Murder by the Book!

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On Monday 4th July, KS3 students at Abraham Darby Academy, Telford, were presented with an unusual library-based activity: solving the mysterious murder of a librarian’s assistant!
Run as a competition to help students develop both group and individual oracy skills, ‘Murder by the Book’ challenged student teams to visit a crime scene set up in the library, investigate 44 different clues within a set time limit and work together to uncover the truth. After completing their warm-up detective exams, teams spread out across the library to discover, deduce and determine.
With three suspects in the frame (including the librarian herself) and a number of red herrings to lead teams astray,
all themurder-by-the-book-2 clues had to be carefully examined, recorded and cross-referenced. After visiting the crime scene, teams were then given time to pool their ideas and formulate theories as to who did it, why, how and also how the remaining two suspects could be proven innocent.
 
The activity culminated with each team presenting their findings before a ‘judge’. Individual team members were tasked with explaining certain sections of their case and marks were awarded for the clarity of their murder-by-the-book-3presentations, along with the number of clues accurately explained. After the winning team was selected and awarded their certificates, the murderess revealed herself and the whole solution was presented. All students involved were fully engaged with the activity and the complexity of the case generated some lively discussions and resulting presentations.
Produced by Box Clever Education, ‘Murder by the Book’  is a unique murder mystery kit designed to help KS3/4 students develop literacy and employability skills. If you think a murder mystery would appeal to your students and would like to find out more, please visit http://www.boxclevereducation.com.
For a unique opportunity to see the game in action on a training day in a school in SE London, then book on to this CILIPSLG Training day which takes place on 24th October 2016.

The Tri-Wizard Tournament: World Book Day Festival 2016

Debbie Kennedy, the Librarian at Wilmington Academy wrote to tell me of an amazing event her school held for World Book Day:Hogwarts teachers

‘Each year the Director of Literacy and myself choose a theme relating to the wonderful world of books and hold a “Festival” for two weeks around World Book Day. The aim of these festivals is to not only promote literacy but to allow students to use a variety of other skills including creative thinking and problem solving. 
Last year we held our very own ‘Hunger Games’ which centered around the Trilogy and we won both the Dartford District and Kent Regional Literacy awards for “The Most Engaging Book Week Theme.”

So this year’s theme needed to be even bigger and better and after a lot of deliberation we chose the Harry Potter series, turning our Academy into Hogwart’s to hold a Tri-Wizard Tournament.
It certainly was the best festival so far.  We held a series of challenges including a Horcrux Treasure Hunt, Quidditch Cup, Magical Spelling Bee and Wizarding Trivia Duels, as well as setting a task for each tutor group to prepare a series of relics.  The relics included designing their own wizarding school, a founder’s wand, school uniform and a Marauder’s map.
Students competed for points for their tutor group and of course the glory of becoming a wizarding champion.   
We also held a Care of Magical Creatures Workshop for KS3 students with Eagle Heights bringing along their birds of prey (eagle, hawk, peregrine falcon and owl). The fantasy author Sara Grant was also invited along to hold Creative Writing Workshops.Hogwarts owl
Once again we have been nominated for the most engaging book week theme so fingers crossed.
For more in depth detail of our event please see below.

Shakespeare come to life!

Shakespeare 400I absolutely LOVE this display that Senior School Librarian Terence Chan has created in North London Collegiate School!  He told me that Year 7 pupils got a shock when they entered the Library only to be confronted with a life sized Shakespeare staring back at them!  “It is amazing what you can do with a mannequin and a plastic skull from the Science Department” he told me.

Terence is known for his creative displays using mannequins; you may remember his beautiful dress made out of book pages for his ‘Strike a pose’ writing competition a year ago.

Anime Club at Fort Pitt Grammar School

Kim Davis, Librarian at Fort Pitt Grammar school in Medway, wrote to tell me about the Anime Club she runs in the Library.

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“We run Anime club weekly after school where we show two episodes of an all-ages Anime followed by two of a slightly more mature theme. Manga club runs fortnightly at lunchtime and focuses on drawing, craft and sharing Anime/Manga news. We also run special events such as “Live Action Day”, when we showed live action drama adaptations of Anime and compared them to the cartoons, which was really popular! This term we also made “Naruto” style ninja headbands and next term we are going to hold a “Cherry Blossom Picnic”, collaborating with the food technology department to make our own Japanese bento style lunches and then eat them under the blossom trees.

Anime and Manga can be educational in much the same way as literature, but with a distinctly Japanese flavour. It can engage reluctant readers, help develop visual literacy, encourage creativity and has a valuable role in widening perspective. We’ve even presented these benefits to a school focus group for enrichment to promote the club! Many people worry about violence in Anime and Manga, but there is a lot out there that is suitable for younger years, just like with any media. Legal streaming on subscription websites such as Crunchyroll provides an easy way to show anime in school.

It can be difficult to get support from parents, who may not understand “the point” of Anime or Manga and who may be apprehensive about it. To combat this I made a leaflet outlining some of the benefits of anime and manga and introducing parents to Anime they might like to share with their children at home. I love to watch students from all years chatting eagerly with each other, especially those with social difficulties who struggle otherwise to make friends. School can be a very stressful place for students today, but the students who enjoy Anime and Manga are creative, more able to create a home/school balance and bounce through the halls, knowing there’s something to look forward to (apart from homework!) when they get home.”

You can download the wonderful leaflet that Kim has so generously shared with us here.

6 word story competition a great success!

6 word storyboard

I love this 6 word story competition noticeboard, and the idea behind it! Gloria Clarke from Gillotts School sent me this photo from a competition she ran in the library on Open Evening.  There were over 100 entries from parents and prospective students viewing the school!  The English teachers saw it, loved it, and got the pupils involved as well, so that over the 3 days the competition ran there were 130 entries.  The English Staff judged the winning entries, which were:

Year 7 (1st place): Beneath the ground, her father moved.

Year 9 : Without my Sensai, I am lost.

and a honourable mention to a Year 11 entrant: Burnt the haystack, found the needle!

What a fantastic way to promote the Library to parents and prospective students – and what a great competition to run.

Being Me – book resource pack around being different

SLG logoThe CILIP School Libraries Group have produced another excellent book pack, following on from the World War One resource pack.  This time the theme is ‘Being Me’, and it centres around difference and disability.  The books cover a wide range of subjects, with questions and exercises suitable for all reading groups.  Primary as well as secondary books are included, as well as poetry.  SLG members can download the pack for free from the CILIPSLG website here; non members (and members) can buy a beautifully produced pack at a very reasonable price. Details on the flyer here.  Please contact Sarah Masters   for more details.

NPD Poetry Slam at Heartlands High School

Helen Swinyard, LRC Manager at Heartlands High School, wrote to tell me all about the wonderful Poetry Slam she held at her school:

‘We celebrated National Poetry Day in style with the first Poetry Slam of the year. Pupils and staff performed either their own poems, or some of their favourites, and were judged in categories by our scoring judges and an avid audience. Our wonderful host poet, Michelle Madsen, kept things running smoothly and performed her own poetry too.

Winners in each different category won prize bundles including a poetry book. 

Category 1: First Story poets

Category 2: performers reading favourite poems

Category 3: performers reading own created poetry

We discovered some great new year 7 poets as well as hearing from some seasoned performers. There was a wonderful mix of poetry too – some funny, some poignant, some clever. We also learnt some Poetry Slam jargon such as ‘score creep’ where judges get more enthusiastic as a slam goes on (that’s why you have several judges and discount the top and bottom scores).

Michelle Madsen is our current Poet in Residence, running the First Story creative writing club with pupils for the second year in a row.  You can find out more about First Story here and on Twitter @FirstStory. You can find out more about Michelle Madsen here and on Twitter @mishmadsen .

Mr Bola is our secret Poet in Residence. By day he is one of our Engage Officers; by night, a world-class poet. You can find our more about his poetry here or on Twitter @JJ_Bola ‘

Sounds like a great idea for next year!

National Poetry Day 2015 – what did you do?

QEGS Blackburn, where librarian Val Dewhurst works, always celebrates NPD in style!  This is what she reports from this year’s celebration:

On Thursday, 8th October the Senior School Library held a mass celebration of poetry and all things poetical –  which also marked the 21st birthday of National Poetry Day.

The day began with groups from Year 7, 10 and 11 from the English Department working with our storyteller and poet for the day, Sue Allonby.  Pupils in Year 11 were given the opportunity to write their own emotion and antonym diamante poems and also recite their poems using the theme of ‘light.’ Sue Allonby was absolutely thrilled by what she read and heard, saying  “It was a delight working with the English groups at QEGS on National Poetry Day, I was so impressed and thrilled with the Year 11’s poems; if they can do that in 20 minutes…..” Year 7 and 8 enjoyed writing Kennings poems (riddles made up of several lines of kennings to describe something or someone – expressing one thing in terms of another) and also had fun with jumbled up poems (rearranging to improve.)

Following on from the morning session a Poetry Picnic took place during lunchtime with over forty Year 7 and 8 students attending.  Tables packed with poems and anthologies not to mention cakes and treats adorned the Library annexe  – with a lively buzz of poetry in the air …..including the following chosen poems being read aloud …..creating much poetic discussion:

Playing with Stars – Brian Moses
Eternity – William Blake
The Owl And The Pussycat – Edward Lear
Six Facts About Light – Rachel Rooney
Bright Spark – Michaela Morgan
I Love The Moon, But – Roger Stevens
A Light Exists In Spring – Emily Dickinson
Light-Bringer – Joseph Coelho
Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night – Dylan Thomas

Head of Library, Mrs Dewhurst commented “I was very proud to see so much interest in the day especially the lunchtime session.  We had great pleasure in listening to so many poems by such confident readers, a real  treat for all who attended – just for the day our pupils had the opportunity to dream, speak, live, act and think like a poet. Sincere thanks must go to Sue Allonby who helped to make the day extra special, the English Department and also Mr Vyse, Mrs Fleming, Mrs Frost and Mrs Parker for all their help and support, thanks also to Mr Sutton and his catering team for the delicious picnic food provided and not forgetting all the pupils who took part in the day.”

Poetry themed bookmarks were also created in the Bookmark Club leading up to National Poetry Day and stories through poetry were shared the following day in the  Telling Tales Club.

More details/photos can be found here:
https://www.facebook.com/QegsLibraryBlackburn

So – how did you celebrate? Share your stories here, we love to have inspiration from all of you!