Year 1 case study: The adventures of Perseus

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Pupils from Halstow Primary School took inspiration from Luca Giordano's 'Perseus turning Phineas and his Followers to Stone'.

Listen to a pupil retelling the story in their own words and read about the amazing effect on their vocabulary.

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Year 1 and 2 teacher Ross Silcock:

"I'm Literacy Coordinator for Halstow Primary School in Greenwich and I quickly realised that art can be used to stimulate writing for children of all ages.

"I knew the subject of 'Perseus turning Phineas and his Followers to Stone' would appeal to the children: heroes, monsters and decapitation!"

Extending vocabulary

Detail from Luca Giordano, 'Perseus turning Phineas to Stone', early 1680s

"At the Gallery, the children were fascinated by the painting and immediately I could see how it stimulated and extended their vocabulary.

"I planned a two-week unit of work with activities aimed at generating vocabulary, story mapping, oral storytelling and then moving on to sentence-level work and a 'big writing' session in which the children would retell the story.

"At the end of the two weeks I was amazed at the children's writing: varied sentence openers including adverbs and sequencing connectives, similes and a broader use of punctuation. I knew then that I would use another painting to inspire their writing."