At Vinehall we have been joining in and celebrating No Pens Day with a variety of activities across all year groups and subjects. The children have really enjoyed the opportunity to use different skills and mediums to express their thoughts and absorb knowledge.


Year 4 have been creating playscripts from a chapter of the Horrid Henry books, acting them out in groups in front of the class.  They learned the conventions of a playscript through the play Little Red Riding Hood.  All have been superbly enthusiastic!

No pens were seen in my classroom yesterday and we had our chairs in a circle, drama-style. Year 8 were grappling with the challenges of Shakespearean language, acting out scenes from Macbeth, with Lara solemnly reading the stage directions (including “Aside” in a whispered hiss).
Year 7 and Year 6 played “the word train of thought” game and tried not to get eliminated for stalling! They then moved on to thinking of a sentence each to make up a story in the round. This encouraged quick thinking, wit and originality; great fun!


No Pens Day in Maths included lots of activities that used numerical and spatial reasoning. From sorting number cards using a set of mathematical instructions, to playing higher and lower which tested the children’s probability skills, to using tangrams to create requested shapes.
Thematic Approach 
The children created siege towers from Play Doh after learning about how these were used in the Crusades to capture Jerusalem.

In French 75% of our activities involve no pens!  So, it was the perfect opportunity to practise our listening (ecouter),  speaking (parler) and reading (lire) skills.

Year 7 and 8 watched and listened to several “Dr Nemesis” sketches in French in which many familiar questions are asked of the would-be spy, but with a twist!  It is a spoof of the speaking test where pupils are grilled on topics familiar to them, so humorous as well as being a good opportunity to practise translation technique.

They then played a board game, all in French, which involved rolling a dice and asking each other similar questions  depending on where they landed on the board, then answering them in different tenses.

The Years 5 and 6 watched different authentic French scenes – in a French school in Marseille and then had a structured game with a dice to ask each other about their favourite subjects and opinions, as well as arranging when and where to meet in town (rendez-vous).


The Geography department spent lessons on computers to learn/test global locations using Lizard Point quizzes.


Ploughed on as usual – they never use pens!


Year 3 tasted figs, olives, grapes and dates as they imagined what it must have been like in Israel two thousand years ago. Some children ate everything, and some tasted things and then spat them out! All a learning curve for them – oh the joys of being a Year 3 teacher, and not a writing implement in sight!

Year 3 collected DATA to answer the question, ‘Do some people have stronger muscles because they use them more?’ Year 3 counted their sports sessions per week, including the weekends, and then we counted (as accurately as we could!) how many star jumps they could do before collapsing in a heap!
Much scientific deliberation followed and we recorded the results in a class scattergram, but used stickers to mark the spots as it was No Pens Day! Great fun and a lot of learning – well done, Year 3!

Apart from no pens in a school being somewhat akin to a hospital operating without medicines,  here’s what we did.

I explained the format and requirements of a CE paper, which all pupils will encounter at some point at Vinehall, regardless of which school they are going to or how they are getting there; it is a good exam paper!

And then  we played the popular game Plebs to Patricians: an oral memory test of Vocabulary. Pupils are promoted or demoted according to how much they get right.



The Pre-Prep continued their French learning with action songs: colours, numbers, animals, parts of the body (to the song, “Jean Petit qui danse” and “la tete, les epaules, les genoux et les pieds), classroom objects and commands.  The Year 2s also said when their birthdays are and what the weather is like.

Nursery and Kindergarten 

The Nursery and Kindergarten children have had a very creative day without using pens! We have been cooking in the Little Vines Kitchen. In the morning we baked bread just like ‘The Little red Hen.’ In the afternoon we made the most delicious Pea Hummus using the electric blender, the children loved pushing the button to make the machine blend the ingredients.


Reception held a “Super Sense” morning. They didn’t use their pens but instead used all their senses to smell, touch, taste, listen and see.  Mrs Garwood and Mrs Parkin didn’t use any pens either, which was a challenge!

Year 1 

Year 1 started No Pens Day by putting their mental maths to the test through games such as addition snakes and ladders. The children then explored Puerto Rico through a maraca dance.

Year 2

Year 2 made a Newsround report set in 1666 to go with our work on the Fire of London. We had newsreaders and roving reporters interviewing Samuel Pepys and King Charles the Second.