National Storytelling week 27th January – 3rd February 2019

The Society For Storytelling, is a UK-based society founded in 1993. Open to anyone with an interest in the form, they  coordinate National Storytelling Week, which this year runs from the 27th January to the 3rd of February, their mission is to promote the oral tradition of storytelling which was the very first way of communicating life experiences and the creative imagination. Storytelling has been shown by studies to aid learning in children for history, increase interest in science and have a positive effect on memory. When the students do the storytelling, it can encourage higher-level thinking skills, such as analysis and synthesis, as well as skills in oral composition. The Society for Storytelling has a range of resources on their website including fact sheets on hosting a story telling week as well as a list of storytellers that are available to come into schools during the week.

This year the society is posing the question what stories will you let out of the box. Remember everyone has at least one story to tell. It exists in the very air around you – Your story is the one you know best and as it is only the beginning, the stories you will tell might begin with…Once upon a time or not in my time, not in your time but in someone’s time…

LGfL have a range of resources that can support you and your students during this week.

You could use Space Adventures Mission to the Moon as your story of the week, this unique and engaging cross curricular resource is based around an original story commissioned by LGfL by the award-winning author Cath Howe. It features dramatic content and a virtual reality experience linked to the narrative.  The aim is to draw the learner into the turn of events that threatens the ability of our intrepid astronaut Tazz to return safely back to earth. Will her on board computer be enough to get her back safely or will she need to draw on her maths and science knowledge and understanding?

Or why not re tell the Story of Sigurd and the Dragon, a classic Norse tale of how Sigurd killed the greedy dragon Fafnir, using both AR and VR the children can be transported back 1,000 years to listen to this tale and then making use of the green screen pack that is included, they can retell this ancient tale, making use of the high quality graphics and audio included to bring their story to life.

The whole story resource features a professional storyteller offering his advice to teachers on how to incorporate storytelling across the curriculum using images, objects and structure, the resource aims to explore how storytelling can maximise the creativity within learning activities for children. By capturing the expert advice of a professional storyteller, and arranging this advice into a simple interface, it is hoped that teachers of all age groups can get inspiration on how to incorporate storytelling across the curriculum.


Children can use Audio Network to search for music that will form the back drop to their own stories or to stories that they are retelling, the network features over 50,000 individual audio files and then their stories and audio can be uploaded into Video Central. Video Central HD offers an easy-to-use web-based solution which allows teachers in London to share video and audio files with students, colleagues and partner schools. Video and audio files are uploaded using a secure web interface then encoded automatically for fast, efficient web streaming. Or why not make use of the BBC Sound Effects Archive – this large database of audio sound effects can be used within a wide range of applications in an educational context.  Many sounds have multiple version to suit different uses and help enhance videos and stories.

‘A picture paints a thousand words’ why not use one of the thousands of pictures available from LGfL Image bank which contains high resolution licence images from a variety of LGfL content provider partners including: Royal Collection Trust and the British Library. These would be excellent to pose questions such as what is happening? What happened before the painting? What happened after? Where are the people going?

Children can also get advice on how to create their stories by well known authors in ReadingZone Live, children can get tips on writing from Anthony Horowitz, Oliver Jeffers and Cressida Cowell to name a few.  There are specific sections focussing on genre, planning, character and writing which can be searched via a new writing area.

Children could make use of the writing tools with j2e tool suite to write and illustrate their story using either j2e5 or in JIT and then can blog it straight away to give their story a wider audience. Or why not use Busy things, their paint and publisher program would be excellent to use and they also have a short story template that could also be used during the week.

Early Years practitioners could make use of our Fairy Tales resource and then re tell their favourite Fairy Tale using JIT.  You could also make use of Talking Stories during this week, Talking Stories 1 is ideal for KS1 and covers a range of online talking books also available in a variety of languages.  Talking Stories 2 contains multi-modal resources that covers Shakespeare, Coleridge and Sherlock Holmes, while Talking Stories 3 have a range of interactive stories and traditional tales including Orpheus and Eurydice, The Parrots and the Raja and the Wishing tree, downloadable resources and planning are available for all stories.

Another fantastic resource to use during this week is Listening books, these audiobooks are great to use for SEND students as well as during whole class sessions.  Titles can be streamed direct for group listening or for individuals to listen with headphones.

There is a great range of fiction and non-fiction available to support pupils from Key Stage 2 up to A-Level, including:

  • British History Makers: King Henry VIII by Leon Ashworth
  • GCSE English: Of Mice and Men: The Text Guide by Coordination Group Publications
  • Secrets of the Rainforest: Predators and Prey by Michael Chinery
  • Matilda by Roald Dahl
  • An Inconvenient Truth: the Crisis of Global Warming (Young Adult Version) by Al Gore
  • Dates with History: 6th August 1945 The Bombing of Hiroshima by John Malam
  • My Friend Walter by Michael Morpurgo
  • The Elements in Poetry: Poems about Fire edited by Andrew Fusek Peters
  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  • Face by Benjamin Zephaniah

500 Words from the BBC is another great resource to use to help children tell their story, the competition will open for the ninth year later this month. However, the site has a range of resources and ideas as well as being able to listen to previous winning entries that children can use to inspire their own story writing. Another great competition and resource is The Wicked Young Writer Awards which is open until 18th March, the Wicked Young Writer Awards is a chance for young people aged between 5 and 25, to write about absolutely anything!  It’s their chance to get creative and write on any theme that interests them. You can find out more about the awards here

The fantastic Literacy Shed have also got a great blog post about why stories are important with some brilliant practical ideas.

We would love to hear some of your stories – why not share them on our twitter feed or our Facebook page #NationalStorytellingWeek


‘Russia, Royalty & the Romanovs’ Resources Updated to Image Bank

Russia, Royalty & the Romanovs: Multiple online and offline learning opportunities from LGfL’s longstanding partnership with The Royal Collection Trust.

We are delighted to announce a series of new opportunities for schools in collaboration with the Education team at the Royal Collection Trust.

The Royal Collection Trust looks after the Royal Collection, one of the most important art collections in the world. Their aim, is to ensure that the Royal Collection and Palaces are valued and enjoyed by everyone.

Russia includes two exhibitions exploring Britain’s relationship with Russia through works of art in the Royal Collection; ‘Royalty, Russians and the Romanovs” and ‘Roger Fenton’s Photographs of the Crimea, 1855’  at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace (open to the public and school groups until 28 April 2019).

We have added new images to the LGfL Image Bank. The 10 images have been specially selected for their relevance and interest for schools and come from  ‘Russia, Royalty & the Romanovs’. All images are available to download for educational use* in super high resolution for studying in preparation for a school visit.

LGfL Image Bank is a growing collection, with unique access to collections from The Royal Collection and The British Library; its purpose is to provide a free repository of high quality materials copyright cleared for use in teaching and learning*.

All of the resources in the Image Bank are archived at the highest quality available so they can be used on whiteboards, printed materials, animations and for any other educational application. All of the resources are copyright cleared so they can be downloaded, edited and re-purposed for educational use, both within the classroom and at home*.

High resolution scans allow you to print large version of the pictures in high quality. All images from the LGfL Image Bank will print out at large scale and in good quality. This may prove to be useful in a classroom setting if you are fortunate enough to have a high resolution, large scale printer. Since the high resolution scans have so much fine detail – you can zoom in on a part of the picture without losing image quality; this is very useful if you want to print out just a part of the image or focus attention on one aspect of the picture. What separate stories can these smaller sections of a picture tell the viewer?

You could, if you have access to Apple Keynote, use the ‘magic move’ transition or if you have Office 365 use the Powerpoint transition ‘Morph’ to zoom in and out of the chosen image, and save this as video below is an example using a powerful image form (n.b. the video does not have sound)

Through war, alliance and dynastic marriage the relationships between Britain and Russia and their royal families are explored from Peter the Great’s visit to London in 1698 through to Nicholas II. Portraits, sculpture, photographs, archival documents and miniature masterpieces by Fabergé illustrate historic events and family meetings between the rulers of the two nations.

Many of the rich and varied works of art on display are unique – some commissioned as grand diplomatic gifts, others as intimate personal mementos between the royal family and the Romanovs, and they bring to life the shared patronage of artists and craftsmen from both countries.

Throughout the year, schools can arrange visits or attend special workshops with the education experts at The Royal Collection Trust (in London, Windsor and Edinburgh). In addition, the RCT is hosting unique sessions at the Queen’s Gallery. The sessionprovide a number of inspiring routes into the curriculum for children to develop creative writing, drawing skills and drama opportunities,These are free of charge, run by experts, open to all schools, and the ideal complement for working alongside our image bank.

Learning to Look at Portraits

Friday, 9 Nov 2018 – Friday, 26 Apr 2019

KS1, KS2, KS3, KS4

History, Art & Design

Session times: 10:15 and 12:30

Duration: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Pupils will explore Roger Fenton’s Photographs of the Crimea and Russia, Royalty & the Romanovs with a professional artist, compare and contrast the styles of portraiture displayed between the amazing paintings and the evocative historical photographs, using both to inspire pupils to create their own portraits.


Dance & Music Week: A Ball at the Winter Palace

Monday, 11 Mar 2019 – Friday, 15 Mar 2019

KS1, KS2

History, Art & Design, Dance, Drama, English Literature, Music

Session times: 10:15 and 12:30

Duration: KS1 – 1 hour, 30 minutes KS2 – 2 hours

Children will have the opportunity to visit the magnificence and riches of the Russia, Royalty and the Romanovs exhibition; viewing extraordinary items of Faberge, porcelain, exotic and highly coloured furniture and stunning paintings.  Then using information they have gathered they will then create the scene of a ball in the Winter Palace during the 1860’s and learn The Grand March, a Victorian dance.


Power of the Image: A Creative Writing Workshop

Friday, 9 Nov 2018 – Friday, 26 Apr 2019

KS2, KS3, KS4, KS5

History, Art & Design, English Language

Session times: 10:15 and 12:30

Duration: 2 Hours

Explore Roger Fenton’s Photographs of the Crimea and Russia, Royalty & the Romanovs with a published author to inspire your pupils’ writing. This workshop highlights the many possibilities for inspiring Creative Writing  from works of art. The session will also provide a set of comprehensive teachers’ notes and follow up ideas to aid pupils to develop their writing back at school.


Russian Empires: Key Stage 3 History

Friday, 9 Nov 2018 – Friday, 26 Apr 2019

Key stage 3, Key stage 4


Session times: 10:15 and 12:30

Duration: 1 hour, 30 minutes

This session explores Russia, Royalty & the Romanovs  to consider the concept of public image within the Romanov family. Using art in context  to make historical claims based on evidence, students will be able support their studies on the lead up to the Russian revolution

The second exhibition Roger Fenton’s Photographs of the Crimea, 1855 is the first exhibition to focus exclusively on Roger Fenton’s pioneering photographs of the Crimean War. Fenton’s photographs showed the impact of war to the general public for the first time and created the genre of war photography.

At LGfL we are delighted to announce a resource that complements the current Royal Collection Trust exhibition at the Queen’s Gallery, but the workshop can be run entirely independently. Roger Fenton Finding the Truth with Photographsexplores media representation of current affairs using the war photography. This workshop is aimed at 11-15 year olds and teachers are encouraged as necessary to adapt to their student’s needs. It poses questions about how news is presented both in Fenton’s era and the current day and how recipients of news should question how reliable news stories and sources are. The ‘Scepticism spanner’ provides questions for the pupils to deliberate whilst discussing Fenton’s images and their impact.

Fenton arrived several months after the major battles were fought, so focused on creating moving portraits of the troops, as well as capturing the stark, empty battlefields on which so many lost their lives. Due to the size and cumbersome nature of his photographic equipment, Fenton was limited to producing pictures of stationary objects, mostly posed pictures; he avoided taking pictures of dead, injured or mutilated soldiers.

For further information on visiting the Queen’s Gallery with a school group visit our essential information pages for:

To book one of the above workshops please contact:

Are you using the LGfL Image Bank with your school? Let us know how by posting your work on our twitter of Facebook pages.

*Please note: Adherence to the licensing terms of use by teachers and learner is essential. This will ensure that content providers continue to partner with LGfL and offer unique resources for teachers and learners connected to the National Network.