This is the most eagerly anticipated and read post every year! The wonderful Helen Smith from Eckington School in Derbyshire produces a guide to Christmas TV every year, linking films to books. A great opportunity to promote reading! Helen provides this for free every year, and she allows free distribution. However, please ensure that you acknowledge her as the author of this guide. Also, Helen asks that if you enjoy this guide you consider donating to the page she has set up for the National Literacy Trust.
In one of those wonderful emails I sometimes get, author Cliff McNish contacted me with an amazing offer this week. He wondered if I would like to offer all of you his six writing guides – for free! These are the guides that are normally given to schools as a part of his author visit, but Cliff felt that in this time of shrinking budgets he would like to offer these out to everyone. Of course I said yes!
Cliff is the author of the chilling novel for teenagers Breathe, and the fantasy Doomspell trilogy, as well as books for younger children. You can see the books he has written, and learn more about his school visits on his website here.
The six guides are entitled The 4 Basic Stories, Five Easy Steps to Creating a Great Story, Creating great Heroes/Heroines in your stories, Creating Great Villains in Your Stories How to Write a Fantasy Story and How to Write a Ghost Story.
I hope that you find these really helpful to your school. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook or go to his website to find out more.
Kim Davis, Librarian at Fort Pitt Grammar School in Chatham, got very creative with zines with her Year 8 Library lessons. This is what she says:
I wanted to combine some research with a bookmaking activity and found that Zines were ideal. It was around the time of the US elections too, and many of the students wanted to be more politically active in response. Firstly we had a lesson using Barnard Zine Library’s “What is a Zine? What is the value of protest?”
We looked some example zines I’d printed and compared zines to magazines before choosing a zine to pull apart. We looked at how clear the message was, use of images to inform and entice readers and how persuasive they were. For homework the girls had to decide groups and pick a topic to focus their zine on.
Then we spent a lesson focussing on how to make a zine, using a zine about making zines from the Umamu Design Blog. Students were then encouraged to make a mock-up and decide on content for each page.
In the final lesson all the zines were brought in and we gave feedback on each other’s work based on how attractive they were, how well laid out information was and how clear and persuasive the message was. I was surprised by the quality of the work and the originality of some of the ideas! There was also a real journey from the students not knowing what a zine was at all, and being very confused in some cases, to creating amazing and expressive zines of their own. Definitely a recommended activity, especially if you have time to include some information credibility and plagiarism in there too.
Valerie Dewhurst, Librarian at QEGS Blackburn recently made her first step in to moving her information literacy lessons online. Her school has moved to Google Classroom, and she emailed me about her first online lesson.
This great advent calendar was created by Sarah Masters from the Thomas Deacon Academy. She is using it to send to tutors to advertise books in the library. As you click each star for each day, a different page opens with a book and a link to a book trailer. Sarah has been generous in allowing people to adapt the powerpoint to their own needs, therefore this will download in powerpoint and not pdf as usual. You can download it from the Box Files to the right of the posts. Thanks Sarah!
This year, in my school, we plan to take part in NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month. There is a Young Writer’s Programme for the under-18’s. So I have created my Virtual Classroom, added in the participating students and their teacher, and await November 1st to see how it all pans out. Has anyone else taken part in this with their students? How did it go for you? Leave a comment!
Here’s the website if you want to join in too: http://ywp.nanowrimo.org/
Kim Davis, Librarian at Fort Pitt Grammar school in Medway, wrote to tell me about the Anime Club she runs in the Library.
“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.
The 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.