Applying for Inspiring Classrooms funding is a fantastic opportunity to bring reading to life in your school, as many of our previous funded schools will testify! As you work on your application, get some new ideas from the six Inspiring Classrooms projects from last year.
Get the whole school involved
Oakgrove Primary School in Glasgow organised a visit with author Theresa Breslin. The school purchased copies of Theresa’s books and each class focused on a different story, using it as the starting point for a creative project. When Theresa’s visit arrived, there was a great buzz around her books. Each class presented the work they had done in a showcase, before quizzing Theresa at her event.
Make links with health and wellbeing
Inspiring Classrooms funding can be a great opportunity to run an ambitious and exciting cross-curricular project, as seen at Howden St Andrew’s Primary School in West Lothian. Working with author and playwright John Binnie, the P6 classes looked at difficult scenarios like bullying, arguing with parents and peer pressure, using drama and making links to their class novel War Horse to explore different ways to react to these situations. The project helped build the pupils’ resilience and self-confidence, creating an excellent basis for future work linking literacy with health and wellbeing topics.
Focus on creative writing
Having a professional writer work with your pupils can do wonders for their interest in creative writing. The Inspiring Classrooms funding gave P7 pupils at Denny Primary School and S1 pupils at Denny High School in Falkirk a great opportunity to work together and hone their writing skills. Before author and storyteller Lari Don’s visit, the pupils researched mythical creatures and started writing their own stories. Lari’s visit focused on the endings of stories, the different types of ending that the pupils could choose and how this could make their readers feel. The visit gave the pupils a great new perspective, which they took back to their own stories and used to write excellent endings.
Involve parents and families
Braehead Primary School in South Lanarkshire used their visit from Scots author and translator Matthew Fitt to kick off their ‘Generation Gap’ project with parents. Matthew talked about what makes a good story, and this was followed up with a workshop where parents and pupils discussed their favourite stories and what made them special. The groups then worked together to create their own short stories; one child who struggled with literacy said “I loved it because it made me want to create my own book”.
Inspiring Classrooms grants aren’t just for writers – you can also invite an illustrator to work with your pupils, which is what South Lodge Primary School in Highland chose to do with their funding. Illustrator Jill Calder led an art and geography workshop for a P5 class, focused on her book The Picture Atlas. With Jill’s guidance, the pupils were able to make their own picture book based on a section of the atlas and were very proud of their illustrations, with one pupil saying “This is the best day of my life!”
Make links with your local library
When Emily Mackenzie visited Tollcross Primary School in Edinburgh, she talked about about what it means to be an author and illustrator, but this was just the beginning of a great project around themes present in Emily’s books. The P1-2 classes used Wanted! Ralfy Rabbit, Book Burglar to talk more about reading for pleasure and the joy of sharing books together, with the pupils taking home copies of the books to share with their parents. At the end of the project, just like Ralfy, the children had a visit to their local library (with many parents visiting for the first time), with great feedback from those who attended.
With so many different options for using your Inspiring Classrooms funding, this is a great opportunity to bring an author, illustrator, storyteller or poet into your primary school to enhance your work across the curriculum. These experiences can have a huge impact on pupils, including this pupil from Oakgrove:
‘I can’t believe I got to meet the author of Dragon Stoorworm. I told her I want to be an author too, and she said I could’
We can’t wait to hear about the amazing projects that everyone has planned for this year! Applications must be submitted by Friday 16 November 2018. If you have any questions please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.