Thursday, 16 February 2017

Writing Club: the end!

Another action-packed day for our last session with the 1st and 2nd class writers. We continued looking at how little changes could totally transform a story with a game of rumours.
And we did some brain gymnastics by trying to find a path between a story beginning and an ending, both drawn out of a hat. Some of the resulting random combos were harder to link up than others, but every one tried their best and came up with really interesting stories.

Every body then went home with all of their writing and some new ideas for future stories.
Well done all, it was an absolute pleasure!

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Baby Book Club: make some noise!

Last week at Baby Book Club we made lots of noise, as in, more than usual! We were reading Ellie Sandall's brilliant Every Bunny Dance and practising our dance moves, our singing voices and also our quiet whispery voices in case the Fox found us.
We took turns trying out all sorts of musical instruments including maracas, tambourines, rain sticks, wooden frogs and really loud bells.
And for the fun to continue at home (and everywhere, really) we made our own shakers to take away.
The babies really enjoyed the tactile aspect of the session (even more than the oral and aural one!): manipulating the instruments and later on filling the toilet rolls with seeds and finally painting with cotton buds.

As promised, here are the links to some cool videos to keep the love of music going...

Here you will find the sound of lots of musical instruments

Peter and the Wolf, a classic about a brave boy, a hungry wolf and music! Check out this lovely version (not too scary) by the Royal Ballet.

And why not try one of these...
Play with real instruments at a National Concert Hall family workshop (all ages), info here.
Or attend a Baby Rave! In Belfast on 25 February and 11-12 March for instance. Info here.

See you next time!

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Writing Club, onwards and forwards

Week 3 of Writing Club with 1st and 2nd class, and it really feels like a club. We know where we're at, what we're doing and more or less where we're going. But of course, there's always going to be surprises along the way and things never quite go according to plan...
We experimented with that very idea with our first game this week. We played Chinese Whispers and with over 10 of us repeating (only once!) a silly sentence full of alliterations and tricky words, the end result was quite... interesting!

On the left, the original. On the right, the VERY original result.
We then went back to our long-term project and used everything we had produced so far to do a bit of planning (plotting). We looked at the main things that need to happen a story: a beginning, a middle and an end, and we paid particular attention to the middle: the problem, the solution, and wondered: is one of each enough or is it too easy?
Most of the writers used all this thinking to continue on with their story (and finish it!) while others revised their plans and decided to use a different setting, a different problem or, in extreme cases, different characters. It's part of the game, after all: you're allowed to change your mind!
A lot of writing was done and we even got started on our book covers!

Friday, 3 February 2017

Writing Club: the story continues

Back with the Writing Clubbers from 1st and 2nd class this week for more fun and crazyness!
As a warm-up and to shake the school day out, we played a game of narrative chairs. Never heard of narrative chairs? It's like musical chairs, but with a story instead of a song. In this case, we listened to The Exquisite Corpse Adventure  which you can read and listen to here.

Keeping in that vein, we then played two games of exquisite corpses, one with pictures and the other with words, which pushed us sneakily into grammatical territory... and toilet humour. Those two things are not mutually exclusive!
We had great fun trying to make sense of the nonsensical sentences we produced by writing one word each without knowing what came before or after each player's contribution. And even with something as random and weird, the beginnings of stories were already fizzing.
Finally we went back to our long-term project and looked at it from the point of view of setting. We were thinking about places where our stories could take place, drawing maps and jotting down ideas. We talked about setting our adventures in gardens, jungles, trains, in France, in Legoland, in Disneyland, in brains and drains... Each place featured details that may turn into plot points: baddies, obstacles, tornadoes, secret tunnels... It is as if the stories were already writing themselves.
Well done all and see you next week!