Last week we received a video made by the children and teachers at Springwood Primary in Wales. It was a short but exuberant film in which they share some love for our whole school reading programme - Bug Club.
Made by the children and teachers themselves, it was so natural and honest it couldn't possibly have been scripted. For the Bug Club team, it was so special because it was completely Springwood's own initiative. We never asked them to do it, we didn't give them any discounts for their 'free marketing' - they just made it and shared it to our Twitter feed.
Pearson is a fairly large organisation but the Primary team here in Oxford is not. Bug Club is created and managed by a surprisingly small team of people whose job it is to keep improving both the printed and online eBooks, ensuring they are as fun and engaging as possible. Seeing the children of Springwood, iPads in hand, speaking so enthusiastically about Bug Club has delighted the team of people who work on it every day.
Their rather fabulous little video, freely created and so kindly shared, genuinely has made our week.
We spoke to Justin Dowd, a teacher at Springwood, after seeing the video, and were even more delighted by a comment he made that, ‘he thought Bug Club would improve reading standards, but since getting it in, it’s transformed them!’
Much as we love hearing the good stuff, just like the schools and children we serve we are on a journey of continuous improvement and learning. If you have feedback about any Pearson Primary product please let us know. Use this blog to comment, fill out one of regular online surveys, speak to one of sales consultants or customer service people or use Twitter, Facebook or email us. We value your feedback enormously.
We recently did some research with our Primary Teacher Panel to help us understand how we can support you better.
We've done other research into what you need from us in terms of resources, but for this particular study we wanted to understand what it feels like to be a teacher in the 2010s. We asked:
Why did you go into teaching?
What makes you feel appreciated?
What is hard about your job?
Why do you stay in teaching?
The individual responses (around 200) were really fascinating and gave us an interesting and sometimes sobering snapshot of the realities of being a Primary teacher today.
The infographic below showcases the most common responses we received. While there's probably nothing too surprising here for you we wanted to share it anyway because it shows some very clear themes emerging across everyone who answered.
Do you agree? Is there anything you would add, or expand on?
As World Book Day approaches (5 March for anyone who doesn’t have it etched into their brain yet), our thoughts have turned to the very important issue of The Costume.
If you want to avoid a class full of Harry Potters and Elsas (not that there’s anything wrong with that per se, but variety is the spice of life) – or indeed an eleventh hour panic about your own costume – the key is preparation. You need to help get your children (and crucially their parents) inspired early and leave plenty of time for charity shop trawling and cardboard painting!
With this in mind, here are a few costume ideas with literary credibility…
Elena Schweitzer. Shutterstock
Alice in Wonderland is brilliant fodder for fancy-dress, whether it’s the eponymous Alice, the Mad Hatter, Tweedle-Dum and/or Tweedle-Dee, or the Red Queen. While you might not have a sky-blue dress and white pinny in the back of the wardrobe – this could be a good investment for many a Book Day to come. Alternatively you could get creative with a white T, marker pens and felt for a Tweedle-Dum/Tweedle-Dee look. Especially good for twins!…
Tattered trousers, a granddad shirt, braces or a waistcoat, a few smudges on your face, and a flat cap – and you can legitimately claim to be any scruffy Dickensian orphan – from Oliver to Pip to David Copperfield. And for those of you out there with a carefully zipped up wedding dress still in its dust bag, how about layering on a few cotton-wool cobwebs to rock that Miss Haversham look. Or not…
We may not be able to transform ourselves into Quentin Blake-style illustrations (more’s the pity) but we can accessorise. I fully intend to send my son to school this year with a large cardboard peach. Guess what his name is…
Alternatively, if you aren’t lucky enough to be called James, you could try a mouse mask to channel Luke from The Witches – or if you’re a grown-up, gloves, wigs, thick makeup and constant remarks about children being smelly would also make for a passable costume from the same book.
Jules Selmes. Pearson Education Ltd
Animals are fairly easy to pull off, and Winnie the Pooh has more literary credibility than the majority of stuffed toys. Dress in orange and black, create a tail out of stripy tights, check out the local party shop for a pair of ears and voila – one Tigger ready to go. And if you want to add in a little Buzz Lightyear, who’s to say you can’t.
Mr Bump. Courtesy of Ladybird Books
The Mr. Men and Little Misses are the Kings and Queens of children’s literature. They’re cute, witty and there’s always a moral to the tale – ergo very educational!
And with such distinctive characteristics, they’ve each got something to imitate: some blue facepaint and some bandages and voila, one Mr Bump. Admittedly other characters may require a bit more arts and crafts, but a big cardboard box and some poster paint, and you’re just a colourful mess away from the perfect personalised costume.
Frank L. Baum
Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz… need we say more? There’s so much scope here – some silver spraypaint, corrugated cardboard and a funnel gets you a tinman, a blue and white checked school dress with some plaits and some red shoes etc etc, but we’re rooting for the wicked witch of the West because of the potential for green-face paint. Always a winner.
And some runners-up…
Anything Austeny or Bronte-esque – if you can find or make a dress!
The Dictionary/Thesaurus – fashion a cape out of pages from the dictionary, if you can bear to destroy one. A photocopier might help out with this!
Gothic Horror – Frankenstein, Dracula (with due care and consideration given to the audience!).
There’s this new thing called The Hunger Games apparently.
Charlie and Lola
And if all else fails…
Well, Harry Potter is popular for a reason… and Disney costumes are generally easy to come by. It’s not cheating if they made a book out of the cartoon, is it?!