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Da Vinci Logs


The children have since produced poems and other written work for display using ... varied from famous features such as the Twelve Apostles to lesser known areas ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Da Vinci Logs

Da Vinci Logs
  • The following slides contain examples of pages
    from the Da Vinci logs which are used by teachers
    and children within the network. The logs are
    being developed as records of the Learning
    Journey that teachers are exploring with their
    classes. Each page contains examples of creative
    activities undertaken by classes to support the
    development of writing. The log is then used as a
    point of reflection whereby children can discuss
    how the activities they have undertaken have
    helped them improve their writing.

Nursery 1
Magic Boots
Magic Boots Nursery decided to make a magic
pair of boots to go with the special coat made
for the PAN exhibition. We talked about what a
pair of magic boots would look like and how we
could make them. This was the basic plan, just
to discuss and make a pair of Modroc
boots. However, the ideas and plans just
snowballed as the children became very motivated
and involved. We had special pairs of boots in
the language room and the children put them on
and said how they would feel and where the boots
may take them. So we again extended this into
PSHE and the work spiralled into three weeks
instead of one. The boots that the children
tried on were sprayed outside with silver and
left marks on the floor…….. so these were of
course Magic and the children jumped on them to
see where they could go or…… They could make a
wish. Out of this came two wishes…..Could they
have a magic boot hunt?……. Could they have a
magic boot party? This then extended into K
U…….Looking for the magic boots in the Wild
Garden……and there they found magical bags hanging
from the trees, full of toys and sweets!! The
party needed organising so the invites were
written, including one for the Head and shopping
lists were made for the food needed. For the
party, the children helped to decorate some of
the teachers special shoes and they also
decorated their own. The party was a great
success, as it involved staff, children and
parents. From such a basic start, this minor art
activity exploded into a complete
cross-curricular topic. It would have been easy
to just make the boots for the display and not
let it interfere with what was already planned,
however it was too good an opportunity to miss
and the results have been lasting and positive
for everyone. It helped especially with the
quieter children and they became confident trying
on the magic boots and actually saying what may
happen. We made a display with photographs and
some of the collage boots we made as well. From
little acorns big oak trees grow…….and how true
this was with these magic boots.
Nursery 2
Dragons Cave Role-Play AIM To create a natural
and relevant reason for writing within the
childrens imaginative, creative
play. INTRODUCTION Meeting Dennis the
dragon Exploring his cave Talking about what
Dennis was like and what things he might like to
do in his cave DEVELOPMENT Dennis had to go into
big school with some dragon pictures the children
had painted RESOURCES / ACTIVITY A post box was
placed in Dennis cave. The children were
encouraged to write to Dennis (or one of our
other dragons, Diggory and Dudley). Some nice
pens and coloured paper were placed in the cave
on a desk for the children to write their
letters. OUTCOME The post box gave children a
reason to write, Removed any worry the children
may have about writing properly as the teacher
did not necessarily see their letter and dragons
could read any kind of writing! Very reluctant
writers were often the most keen to write to
Dennis. Childrens imaginative, creative play
extended naturally into a piece of writing, Some
letters to Dennis were read to the group so that
the children had opportunity to evaluate the
content of the writing and think about what they
could write.
  • Autumn Festivals
  • In the Autumn term of 2005 the Early Years
    studied the topic of Autumn Festivals. Part of
    this learning involved a visit from one of our
    parents, Mrs. Jani, to come and talk to the
    children about the festival of Diwali and the
    celebrations that take place. Mrs. Jani talked to
    the children about the meaning behind the annual
    Hindu celebration and brought many things to
    show. These included festive decorations, festive
    clothing, Diwali cards and the children had the
    opportunity to take home some traditional festive
    food to taste. We discussed how Hindus welcome
    the goddess Laksmi to their homes and Mrs. Jani
    carefully demonstrated to the children how
    special footprints are made and put at the
    doorstep of every house to welcome her.
  • The children were fascinated with this learning
    and showed a lot of interest and enthusiasm for
    what Mrs.Jani had to say. It gave them the
    opportunity to develop their speaking and
    listening skills, by asking questions and
    listening to a visiting speaker. This is a very
    important part of communication, language and
    literacy learning in the early years and supports
    early writing skills well.
  • Following Mrs.Janis visit the children went on
    to make their own Diwali cards. They used a range
    of materials to decorate the front of their cards
    and wrote a message inside for someone special.
    The children all enjoyed this activity which
    combined writing for a specific purpose and using
    their creative skills.

  • In Reception our Autumn term topic was
    Cinderella and we decided to do lots of work
    involving role play. The children had a
    Theatre role play area where they could dress
    up and act out Cinderella. One day they received
    invitations from the Prince to attend a Ball to
    be held at school. This created much excitement
    and the children were very keen to write their
    reply to the Prince. The work culminated in a
    Grand Ball in the hall and the children came in
    their ball costumes. The Ball was attended by
    the Prince and lots of fun was had by all.

Reception - Mars
Mars As part of the project on flying machines
we read the story Whatever Next by Jill Murphy.
This stimulated the childrens interest in space
and we subsequently looked at the non-fiction
text Space Craft. Once we had read through
the text we focussed upon the planet Mars. Within
our planning we incorporated a creative lesson
in which the children formulated their own
impressions of Mars. They could select from a
range of media such as ICT, pens, paints,
pastels, play dough and chalks or any other
materials they felt suitable. They were allowed
time to use their imagination and to express
their ideas, thoughts and feelings. As part of
the plenary the children shared their work and
ideas with the class. The following session
incorporated the use of dance and music to
portray the childrens representations of Mars.
We used both class discussions and partner work
to share and develop our ideas. We considered any
movement there would be on Mars and any sounds we
would expect to hear, suggestions included
twinkly sounds banging volcanoes bouncing
and flying rocks. We collaborated all our ideas
and wrote about what we thought Mars would be
Reception Each Peach Pear Plum
  • During the Autumn term we read the book Each
    Peach Pear Plum by Janet and Allen Ahlberg. We
    initially read through the book and focused upon
    enjoying the story and looking carefully at the
    features of the text.
  • In subsequent sessions we analyzed the
    illustrations and identified the traditional
    story or rhyme that each page was highlighting.
    This prompted some artwork in which we used
    different shades of brusho to create the
    background. The children then decided upon their
    own scenes and used paints and pastels to add the
    relevant detail. We then placed scanned pictures
    of the characters from the story onto our
  • To further enhance our ideas we worked in small
    groups to mime the various characters and
    settings from the story. Our peers had to guess
    which characters we were miming we used the
    digital camera to take photographs of our mimes.
  • Finally we used all our ideas to stimulate our
    writing. We selected our own characters and
    situations and wrote in the style of the text for
    example Three Bears out hunting I spy Robin

Foundation Class I chose this example from my Da
Vinci Log Book for several reasons. It was one of
the first pieces of work that my Foundation Stage
Class did in September. It was linked to our
mini-topic on colours. It involved using a
variety of skills and techniques. The children
listened to the story of Elmer, the Patchwork
Elephant. Each child drew an elephant. We
selected several to enlarge to A3 size. The
children worked with a partner and used
mixed-media to decorate the elephants. This
included using oil pastels and torn up tissue
paper. We then sprayed the finished elephants
with Brusho. We then mounted the completed
pictures to make A Carnival of Elephants
display. The children were very proud of their
finished art work, and the display received a lot
of praise from parents and other visitors to the
school. I was delighted with the standard of the
drawings, and with the fact that such young
children were able to work co-operatively with
others, with very little adult support.
Foundation Class As part of Foundation Stage
topic on The Hidden World, the role play area
was made into an underwater mermaids grotto.
This gave us many varied opportunities for
creative art work, role play and writing. The
children produced art work to represent fantasy
fish, a mermaid, jellyfish, a giant octopus, a
treasure chest full of gold coins, a variety of
seaweed and plants, and many more. The art work
they produced was imaginative and colourful, but
more importantly, it had enormous variety and was
great fun. In the last week of term, there was
great excitement when the children arrived at
school to find that the mermaid had invited
everyone to her party under the sea. As the
children had been so interested in our collection
of shells, we printed some shell shapes on which
they could write their reply to the mermaid.
These were duly written and pinned up in the
Grotto, for her to read. Because the children
almost believed that the mermaid really would
read them, they made a huge effort to write well.
This is why the topic was so successful for them.
Reception Class 1
Cinderella Hot seating was very good.
Characters were Cinderella and an Ugly Sister.
Speaking and listening during the hot seating was
amazing to watch. Some of the quiet children
were so angry with the Ugly Sister and clearly
stated this using a lot of gesture at the same
time. When Cinderella visited the mood in the
classroom changed to one of awe and voices became
softer and they were very complementary towards
her. I was initially a little concerned as a
number of boys and one or two girls had made some
negative comments and I thought that they would
not join in but all the children participated. We
visited the theatre to see a production of
Cinderella, which got the subject off to a very
good start. Invitations were written and reviews
of our theatre visit. A 3-D model coach was
constructed and some drawings/collage work of the
main characters was made.
Reception Class 2
Da Vinci project All of reception went to see
Cinderella at the theatre. To help them
understand the story we introduced it through a
variety of books and interactive Cinderella
stories on the interactive whiteboard (cbeebies
website). Therefore the children were already
familiar with the story, which helped them to
understand the different versions. The visit to
the theatre really engaged the children in the
story. They were exited and enthusiastic about
the characters, setting and could recall the key
events of the story. The visit had made the
story come alive for the children they could see
what the characters looked like, what they
sounded like. As a follow up to our visit the
children took part in a variety of activities
based on the story to help them develop their
understanding and enthusiasm further. For
example they all designed a Cinderellas slipper.
The children identified their own resources e.g.
Glitter, paint, pastels, glue, sequins. That week
we had two visitors come into school. A
classroom assistant and a mum dressed up as
Cinderella and the Ugly Sister. The children had
an opportunity to ask questions and really get to
know how the character felt. After, the children
took it in turns to do some hot seating of their
own. It was lovely to see some of the quieter
children really get involved, shouting at the
Ugly Sister. Finally we got to the writing. We
decided to do a Guess who? or Who am I?
booklet. The children had used lots of
describing words about the characters and we
asked them to write them down. Due to all the
preparation work we had done the drama and
artwork the children were confident to describe
what the characters were like. The children
thoroughly enjoyed this story and the drama,
theatre visit and other activities contributed to
the final piece of written work. Therefore I
think it was a success and even the children who
are normally reluctant to write had a good go.
Reception Class 3
The Jolly Postman
Da Vinci Project The Da Vinci Project has
allowed me to be more creative in my teaching and
supported the childrens learning through a
conscious effort to develop Literacy through
Drama. The children in class 3 have particularly
enjoyed the topic of Houses and Home. It was
through a drama lesson about The Jolly Postman
that encouraged many of the children to develop
their speaking and listening skills. The
children particularly enjoyed developing the
characters of the witch, postman and giant in the
story. This allowed the children to discuss
their work together in groups, and to develop
their individual language and reasoning skills.
A real benefit of this talk is that the children
learn how to reason aloud with others and learn a
pattern of thinking, which helps them to reason
better when working alone. Not only did the
lesson give everyone a chance to make a useful
contribution, but also provoked independent story
writing in the Post Office role play area
Reception Class 4
Houses and Homes
Creativity to Inspire Boys Writing The tasks
were organised and completed step by step. The
targets and challenges were made clear from the
outset. The practical nature of these tasks and
level of involvement expected provided good
opportunities for observation and clarification
of each childs level of understanding. The
familiarity with our topic of houses and homes
enabled the boys to speak with increasing
confidence about the paintings of Francis Oag and
James Somerville, listening and relating their
comments with some guidance. They enjoyed
developing their creative techniques using
acrylic paints, sponges and scrapers or
tools. The knowledge that the teacher was
acting as scribe and that they would be able to
write their comments on the computer, with a
partner, facilitated a more relaxed atmosphere
and more enthusiastic and adventurous use of
language. They were pleased and occasionally
surprised by their comments but felt that their
work was really good and would make an
exciting and colourful display. Using Word
Art to enhance the visual effect of their writing
proved extremely popular. The praise that they
received as a group has fuelled their enthusiasm
for further creatively based writing activities.
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Hot Seating
  • As part of our topic Fairy Stories, Reception
    children engaged in a lot of talk about good
    characters and bad characters in the stories
    they had read. We had listened to a variety of
    different versions of the story and compared
    characters, illustrations, plot, etc. By talking
    about their experiences of reading/listening to
    such stories we anticipated that they would be
    able to express themselves in writing too.
  • We decided to make some very simple props
    cardboard axe for the Royal Huntsman, spades,
    pick-axes for the Dwarfs, simple Dwarf caps (from
    the mathematics area used for counting and
    ordering), donated Snow White costumes and very
    simple sugar paper tabards for the Dwarfs which
    were laminated to make them more durable. Once
    dressed up and in character, the children very
    quickly assumed their new roles.
  • I modelled some simple questions to encourage the
    Hot-Seated to answer in character and before
    long we had some very plausible answers which
    showed us that the children were capable of
    thinking in other peoples shoes rather than as
    themselves. This was helped by the fact that the
    children were very familiar with the story both
    from a variety of different texts and of course,
    the Disney film version. The other children in
    the audience became more capable of posing
    questions to the character rather than simply
    recalling details of the story (which can
    happen when questioning a visiting speaker.)
  • All the children enjoyed engaging the audience as
    characters from the story and the boys were very
    connected and focused, dressing-up and handling
    the props gave them a sense of realism. As a
    result the children are confident speakers in
    both small and large group situations. By
    internalising and articulating their thoughts and
    feelings, they are far more confident, willing
    and able to write freely, both for focused and
    self-directed activities.

Year 1
  • Following a visit from a Puppet Theatre Company
    who performed the story of Rumplestiltskin the
    children were given the opportunity to select
    their own follow-up work. The next two days were
    spent undertaking this work……….
  • Making windmills
  • Making puppets
  • Writing recounts of the story
  • Writing character profiles
  • Acting out the story
  • Over the following half term the project
    developed as the role play area turned into a
    puppet theatre. The children set about writing
    playscripts. At first they were versions of
    Rumplstitskin, then other Traditional tales and
    even some of their own stories. They made
    appropriate stick puppets for their play and then
    practised and performed it in the Puppet Theatre.
  • Speaking and Listening skills were enhanced as
    the children chose different roles in the Puppet
    Theatre. Puppeteer - Box Office ticket seller -
    Usher and refreshment sales person. The children
    insisted that audiences should listen carefully.
  • Finally each group of children wrote and
    practised and performed a short puppet play for a
    member of staff who had been unwell.
  • This was a child led project. It was a little
    daunting not to have clear outcomes in our heads
    before we started, but the results were as good
    as we could ever have planned.

Year 1- Jack and the Beanstalk
Jack and the Beanstalk This double page is an
overview of the variety of activities we
undertook to lead us into a lively retelling of
Jack and the Beanstalk. The children enjoyed
spending our half term Literacy focus exploring
the characters and settings of the story through
a series of dance and drama sessions. We also
made clay models of the Giant and recorded our
own versions of the story for the school
website. The various activities allowed the
children to determine their preferred learning
styles which in turn, enabled all of the children
to write clear retellings.
Year 1 - Jack and the Beanstalk
Year 1 Jack and the Beanstalk
  • This four week block of work was planned to
    cover the Y1 NLS objectives for traditional tales
    and was undertaken at the end of Term 2.
  • The majority of children in the class were able
    to write simple sentences independently when
    writing about familiar subjects. Following
    discussion with Y1 teachers from another network
    school, we decided to focus on a single
    traditional tale to cover the teaching of these
    objectives, reading a selection of retellings to
    ensure the children were secure with the
    content of what they were writing. We hoped
    this would allow them to develop ideas about the
    characters and the story through the block of
    work, and allow them to introduce new concepts
    such as the use of story language and descriptive
    vocabulary within a familiar context. It was
    intended that during each step of the cumulative
    work, the children would be provided with a broad
    range of structured non-writing activities to
    generate vocabulary and develop oral skills prior
    to undertaking written tasks. It was important
    that each activity was planned with focussed
    objectives and outcomes, and that the children
    were clear in terms of expectations, i.e. that
    the learning was purposeful.
  • The range of activities were chosen to take
    account of the range of learning styles within
    the class visual, auditory and kinaesthetic.
    They included role play, oral retellings, hot
    seating, art work, dance and ICT. We used
    established areas from within the classroom, e.g.
    role play areas, a puppet theatre, small world
    play, construction area, writing area both within
    the literacy sessions and at other times during
    the day.
  • At the end of the block the children completed a
    piece of independent writing retelling the story
    (for assessment purposes). Their enthusiasm and
    sense of achievement in completing this was
    marked and the vocabulary and composition of
    their retellings reflected a large amount of the
    work done.
  • However, the most important aspect of this block
    of work to me was the final session, in which the
    children looked at photographs of the activities
    they had undertaken and considered which had
    helped them learn and why. They wrote their
    ideas onto leaf templates which could be added
    straight to the log. Their comments were
    positive and reflective and illustrate well the
    ability of even young children to understand how
    they learn. It gave them ownership of their
    learning and increased their awareness of their
    personal learning styles.

Year 1 Our topic on Christopher Columbus started
off as an alternative to the Key Stage One QCA
history unit about Florence Nightingale. It
developed however, into an extended project,
lasting a whole term! It included history,
geography, ICT, art, CDT, dance, music, literacy
and drama through role play and small world play.
The project provided a great stimulus to get boys
writing and encouraged the use of a creative,
curriculum approach. The highlight for both the
children and I was creating our own galleon in
the classroom as a base for our role play and a
stimulus for our work. The children were keen to
find out about Columbus through internet research
and information books. We made a mind map of
ideas about the galleon and so the project set
sail! We made models, collages, a cannon and
treasure chest. We had costumes, a hammock, a
telescope and portholes. The ship developed as
the children learnt more. The childrens
experiences led to us writing for a wide variety
of purposes and genres including captions,
labels, signs, letters, questions, lists,
messages, postcards, speech, reports,
instructions, poems and stories. The creative
approach to this project was the key to improving
literacy provision.
Year One Class 5
Cinderella around the world As a follow up to a
topic on the traditional version of Cinderella,
year one completed a topic on Cinderellas from
around the world. The four focus
countries/continents were Egypt, Africa, Japan
and North America. The various versions of the
story were used as a starting point for learning
about the geography of that area. The arts were
used throughout the topic to enhance learning.
Children took part in an African drumming
workshop, a Japanese afternoon, and artefacts
were drawn. Stories were retold through a range
of drama techniques and music activities.
Role-play areas were turned into the particular
countries and specific activities were modelled
and then completed independently. I found that
introducing these areas through a well known
story motivated and inspired children to develop
their learning. It also provided a context and
purpose for learning. The range of activities
undertaken ensured that all learning styles were
catered for and that learning was deeply
embedded. Speaking and listening activities and
written work completed demonstrated a secure
understanding of key facts about the countries.
Year One Class 6
I chose to use my piece from the work done by the
musician, Gareth Evans. Gareth Evans came into
school to work with the children using African
Drums and two other African instruments (the
Ganza and the Ago go). This work was to support
the African topic of the half term plan of
Cinderella around the world. I chose this
particular piece of work as I felt it was
particularly inspiring. The children really
enjoyed the musical experience and it was a
fantastic opportunity for them to be able to play
the large drums and the other instruments. They
learnt a lot musically about pitch, rhythm and
beat. As well as this brilliant musical
experience I felt the children were really
inspired to write about it. I noticed a
considerable difference in the quality of the
work of the lower ability children. The childs
work that I chose to use in my Da Vinci log was
written by a child who is often hard to inspire
and motivate to write. However when he was
writing this he wrote with passion and excitement
about his experience. I also noticed how
following this writing he was keen to read his
work to the class, something he doesnt usually
wish to do.
Year One Class 7
Cinderella This page of my log shows the
initial stages of our introduction to the story
of Cinderella including a theatre visit and
role-play. Through drama children were able to
retain the structure of the story and remember
the characters really well. Once this basic
knowledge was embedded they then began to
empathise with the characters and work in role.
The effect on their writing was that they began
to use more descriptive language and think about
the words that they were using. Boys in
particular really enjoyed the role-play work and
were more confident and enthusiastic when asked
to write about the story.
Year One Class 8
Victorian Schools
Da Vinci Log The children had the opportunity to
dress up in Victorian clothes and pretend to be a
Victorian school child for the week. The
classroom was re-arranged and props and artefacts
were introduced into the room. The role-play and
drama sessions enabled the children to create a
visual memory of daily life in a Victorian
school. The written work produced after the
practical exploration was enhanced by their first
hand experiences. They were able to add extra
detail and were inspired to find out more about
the topic, which included interviewing older
relatives about their own school experiences. We
produced a class display with some lovely
artwork we were in our local paper and even had
the school inspector in to check up on us! The
children still refer to the strict teacher when
think it is too loud in the classroom….. Will
you put on that voice again? We gave the local
newspaper a quote about the Victorian week…. By
making the experience come to life through role
play, they have been able to see what school life
in the past was really like. I think learning a
story and doing drama helps me write the story
much better. Francesca, age six.
Year 1
  • Art
  • The children and I have enjoyed creating this
    piece of work. We were able to include work from
    all of the class and we were able to produce the
    individual pieces as whole class lessons.
  • The children were involved in the planning of the
    piece and felt very grown up using black
    handwriting pens and creating a piece of artwork
    that was going to be displayed in a gallery! The
    pattern sheet was useful although most of the
    children thought of their own designs.
  • The children have since produced poems and other
    written work for display using the
    outlining/tracing over technique of lettering
    practiced in this piece of work. The children
    wrote a word of their choice very carefully
    around the edge of the discs.
  • Everyone enjoyed working as a class and working
    towards an exhibition piece. I have never seen
    them so proud, requesting to take the work around
    the school.

Year 1/2
  • In Year 1/2 our theme was Cinderella. The
    children received a letter from Cinderella and
    Prince Charming, inviting them to their wedding.
    However, the invitation lacked a lot of essential
    details for example, time, date, location, dress
    code, a wedding list etc. As our objective for
    the week was punctuating work, particularly
    asking questions, the children decided to write
    to the happy couple and ask them for more wedding
  • This then developed into a huge project. The
    children were so excited about the prospect of a
    royal wedding that they wrote Congratulations
    cards, helped them with ideas for present lists,
    the menu for the wedding and planned the outfit
    they would wear.
  • At the end of the topic, the children planned a
    party in school in honour of the Bride and
    Groom. They wrote posters to advertise it and
    made tickets and finally enjoyed themselves at a
    celebratory class party.

Year 1/2 In Literacy we started off by reading
the story Whatever Next by Jill Murphy. We used
the text as a basis for a thought shower for
gathering ideas for places that Baby Bear might
visit and modes of transport he could use to get
there. We used visualisation to visit these
places and decide which adventure we would like
to write a story about. We came up with lots of
different ideas including a submarine to a secret
place under the sea and a train to a magic cave
in the mountains. We gave the places names and
looked them up on a map. We created our own
fantasy land pictures and wrote our stories. We
then shared them with our friends. In ICT we used
the internet to search for images of these
fantasy places that Baby Bear might travel to. We
designed a postcard and printed the images onto
it. We then wrote a postcard from Baby Bear back
home to his mum. We used role play to act out
some of the stories we have written and hot
seating to ask Baby Bear how he felt on his
Year 2
  • After the Autumn half term holiday Year 2 started
    a mini topic on The Gunpowder Plot. The topic
    lasted 2 weeks and incorporated not only Literacy
    and History but also ICT, PSHCE and Art. After
    becoming familiar with the facts of the story,
    the children developed their historical
    understanding through the Arts including drama
    and hot seating.
  • During the hot seating session, a pupil took on
    the role of King James, whilst the others asked
    him questions. I found that it was after the
    drama sessions in particular, that the children
    (especially those who I considered to be
    underachieving in writing) were really keen to
    write. The examples in the log show speech put
    into a speech bubble empathising with Guy Fawkes
    as well as 2 examples of sequencing of the events
    of the story.

Year 2 No Problem by Eileen Brown
No Problem by Eileen Browne These pages focus on
the work my Year 2 class did on the story No
Problem by Eileen Browne, which was used to
launch our spring term project relating to
Leonardo Da Vinci and his inventions. We started
by reading the text and receiving a letter from
Mouse one of the characters. Next we used the
book as the key text for a Year Two Superday. We
made some machines, labelled the parts of these,
using technical language we had collected and
undertook role-play imaging ourselves travelling
in the machines. We also did a visualisation
exercise to picture ourselves in the machines and
thought about what we saw, heard, smelt and felt
during our ride. We then wrote explanations
about how the machines worked using appropriate
technical language and including a glossary. I
chose this page because I felt the children were
really inspired in their writing and it surpassed
what I had expected from them. Also because they
continued to write independently about the book,
the machines and to write letters to the
characters afterwards.
Year 2 Jack and the Beanstalk
Jack and the Beanstalk This page from our Da
Vinci log features a literacy block of work based
around Jack and the Beanstalk. To improve the
childrens narrative writing we read a variety of
different version of the traditional tale and
explored the similarities and differences. The
children in Year 2 retold of Jack and the
Beanstalk after a range of activities as their
half term writing assessment. Our planned
activities included drama session which included
role-play and conscience alley scenarios, oral
retelling using puppets, visualisation
experiences to describe the 5 senses in the role
of jack , dance- to demonstrate movement/
emotions and collaborative talk where the
children were encouraged to describe how the
giant looked using similes. (His nose
is as bumpy as a rocky path) Overall I feel
that the variety of activities enabled all
children to engage emotionally with the text
alongside their preferred learning style. All
children within the class were eager and
motivated to write their own versions and I was
very pleased with their individual outcomes.
Year 2
Year Two Class 9
The Twits
Da Vinci Log Page Notes In January we went to
the Bolton Octagon theatre to see a production of
The Twits. Prior to this we had read the book
and done some work on the plot. The performance
was very good and motivated the children so we
tried to use it to develop work in different
curriculum areas. In art we were working with
the QCA Picture This unit so we used the Twits
characters as a starting pint. The children each
worked with a partner acting in role as wither Mr
or Mrs Twit. Then each developed a freeze frame
of their character with attention to facial
expression after discussing and working on the
characters in groups. Each child used the
digital camera to frame and photograph their
partners freeze frame. These were printed and
used as a stimulus for a portrait collage of the
characters. Next the children wrote wanted
posters for the characters in literacy. The
drama and artwork helped the literacy work as all
of the children had clear ideas for their wiring
and were eager to write. What was especially
pleasing was that he less able writers wrote
confidently and achieved more than usual.
Year Two Class 10
Barnaby Bear
Da Vinci Log Mrs. Mistry visited to help us
understand more about Hindu customs through dance
and art workshops. This formed part of our R.E.
work and we followed this by applying what we had
learnt to create some drama about Barnaby Bear
visiting India. The Speaking and Listening
involved in the drama impacted powerfully on the
childrens understanding of the Geography and
R.E. objectives. In particular responses were
more thoughtful and questioning as a result.
What was most pleasing was the enthusiasm of
several below average writers when we came to
write about Barnabys Indian experience in
Literacy. These particular four children had
been very difficult to motivate previously but
wrote eagerly on this topic. I feel that the
drama particularly helped them to structure their
thoughts more easily.
Year Two Class 11
Visit from a scarecrow
A visit from a scarecrow The children had been
celebrating harvest and we had discussed
scarecrows and how useful they are to the
farmers. The children were asked to write a
story about Freddie the scarecrow and what sort
of jobs he could do when he wasnt helping the
farmer in the field. The children had lots of
ideas of the types of jobs he could do but not
what would happen when he tried them. A Teaching
Assistant who enjoys taking part in amateur
dramatics was asked to come to the classroom as
Freddie and be in the hot seat. The children
asked may questions and Freddie gave them lots
of ideas for their stories they didnt
recognise the Teaching Assistant at all! The
childrens writing took off again and they were
able to follow through their own ideas and
incorporate them in their stories. It turned out
to be a successful writing / drama experience
that the children really enjoyed.
Year Two Class 12
Year Two Class 12
The Fire of London
Using Drama to Develop Writing We have been
learning about The Great Fire of London. First,
we used the Internet to find out about Samuel
Pepys and his diary. Back in the classroom we
did some hot seating. Some children took on the
role of Samuel Pepys whilst others asked them
questions about his feelings and reactions when
he discovered that London was on fire. The hot
seating helped the children to empathise with
Samuel Pepys character and enabled them to
develop their use of descriptive language in
their imaginary diary extracts.
Year 3 - Elidor
Elidor This double page focuses on the work we
did in Years 3 and 4 on the story Elidor by
Alan Garner. As this text was quite challenging
for the Year 3 children in my class, it was vital
for them to really get inside the text,
particularly with regards to the main character
of Roland. We used our time in the hall on
Drama, thinking about the character of Roland and
how he would be feeling at certain parts of the
story. For example, when he was inside the stone
circle. We also did some hot seating of Roland
which again really got the children thinking
about his emotions. I feel that this Drama work
helped the children when it came to writing their
first person account. They were able to think
back to the ideas they had come up with and use
some of these in their writing. Our art work also
linked to our first person accounts. The
children looked at the illustrations from the
text and recreated these using the technique of
Press printing. I feel that this also helped
them to see the character of Roland. As the story
is set in the 1960s, it was important for the
children to understand the differences in
Rolands lifestyle to their own. Our pencil
sketches of the terraced street where Roland
lived enabled them to see some of these changes
(although I had to make it clear to the children
that there are still lots of terraced streets in
England). Overall I feel that the arts helped the
children to understand this challenging text, and
in doing so, impacted on their learning.
Year 3 - Snow White
Snow White The traditional tales unit of work
was enhanced with music, drama and visual images.
The children had been listening to the story of
Snow White. After some oral storytelling they
focused on the illustration of Snow White
kneeling in front of the huntsman who held a
dagger aloft. In pairs the children created a
freeze frame of this image. They spoke aloud the
words and thoughts of each of the
characters. Next, the children closed their eyes
and imagined Snow Whites flight through the
forest. They listened to Mars from the Planets
Suite by Gustav Holst, to enhance the sense of
fear and menace. Photographs of a dark forest
were displayed on the interactive whiteboard. All
the children responded well and everyone was keen
to write. They all wrote quickly and it was
obvious the ideas were flowing. Some of the
children retold this scene in the third person
while others preferred to write in the first
person as if they were Snow White. Having acted
out the scene they found it easier to put
dialogue into their writing at the correct point.
One child, George who finds writing
very difficult wrote a whole page for the first
time. He was so proud of his work that he wanted
to share it with other adults. In the higher
ability group the images created by the words the
children used were superior to prior work. Zoe
wrote- Deep in the dark forest the queens
huntsman was watching and waiting. He lay down so
he wouldnt be seen. Suddenly he heard a noise.
Snow White was coming. He leapt out from behind a
tall tree, pulled her off her pony and dragged
her into the forest. Later, describing Snow
Whites flight through the forest she
wrote-Wolves howled under the night sky and bats
flapped their thin wings. Later, when I started
to evaluate this lesson I realised that there had
been no brainstorming of vocabulary, no
reminders to use good sentence starters, and no
teacher intervention once the children had
started to write. I know the improvement in the
writing resulted entirely from the use of drama,
music and visual images. This was a clear
indicator that the arts can be used as a tool to
improve writing.
  • Year 3
  • We were looking at World War Two as a topic. To
    kick start our work and to give the children an
    insight into the period, we took them on a living
    history day at Tatton Park, a local mansion, farm
    and park. All the children dressed up as
    evacuees and were transported back in time to
    1940. They took part in various hands on
    activities such as cooking using rations, playing
    wartime games and helping on the farm. The day
    finished with an air raid and us all singing in
    the shelter.
  • From this fantastic day the children were able to
    then draw on there own experiences to help them
    with a variety of creative activities
  • Using their senses to write a description of what
    it would be like to arrive at the station as an
  • Drama and role play which resulted in a
    performance for parents (A 30 part performance on
  • Music the children loved singing all the war
    time songs
  • Numeracy working out the rations and how much
    or little they were going to get!
  • All in all the children learnt a lot through
    learning experiences which were brought to

Year 3
  • Narrative Writing
  • The overall objective of our narrative project
    was to write a ghost story. After reading opening
    and passages from other stories, I discussed with
    the children what made an exciting ghost story!
  • We thought about our setting and went outside to
    think about what we could see, hear, smell and
    feel. Then we took photos of old houses, bare
    trees and lonely landscapes and shared these on
    the interactive whiteboard.
  • We used the Da Vinci log to show how we had built
    up our ideas and display extracts from our
    openings. We then used mind maps, freeze frames
    and hot seating to develop our characters before
    writing our final stories.
  • The children wanted the Da Vinci log to show the
    progress from our initial ideas to the finished
    story. As we worked, it helped to remind the
    children where our ideas came from and acted as a
    visual reminder and stimulus.

Year 3/4 The blanket topic for the school during
the Spring term was Hidden World. We discussed
the different connotations of this within class
and the majority of children suggested books as a
permutation of the theme. The inspiration for
the majority of our work was the book Flat
Stanley by Jeff Brown. We began by reading the
first chapter of the book when Stanley is
flattened by the bulletin board one night during
his sleep. The children went into groups and
reconstructed this scene and the visit to the
doctors in the form of a drama. Each character
involved was questioned during Hot Seating. We
then went on to write in our groups a newspaper
article detailing the events and giving
eyewitness accounts. The drama gave the children
an insight into the behaviour, feelings and
thoughts of the individual characters and thus
enhanced the completed articles. From this we
went on to use the book as a basis for work in
all other areas of the curriculum.
Year 4 - Elidor
Elidor The basis for these pages in our Da Vinci
log was the fantasy story Elidor. The book lent
itself well to developing art and language work.
To launch the book I turned the first few pages
into a play-script as there was so much direct
speech I thought it would be clearer for the
children to take on roles. It worked well as a
hook into the story for the children. Other
drama work then developed from this including
hot-seating of the main character Roland, thought
tracking and use of a conscience alley when
Roland had to make a decision about going into
the mound or not. Dance work focused on the
theme of light fading and light returning, as
this was a prominent theme in the book. Art work
was developed from descriptions given in the
book. The children drew as I read some chapters,
as the descriptions were so vivid. As the story
was set in the 1960s the children also produced
detailed sketches of Manchester streets from
photographs. All the experiences above led to
the children producing a variety of written work
including poetry and first person accounts.
Year 4 - Rap
  • Rap
  • This was one of the most valuable experiences I
    had with the children where the arts impacted on
    their writing. (My experiences of the arts
    linking to writing are minimal due to no class of
    my own!)
  • The children listened to a rap and clearly
    enjoyed it straight away. We analysed the way the
    rap was written and the rhythm patterns used
    within it. Now the children were ready to put
    their own ideas into action! They worked very
    successfully in small groups to create their own
    lyrics, which rhymed and kept a unique rhythm for
    our class rap.
  • I was really pleased with the efforts of the
    children and I know the children enjoyed this
    experience as it gave them an insight into a
    completely different type of writing influenced
    by music.
  • The children did perform their complete rap by
    the end of the lesson with actions! It was a
    truly visual, audio and kinaesthetic experience
    for all of the children!

Year 4 Our topic for the term was the Hidden
World. Year 4 began by reading the creation story
Amana and her children a South American myth
which focused on the character of Amana, a
radiant sea queen and all the sea creatures that
followed her. We acted out various scenes from
the story and discussed how the characters would
feel. We used our sketch books to draw our own
imaginary sea creatures and then used black pens
to add detail. Later the designs were painted
with brusho. We also used our designs to create
sea creatures made from clay. In our literacy
lessons we began brainstorming adjectives,
adverbs and verbs to describe our sea creatures.
We used our powerful verbs and adjectives to
write short descriptions. We worked in groups and
produced some amazing pieces of writing!
Year 4
  • The Romans
  • The page I have selected represents a change in
    my perception of the Da Vinci log. Whereas I had
    previously used the Log as a celebration of the
    childrens learning, this page demonstrates the
    childrens own, increasing involvement as their
    learning takes place. This is best illustrated
    by the list of activities the children gave me
    when I asked them to think about what would help
    them to perform a play about the Romans and
  • After defining the task in more detail, the whole
    class discussed and decided what they would need
    to do in order to successfully perform their play
    on the amphitheatre for the rest of the school.
    This list included some more predictable
    activities such as writing a play script, and
    rehearsing, but also some more unusual ideas such
    as hot-seating and making speeches using Roman
    language from a user- friendly website.
  • The Da Vinci Log is now our work in progress
    not just a record, but a point of reference and
    guide as we proceed with the tasks. Using the
    Log with the children has become a motivating

Year 5 Story Writing
Story Writing This double page features the work
we planned and taught to year 5 during a unit of
work on narrative writing. Having marked an
assessed some narrative writing from the children
we planned a 3 week teaching block to improve
their skills in this area of literacy. Our block
of work led from reading narrative stories to
writing sections of them and then to a completing
a short story. We covered aspects of story
writing by looking at the features of a variety
of openings through reading. We read lots in
groups through our literacy sessions and
discussed our favourites, different authorial
techniques and applied these to our own openings.
Other aspects we studied included the
development of plot, structure, tension and story
endings. We used art to think about scene
descriptions with children reading and sketching
a range of scenes from texts or describing a
scene from a picture in their own words to
another partner who drew it. We found a
particularly good scene in Carries War by Nina
Bawden. Work here included learning figurative
writing skills with the collecting and writing of
simile, onomatopoeia, metaphor and in some cases
the use of personification. Some of these can be
seen on the page in the book. When looking at
the use of tension, suspense and a build up
within our stories we used drama through acting
and hot seating character discussions, arguments,
exciting action and speech that we had found in a
range of fiction texts. The children transferred
their acting into their writing, revising the use
of speech correctly and trying out complex and
simple sentences and comparing the effects these
had on their writing. In the log some of the
children have chosen a sentence they thought was
creative and written it on the page. We found,
as the children did that taking a good chunk of
time on this unit of work paid off. In their
final story writing children were able to plan
(example seen in the log) and write a short
realistic story with many of the features and
elements we had taught. Children wrote a
checklist for narrative stories (included on
page) which the teacher typed up for the children
to use to assess their work when they had
Year 5 As part of our Topic on Change we focused
on the Tudors clothes, and how head gear
changed. We visited Speke Hall and the children
experienced wearing Tudor clothes and were
involved in speaking and listening
activities. At school we talked about the
different types of head gear and used Hot Seating
to talk about the Norris family and what type of
clothes they wore. The children worked in groups
to design and make head gear for a female and a
male. The children had to use problem solving
skills to complete their designs and make them.
Finally, we wrote instructions explaining how to
make the head gear.
Year 5
  • Medusa Project
  • The Medusa Project came about after our Greek
    topic had ended and we had completed our Greek
    assembly in front of the whole school. We had a
    particularly good Medusa who played the part so
    well that the children became interested in
    finding out more about her story.
  • Everything tied in with the PAN topic of Flights
    of the Mind and it was a cross curricular
    success with the children working on 3D models,
    Greek urns and a variety of writing.
  • Every child took part in this work and they all
    accessed it at their own level. Some children
    retold the story as a story board, others as a
    play script having been given the opportunity to
    choose what work they would do. Others again
    wrote concrete poetry about Medusa.
  • I have chosen this as my most successful piece
    because all children felt valued and involved in
    the work and because they were given free choice
    and produced such amazing and varied work.

  • Year 5/6
  • At the beginning of the school year we decided to
    read Kensukes Kingdom by Michael Morpurgo as a
    class book. The children enjoyed this greatly and
    were inspired by kensuke and began asking
    questions about Japanese art, this led to an
    exploration of the work of Katsushika Hokusai. We
    focused on his collection of paintings featuring
    Mount Fugi and discussed the differences in the
    colour and atmosphere provided by each of the
    views. The children then looked at copies of the
    paintings and used view finders to explore the
    detail and to look closely at the shades and
    tones detailed in the picture. We then decided to
    make two collective pieces of artwork in the form
    of wall hangings.
  • First we drew the picture on paper with black
    marker pen.
  • Then we mixed flour and water together and put
    this into tubes.
  • Next we placed a large piece of cotton fabric
    over the drawing and traced the outline using the
    flour and water.
  • Finally when it was dry we used a variety of
    techniques to paint the picture.
  • We also added some textiles to give depth.

Year 6 Ancient Egypt
  • Ancient Egypt
  • Our project on this page was all about Ancient
    Egypt, which we primarily introduced through the
    stories of Aida and Joseph. Our initial focus on
    the Aida story led to drama activities to explore
    the characters and settings. We used artwork to
    explore them further by looking closely at
    patterns within the illustrations and the role
    they play in retelling events. These
    illustrations drew comparisons with the work of
    Gustav Klimt and this combined to inspire our own
    mixed media canvas work, as well as other artwork
    using computer software and a range of printing
    techniques. Our detailed look at character and
    texture enabled the children to write
    playscripts, narrative poems and character
    interviews, some of which were recorded for a CD.
  • The second story of Joseph was introduced
    through a theatre visit, which immediately caught
    the childrens imagination. We explored the
    characters emotions through a range of artwork,
    most notably batik, using the colour of the
    dreamcoat as a reflection of this. The children
    also wrote their own songs based on the Joseph
    story and recorded these, as well as retelling
    the story from the point of view of the different

Year 6 This page was chosen to show the links
and progression between different pieces of work
in a mini topic about Australian landscapes. The
children looked at pictures of a variety of
Australian landscapes on the internet and the
whiteboard was used to display the images. They
then found pictures in guidebooks and
encyclopaedias to get a 3D image of their chosen
landscape…which varied from famous features such
as the Twelve Apostles to lesser known areas such
as Catherine Gorge. They went on to design, plan,
make and evaluate models of their chosen
landscapes in teams of four. They used a stiff
card base with paper to bulk out the landscape
which was then covered with modroc and painted to
give the desired finish. The first piece of
writing that followed from this was a set of
instructions on how to make the model. The
children thought about equipment, materials and
then a step by step guide to the make
process. Finally, we looked at the people behind
the landscapes and the children found Australian
Bush poetry on the internet which inspired them
to write their own poems about the life of the
indigenous people of Australia.
Year 6
  • Narrative Writing
  • This log represents my perception of a learning
    log The children identified their existing
    knowledge at the beginning of a narrative writing
    project, chose their own way to use creativity to
    enhance their work, and then evaluated both their
    end product, and the process they had gone though
    in order to complete the work.
  • The activities that the children chose included a
    variety of forms of art to represent elements of
    their stories, as well as using drama in unusual
    ways. For example, a child was hot seated as a
    character at the climax of the story, videoing
    the drama, and watching the video back in order
    to add new information to the story from the
  • The evaluations showed that the children valued
    the role that creativity played in their own
    learning, both in terms of a way of developing
    their own work, and as a means of celebrating
    their end product.
  • The Da Vinci Log is a source of immense pride in
    my classroom, increasingly so, as children have
    taken more involvement in the learning process.

Da Vinci Learning Network Warrington Borough
  • The Cobbs Infant School and Nursery
  • Email Cobbs_Infant_at_warrington.gov.uk Tel.
    01925 264616
  • Thelwall Community Infant School
  • Email Thelwall_Infant_at_warrington.gov.uk Tel.
    01925 267172
  • St Philip Westbrook C.E. Primary School
  • Email StPhilips_Primary_at_warrington.gov.uk Tel.
    01925 445391
  • Ravenbank Community Primary School
  • Email Ravenbank_Primary_at_warrington.gov.uk Tel.
    01925 753926
  • Grappenhall Heys Community Primary School
  • GrappenhallHeys_Primary_at_warrington.gov.uk Tel.
    01925 212540
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