Sunday, 22 February 2015

January School Visits Part One

If Usain Bolt had a pet? photograph from National Geograhic.com
Norwich is not that far from Cambridge. I allowed bags and bags of time. But I almost didn't get there at all, due to massive three-way bust-up between my satnav lady, the one-way system of central Norwich and minor roadworks that closed a small but totally crucial road leading to the school.  After what seemed like weeks of driving in circles, I finally screeched into the school car park and dashed into school only a few minutes late (leaving satnav lady to have a nervous breakdown on the dashboard.)
January was a busy month for school visits. 

My first visit of the year was the Angel Road Junior School in Norwich.








There's nothing like a calm and professional start to a school visit!


Luckily things improved dramatically from then on and I spent a great morning with Y5 classes talking all about story structure - including the importance of giving your characters obstacles to overcome in order to acheive their goals. The ideas the pupils came up with were a lot more fun and imaginative than having to navigate random road diversions to get to school on time! Being trapped in a giant automatic paintballing machine was just one of them. We came up with some great names for Usain Bolt's (hypothetical) pet cheetah along the way too!

What could possibly go wrong?
In the afternoon, the Y6 workshops were all about dangerous writing - piling on the suspense, peril, spooky settings and spine-chilling feelings. We warmed up by thinking of lots of "what could possibly go wrong?" scenarios for the Adventure Island characters and then looked at zooming in on details to bring readers into the story (and try to make them jump out of their skins too!) Well done to all the children who took part with such enthusiasm and creativity!

My visit was part of a special book week at Angel Road, and the next day the Y3 and 4 pupils worked with brilliant Norwich-based author, Benjamin Scott. You can read a report in The Norwich Evening News here (by the way, I don't live in Norwich, even though this article says that I do; I think the reporter must just have seen me driving round and round that one-way system for hours and assumed that I must live there!)

Thank you to everyone at Angel Road Junior School for making me welcome. It was an honour to be part of your book week. And a special extra thank you to the school secretary and caretaker who spotted I'd left my car lights on and organised a jump start to get the battery going again!