Upper School Reading Week - Mill Hill Schools

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Upper School Reading Week

“The only thing that you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library.”

  • Albert Einstein

… and this was certainly true for Upper School students this week!

Before you begin to fear that your child is turning into a grouchy teenager, who is only interested in playing Fortnite on an eye-numbing screen, never fear! This year, Upper School fully embraced Reading Week with a similar enthusiasm and magic to Lower School. It was a week of colour, vibrancy and imagination, with so many students fully welcoming the joy of literature into their hearts (and wardrobes!).

The week began with Year 7’s Dystopian Workshop, which saw children working in groups to expose themselves to, and absorb, a range of famous (and in some cases infamous) Dystopian Literature: from ‘1984’ to ‘Divergent’ to ‘Brave New World’. Children worked in groups to read a variety of extracts, and discuss the themes and ideas contained within them. Once they had soaked up the writers’ words, they were then given a range of creative options for presenting their learning to the rest of the groups – from drama to dioramas to newspaper articles. Throughout the week, the groups worked on creating their masterpieces, culminating in a colourful, diverse and imaginative collection of pieces being displayed during their English lesson on Thursday. The effort and variety was eye-opening and we hope has fully enriched the children’s understanding of the genre in preparation for their creative writing assessment at the end of this term.

On Tuesday, all Year 8 students embarked on a trip across London to Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre to see where his flowery language and emotive themes came to life. Students enjoyed a tour of the theatre itself, understanding the challenging environment in which actors had to perform the plays- whatever the weather!- and engaging with the history of the space. After this, they participated in a workshop with professional actors, who further developed their understanding of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ through a variety of drama activities. There was love and conflict emerging in equal measure, with children bringing much humour, effort and experimentation to some of the play’s most famous extracts.

This imagination and colour carried into the World Book Day dress up parade, where we had a record number of Upper School students taking part in becoming their favourite characters. The Wicked Witch of the West cast a blustery breeze over Quad 1, but this could not deter the likes of The Mad Hatter, Sherlock Holmes, The Midnight Gang or Winnie the Pooh (to name a few!). Results for the ‘Best Dressed’ to follow in assembly and the bulletin next week. Thank you to all the parents for their efforts with the costumes and to those able to come and watch the parade.

On Friday, many would have thought that the wonderful ability to time-travel through reading had actually become a reality, as Year 6 students transformed the Jubilee Hall into Victorian London. Students have recently been studying ‘Street Child’: a story of a poor orphan who is passed through the dirty streets of London, encountering many cruel and unpleasant characters on the way. In groups, students designed their very own Victorian Fair stall to attract passing customers, in the hope of a shilling or two. Staff were astounded by the imagination and creativity that was displayed by the students through their stalls- from games to drawings to apple bobbing to throw a ball at Grimy Nick – and the enormous effort that was shown by all students to make their activity well-resourced and engaging. Luckily, after all their hard work selling, Dr Barnardo (aka Marlene and her catering team) provided well-earned refreshments of Victorian scones, cream and jam to feed the poor urchins. Winners for the best stall, and the best team work, will be announced in assembly on Monday.

Thanks to Hermione’s time-turner, we just about had time for several more activities on top of all this: most notably a form Book Quiz, the Book Factor (winners to be announced in assembly on Monday) and the Library Assistants’ trip to Grimsdell. However, unfortunately that’s all we have time for today, children, and you will have to check back on the website/bulletin next week for a full run down of the events, penned by our own budding writers at Belmont.

Thank you to all those involved in making Reading Week such a magical experience. Remember- keep reading over the weekend for Readathon, so that your House can be victorious! The total numbers of minutes read will be collected by tutors next Monday, with prizes in each form for the most minutes read and the best effort up for grabs!

Until then, we wish you a fruitful and restful weekend of reading!

Miss Bufton (Head of English) and Mrs Hunt (Librarian)