I recently visited Heerengracht Primary School in Eldorado Park.
The 6th graders were enthusiastic when we discussed the 5W’s +H and SPIDER DIAGRAMS (sometimes referred to as mind maps, though I think they look more like a spider in its web.) I use this system for every new book I write as well.
So, we created a spider diagram and then an imaginary story. After seeing their enthusiasm I decided to offer one of my books for the best story they could come up with. Needless to say, I was flooded with entries which I am now reading.
So, what are the criteria I am looking for? Well, I decided not spelling, punctuation or grammar. WHAT? I hear you all cry. No, the exercise was about encouraging writing, and if we only judge a piece of writing by those criteria, many children will be put off before they have really even started. No, I was interested in what they had to say. All of the rest can come as they get older and hone their writing skills, but initially, it is just all about the words.
Children’s authors out there, if you get the chance to do this, please do. It is amazingly rewarding and gives such a lift and support to teachers. I hope to finish reading and judging the stories this forthcoming weekend and will be presenting prizes soon, so watch this space!
Oh, and some even included their spider diagrams – LOVE IT WHEN THEY ACTUALLY LISTEN AND LEARN SOMETHING – HAPPY, HAPPY AUTHOR HERE.
The Title image shows some of the many stories.
I recently had the pleasure of visiting Heerengracht Primary School in Eldorado Park, where Mrs Eden Daniels is the head.
Oh my gosh! What an amazing school. From my first encounter with the security guard who was efficient, helpful and polite; to meeting with Mrs Daniels herself, who has energy enough for two people.
The grounds were spotless, children curious yet polite and very well mannered, and the general appearance, very inviting. I immediately felt at home.
I asked if they would like the Schools Reading Roadshow to visit.
“What is the SRRS?”
Well, we are a group of authors visit Primary Schools, chat to pupils about our books and being an author and the fact that books don’t just materialise but are written by ‘real’ people. Plus, we deliver workshops on eg. anti-bullying, littering, living on a farm, travelling across Africa.
Mrs Daniels also showed me her School library which had been recently donated and to which the SRRS hope to add a few more books.
Plus, for one lucky grade 6 pupil, I am awarding a free book for the best-written story, which I will be collecting soon. I can’t wait to see these and am very excited to return to Heerengracht Primary.
If your school would like a visit, do get in contact.
I can’t wait to meet Polly tonight. St Benedict’s Junior Prep is having their Pirate Play this evening with Polly on stage.
The grades 1-3 have been practising all term and tonight I actually get a chance to meet Polly. Doesn’t Polly look so colourful, and I adore those feet.
If you want to take the kids to a fun, action-packed (ARRGHHH) play, I think there may be a few tickets left for the next performances.
Yes, I along with Cora Groenwald and Evadeen Brickwood will be in the Eastern Cape from the 18-21st June visiting all manner of schools in East London, King Williamstown, Grahamstown and Port Elizabeth with our Schools Reading Road Show. SRRS.
Look out for us and give us a wave if you see us in your town or on the road.
We will be going into schools to deliver sponsored books (if you would like to sponsor 50 books for a school please contact me +27 722 477 101) we will also be reading to the children and doing short workshops with them to encourage them to read. 74% of grade 4’s in South Africa cannot read in their mother tongue! (PIRL Report Dec 2017) we have had a huge success with this in schools and find it raises the enthusiasm of the children when they actually get to meet the author of a book.
Children’s authors in the Eastern Cape if you would like to join us please contact me.
So, Polly was back after a bit of a break overseas, and she visited 1st Ed School in South Johannesburg and oh what a reception she received. Although Polly normally talks to younger pupils (Gr2-5) at 1st Ed she spoke to the whole school (including grade 9’s – yep grade 9’s!)
The kids were responsive to the talk on bullying and in particular cyberbullying and how pupils can combat it. Many of the pupils here had transferred from other schools where they had been bullied and so were able to relate first hand to the talk.
Pupils got involved with the role play with Polly, Toucane and the rest of the flock and even some of the teachers joined in – Oscars for teachers will be presented at a later date.
Thank you to Vanessa Jorge for having me at your school and to Michelle Richardson for linking me to such a progressive school. I can’t wait to visit the sister school and meet with their learners too.
That was the week that was… part 2
Thursday morning saw me at Noodwyk Primary School in the Midrand area (by the way that’s at the opposite end of Johannesburg to where I live) at 7AM AGAIN! What is it with 7am people ha, ha, ha.
The school is a prefab school – not a brick in sight, though they hope that will change someday. The library was of particular interest to me and I will be supporting this library soon – so hears where you come in if you can donate any children’s books suitable for 4-12-year-olds please let me know, or better still if you are in the Noodwyk, Midrand area please drop them off with the headmistress Lynette Eloff, who I know would be delighted to receive them. This is a mixed school so boys or girls books are appreciated.
I had so much fun here with Madelaine Hicklin the DA Ward Councillor who had invited me to the school. Though I think the teachers had as much fun as I and the kids did judging by the pics.
We were there to talk about BULLYING. Maddy from a personal perspective and me with Polly and how she gets bullied in the Pet Shop and on board Captain Hake’s ship. PEEPS, IT’S ABOUT WHAT WE DO TO TRY TO STOP THE BULLIES THAT COUNTS, PRETENDING THEY DON’T EXIST IN OUR SCHOOLS IS NOT THE SOLUTION.
#saynotobullying, #PollysPiralympicsSeries, #bulliesmustfall
What a week that was just so jam-packed full.
Wednesday saw me talking to the Johannesburg New Dawn Rotary Club at the Parkview Golf Club at 7 AM!!! That time doesn’t exist in the UK other than for breakfast (Ha, ha, ha). I thoroughly enjoyed speaking to this amazing group of people, who do so much for Charities across the length and breadth of the country and would like to thank Debbie Smith for her invitation and Carol Stier for looking after me on the day – Thank you, ladies.