What a beautiful array-we could make a book of all these different designs. I'd love to find out how they're all used from now on. I think many of them are handily fixed with an elastic band down the spine for ease of adding more paper therefore, more imaginative ideas.
Last but by no means least, as always, the talents and skills of our children are ever inspiring and make me smile. This is from a talented origami expert....
The Phoenix has risen - a new comic for children with great stories and NO plastic items hankered after for a second and discarded 2 seconds later.
We are very excited at Storyshack having received a large parcel full of lots of back copies of the PHOENIX to put in the Shack and share with schools we're visiting. The first 'outing' for the selection above (and many more besides) will be at the Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival on Sunday 29th from 10am. Come and have a read then. If you like it - and I can guarantee you will - you can take the link to see how you can order your own.
The Phoenix is a high quality comic full of wonderful, well written stories. Instead of taking merchandise to build a comic around (and there are many, many of those in the shelves pandering to pester power) the Phoenix is built around the notion of inspiring writers and graphic artists. Please take a look-it's such a refreshing comic spanning age and gender. As you can see some rather witty and inspirational writers above recommend it too :-)
If you are coming to the Headteacher conference you have a chance of winning a month's subscription to your school AND you can pick up an information pack all about this fantastic comic.
Malorie Blackman writes about libraries so pertinently in this article. I find it astonishing that we absolutely know the power reading gives to our children: opening up imagination, enhanced thinking skills, higher attainment, better life chances, a love of learning-need I go on? Yet we are closing the very places children and families have access to the wonder of books for FREE.
Over the past few weeks there has been much in the press about the impact learning to read and being an avid reader has on one's intelligence and achievement. But enjoying books reaches deeper emotionally too-it can gel families together in the sharing of something special and libraries provide access to all of these very special happenings.
In a very basic straw poll as a head I 've long thought there to be a decline in library visits amongst our children-I've seen less hands up in response to library use despite the great reading challenges run every summer. I know there are some statistics that dispute this fact locally which makes me think who is using the library? I suspect those that do have already got that love of reading. It is the number of families and therefore children who don't yet have that who are missing out on a treat.
I worked a lot with Traveller families in one of my previous schools and we arranged for the library bus to visit our school site. The children had never seen or been in such a thing before and could not believe their eyes when they peeped in. They were all thrilled but reluctant to remove the books from the shelf and leave the bus with them. The librarian practically had to push them back off with their choices! (she didn't actually do this so don't worry-all were safe!) They couldn't believe they could take 10 out at time and take them away with them to read. It is a pretty marvellous thing . I'm not sure how we can put a stop to the 'rot' that says it isn't.
The new National curriculum states the need for schools to develop a love of reading in their children and a READING CULTURE. Indeed there have been quite a few pounds spent on the phonics test and new phonics materials for schools recently. What about some links with local libraries to spread that reading culture? After all, primary school children spend more time at home with their families learning 'all the time' than they do in school. Children need to be immersed in a reading culture everywhere NOT just in school some of the time possibly with sparse choice of books to choose from (the decline of school libraries-that's a whole different blog!).
Remember when Matilda goes into the library for the first time and finds this wonderful haven and all those wonderful books.....even some by Darles Chickens!? Awe and wonder......That's what libraries can do.
Take a look at these wonderful sketchbooks belonging to Julia Donaldson. They are an inspiration. We were lucky enough to have seen them on display at the amazing Seven stories, Newcastle. I remember thinking how wonderful it would be to be able to show these and other examples to our children.
They are great at showing the thought process and the time taken to PLAY AROUND WITH LANGUAGE. Having spent a wonderful summer with children (and adults) making the most beautiful books I really think the two go hand in hand to inspire us all into writing. The link above takes you to a wider selection of author journals and really is great :-)
More on the subject of allowing children to explore and 'sketch' out thoughts on my www.lightingcreativefires.com website. It's something very close to my heart. If we want children to write we have to expect they try, experiment and make jottings just like their author role models.
This week has been very exciting already and it's only Wednesday! Monday we all tried to levitate Rory using "Illusionology"-a book of magic secrets and secret folds and pockets housing more secrets. We love books like this in our house because of all those little extras. I think we need to practise the levitation trick a bit more though(hence the physical participation bit above!)-I'm not sure how well it works when you have to interrupt the process to read the instructions, feel that might be breaking the 'flow'.
AND then new books in the house for Autumn; firstly "Oliver and the Seawigs" (already on my blog way back) by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre. It's already proving to be such a funny and quirky book....what a brilliant idea! So far up to when a very nasty island has set it's sea monkeys on to another island in order to steal its new 'seawig' in the form of a submarine. It may sound bizarre to you right now but it will make perfect sense when you read it!
Last treat of mid week IS the 4th Laura Marlin mystery by Lauren St. John: "Rendevous in Russia". I know Year 5 at Rendlesham were very much hoping to be reading this since I bought the first one in the series -"Dead Man's Cove" - as a leaving gift when they were in year 4 and they were eagerly anticipating the rest. It's next on our list too and looks just right for a chilly night in.
I think the article above has been in a few different papers over the past few days - this is the Guardian's report and it's worth a read.
It's something I've had a hunch about as a headteacher for a while now.I often wonder how many children still experience the lovely, comforting time of a bed time story. I wonder if we're losing that magic a little bit nowadays as we're so busy at work and often for children at brownies/ swimming/cubs/scouts/ music lessons/football etc etc. That precious 10 minutes at bedtime is a time for calm and a bit of closeness however much you feel like 'ships passing' for the rest of the time I find.
I must say I'll probably feel sad when the bed time read comes to a natural end but at present we still share a book at the end of the day and have done from tiny. Book of the week this week is 'King of the cloud forests'. Frequently I pick up only to find Poppy has secretly read on but she fills me in! I don't mind-it's a way of sharing more books and, let's face it we all like a good story.
I would highly recommend the power of the bedtime story for everybody with children and really really feel sad that it seems to be a dying ritual. We worry about the food our children eat, the screen time they have but I'm also concerned that children are not experiencing the wonder of story, of being taken to new places and conjuring up those places and characters in their minds. It makes perfect sense to me that children who are read to are often avid readers and we know that avid readers more often than not achieve highly. That's great and there are lots of people (teachers included) who will be pleased with this data. BUT at the heart of bed time reading is the JOY of reading for pleasure together. Sending children off to bed on imaginative adventures is surely what it's all about?
Here's some of our favourite bed time reads: some from my own childhood and some newer. 'Five messy babies' was a popular one a while back now:-)
The ones above are great chapter books. Looking forward to the next chapter is a good thing and all part of the anticipation. Sometimes it gets a bit to tempting and we have to read on even if it's a bit late-that's what happens when it's a good story.
I'd be really interested to compile a list of popular bed time reads for your family so if you have some to add please reply to the blog and feel free to add LOTS more......over to YOU
Here's a long tall book made from card and newspaper - as you can see. You can use any favourite papers you like. Inside the papers are split into 4 sections because I thought you could 'collect' ideas for story writing and split them into different areas like: settings, characters, genre etc but YOU DECIDE :-)
Avid reader, sometimes a headteacher AND founder of Story shack. A place where you can release your imagination and see where it takes you....
Release your imagination......
Explore new worlds.
Make your own stories.
Explore a map-real or fantasy....where do you want to go? Make your own and see where your imagination takes you.