end up as a negative influence on people’s lives. We also suggested that it would be great if the robots could detect changes in elderly peoples’ heart rates etc, as they could get medical help early and possibly save their lives. Now we have finished ‘In the Key of Code’, we cannot wait to start our new book after half term!

    Comments

    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 24th May 2021, 11:20pm
    I think many would benefit from a discussion about social media algorithms, their pros and cons! It sounds like you had some very rich booktalk and how wonderful to be approaching the next book with such enthusiasm already.
  • ‘In the Key of Code’ – Week 3

    Today, we decided to write fairy tales for Emmy’s Mum and Dad. We are all really proud of them, as we collaborated to plan and produce some great stories using the character fairy tales in the book as inspiration. Once we had written them, we shared our stories with the other group. We are so close to the end of the book now and can’t wait to complete it next week!

    Comments

    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 18th May 2021, 1:29pm
    It has been a joy following you through this story. Your responses have been superb. We love your collaborative fairy tales. Thank you for sharing them with us.
  • ‘In the Key of Code’ – Week 2

    Good news – Emmy’s emotions graph is looking MUCH better now we have progressed further with the book. We had a great discussion about gender roles today and the origins of people’s ideas about gender stereotyping. We also addressed our questions and ideas about the book so far. Finally, we did some excellent choral reading of Orchestra 1 & 2 and read a few more pages of the book together as well.

    Comments

    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 11th May 2021, 1:46pm
    Very pleased to see this! - and also that your Gladiators have noted Emmy's emotional journey still has twists and turns.
  • Week 3: The Skylark’s War

    Throughout the week, the children stepped into the footsteps of Rupert and Clarry, writing letters and poems. Inspired by Michael Morpurgo’s ‘The Best Christmas Present In The World’, the children wrote letters as Clarry, writing a response to Rupert’s letter about the Christmas Day Truce. They also wrote war poems as Rupert, being inspired by the powerful poetry written by the soldiers themselves about the War. The writing that I have read so far has been emotional and breath taking. It’s incredible!

    Comments

    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 11th May 2021, 1:48pm
    It sounds like your group has developed a strong emotional connection to the subject matter through the Reading Gladiators title and also the wider reading too. Wonderful work.
  • Week 2: The Skylark’s War

    The Year 6 Reading Gladiators continued to enjoy ‘The Skylark’s War’ during the Easter holidays. In the lead up to the Spring Break, some of the children shared with me their Cornish recounts from the previous challenge. I was blown away by their writing; the awesome choice of words and the incredible, vivid descriptions. I hope these children are as proud of their amazing writing skills as I am. Not only are they engaging, enthusiastic readers, they are also wonderful, creative writers 🙂

  • ‘In the Key of Code’ – Week 1

    Our Yr 6 RG were really happy to begin their journey with ‘In the Key of Code’ today. I felt that it was really important for them to experience this book, as they will all be making the huge leap from Primary to Secondary in just a few short months. We talked a lot about the differences between Wisconsin and California, exploring both states in detail. They were all enthralled to find out that the book features computer coding, as they all enjoy coding lessons in school (as well as reading!). Our emotions graph shows how sad Emmy is feeling when she has to move from her home in Wisconsin to California and things just go from bad to worse as she starts to feel more and more like a wrong note in her new school. All the children said they hope that our emotions graph starts to look more positive as the book progresses!

    Comments

    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 7th May 2021, 11:51am
    Hang in their Gladiators! It isn't a good place to join Emmy's journey is it! I hope you will share another photo of the emotions graph when you have finished this story. The only way is up!
  • Submission by The Albert Pye Community Primary School

    The Skylarks’ War Albert Pye

    Our children have produced some amazing work around the story. Each carriage represents a character from he story. Clarry
    Clarry’s carriage represents her transition from child to adult .It also represents her butterflies of hope, her pink beret and her school mushroom hat. Clarry is also the engine pulling her friends along because she loves to help them along .The quote we chose is, ‘Summer was shining bliss, summer was opals and topaz and lapis and diamonds flung from the sky summer was Cornwall.’
    Peter - In one of the windows, there is a red cross to show that peter studied medication.
    In the picture, Peter is jumping of the train as he did in the story to get out of going to boarding school.
    His quote is, ‘He would tell him that he wished he had not jumped of the train also that it hurt in fact it wouldn’t stop hurting.’
    Rupert- For Rupert’s train carriage we did camouflage to show he went to war. We did gold to represent his true colours.
    For his quotes we put: ‘And there was someone hurrying over the footbridge and he reached the train in time to swing her down onto the platform. She could feel him laughing as he held her, and he said, “Clarry. Darling Clarry.” And it was Rupert.’
    Simon -We decided to use a giraffe-style print for the carriage to represent Simon’s tallness. We also included the Pride Flag to show Simon is gay. There is a sniper and grave as well because Bonnington was shot by a Sniper on the last day of September 1918, consequently dying.
    “Simon Bonnington, Bonners, the Bony One who hated outdoors, found football painful, detested mud, had secret bedsocks all through boarding school, who once wrote a letter to the Old Fish, the headmaster, about the lack of soap in the school toilets… had enlisted in the army.” We used this quote to show that despite hating mud and sports he was still devoted to his country.
    Vanessa- For Vanessa’s train carriage, we decided to put on red crosses to show that Vanessa worked in a hospital. I think that her dress shows her personality as it is quite happy and exciting just like her. For her quote I put: “Sorry, Clarry. I’ve been up all night. It’s sitting down and being warm that’s sending me to sleep!”
    This shows that Vanessa worked very hard when being a nurse.

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    Comments

    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 22nd Apr 2021, 1:57pm
    Outstanding Work Albert Pye. You have clearly taken so much time and effort to create this train. You show an excellent understanding of the characters - you should be very proud of this creative response to The Skylarks' War - exemplary! We very much look forward to seeing what you do with the next book.
  • Submission by Weston On Trent Primary School

    The Skylarks’ War – artwork

    The Year 6 Reading Gladiators have put a lot of time into their piece of art. They chose to use a carriage to represent each of the main characters, and each carriage has golden illustrations linked to the character. For Rupert, there is a gun and uniform to show his time in the army, as well as a quill to represent the letters he sent. Lucy is also pictured waving him off. Clarry has a butterfly on her carriage, as well as books to show her interest in and love of learning, while Peter has plaster-cast to remind us of his broken leg, and a stethoscope for his later studies. Each quote is picked to show a bit of the character's personality (Rupert - rebellious, Clarry - frustrated, Peter - cantankerous). We loved the book and we are looking to forward to The Swallow's Flight.

    Our artwork has been shared with the whole school in assembly, and will be placed in the main corridor, just outside our classroom. Hopefully other children will want to read this amazing book.

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    Comments

    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 6th Apr 2021, 11:15am
    Great work here Gladiators! Your interpretation through art is excellent. The small details reflecting different aspect of the main characters demonstrates a very good understanding. Sometimes it is easier to remember elements of a book with visual representation. I am also delighted to hear you have shared your work with the rest of the school. I am sure more children will pick up this excellent story - thanks to your advocacy. Look out for The Swallows' Flight which has recently been published to find out what happened to Clarry and Peter's families. https://justimagine.co.uk/review/the-swallows-flight/
  • Submission by Iver Village Junior School

    The Skylarks’ War

    The Iver Village Junior School, Year 6 Reading Gladiators have thoroughly enjoyed completing this challenge and have loved reading the book.

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    Comments

    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 6th Apr 2021, 11:10am
    So glad you enjoyed The Skylarks' War and thank you for your entry. Look out for The Swallows' Flight , which has recently been published. https://justimagine.co.uk/review/the-swallows-flight/
  • Submission by East Hunsbury Primary School

    East Hunsbury Primary – The Skylarks’ War

    We have really enjoyed reading The Skylarks' War and meeting Clarry, Peter and Rupert. We have chosen our favourite parts and quotes to illustrate.

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    Comments

    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 6th Apr 2021, 11:07am
    Thank you for these creative snap shots of the story - and thank you for submitting the slideshow too so I could get a closer look! You have selected some key moments from the plot a taster of the main characters and themes. I hope this display will inspire others to read The Skylarks' War. Look out for The Swallows' Flight which has recently been published. https://justimagine.co.uk/review/the-swallows-flight/
  • Submission by Knockhall Primary School

    Knockhall Primary In the Key of Code

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    Comments

    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 6th Apr 2021, 10:53am
    Very clever stuff here Gladiators and a good representation of the book. I can see you have not only increased your computing knowledge but also picked up valuable messages from this book such as 'Think, like there is no box'!
  • Week 1: The Skylark’s War

    The Year 6 team had already read the first three chapters of their second book. Some had read more than this, which was ideal for our discussion about the main character of the book, Clarry. We thought of some adjectives to describe her and the reasons behind our choices, using evidence from the book itself. The second half of the session focused on Cornwall, the much loved location of Clarry and Peter’s summer holidays. The Year 6s looked at my own photo book about Cornwall from my own holidays and using the photographs, we came up with a list of descriptions of Cornwall, using a tree map of the five senses to guide us. This helped the children with their weekly challenge, which involved them writing recounts about Cornwall. The responses so far have been brilliant, with inspirational use of vocabulary and vivid descriptions. Their recounts have been a joy to read 🙂

    Comments

    Caroline Bradley
    Caroline Bradley 7th May 2021, 11:48am
    Lovely to hear about your personal experience of the setting for the beginning of this story and how you have incorporated it into your Reading Gladiators sessions. You clearly inspired your group.