Right Write – Hampshire SLS writing competition

Right, Write front cover

Isabelle Pearce from Hampshire SLS sent me the details of this amazing competition.  I think the schools there are very fortunate to have such a supportive SLS, when so many of us have lost ours. 

Last year in Hampshire SLS we decided to support our secondary schools with creative writing as well as the reading activities we do. We designed a short story competition to complement the new English curriculum requirement of “developing [pupils’] knowledge of and skills in writing, refining their drafting skills and developing resilience to write at length”.

The word count was 500-1000 words, and pupils chose one of three themes. Submissions were made via our Moodle VLE, so we enrolled hundreds of pupils and dozens of teachers and librarians to mark the stories. The mark scheme was out of 40 points, 10 each for Plot, Characterisation, Impact and SPAG. Judy Waite, children’s author and university lecturer, acted as the final arbiter and gave feedback to the shortlisted authors.

The top ten stories were then published in an ebook and made available to the participating schools to upload to their LMS or publish within school. The overall winner’s school will receive a writing workshop from Tarzan author Andy Briggs, and the overall winner (a year 7 pupil) £25 worth of vouchers.

Mercifully the take-up for this first run was not overwhelming, as it was tricky to organise on the VLE, but we hope that teachers will find it a useful tool in the classroom come September.

National Libraries Day – Parallel Universes

Saturday 09 February 2013 is National Libraries Day, a culmination of a week’s worth of celebrations in school, college, university, workplace and public libraries across the UK.

We are planning a school libraries event to join in with this, called “PARALLEL UNIVERSES” (aka a simultaneous story writing workshop). We are also hoping to make this an attempt at a Guinness World Record …

Matt Haig, award-winning author and writer-in-residence for Booktrust, has agreed to write the start of a story for us. We then want as many students as possible to carry on writing a middle and an ending … minimum 250 words although it can be more.

This will take place on Wednesday 6 February at 12 noon for 1 hour. We are targeting years 5 – 9 although are happy for anyone to join in.

If you are interested, please email Barbara on barbara567band@hotmail.com and I can send you the start of the story plus keep you updated regarding any news from GWR.

This is another great opportunity to promote school libraries and to support National Libraries Day so we hope you will be able to take part; even if you can only organize one class to do this, the numbers will soon add up!

For more info on National Libraries Day: http://www.nationallibrariesday.org.uk/

Cockermouth School wins the final of the Kids’ Lit Quiz

Helen Farrar, school librarian at Cockermouth school, reports: On 6th December 2012 the team from Cockermouth School, Cumbria, won the UK final of the Kids’ Lit Quiz in Coventry. Comprising two Y7 pupils and two Y8 pupils the team won by a narrow margin of two points (one question!). The Cherwell School, Oxon, come second having gone to a sudden death play-off with St Thomas More School, Yorks, who were placed third and Junior King’s School, Kent, came fourth. It was a closely fought competition with lots of authors turning out to support the teams, Malorie Blackman as Guest of Honour and Alec Williams as MC. This is the second time Cockermouth School has won the UK final and in July 2013 they will hopefully be off to Durban, SA, to the world final.  Pictured are: Eve, Alex, Madeleine and Adam with Malorie Blackman and Quizmaster Wayne Mills

If you would like to read more about the experience of taking part in the Kids’ Lit Quiz, with the link to the site, then read Helen Farrar’s experiences on the Kids’ Lit Quiz page.

T S Eliot Prize Shadowing Scheme

The shortlist has been announced for the 2012 T S Eliot Prize.  The 10 shortlisted poets and their works are:

  • Simon Armitage The Death of King Arthur
  • Sean Borodale Bee Journal
  • Gillian Clarke ICE
  • Julia Copus The World’s Two Smallest Humans
  • Paul Farley The Dark Film
  • Jorie Graham P L A C E
  • Kathleen Jamie The Overhaul
  • Sharon Olds Stag’s Leap
  • Jacob Polley The Havocs
  • Deryn Rees-Jones Bringing the Wren

The Poetry Book Society in partnership with the English and Media Centre are also running a shadowing scheme.  Open to GCSE and A level students, students are encouraged to read the poems and to take part in a poll vote for their choice of winner.  A level (or equivalent) students can also enter an essay competition to write the best 500 word rationale for their choice of poet.

This would be a perfect opportunity for a reading group to participate in the shadowing scheme as along with two poems from each of the 10 shortlisted collections discussion ideas and biographies are also available.  All downloads are available at www.poetrybooks.co.uk/projects/15.  A teachers guide is also available on the emagazine website at www.emagazine.org.uk.

The emagazine also includes 6 suggestions for schools and colleges on how to organise the reading and discussion of the poems at www.englishandmedia.co.uk/eliot/6suggestions.html.

The deadline for rational entries and student poll closes on 18th December 2012.  The Award Ceremony with the announcement of the T S Eliot winner along with the student poll and winning student rationale is on 14th January 2013 at the Wallace Collection, London.

 

Do you get either of these great free magazines?

Do you get either of these great free reading promotion magazines in your primary or secondary schools? Read It is for primary schools and Booked for secondary schools – in the UK only.  The publishers state that “If any school Secondary or Primary wish to sign up they just simply need to send an E-mail to:info@publishedworld.com with an address and contact name of where to send the magazines to. Alternatively you could phone us on 01293 763342. We also need you to provide us with the number of magazines you wish to receive – usually for Primary Schools we send out enough copies for every student, teacher and extra for their Library and for Secondary schools we send out enough copies for years 7, 8 and 9 and also extra for teachers and the library if needed.Regretfully, we cannot send any sample copies in the post but you can go to www.publishedworld.com and download all of the previous issues.”  I take this magazine in my own school, and it is a great resource.  They are full of book and author information, as well as some great quizzes and are an excellent resource for promoting reading.  And best of all – completely free!