A school in Norfolk is dramatically improving writing skills. Here’s how:

Langham Primary School has been using the digital writing website nightzookeeper.com, for the past three years, with some amazing results.

“22% of the students made a year’s worth of progress in just one term. One child made incredible progress during that term – 6 points!”

Emma Cotton, Class 3 teacher,  gives her feedback on the impact of using nightzookeeper.com in the classroom.

I had heard about Night Zookeeper at the Norfolk ICT Conference a few years ago and thought it looked like an exciting idea, although wondered how I would fit it into a busy curriculum commitment. During the month of March, my class participated in World Creative Writing Month, and what a competition it turned out to be!

Class group photo

The children were so inspired to write. They followed the leaderboard avidly and when they saw they were slowly progressing towards the top, it really was incredible. As a teacher, I work hard to create opportunities where the children are self-motivated and I must say I have rarely seen anything like this level of motivation before!”

Not only does the website encourage the children to read, write and develop their creativity, it also has an Assessment Toolkit which makes it very easy to monitor progress and target learning.

It uses core curriculum objectives for writing including spelling, writing composition, vocabulary, grammar and punctuation with space to leave personalised comments for the children. Marking and assessing writing is so much easier.

Writing.png

After using the Night Zoo for a while now, I find it easy to link it in with other topics in school. We recently followed a science-based project, yet could still use the Night Zoo as a place to re-draft our completed science reports…

The Night Zookeepers themselves work incredibly hard to make the zoo “real” for the children. I really cannot recommend it enough!

If you take the whole of Year 4, 5 and 6 into account then 22% of the students made a year’s worth of progress in just one term. One child made incredible progress during that term – 6 points!

Boy with iPad.JPG

Overall, 50% of the students made well above expected levels of progress in writing as a result of their involvement and enthusiasm for Night Zookeeper.

When we covered areas to improve writing in class, these children practised what had been taught that day at home, they were arriving at school having consolidated the previous day’s learning. As a teacher, I was able to give feedback on next steps the same evening, the children followed this up and arrived in class the next day confident with their changes and ready for further prompts.

The children were of mixed ability, some who made this amount of progress were confident writers, who found an outlet for their creativity and enjoyed having a positive way to reinforce their skills. 

Other students were less confident writers, who also benefitted from the instant feedback and ability to rehearse within a positive environment.

The known audience for writing helped to give focus, plus importantly the various elements of competition involved in motivating the children to write, and write well!”

What the students say:

It has been a great experience for me and has really helped boost my writing.

Charlotte, Year 6

Display board

To find out how your whole school can be inspired to improve their writing skills, please get in touch at [email protected], or try it for yourself at www.nightzookeeper.com

Write a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Recent Posts

Wonderful Winter Writing Prompts for Kids

Wonderful Winter Writing Prompts for Kids

Some of the wonderful winter writing prompts listed below are intended to inspire kids to engage with their imaginations, creating new magical animals, adventure stories, poems, persuasive essays, reports and short stories. Please feel free to change the type of writing you would like your child to do; the idea is to get them engaged and wanting to write about winter!

9 Fun Ways to Practice English Writing

9 Fun Ways to Practice English Writing

When writing feels like a task and a challenge, often event the idea of it can cause reluctant writers to shy away. We’ve found that making writing fun is often the key to making writing stick. If you have a reluctant writer, or perhaps are just looking for fun new ways to engage your child with writing, keep reading! We’ve compiled a list of nine fun ways to practice English writing with your children. Many of these are alternative ways to get children to have fun (and be comfortable) with the idea of writing.

Share this with

Copy this link

Follow us on