Word Week: Exploring the Power of Words and Ideas

Word Week is our annual celebration of words and ideas. Its purpose is to enthuse students about reading and language through learning experiences that are authentic and fun.

In Primary, authors flew in from the UK (Neil Griffiths) and Australia (Deborah Abela) to wow students, parents and staff with their storytelling and top tips for reading and writing. In Secondary, there were workshops on spoken-word and imagist poetry, creating children's storybooks, exploring media, film-making, writing short-stories and novels, and flash fiction via Twitter. One of these was led by the poet Mark Grist, who encouraged students to express their own perceptions of the world through writing, and also during a Year Nine poetry slam event.

Through Skype, Year Seven connected with the author Marcus Sedgewick, while Year 10 students heard from local writer Ahmad Fuadi, author of the Negeri 5 Menara trilogy, who offered practical advice based on his own writing journey. Year 12 English students met with Andreas Harsono from Human Rights Watch Jakarta, in a workshop that questioned their role as active citizens who shape their countries’ futures.

Following their study of Michael Morpurgo’s War Horse, Year Seven students explored the key elements of drama by creating, producing and performing their own plays. Year Eight students analysed film production and narrative construction, and held an Oscars-style celebration to acknowledge their ideas, creative production and conceptual intent.

At the second-hand book sale, students perused, flicked through and bought a huge range of books, raising a staggering Rp 17,000,000 for Kampung Kids, a social welfare programme dedicated to improving the nutrition of its needy local population. We also established an ongoing book exchange for students to swap books that they finished.

Parent volunteers were in the library, reading stories in their mother tongue, or in Primary year group pods, running events like a Gruffalo book walk or Hungry Caterpillar arts and crafts. Meanwhile, students were busy crafting stories for a regional writing challenge, the BSJ’s Creative Anthology or taking photos of books being read in unusual locations for the Extreme Reading competition.

The libraries were full of excited students browsing local book suppliers, attempting Kahoot book quizzes, or creating multimedia book reviews. They were also the hubs of several competitions, including ‘Write your own Book Trailer’ and a scavenger hunt.

The whole school joined up to celebrate World Book Day and BSJ’s growing reading culture. In BSJ World Theatre, there was the launch of not one, but five iBooks written by classes collaborating and creating stories, poetry and non-fiction books. They are now global authors, with their work available in iBook stores in 51 countries across the world.

The week concluded with an eclectic mix of music, poetry and performance at the Rising Voices open-mic event, and the Word Week carnival, complete with dressing up, teacher hot-seating, performing, singing and dancing.