The Monkey Project with SPaG – a new format!

24th February 2017by KateLatest News

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We’ve had such an exciting few weeks working on a new format of Monkey Project with The Grange School in Runcorn.  The Monkey Project is an innovative programme, designed to increase children’s excitement for writing and allow them to let their creativity run free! You can find out more about The Monkey Project (including its American origins) by taking a look at our dedicated page here. (There’s even a lovely video to watch)

Last year we began exploring how we might use The Monkey Project format to increase confidence in spelling, punctuation and grammar and bridge the gap between SPaG knowledge and application. The Grange was the first school to take this new format on board and we’ve all been delighted with the results.

Pupils from Year 5 and 6 took part in 3 weeks of drama for SPaG sessions, tailored to their needs and skills gaps. Following this we delivered 3 weeks of the Monkey Project format, including group stories to model writing skills. Each week the children wrote stories in groups and individually and, at the end of the 3 weeks, we took their Monkey Journals back to Altru HQ and read everything they’d written.  We then selected 30 stories which were transformed by 7 talented actors into a 1 hour performance featuring live music, original songs, sketches, comedy, puppetry, shadows and mask work.

The performance went back to The Grange on Wednesday (22.02.2017) for its one and only showing – with all of the children in the audience, and eagerly anticipating their stories.  Each story was fantastic and the range of ideas was enormous – we had everything from stories about robots, forgotten wastelands, magic carrots, bullying and cats playing football. There were lots of cheers, smiles, laughs, applause and even a few tears.  The final story, written by Harrison about a lonely dragon who wasn’t accepted because he could only breathe glitter and not fire (and transformed by us into a rock song!) brought the house down!

We had a wonderful time working on this project and feedback from staff and pupils has been brilliant.  At the end of the show Josh from Year 6 came and found me to tell me he was going to fill his whole Monkey Journal with stories after watching the show! And Mr Shepherd left this lovely message on our facebook page:

“Hey guys! Thank you so much for the fantastic performance yesterday. The kids and staff were literally blown away! In fact the whole journey from the classroom sessions to the pinnacle of the show has been amazing. The children have gained so much from the whole project and have been buzzing since we started. Can’t wait to see the fruits of their future writing from your creative and inspiring boost. A big thank you from myself and all of the staff here at the Grange!” 

Thanks so much to everyone at The Grange for making us so welcome and really buying into this project.  We’ve tracked pupil levels and progress, so we’ll be looking at the data and evaluating the success of this new Monkey Project with SPaG format soon.  Watch this space!

If you’d like to bring a Monkey Project with SPaG to your school, get in touch! Give us a call in the office on 0151 443 0333 for a chat.