This term we have been studying Street Child by Berlie Doherty. We started the book by only being given the front cover and our job was to be detectives and collect clues from the pictures and words. After this we started to read the blurb and predicted what we thought might in the book. With the support of the contents page we considered when the book was set, who the main character was and where the story took place.
Right or Wrong?
We then started to read the book and were hooked immediately on Jim Jarvis’ story, being totally shocked when Mr Spink (The Stick Man) asked the family to leave. For a while we debated the question: ‘Is Mr Spink right or wrong to ask the family to leave?’ As a class we decided to write Mr Spink a letter expressing our views – some of these were amazing. Here are a few examples:
As we continued to read some terrible events happened to the Jarvis family – Jim and Ma being split up from Emily and Lizzie, Jim and Ma being sent to the workhouse, and worse of all, Ma dying! Following on from this we each wrote a diary entry in the role of Jim explaining what had happened and how he felt – the emotion and expression that were shown in their diaries was incredible. Here are a few diary entries:
To extend our learning, we used drama to further explore the characters. One of our activities involved creating a silent movie for several of the chapters in the books. At the start of the session we spent time writing out S2S for a successful silent movie, focusing specifically on our body language and facial expressions, to help us tell the story. Here are a few photos:
The more we read the more we found out about life in a Victorian Workhouse. To support this learning we investigated what life was like inside the workhouse, the daily route, menu and activities the Victorians were made to do. We were then left with the question: ‘Should Jim Jarvis stay or leave the workhouse?’ As a class we came up with a number of reasons why he should / shouldn’t stay at the workhouse and created diamond 9s. Here are a few examples:
Once we had completed these we then started to consider the features of a discussion and recorded our S2S. Below are a few of the discussions recorded:
Next we focused on the character of Rosie and Shrimps and used hot-seating to explore the characters stories. We thought hard about their view points and from this were able to infer their motivations – this allowed us to explore character’s feelings and step into role.
Near the end of the story we met Grimy Nick – a horrible and cruel character who kidnapped Jim and made him work on the Lily. From this we explored what life could be like for some Victorians working in the coal industry. After several painful attempts, Jim was able to escape and join a circus, helping Madame Juglini, before returning to the city of London where he finds Shrimps and a man called Barnie.
Over the project we spent time investigating the key events during the Victorian era, figures (Lord Shaftesbury and Sir Thomas Barnardo), life for working children, the different crimes committed by poor Victorians and their resulting punishments. Everyone in Sycamore really enjoyed this topic and learnt so much information.
Sycamore’s Open Afternoon
Thank you to all parents who were able to attend Sycamore’s Open Afternoon! We had an enjoyable time showing you all our Victorian work. The children really loved creating a museum to showcase their work – we hope you did too and went away having learnt something new!