Bored With Your Pretend Journalism Topic? Have Children Writing Real Advocacy Journalism Instead!

This half term we focused on the teaching of advocacy journalism. Advocacy journalism is when you advocate for something. It means you champion it, support it and try and stand up for it.

In our first week, we discussed this genre using our genre-booklets. To make the writing truly purposeful, the school contributed a charity grant fund worth £150 to a JustGiving page and invited the community to top this up, which in the end raised well over £300.

So, over half term, we asked the children to talk with their families and choose a local charity, organisation or cause that was worthwhile or important to them. They then had to research details of the charity and bring their information into school. They even had to phone up their charity on the phone to try and get a quote – some of them did remarkably well with this.

We explained that the grant money would be given away to three of the local charities the children decided to write about. Depending on the focus, each news article was placed into one of three groups:

  • Helping people,
  • Helping animals,
  • Helping the environment.

The articles were presented to a group of Year 6 pupils who were asked to determine which pieces were the most effective in: informing, persuading and providing a personal touch.

The three winning pieces received a share of the grant money.

Choosing A Charity

We were struck by the sheer variety and personal commitment to different local charities. We had originally proposed a list of charities the children could  potentially use but found, much to our surprise, this wasn’t necessary. A great many children were able to choose charities that they had been directly involved with or received help from. This was lovely and made writing the pieces even more genuine.

Our writing-study lessons were good but we also learnt what to do next time. 

As we always do when introducing a genre for the first time to the class, we wrote a couple of examples ourselves. I wrote about a local charity which supported my sister during her brain injury, whilst my colleague wrote about an animal sanctuary. In both cases, we interviewed someone connected to the charity; this was also a requirement for the children to do as part of their homework.

What became clear was that this was a multi-faceted genre. It required us (and therefore the children) to negotiate aspects of informing and persuading as well as recounting a small anecdote relating to the charity.

After looking at our examplar text, the children were shown a terrible example of what NOT to do when writing theirs. This was a worthwhile lesson as we could see some of the children’s plans were looking very similar to this examplar!

Our functional-grammar study focused on the use of direct quotation and modal verbs, but also ventured into discussion of moving between informing and persuading, formal and informal tone.

Below, we are pleased to share a variety of different articles from across the year group. These were produced by children in year 5 (9-10 years old).

If you have liked what you have read here and would like to read more about our approach to writing which we call ‘Real-World Literacy’, you can follow the link here. If you’d like to view our Genre-Booklets, you can follow this link.

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**Please note that the views expressed on this blog are our own and may not represent our employer.**

As always, thank you for reading and we hope you enjoy the articles!

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Two Left Feet

Steps is a charity which helps people with talipes (their feet facing the wrong way). Steps is based in Warrington, Cheshire but they cover the whole of the UK.

Baby steps can be doubly hard without Steps – so what can make some people’s feet happier?

The problem is that children with talipes can’t run or walk so they can’t enjoy games like other people. Children with talipes have no mental issue – the stop sign is in their feet. That’s why we can get sad, mad and even angry. Children with talipes can lead miserable lives with no friends to play with. Laughter will not be heard while they are moving about. It’s like having superglue on your feet, sticking them in different positions.

You can’t get in to the swing with talipes without getting stuck on the trapeze.

Think about it, you may be laughing now but would you like it if it happened to you? Steps make it that those affected by childhood leg conditions are fully looked after from diagnosis to treatment.

The staff will always help you at Steps, even if you are screaming and shouting to the sky The staff are nice and very helpful. They are managed by sensible people and get the job done. That charity is funded by people doing charity activities for them (running, mountain climbing and skydiving) or through business giving them money.

I was born with talipes in both feet. I had to go to appointments loads of times and was having happiness drained out of me by it. The word walk sent shivers down my spine. Friends don’t tend to want to play with a penguin or pigeon boy. Steps gave advice to my parents about what do do, which items to give me and what I had to do.

I believe in Steps. Steps were determined to help me get my feet in shape. They gave me special boots to fix my feet and without them I wouldn’t be walking, dancing and having the marvellous times I now have.

When you do charity events for Steps, you will increase the chance for children to walk, dance or run without two left feet.

To make people happy, visit Steps’ website at: http://www.steps-charity.prg.uk

I hope you enjoy your parallel footed day – I know I will!

Chomp Is The Champ!

Chomp is a charity that provides a free healthy lunch and fun activities for children and their families, who struggle to eat well in the school holidays.

Chomp has been a life saver this winter! Great activities, friendly faces and fantastic foods. Through the winter, people have been volunteering for Chomp to give children and their families a nice warm meal and an exciting day.

There is more than 11,000 children in Brighton who find the school holidays difficult. Chomp has provided over 3,500 meals since Easter 2013, this has impacted over 150 families across Brighton. They guarantee an incredible day of excitement and a full stomach with a massive range of activities plus some fabulous food prepared on the day.

My family is actively involved through a church called One Church Brighton.

They are looking for fun people who can do all or any the following things during the school holidays: cook, serve food, fun craft activities, organise games, make tea and coffee and most importantly, be welcoming!

From Chomp, Kim said, “Without all the volunteers, Chomp would not be alive and wild… you may just donate 50p but it will make a big difference!”

Surely you don’t want children and their families to starve? So get involved with Chomp today!

There are three places in Brighton where you can get involved: St. Cuthmans, Whitehawk, St. Andrews, Moulsecoomb and One Church Brighton on Glouster Place.

Call: 01273694749 to get involved or email: chomp@onechurchbrighton.org

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Support Kitty In The City

Kitty In The City is a charity that takes in stray cats and ones that have been mistreated by their owners. The founder of the charity is a lady called Beverley.

The aim of the charity is to rescue abandoned cats and kittens in the city, to provide warm, refuge, veterinary care, food and lots of love until they are re-homed. It has been set up by volunteers; they have received no money or grants by the government and rely solely on donations from the public and fundraising. They have a monthly fair at a local church including: Tombola, cake sale etc. They are also supposed by a local veterinary surgery named Top Cat. They offer reduced rates for all the care and treatments that cats need. They also give the cats check ups to make sure they are fit and healthy.

There was once a cat that was mistreated by his owners. He wasn’t always fed and never received any love. For the first year of his life, he wasn’t even given a name.

I spoke to one of the nurses at Top Cat. She was called Charlotte. She said “Beverly is dedicated to caring for many cats, especially ones that are older or are overlooked for re-homing”.

In case you’re wondering what happened to the cat with no name, for the past nine years he’s been called Alfred and together with another cat called Doris, who was also rescued by Beverly, he has been a well loved part of my family. If you really are about animal welfare, please consider giving a monthly donation.

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Shouldn’t People With Disabilities Have The Same Opportunities

Whoopsadaisy is a charity which looks after children with cerebral palsy and other physical disabilities. Whoopsadaisy can be found at Preston Park, Brighton. This charity’s aim is to help children to live life as independently as possible. They are the only charity in East Sussex offering to help them prepare for tackling the challenges of everyday life.

There are other children there who might be in a wheelchair or have other phsyical disabilities. At Whoopsadaisy, children will either be trying to walk unaided or will be practising using their legs and hands to strengthen their muscles.

When Ferris joined Whoopsadaisy (aged 18 months in 2009), he couldn’t sit or crawl unaided. He started going every week to Saturday school at Whoopsadaisy. He is now eight and can stand unaided and walk all by himself – this is incredibly hard to achieve – it took him seven years to achieve this goal!

It is very expensive to get a child’s place at Whoopsadaisy. It costs around £3,500 just for one year. When you donate money to Whoopsadaisy, you can be guaranteed that you have helped a child in need.

If you would like to donate money to Whoopsadaisy, contact: Whoopsadaisy.org. Alternatively, you can help by doing fundraising events such as: golf days, marathons and lots more!

I decided to write about this charity because it is close to my heart. I see lots of children around I feel sorry for and just want to do my little bit to help.

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Life Saving People!

Meningitis Now is a charity to help people donate money to those who can’t do what you can do. It helps people who have had bad illnesses. Remember, just a pound could be enough to save someone’s life – have you ever done that? If not, try now please!

Meningitis Now will help you if you have a bad illness like me. I had meningitis when I was younger. I couldn’t  go to school but Meningitis Now were by my side.

I was very ill coming back from Winter Wonderland. In the night, I threw up repeatedly. Then, in the morning, I could not feel my legs – but I had my mum and dad by my side. Meningitis Now supported my mum and dad during this time and they will be forever thankful to them.

I think you’ll agree with me when I say Meningitis Now’s work is amazing and there is nothing better than changing someone’s life. Please, please donate to them.

To get involved and help visit them at: www.meningitisnow.org

Mind For Better Mental Health

Mind’s local charity shop is on St.James street. They provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem or suicidal thoughts. They also campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding to anyone who is interested or wants to help the charity. Mind won’t give up until everyone that is experiencing a mental health problem get support and respect.

Every year, one in four of us will experience a mental health problem or go through a tough time. But hundreds of thousands of people are still struggling and they need help urgently. Also, they believe no-one should have to face  mental health problem alone. They will listen, give you support and advice and fight your corner until you get the help you need.

Mind helped me and my friend Lily overcome our fear of spiders. We used to hate them, but now we love them and we always pick them up.

My hope it that, it may help someone somewhere to understand their situation or help them to deal with what is happening to them.

Imagine what life would be like taking each day as it comes. Struggling through awfully horrible pain that is so damaging.

Mind promote a wide range of ecotherapy activities across South East England that are fun and are run by local minds and other organisations who were involved in a eco-mind funding scheme. You can join 3000 other challengers who will walk, jog or run 100km from the capital to the coast. Start from Richmond and head over the South Downs taking in some breath-taking views and challenging climbs before heading down for a Brighton finish! Paths, trails and beautiful scenery await so if you only take on one challenge this year; make sure it’s this one.

Whether you’re a walker and new to endurance events or a marathon runner looking up to the distance – the journey will be amazing and only fishes when you’ve had the time to reflect on your achievement. With some training and determination anyone can conquer London to Brighton. Join them.

With only a few taps on your phone, tablet or laptop, you can donate a small amount of money to Mind and join the other hundreds of thousands of people making a change. Have you ever faced a mental health problem before? If you have, call them and them your story.

Contact them at: info@mindcharity.co.uk