Tag Archives: School Visits

Radford House Primary

When I was invited to talk about being an author at Radford House, little did I think that I would be talking to pupils for 2 hours? Not only that, but they had the chance to escape and came back!

I received a call inviting me to give a talk about being an author – well, where to start, ha,ha,ha.  Being an author you see for me is a process, I sort of started and now I  can’t stop, it becomes a way of life and you crave to write each day. In fact, I get very moody on days I don’t write,  I have so many ideas flashing around in my mind it gets frustrating that I can’t put them down on paper, so I love it when I am tapping away on my computer.

I guided them through the nuts and bolts of what an author is, our tools of the trade, and why I choose to be an Indie (Independent) Author. Then I chatted about how I actually write a book – where I start and how my thought processes work when I write. This is always the section I enjoy the most, as it becomes very interactive. I show them how to create a Spider Diagram, which forms the backbone of a book. And also, how they can adapt it for an essay – which is pretty well a miniature story.

They were engaged and excited as we created weird and wonderful characters and started to spin our web. (I just love how kids minds work. ) We talked about Genres,  Beta and ARC readers, as well as the importance of book reviews to an author.  We seriously covered a lot of ground and I was left with the sense that there was more than one budding author in the audience – let’s wait and see shall we, as I have been asked to return next term – maybe there will be a book waiting for me, written by one of them, who knows.

But, what I do know is, I can’t wait to go back for another visit.

Radford House is a small private school for gifted children. It differs from traditional schools, in that,  it tailors the educational environment to suit the pupils, through a very holistic approach to their learning schedule.

 

Toucane visits another school

Toucane and Jann visited The Ridge Prep School, and oh my gosh, it was like walking into Hogwarts. The School is 100 years old this year and has maintained that sense of tradition which just oozes from its buildings. Indeed, it was a privilege to be invited into the school during such a special year.

Toucane and Jann explained how it is COOL to have friends who are different from us, and how we must stick up for them when our friends are ugly to them. Especially when someone is new to our school. #ToucaneIsDifferent

They then went on to talk about when Toucane caught humans throwing litter on the beach, and how upset he got.

Jann then taught the boys a song about picking up rubbish/litter and throwing it in the bin. #ToucaneAndTheRubbishRangers

So, all the boys went away, keen to become Rubbish Rangers.

Jann Will be back at The Ridge with Polly and her Piralympics Series in August, chatting to grade 3-5’s.

#ToucaneSeries

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.

 

Road trip? Did anyone say Road trip?

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.

SRRS LOGO

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.

Polly visited 1st Ed School in South Johannesburg

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.

#realfriendsdontbully