Saturday, 4 October 2008

School Visits Begin in Earnest

What a brilliant start to the October visiting season! I spent a really enjoyable Thursday and Friday with St Giles Primary School in Sheffield, to celebrate the opening of their new school library.

I saw the KS1 classes on Thursday. I did 4 storytellings sessions and read different books for each, to make it more fun for me. I read from my new book An ABC of Nursery Rhymes for the first time, and chose Hey Diddle Diddle because I wanted to draw the fiddling cat, but found I could only remember half the tune! Luckily the average 5 year old doesn't notice that stuff. Instead they got into much debate about why the dish and spoon were running away, whether they were frightened of the cow in the sky, or whether it was the cat's music that was hurting their ears.

I took along my Smudge mouse puppet too (made by my wonderfully clever mum - thanks Mum!) and read Smudge's Grumpy Day. This is by far my favourite of the Smudge & Stripe stories, as she gets in a right strop, making it good fun to draw on the flip chart and quite anarchic to read aloud. Children never fail to enjoy meeting Smudge in person (should that be 'in mouse'?).

I got out my pirate hat to read Class Three All At Sea and we all drew sea monsters. I stole the hat design from a librarian - it's great as it folds flat for transportation.
The local press came at lunch time and we posed for photos in the new library. The journalist was lovely and he was really sweet with the kids.

Friday was workshops with KS2. I told them the gorilla nipple story (see An Itch To Scratch) which always goes down well, plus sneak previews of Gnash, Gnaw, Dinosaur! and the story about my dinosaur specialist (see Gnash, Gnaw, Dinosaur!).

Instead of having to traipse from class to class, I was in the hall all day, which was great because I could improvise a little display of my books along the PE benches, and tack posters (from my publishers) on the walls above. The extra space also meant I could do double classes, so no one got left out, plus drawing on the floor enabled everyone to create really big drawings. They did some brilliant ones too, based on Mr Strongmouse holding up crazy things (see A Day in Derby). I was really touched when one Y8 boy said, 'This is the best lesson I've had, ever!'

I gave out my new bookmarks (see Kids Bookmark), and the Head had paid for every class to have a signed picture book, so the children were thrilled to bits. I came away really buzzing.

A big thank you by the way to Mr Robertson (who happened to live in the next road to me) for giving me a lift in and out of school both days!


granny grimble said...

What a happy and enjoyable account of your visit to St Giles Primary School. It's difficult to work out who enjoyed themselves the most, you or the children! How touching was that little lad's comment on how much he had enjoyed his lesson? Must have made you feel it was all worth while. It's good to see Smudge is still going strong!

Damian Harvey said...

It sounds, and looks, like you've had a great start to your school visits. Isn't it great when things are well organised... you come away feeling appreciated and that the whole thing has been worthwhile. It's so much better for the children too and thy get so much more fropm the event.

weechuff said...

You obviously had a fantastic day Lynne! It must be so lovely to get positive feedback from the children. And what a kind headmaster to buy them all picture books. All in all a very happy day for you:0)

Lynne Chapman said...

Yes, it makes all the difference when the event is well thought through at the school's end. It's always a good indicator if the kids say they've looked at my website in class.

And it's true - I get just as excited as the kids!!

Jon M said...

Sounds like a great day, both you and the kids having a great time. I can always remember my first author visit to school, HE Todd (he wrote Bobby Brewster many years ago), I was transfixed by it!

dani torrent said...

You have a wonderful Work. Congratulations.

Lynne Chapman said...

Thanks Dani, but then so do you!!

Jon - I never used to know how much was going in, but it is so good when I find that kids I visited 2 or 3 years back (and age only 4 or 5) still remember, and usually even remember which books I read too.

By the way, I can't believe you ran all that way. 45 miles - you must be so fit!