Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Taking our chances

More writing club madness over the last two weeks. We had great fun discovering the role of chance in creativity with games such as Chinese Whispers and Exquisite Corpse. We also looked at how constraints could force the creative juices to flow when each writer was given a random beginning to work from and an ending to work towards.
 And we also looked at how to use our everyday reality as material for an adventure or a mystery. For this, we drew maps of our surroundings (the school, the classroom, the table we were sitting at) which we then transformed by adding and changing elements on a sheet of tracing paper: exit the secretary's office, welcome to the unicorn stables! the dragon pens! the secret passages!
Well done all!

Monday, March 27, 2017


I was in Room 2 recently telling the story of Disaster David and chatting with the Junior Infants about giants, disasters and animals. We had a great time creating our very own book and we hope you'll pop in to have a look at it in the class library!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Goodnight Everyone first thing in the morning

We had a brilliant time at Baby Book Club this week. We read Chris Haughton's Goodnight Everyone and practised loads of stretching and yawning and snoring. If after that the babies weren't ready for their morning nap, we must have done something wrong...
The babies really joined in the reading, turning pages, making sound effects and wishing all the animals goodnight.
Inspired by Chris's art we then created our very own starry night using black paper, white and purple paint, bubble wrap and GLITTER.

As always, here are a few links to some tips, videos and songs about bears and bedtime.

Freddy Bear The Teddy Bear

Hush Little Baby by The Bluegrass Babies

Elvis Presley - Teddy Bear

Goldilocks and the Three Bears - Debbie and Friends
Or try Rockabye Baby for lullaby renditions of heaps of rock hits!

And finally, Bedtime and book-related tips from the RTE Jr Book Club:

Good luck everyone!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Penguins galore!

Last week at Baby Book Club it was all about penguins and more specifically Polly Dunbar's Penguin. Everyone was fascinated by the story of a boy who receives a present of a penguin and tries his hardest to make him laugh, play, talk... 'but Penguin said nothing'. The babies enjoyed describing what was going on in the pictures and joining in with the repetitive text.
We then had fun with glue and cotton wool and made our very own penguins, who may or may not be more talkative than the original one.

As promised, here are the links to the songs and videos, for more penguin-mania!

Do The Funky Penguin by Rufus Thomas -

Fairy Penguin Strut by Don Spencer -

Your Personal Penguin by Sandra Boynton and Davy Jones (song and slideshow of the book!)

Penguins ice-skating, clip from a BBC documentary

Lost and Found, a 24-minute animated adaptation of Oliver Jeffers’ best-selling picturebook:

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Travelling by imagination

In Week 2 of the Writing Club for 3rd and 4th, we took a look at a crazy poem by Michael Rosen called 'Orange':
I'm stuck in an orange.
I can't get out.
It's really orange in here,
And wet.

We wondered if it made sense or not, and even though we agreed it was bananas (ha ha), we could still picture it in our heads and it made a kind of sense. We then had a chat about how we could make people who had never seen an orange (the same way that we had never seen a person stuck in one) get what an orange is like. For that we used our 5 senses and tried to describe precisely this fleshy, juicy, spotty, peely, acidic fruit.
That led us to write some fun riddles about other things, from dogs to snakes to pencil cases, before moving on to our ongoing project of a 'travel journal'.

After travelling by memory last week, we used our imaginations this time to get us to weird and wonderful places: Singing Street, Wifi Land, Sugar Land, and lots more. We thought about the people who lived there, the rules they lived under, the food they ate, what they saw from their window, what the weather was like and so on. Our five senses came in handy once again to make these invented places feel 'real'.
We even started writing postcards from over there, but time ran away with us...
See you all next week for more writing explorations!

Friday, March 10, 2017

World Book Day!

Last week, there was a lot of bookish activity in SMGS for World Book Day: a very successful book swap, trips to bookshops and librairies, the works!
To add to the general excitement, I did three class visits on Thursday to chat about books, have some interactive story time and create our own masterpieces.
First up were the Junior Infants. We read the story of a young giant called David who is forever breaking things because he is too strong, too big... too giant! So much so that people call him Disaster David. The Junior Infants were brilliant listeners and great predictors of what might happen next. After that, we created our very own sequel to David's adventure, The King's Book: there was some awesome drawing and writing, that we gathered into a collective book. The book is now bound and ready to be borrowed in the class library!
Up with 2nd class, we went for something different and looked at how my book In Search of Happiness came into being. That brought us to chat about all the many things that made us happy and we used them to write a collective list poem. You can read it here as it came out: pretty good for a first draft, wouldn't you say? Second Class was fantastic at coming up with striking images and sharing their feelings. They even brought in a few sneaky rhymes!
The day ended with a visit to First Class who also discovered Disaster David's adventures. This had them thinking about what it would feel like to wake up... as a giant. There was some brilliant problem solving and great imagination on display once again. After a fun brainstorming, each took pen to paper to draw themselves as a giant and to write about that very strange morning...

Thank you all for a brilliant day!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Writing club is back!

This time the group is made up of a dozen of 3rd and 4th class writers. In our first session, we let ourselves be inspired by various illustrations from magazines and books. Even in only a few minutes, the ideas came gushing out and the style and interest of each writer started showing.

There were some brilliant mind maps, folk tales and adventure stories being sketched and fleshed out. While we were at it, we had conversations about the difficulty of making choices when you are plotting or writing a story. Something all present could relate to!

We then moved on to our long-term project of putting together a travel journal. As we're not going to go anywhere in the next few weeks, we're going to have to use other means of transportation than planes and boats and hot air balloons.

This week, we travelled by memory and tried to remember everything about a great trip (near or far) we had taken in the past. Using drawing and writing, we made a great start on our 'journals' and once again each author's voice shone even in those early stages.
See you all next week!