Category Archives: SRRS

Story Writing

A few weeks back, I visited Heerengracht Primary School in Eldorado (South Johannesburg). The headmistress, Mrs Daniels, has an infectious enthusiasm which sweeps you up as you enter her school and I ended up volunteering to run a story writing competition for her grade 6’s.

I always love visiting schools, the energy is just contagious, however, little did I realise to run a competition properly I would need to put in a lot of work. I first set up a rubric to mark to, then I started to read and assign marks for each section I had created eg. front cover, illustrations, credits, story length, did the story engage me, overall impression etc. It was a process that took several hours, though was, I must say thoroughly enjoyable. Isn’t it just amazing the stories kids come up with, I definitely feel there are some budding authors that will emerge from this school in the future.

So, when I returned to award prizes of my book to the winner, I explained how the pupils how the competition had worked and why we need a start, middle and end, to our writing as well as the other criteria I had used.

The competition was amazingly close between the top four stories, but one, in particular, engaged me a little more than the others, that of The Little Rabbit by Veandre. It had everything a short story needs, was the right length and left me wanting to read more by this young author. Congratulations, Veandre for producing a wonderful piece of work and to Heerengracht Primary School on the quality of stories, your teachers should be very proud of you.

The runners-up were Jordan T, Bailey and Lebohang.

#PollysPiralympics

It’s all about the Words

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.

 

Heerengracht Primary School

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.