Tuesday, 29 July 2014

That Takes the Biscuit


Ta da! Can you spot the cool biscuit logo?
I'm very excited to tell you about a brand new publication that I've been working on for the last few months.

No, I don't mean The Phoenix Code (although I'm pretty excited about that too, of course) and I haven't secretly been rustling up a new Adventure Island mystery either.

This new publication is a brilliant magazine by Coton Primary School newspaper club.

Now, when I say I've been "working" on this publication, I have to admit my role in the process was pretty minor. It's the pupils who've done all the real work.  In the early sessions, I talked about what goes into a newspaper and how to write exciting articles. The children were bursting with so many great ideas, one of my main jobs was to try to filter them down to something that we could actually fit into one copy - otherwise it could have turned into a newspaper fatter than Harry Potter, The Deathly Hallows!  





Just some of the ideas for what should go in a newspaper . . .

Another important part of my job was to inform the pupils about some vital aspects of the writing process, like deadlines, editorial input, proof-reading and, of course, biscuit breaks!

Newspaper Club biscuit breaks took on a life of their own once the cookery reporters got going. They decided to write a feature on great picnic recipes, and each week they brought in their latest recipe for the group to sample. We declared that millionaire's shortbread, chocolate brownies and peanut butter cupcakes were all a great success!
tasting all the recipes was a tough job but someone had to do it!

In fact, when it came to finding a name for our newspaper, it soon became obvious it was going to include the word biscuit! And then Joseph, designed a fabulous logo - a little  man made out of biscuits (he has a custard cream body and a jammie dodger head - how cool is that?) - and The Biscuit was born. (You can see the biscuit logo on the photo of the front cover above).

Even the book review ratings were in biscuits. I'm delighted that Caitlin gave The Mystery of the King's Ransom a five-biscuit review!
We were thrilled when several other fabulous authors were kind enough to provide some quotes about their favourite biscuits. Francesca Simon (Horrid Henry) told us that she loves chocolate chip cookies. Caroline Lawrence (Roman Mysteries) said it would have to be a Roman Honey Cake (although not of the poisoned variety that features in one of her books, of course!) and Lauren St. John (Laura Marlin Mysteries) told us that she was more of a cake person than a biscuit person, with chocolate, cappuccino and walnut and Victoria Sponge at the top of her list (yum yum!) As for me, I like the sound of all of the above and I do love a Jammie Dodger (just in case anyone's interested for future reference!)

Once the writing was underway,  (and I'd delegated the role of editor to Sophie, who did a great job of chasing up the copy) the pupils split up into a design team and a sales and marketing team.

The idea was that they would learn about the all different aspects of producing a magazine or newspaper. After all, it's not enough to have great articles. They have to be laid out beautifully and then the paper has to be printed and the copies sold. These teams, with help from two enthusiastic parent volunteers did an amazing job. The designers used professional software to produce a high quality layout - which took on more of a magazine than newspaper format. The marketing team secured a great deal from the printers, along with three corporate sponsors (who donated biscuits to give away with the magazine) and local media coverage.

The newspaper club then told the rest of the school all about their activities at a school assembly. The launch was covered by the Cambridge News, so we got our own headline!

And almost all the copies were sold on the very first day of sales!

Here we are proudly showing off our copies of The Biscuit.
A massive "well done!" to all the pupils who took part in the newspaper club. I hope that you enjoyed it and were proud of your publication. I really enjoyed working with you.

Thank you to all the parents and teachers who worked so hard to make sure that everything came together.