Friday, 17 April 2015

Ninja Readers and Storyteller's Club

Earlier this year I posted about my plans to improve my Ninja Readers Book Club and to also start a storytelling club.  However, since then I've been thinking about how I got some of our quieter book club students to come along to the comic club last year and step out of their shells a bit in order to tell stories.  I was also thinking about how I missed the opportunity to promote reading to some of the comic club students, the ones who weren't confident readers.

So I decided to combine the two clubs and form the Ninja Readers and Storyteller's Club.  This hasn't come without its problems.  Last year's clubs took place at morning tea but to combine the two and get a little more time I wanted to run over lunchtime.  I encountered unexpected opposition, with our older students deemed too busy with other things.  I could only take them at morning tea.

I went away and thought about it, and then decided to see if I could take the Year 4's at lunchtime instead.  The book/storytelling combo needs the extra time and I think I can make it work with younger children.

I got the students to sign up - 40 of them!  Gulp!  Still, I was pleased that it showed the concept was a popular one and I'm sure there will be some drop off as we go along.  I decided to meet with them before the term ended so I could tell them a bit about how the club would run, and issue a couple of voluntary challenges for the holidays.

The first challenge was an image scavenger hunt.  I got the idea from a book I had just read - 'Half a Chance' by Cynthia Lord. The main character is a girl who does a photography scavenger hunt.  I wanted to make sure all the students could join in if they wanted to, so I made it an image scavenger hunt, and gave them the option of drawing images if they didn't have a camera to use.  I read out the list of images and we discussed what we could draw or take photos of.  Here is what I gave them:

Only one of these words and phrases was taken from the book.  The rest I made up, keeping in mind that after we share the images I thought we might use them to inspire short stories.  Over the holidays I have been doing the scavenger hunt with my younger son and we have both been enjoying it, so hopefully some of the students have too.

The second challenge was to draw a Nina reader or storyteller so we could make a poster for the club.  As an example I showed them the one we made last year for the Moustache Potatoes Comic Club.

I have spent some of the holidays reading about writing, with my favourite book so far being 'Once Upon a Slime' by Andy Griffiths.  There are so many awesome ideas to inspire writing in there.  As usual I have spent too much time researching and now I need to pull it all together for next week.  I am aiming to use books/genres as the basis for the storytelling projects, while also showcasing the various storytelling apps on the school's iPads.  I will let you know how we get on.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Library Skills Session - Year 1's

My final library skills sessions for Term 1 were for our Year 1's.  My aim for the session was to introduce the students to some basic library rules and talk about how to look after books.  I wanted to make the session as interesting as possible for the students so this is what I came up with:
  • I introduced myself and Esther, our library assistant.
  • I asked the students if they were good at pretending, and then asked them to pretend that I was a student coming in to the library at lunchtime.  To help them pretend I then put on a school jumper that I borrowed from our uniform samples.
  • I acted out a number of scenarios where I was doing things wrong:
    • Running flat out into the library and hiding behind a set of shelves
    • Bringing my books in and putting them straight onto the shelves without returning them first
    • Taking books off the shelf, pretending to flick through them and them throwing them on the floor
    • Taking a book off the shelf and heading straight out the door with it
    • Asking if I can 'buy' a book
    • Sitting down and talking really loudly about how great a book was
    • Taking a giant pile of books to the counter
  • I talked about what happens when books are overdue
  • I explained that throwing out damaged books makes me sad and showed examples of the books:
    • Pages with small rips in the bottom.  We talked about how to turn pages carefully from the top right-hand corner.
    • Torn pages. We talked about being very gentle turning pages.
    • Books where the pages had become separated from the binding.  I explained that sometimes books did come apart because they had been well-loved and we discussed what to do when that happened.
    • Pages taped together with sellotape.  I was hoping to avoid the actions of well-intentioned parents with this one!
    • Water-damaged books.  I asked for guesses as to what had happened to these books.  We talked about keeping books away from water and food, and protecting them from rain by using their book bag.
    • Books that had been drawn in. After making sure that no-one in their class would ever do such a horrendous thing we discussed how to keep books away from younger siblings armed with crayons.
    • Books that had bite marks out of them.  After guessing what had happened to these books we talked about keeping books safe from pets.
    • My favourite - book vs washing machine (a strange clump in a plastic bag).  After guesses as to the fate of this book we discussed keeping books in safe places and not on floor where they could be scooped up with the washing!
  • We finished by reading 'A perfectly messed-up story' by Patrick McDonnell.  The book has two messages - that life can be OK even with a few 'messes', and the one I used it for, which is to treat books with respect.  I cleared up the whole 'Americans call jam jelly' issue before I started reading.

Here's what I took from the Year 1 sessions:
  • They were lots of fun!  I thought I might be embarrassed pretending to be a student but it was easy and a good way to go through library policies and rules without being too boring.
  • The school jumpers are very fleecy and hot!
  • I had been worried I might frighten some students when I was loud but fortunately they all coped well with that.
  • We had some lovely suggestions about where the bite marks on the books came from, including people, tigers, sharks and bookworms!
  • As soon as they knew it was dogs that had bitten the books I got lots of dog stories.  Children love to talk about their pets!