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Competitions, Challenges and Events

Reading is pleasure that leads to much much more!

Reading for Pleasure

Travelling Books Fair: Monday 11th - Thursday 14th March 2024

We would love to see you support our visiting fair again this year. Pop along to our school hall at Hardwick, or library at Cambourne between 3.30pm and 4.00pm where you can help us earn commission to buy books for classrooms by purchasing a book from our fair. 30% of books on offer are below £5 this year which we hope will make supporting us more affordable. QR codes will be on each cabinet. If you cannot make it into school, you can also purchase books direct from Scholastic. You can browse books on offer by age-range online and even opt to treat your child to a gift voucher to spend at the fair, if you prefer. If you have any questions, please contact our Hardwick site school office who will be happy to help you help us! Fair dates and payment details have also been shared via parent E-mail.

https://bookfairs.scholastic.co.uk/travelling-books/parents

Travelling Books: fair information flyer and payment options

Year 6 English Challenge 2024

What a wonderful time we all had at this year's English Challenge. As host school, we were pleased to see so many visiting teams supported by their school staff and parents. Our own teams had a lot of fun and answered some very tricky questions. As a self-confessed Harry Potter super-fan, Poppy kicked herself for having missed out on scoring her team a Hagrid point whilst Heather was thrilled with the poetry round as she knew the poem already! When you have such avid readers competing, it is almost impossible to find material these children have not come across. Well done to everyone involved and a big thank-you to the County English Team for arranging these competition heats each year. We must also congratulate the Vine for getting through to the next round. Roll on next year when we'd love to welcome everyone back again. We already have a few keen Year 5 children itching to enter next time and put their skills to the test!

Matt Dickinson Visit

Matt Dickinson is an award-winning writer and filmmaker with a passion for climbing and adventure. During his filmmaking career he worked as a director and cameraman for National Geographic television, the Discovery Channel, the BBC and Channel 4. His film projects have taken him to Antarctica, Africa and the Himalaya, often in the company of the world’s leading climbers and expeditioners. As part of Non-Fiction November, we were very excited to host a visit by Matt who led a whole school assembly and writing workshops. It was an excellent opportunity to get children asking questions, dreaming of what they themselves may be capable, exploring vocabulary and - of course - writing. Children of all ages and abilities in EYFS - Year 6 enjoyed his visit and and their writing inspired by the talk and videos Matt shared of his adventures. Once children complete their writing, Matt will provide feedback that some children are already very keen to receive. Look out for completed writing outcomes that will be shared in the writing section of this page and via school boards. If your child enjoyed his visit and would like to read books written by Matt, his primary age series is 'Popcorn-Eating Squirrels'. Matt also writes for a teenage audience. 

Keith Hatton Return Visit

We feel very lucky that Keith Hatton has become a regular visitor to our school. Children always enjoy his visits and KS2 pupils in Year 4 across both sites and in Year 5/6 at HW site were thrilled to see him back leading an assembly and writing workshops as part of Non-Fiction November. They fully embraced his 'behind the door' writing challenge and queued in the rain and then around the hall to get their hands on signed copies of his books at the end of the day! His new book is 'Professor Plunder's Time Machine The Doors of Doom' which is the book children KS2 children remembered helping to edit last summer. Look out for completed work that will be shared on school boards and in the writing section of this English page. 

Non-Fiction November Postcard Competition: open to ages 5-12

BBC 500 Words Writing Competition 2023

This year, the two age categories will be 5-7 year-olds and 8-11 year-olds. Open the link below to find details of how to enter and see what fabulous prizes could be won doing something you already love - writing stories! Competition entry dates, rules and tips to fire up the imagination are all within the 500 Words link below as well as instructions of how to enter. There will be a live lesson on Wednesday 27th September at 11am. If unable to watch this - due to being in other lessons - it will be available to watch afterwards as well. Lessons and tips from previous years can also be accessed via the live lessons link:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/teach/live-lessons/500-words-2023-live-lesson/zwp6fdm

Oxford University Press has also produced a resources pack to help children of all ages get started which can be shared via a colourful slideshow or downloaded as a booklet:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/teach/500-words/oup-learning/zs6k239

You can enter this competition from home, but if you are unable to get help at home to enter then ask your teacher - or Miss Haji or Mrs Emery - for help to get your story entry submitted before the deadline of Friday 10th November. If you would like to share your entry with us at school, give us a copy to enjoy as well.

Be BRAVE. Get INVOLVED. Have faith in your own IMAGINATION. You CAN do this! GOOD LUCK!

First look at a new book

Children from Year 4, 5 and 6 across both school sites met with Keith Hatton to provide feedback on chapters from his new book. Hardwick Y5/6 book club also had a dedicated session with Keith that helped support their weekly book-talk. It was exciting for children to input on a draft not yet published. Editing an author's writing and seeing him listen to and value their feedback was an activity they warmed to and enjoyed. Seeing SPaG in action was certainly a talking-point post exams! Keith also laughed out loud at Emi's (in Y6) 'How to Survive Exam Week' recipe that she bravely volunteered to share with him and an audience. Visits like this can only help children when writing their own narratives and some children in Y5/6 are already asking if Keith will read their 1001 Nights stories. Others have even opted to take additional chapter drafts home to review for Keith over half-term. Talented artists in the room were also inspired by conversations with Keith about his designs and illustrator. We have some really talented pupils who have the potential to become names of the future in publishing. Exciting times ahead for everyone!

Book Week Vocabulary Competition

We had a number of 'phobia' (fear of) words in this year's dress-up vocabulary collection. Did you know there is even a fear of tomato ketchup? This is 'Mortuusequusphobia' which comes from the Latin for 'dead horse'! Researching vocabulary and discussing words got children in Year 5/6 thinking about the origin of words and about words they might like to invent for things they might be afraid of or, in fact, might actually REALLY love. As a quick experiment, they looked at the Latin and Greek roots for 'love' and 'penguin' and created a totally new word meaning 'love of penguins'. When Year 5/6 shared this new word in our World Book Day assembly, a number of children were keen to also experiment with new words of their own. Our vocabulary competition is to create a new word that describes something you really love (or dislike). Words can be decorated. They can be handwritten or typed. Splitting long words up into more manageable chunks using hyphens (-) can also be very helpful when trying to pronounce them! Entries to Miss Haji in person, via your class teacher, or via the school office. We will create a school dictionary of new words from entries received and competition winners will be shared after Easter break. GOOD LUCK!

Book Fair 2023

Travelling Books will be returning to both school sites from Monday 6th - Thursday 9th March. Books will be available for sale between 3.30pm and 4pm on these days. At Hardwick, this will be in the main hall and at Cambourne this will be in the library. We are certainly having to tighten our belts this year - our school included - so we would really appreciate any help you are able to offer us by purchasing a book. Any much-needed funds raised will be put towards updating class library collections. There will also be a donations table at each site again this year, where preloved books in good condition can be donated to school for others to enjoy once your own child has grown out of these, or no longer shows an interest.

If you would like to purchase books online, rather than visiting us at school please use the website below:

https://bookfairs.scholastic.co.uk/travelling-books/parents#vouchers

- Vouchers can be purchased for your child to spend at the fair instead of using cash (above link).

https://bookfairs.scholastic.co.uk/pay/1211899

- payment can be made online whist at the fair and also remotely via the online payment system (above link)

We will also hold a small amount of petty cash at each fair, in case this payment method is more practical for you instead; we would hate to lose any commission due to not being as flexible as we can possibly be!

Quality books are not cheap. It seems nothing is these days! We would like to thank-you in advance for your ongoing support with this fair which is appreciated by EVERYONE in school - adults and children alike!

If you have any questions, please contact our Hardwick site school office who will be happy to help you.

Our Public Speaking Team - KS2

Our team had a fantastic time at Peterhouse College! They did so well to prepare their individual speeches that shared their own interpretation of the event's topics. Alys even brought a tear to Miss Miles' eye as she spoke about her nan. All children rose to the challenge, overcoming their initial nerves and standing up to have their say in front of a crowd of over 40 people. What an achievement it was - and such fun! We are very proud of each of them. Y6 girls were also certainly impressed by the College itself and are very keen to return to participate in more Cambridge University events, if any opportunity presents itself. If you would like to read more about this event, there will be an article in the Cambridge Independent on 25th January.

KS2 Public Speaking Event: Peterhouse University Cambridge

If your child is interested in participating in this annual event, please encourage them to think about their speech across the festive break as entrants will be selected early in spring term. Letters have also been shared via the school office. Competition for a place will be tight! We think a number of children will be attracted by the opportunity to use their voice and to speak at one of Cambridge's prestigious universities. If this is your child, please encourage them to get involved!

Year 3/4

Speaking time: 1.5 minutes

Speech Title: If you could live in one season only, what would it be and why? (British Seasons)

Year 5/6

Speaking time: 2 minutes

Speech Title: you can invite anyone in the world, past or present, to lunch with you - who would it be and why? 

Year 6 County English Challenge 2022

We are again very proud of our teams this year who have secured both 1st and 2nd place in their regional heat of the English Challenge this month! They answered a variety of questions based around authors; favourite characters; text types; grammar and punctuation; vocabulary; and spelling. The poetry memory round was particularly challenging, but Hardwick site team nailed it and are thrilled to be through to the final in November. HUGE congratulations to both teams who represented their school with pride and visible team spirit throughout. This is always a fun event that staff and parents always enjoy attending as well. Questions were challenging, but participating children overcame their nerves and are thrilled to have secured their well-deserved placings. We will keep you posted as to how we get on in the final. We have our fingers crossed!

KS2: Poetry 'Shout-Out' Challenge

October 6th is National Poetry Day. This year's theme is the Environment. Some classes tuned in to the BBC live lesson and are now very keen to compose their own poetry for a KS2 collection. This live BBC lesson can be watched again via the link below. It does show how easy it can be to write a poem and shares tips about thinking outside the box too e.g. when looking at tower-blocks. We have decided to run a poetry 'shout-out' in response to today's event. To cater for those pupils who like an element of competition, we will pick a KS2 favourite on each site. We will also create a KS2 poetry collection of entries from all children brave enough to share their efforts that will be displayed on each school site. Poems need to centre around this year's environment theme, but do not have to be acrostic. They do not need to rhyme, but can if children wish. Some of us rather liked the short poem about the stars. Creative choices are endless! We hope you will be able to support your child should they wish to enter. We look forward to celebrating entries received. Please E-mail these into the school office, or bring hard copies into school to be passed on to Miss Haji (HW site) or Miss Miles (CB site). Deadline for entries to be received: Friday 4th November.

Year 2 - Year 6: Lost Words Acrostic Poem Competition

See the link below about how to enter this competition. The Lost Words is a stunningly illustrated book that we have studied during Book Week here in school in the past when it was first published. It promotes a love of the natural world and vocabulary, some of which is sadly vanishing. Even if your child does not wish to enter the competition, this locally produced book is worth a look. Please send your entries in for the attention of Mrs Hichings (CB site) and Miss Haji (HW site). Deadline for entries: Friday 4th November.

EYFS and KS1 Author Visit

Keith Hatton has visited us across both school sites to share his new book 'Agent Purple Panda: Maverick Monkey Madness' and to talk with EYFS and KS1 children. Our younger children loved their visit from this local author as much as KS2 enjoyed their workshops last year. Following his visit, they have ordered his Christmas book which they are looking forward to reading together soon. If you would like to purchase any of Keith's books for your child to enjoy, these can be found on his website at https://gingercattales.com/

Summer Reading Challenge 2022 - Virtual Assembly

Listen to Luke telling you about how to join this year's Summer Reading Challenge. Sign up from the 9th July at your local library.

World Book Day Vocabulary Winners

Children (and staff) made a fantastic effort this year to dress as vocabulary, or to add vocabulary to their WBD costume choice. KS2 winners have already been awarded a £5 book token to spend at our book fair.

Year 5/6: Frosso

Year 3/4: Sophie W

Year 1/2: Nate and Teo S

Sadly, we missed our chance to capture Sophie's costume on camera, but she dressed as a rabbit and attached 'adorable' which her classmates agreed was a fitting adjective to attach to all rabbits! Frosso had to repeatedly remind us how to pronounce her word choice which means a fear of the number 13! Nate looks thrilled to be dressed as 'camouflage' - his smiling face really sums up the spirit of WBD! We all agree with Teo that reading is a window onto the world. Everyone can be a reader. We can all travel wherever we wish to when we read. Some of us are hoping we will continue to travel away from the rain and into the sun!

We have had some great discussions in school around the impact carefully chosen vocabulary can have on a reader, or a listener, and we have generated lots of synonyms and antonyms as well. WBD has been a lot of fun and we'd like to thank you for your support in helping your child to dress-up.

Some clever runner-up costumes

World Book Day 2022 is Thursday 3rd March. Our dressing up focus is vocabulary. Across both school sites, we will be dressing up as a word (a costume that reflects a chosen word e.g. dressing as 'dictionary' by choosing to be covered in words), or dressing up a word (focussing on the word itself that might be worn, or carried as a banner or placard). Children can still opt to dress as their favourite book character, we would just like them to add a word that describes their character e.g. Marvel's Spiderman might be accompanied by the word 'agile', the Wolf from Red-Riding Hood might be assigned 'cunning'. A WBD vocabulary focus provides an ideal opportunity for us to continue to promote spoken language and raise its profile whole school. There will be a prize in each year-group this year for the most interesting vocabulary choice. Winners will receive a book, or a book token to spent at our Travelling Book Fair. This year's WBD theme is 'we are all readers' and the official WBD site offers suggested activities, some of which your child might enjoy at home https://www.worldbookday.com/about-us/what-is-world-book-day/Heffers Cambridge will be providing a WBD book for every child again this year https://www.worldbookday.com/books/ These books can be 'purchased' in school using WBD tokens.

MC Grammar: World Book Day Song 2022

Travelling Book Fair 2022

We missed out hosting the fair in 2021, but are happy to confirm that The Travelling Book Fair will again be visiting us this year. It will run in the school hall on each site every afternoon from Monday 7th - Thursday 10th March (4 days) from 3.30pm until 4.00pm. Commission raised at this fair helps to fund class libraries. If you’d like to purchase a book, you can pay online. Book Fair gift vouchers are also available to purchase online, to spend in person at the fair. You can find out more about books available for purchase, pricing and payment options at https://bookfairs.scholastic.co.uk/travelling-books/parentsIf you would prefer to pay in cash on the day, please could you bring smaller notes and coins, as the school office is now cashless so we will have a limited float available from which to provide change. If children would like to listen to chapter one of a book from the catalogue, this can be done via https://bookfairs.scholastic.co.uk/chapter-one
If you are unable to visit school sites in person, there is also the option to order online so we hope no-one will miss out. We raised £1,060 in 2020 and it would be fantastic if we could come close to this total this year. We raised £774.00 this year which has now been spent on non-fiction books to support children's in-class learning. We would like to thank everyone who supported our fair. It has been a challenging year for everyone and we appreciate you turning up and spending money even in an year where the cost of everything has sky-rocketed!

We will also take donations of pre-loved books throughout this week, at a donation table, if you have any quality books at home in need of recycling to a new home, or if you would like to purchase a book from the fair for your child's class. We would also like to thank everyone who has donated books - old or new - to help us resource class and central libraries across both sites. Your on-going support is really valued by us all.

KS2 Writing Workshops: Keith Hatton

Following the popularity of his initial whole school author visit, Keith Hatton returned to visit us at both KS2 school campuses to focus on writing. Children really enjoyed his narrative workshops that focussed on using the 5 senses to help enliven writing. His visit linked up perfectly with current fictional units, as children across Year 3, 4, 5 and 6 have been writing narrative character descriptions and/or settings. When talking with children after each visit, they all agreed these workshops had been fun, helpful to them and engaging; they are looking forward to applying some of Keith's teaching tips to their next English units. It was rewarding to see children of all abilities participate and leave sessions feeling pleased with what they had achieved. Y5/6 even delayed their breaktime to maximise their workshop time! Some children also asked to be given extra time to finish the writing they had started in their workshop which shows just how much fun writing can be!

Amelie (Y5) shared, "I liked that he didn't care about spelling or punctuation, so I could focus on using exciting vocabulary instead." 

Jaiden (Y6) said, "I enjoyed the sounds and the music that helped me concentrate and at the same time helped to think of ideas". 

Evie and Chloe (Y4) hurried into Miss Haji's classroom as soon as Keith had finished his workshop to ask, "When can we have Keith back again to teach us? We LOVED writing with him today!" 

Hopefully, Keith can indeed return to Hardwick and Cambourne one day soon...meantime, we have World Book Day to look forward to next where our focus is vocabulary which fits beautifully with Keith's input.

KS1 and KS2 author visit: Keith Hatton

KS1 and KS2 children all thoroughly enjoyed Keith Hatton's visit. There were queues around the carpark to purchase signed copies of his books after school across both sites! A sure indication of how much children had enjoyed their experience. Year 3/4 and Y5/6 are looking forward to welcoming Keith back to run a writing workshop for each of their classes early in the Spring term. Listening to authors share their love of writing really is a fantastic way to engage and motivate children. As a school, we feel very lucky to have found Keith who is keen to come back and continue to inspire a love of writing throughout Key Stage 2. If you would like to explore books written by Keith, details can be found at https://gingercattales.com/

EYFS author visit: Paul Bermingham ‘Is that a Zebra Crossing?’

Classics Competition: KS2

If you like the Ancient Greeks, you will LOVE this competition! Hand any entries in to Miss Haji via the school office. You can only enter 1 category, but if you want to submit more than 1, we will judge these in school and put forward what we think is your best effort. If we receive lots of entries, we will run an in-school competition alongside the official classics competition and award our own prizes for Year 3/4 and Year 5/6 winners too. We are so excited to see what you come up with...good luck!

Reading Rocks Reviews

Reading Rocks Reviews is an English project in which students write, video and share their own  book reviews with the help of some well known authors including Michael Rosen. These reviews can be written or videoed in a vlog style review. Below are some examples to inspire you. Can you create your own that's even better? Which book would you review? Happy vlogging and remember to #keepreading!

Reading Rocks Review: The Hunger Games

An example of a book review VLOG. These book reviews are for you, by you!! Can yours be any better? Which book would you pick?

Reading Rocks Review: The Gruffalo (ks1)

Book reviews for you, by you!

Reading Rocks Review: Goodnight Mr Tom

Reviews for students, by students. https://litfilmfest.com

Some resources you may like to use to create your Reading Rocks Review:

Resources for your book review!

Saving Planet Anksi!

A new writing and drama challenge for children aged 7-11! Over 3 weeks, children are invited to explore the online story by investigating artefacts from museums, storytellers and artists as they piece together clues in the story world.  Children will share their ideas with other children through the website. The story will also consider looking after our planet by exploring eco-literacy. In week 3 there will be a writing challenge for children to take part in.

What is the story about?

What if the secret of our secure future lay in the forgotten past?

​A secret that only children knew about. It told the stories of a past world which became a wasteland.

Once upon a time there was a city of dreams. Something happened there a long-time ago. An event that shifted everything. Since that time, a group of children have become Story Rebels. They are time travellers who reimagine histories and create new worlds. Worldbuilders. Can they find out the secrets of the past to save the future? Are they brave enough to face the challenges ahead? 

Message from Leonie Lord the author of The Gigglepigs

Still image for this video

Leonie Lord's 'The Giggle Pigs' Challenge 

Complete one of the activities below and post to the school's Instagram page and the best entries will be sent to Leonie Lord the author of The Gigglepigs. Some resources for the activities are below, but feel free to create your own and let your imagination run wild.

Activity one:

Create your own Giggle Pig puppets and perform the story with them

Activity two:

Create a scene from the book by colouring and drawing.

Activity three:

Become an author and illustrator and create a storyboard of the story (use the link below to remind yourself of the story)

Activity Four:

Create your own Giggle Pig map? How funny can you make it? Will you have a river of jelly? a mountain of candyfloss? Or a swamp of custard?

Activity 5:

Write the second book in the series. Don't forget to give it a title, front cover and blurb. What could The GigglePigs get up to on their second adventure? Where could they go? Who or what may they met on their journey? 

Book in a Box Winners: Carys (Y1) and Emily (Y6)

Book in a Box: Reading Competition

We had a fantastic level of entries for our spring term reading competition that coincided nicely with Book Week. Many children, teachers and parents really enjoyed voting for their favourite box during our book fair which made Miss Renshaw's job of picking 2 winners much less stressful too! Emily, in Year 6, contacted her chosen author Robin Stevens about her 'A Murder Most Unladylike' box and she tweeted a reply!! Other children might like to follow Emily's example and make contact with the author of their chosen boxes. Any replies received would make a lovely school display alongside entries, once we are able to reopen. This would also celebrate writing for real purpose which is something, along with pupil voice, that we value very highly as school in all year groups. Authors do often like to hear from their readers, so whether or not your child entered this competition, they might find it exciting to correspond with them under your parental supervision. Other ideas could include writing an alternative ending for a favourite story and/or creating an additional chapter, illustration or character. Children could even write their own version of a story or create and share their own picture book, poetry, rhyme or fairy tale with authors and/or publishing houses. 

Travelling Book Fair 2020

We raised a whopping £1060 in commission this year! This is a fantastic amount and we would like to extend a heart-felt thank-you to everyone who attended and purchased books. There was a real buzz in the Hardwick hall with 'book in a box' voting generating a spirit of healthy competition and lively conversation about reading; we will be looking to repeat this in future years. We also received a number of very high quality pre-loved books this year at our donation tables and these have already been shared with grateful class teachers from EYFS-Year 6. Books can be donated at any point in the year, but it worked very well this year during this dedicated week and we really appreciate your generosity. We are now looking forward to spending the commission you have raised ready for children to enjoy in their classrooms soon.

Fun with Books: Can you Identify our 2020 WBD Characters?

Book Week 2020: Sustainable Living

World Book Day and Travelling Book Fair 2020

World Book Day is Thursday 5th March. We will all be dressing up as a book character on this day that falls within a dedicated ‘book week’ where we will be celebrating a love of reading across both school sites. Our book week’s theme this year will be based around sustainable living. If anyone would prefer to dress up around that theme instead, then this would also be appropriate - and hopefully FUN too!

Heffers Cambridge will be providing a WBD book for every child across both sites again this year that can be redeemed using WBD tokens that will be shared by us with children during Book Week. 

As well as World Book Day and our dedicated Book Week, the Travelling Book Fair will also be visiting both sites from Monday 9th – Thursday 12th March. Books will be on sale after school on these days from 3:30pm-4:00pm: in Hardwick site’s hall and Cambourne site’s library. 

If you have any 'pre-loved' books you would like to donate to help supplement classroom shelves and libraries, this would be a good time in the term for us to receive these. If you were to bring these to the fair, there will be a table dedicated to receiving them.

At the end of our book week, we will announce the winner of our Book Week competition which is to design a gadget, device or idea that would enable us to live more sustainably in the future. More competition details will be available in school assemblies and via class teachers nearer the time. Competition winners will receive a voucher to select a free book from the Travelling Book Fair.

We will share details about our '100 books to read' initiative during 'book week' that we hope will inspire children to read a range of different titles and generate discussion about books at home and in school.

Children's Program of Events: 16th - 19th April 2020

Year 6 English Challenge Final

Year 6 English Challenge

We are all super-proud of our Year 6 team again this year - Hermione, Tamsyn, Freddie and Yahel - who represented us at the 5th annual English Challenge held at Monkfield Park Primary School. We came 3rd and, as points were so close this year, we have a chance of being entered into the final at Ely Cathedral in December. We all have our fingers crossed! Our team did especially well in the book-quiz round and would recommend everyone to keep reading! It was a fun event and our representatives all worked brilliantly together as a team to answer memory round questions, grammar questions and a wide range of really challenging questions about a number of different authors, books, poems, synonym and antonym vocabulary and text types. A big thank-you to all parents for supporting us and for school staff who gave up their evening to attend and support our team.

Woop Woop: we are through to the final at Ely Cathedral on Wednesday 4th December!! 100 county-wide schools took part in this challenge and we are one of 23 schools who have made it through to the final.

Reading Cafe

On December 2nd we held our first reading cafe where pupils shared books, reading challenges and top tips for reading...as well as some delicious cakes and hot chocolate. Thank you to everyone who baked cakes, donated books and to all of those who came along. It was a great success! 

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