Barbara Band - The Snowball Effect: Creating Layers


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From the SLA 2009 Weekend Course. An interactive workshop that looks at how you can build on a simple idea or event to create a cross-curricular project involving internal and/or external partnerships.

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  • Why Snowball? Thinking about how things we do have a sort of ripple effect … like dropping a stone into a still calm pond and watching the spreading result …. Talking about this when the southern part of the country was under heavy snow, so didn’t seem the right sort of image! Snowballs ………
  • How send snowball down a hill and it picks up layers and gets bigger ….. That often happens with the things we do.
  • Collaboration with who? Your community …… varies ….. First priority are students and staff ……whole range of other people ….. The World???? Don’t expect you to set up a worldwide reading group but with electronic communication, easy to talk to other people anywhere in the world and I know that some schools have set up international links.
  • Can’t do everything all our situations are different. Different priorities and commitments. Different schools with varying levels of support. Have to work with what you’ve got. Your school ….. Your own personal situation …. Don’t feel guilty cos other people seem to be doing more …. They’re just not doing something else that you do …. Start small …. Don’t have to have a project that involves a whole year or even a whole class ….. Often think smaller projects are better cos they can be more specific and focused. Also easier to organise meetings with smaller group! Think big ….. Think outside the box! Be adventurous …. If it doesn’t work, try something different next time. Talk about some of the things I do …. PLEASE don’t want you to go away from this workshop thinking HELP!!!!! I’m never going to have the time to do all that ….. Not the idea! I’ve been there myself and gone back to work feeling slightly panicky and inadequate. This workshop is to give you suggestions, get you thinking about what you already do and how you can extend those activities to involve others.
  • Start with reading groups …. Every connects these with libraries and most people run them. Heresy??? Boring ????? Group often loses impetus …. Especially if regular meetings throughout year. Tend to focus on smaller groups aimed at specific readers and linked to a specific event.
  • Good example. Opportunity via ELS to take small group of students to hear her talk. Approached English …. If you get no response then do it on your own! Group of 12 year 9 students (cos of topics in books) level 2 … good readers but didn’t particularly like reading! Read books …. Boys and girls … mixed reaction from boys but soon hooked! Talked about stories and issues raised. Trip to hear Anne Cassidy …. By coincidence had discovered that Looking For JJ was being performed at local theatre …. Took students to see it (can drive minibus which helps!) Fantastic performance …. Story told through Alice’s facebook page and parts (such as interview with her mother) done as utube! Out of the group …. Now have 3 of them who have become student librarians and about 4 of the others are regular library users. Also good feedback from English teachers … remarked that they seem very enthusiastic about sharing what they are reading now and good SATs results!
  • From Anne Cassidy group …. English teacher approached me at end of last summer term and wanted to do similar thing with group of then year 7 students when they moved into year 8. Wanted to focus on G&T students this time as she felt that we did a lot of work with the lower ability and she wanted more of a balance. Responsible for intervention. So … said yes !!!! As usual ….. But decided that just having a reading group wouldn’t be particularly inspiring so looked out for something to link in … Varjak Paw at local theatre end of September! Booked tickets, gave all students copy of book to read over the summer …. Launched Varjak paw project!!! Started with reading group but grew …. Layer upon layer ….
  • Book possibly aimed at top KS2 but lots of levels it can be read on and lots of issues raised so good starting point. OPERA!!!! First time on tour … feedback. Some of these activities I created myself; others I involved departments; eg: Head of Drama. Could have done this myself cos daughter done GCSE and As Drama but WANTED to show other departments that library wasn’t just about reading …. WANTED to pull them in, even if it was to just tell them what I was doing and give them feedback on how it went!
  • KS4 because of content of many of the books. Also short timescale to read them so need to be quite good readers. Lots available for younger students to link in to. Very supportive ELS …. Have one of the shortlisted authors …. Visit next weds, Patrick Ness Carnegie Conference involving other shadowing groups in Wokingham schools. One school hosts but all help to organise. Students go for the day … split into groups and given Carnegie and Greenaway book to produce review on. Work on IT skills, social skills, presentation … oral … some give powerpoints, create posters, drama sketches …. All vote .. Passed to ELS. Pulls in students and staff plus other schools and ELS.
  • Booked Up …. All year 7s reading one of 12 books. Not all involved …. Groups to read rest of books, other books by same authors, same genres …. Lots of possibilities! Berkshire Book Award .. Run locally, books selected by students who also vote for the winner. If don’t have local Book Award can link into others such as Hampshire Book Award, Blue Peter, etc …. Lots of them! Could just run group to shadow the award or extend it into other areas. Again we have opportunity for an author visit tied in with this … held at a local school. Staff/6 th form … small group, meet monthly, couple of books, often R&J … available cheaply and readily! Can link into public library with these as they can supply multiple copies of books (usually older but saves you buying them …. Provides chance for collaboration). Email all staff with selections we’re reading and what we thought of the previous months …. Have had lots of staff come up to me and say that they are reading the books even tho they can’t come to the meetings …saves them choosing what to read next and have read books that they wouldn’t have automatically selected! Also had more staff borrowing fiction books from the library for holiday reading …. And donating books they have finished reading themselves!!! Get Reading reading …. Part of Federation of Children’s Book Groups. Hold author events …. Take students along. Recently asked to Chair panel, theme “Heroes & Villians” Mark Walden, Stuart Hill, Justin Somper …. Was ok about steering conversation but was a bit worried that when I asked for questions there wouldn’t be any so primed my students ….. When I asked the floor if there were any questions, a row of 15 enthusiastic hands shot up!!!!!
  • Mentioned opportunities for external visits to hear authors but also try and make the most of having authors in school. Lucky cos have had flood money to spend on books which has freed some of budget and have been able to have authors. Try to make the most of them!!! Dan Freedman … sports journalist. Creative writing workshop with lower set year 7 & 8 boys (QUOTE!!!) then talk to year 11 boys considering sports at A level plus years 12/13 doing sports related subjects … also those thinking about journalism. Talked about his career, jobs involved in the sport’s industry, dvd of him interviewing famous footballers, how to interview people …. Fantastic response and created a lot of buzz. Robert Crowther, known for his pop up books …. Gave workshops to year 10 graphic students, directly relevant to their gcse coursework, making pop up cards …. Then gave talk to year 11 considering graphics at A level, years 12 & 13 students doing graphics A levels …. Gave demo and talked about his career … how he studied graphic design and ended up making children’s books!
  • Start small. Use opportunities. May not lead anywhere but often has that layering effect … other departments see what you are doing and want to do the same! Work well with Head of Art (helps that her mother is a school librarian!) …. Approached her about using the library for some classes … dept had been working with year 9s looking at Pop Art and lettering so decided a lesson on Graffiti would be a natural extension …. Have lots of resources on graffiti as popular. Organised lesson …. U tube clips; photos of graffiti; discussed when is it vandalism and when is it art; produced graffiti worksheets to set them on task for producing own tag ….. As you can imagine …. Very popular, used books to get ideas and examples, some great artwork done …. Head of Art has decided that she’s going to rewrite the SOE and incorporate it into year 9 lessons next year and bring the groups to the library! And we’re also planning to organise a trip to London to look at pop art at the Tate and maybe take in some graffiti sites as well …..
  • Have daughter that did Media and Film at A level and is currently doing Media Arts at uni …. Quite interested in Media, picked up far bit and love films!!!! Heard about BBC School’s Report and signed up …. THEN …. Went to Head of Media!!! Worked in collaboration with this. Held in library during college time so she was busy with her tutor group. Involved Year 9 students but used year 10 GCSE as mentors. 6 lessons then did the School’s Report day using the library as the base. Very successful … already plans to repeat next year. Trip to BBC for tour …. Decided to fill whole day so have arranged for workshop at BL in morning!!!!! Launched Film Club …. Film Education & Love Film. Went to induction at Bafta … free …. Monthly but have other teachers volunteering to run it after school!!! Link films to books …. Twilight!.
  • Recently become interested in photography and have done Photography A level. Heard about G&T day being run …wanted to be involved even if it was just hosting something …. Approached teacher, thought it would be academic based but found out it was fun stuff!! Outside groups doing clay pigeon shooting, car driving … hadn’t decided on in-house workshops so I suggested photography. His reaction!!! Found my self running 5 1 hour workshops for the day …. Like taking photos of themselves so decided to focus on portrait photography, called it Up Close & Personal ….brief talk on main things to think about …. Sent off with cameras for 15 mins …. Editing on Photoshop!!! (EXAMPLES) Asked to do it again this year …. Have also had Head of Art sending A level students who want to do photography coursework rather than Art based piece ….
  • Try and work with other organisations outside the school where possible. Barrington Stoke …. Use lower ability children to actually review and edit their books. Send you proof copies that the children mark up … simple … underline words they don’t understand, mark up bits they like, passages they don’t think are realistic. Sent back and comments incorporated, then book published with children’s names in. Work with SEN dept. Random House reading group …. Sent 5 books each term …. Run this with my librarians. Read and review then feedback to Random House. Post reviews online. Last term book was Ostrich Boys! Hodder Wayland Focus group … meet at publishers about 3 times a year. Panel of school librarians that discuss forthcoming titles and evaluate books for relevance, level, accessibility, etc Collaborating with them to set up a panel of students in school to assess front covers prior to publication …. Will look at a selection and pass back their comments. Use what’s happening in your location. Community school????? What groups meet? Could they come in and give a talk to students? What happens at your local public library? Manga workshops. Adult reading group had an author visit … was contactedas this author had a free afternoon and they asked if I could use her .. Said yes!!! Talked to 6 th form .. Very good and nice to target a different year group. Different focus cos she talked about her writing in a more technical way. Links with other schools. Already mentioned some of the things I do … how about linking clubs?
  • Local schools run Warhammer Clubs …. Meet up to have competitions. Organise trip to Warhammer World but invite other students.
  • Use every small opportunity ….. Saw article in local paper, rang …. Photo op … asked to design new bag … said YES …. Back to Head of Art!!!!
  • Barbara Band - The Snowball Effect: Creating Layers

    2. 2. CREATING LAYERS <ul><li>How to build on a simple idea or event to create a cross-curricular project involving both internal departments and external organisations </li></ul>
    3. 3. YOUR COMMUNITY? <ul><li>Students Staff Parents Governors Local community Other schools Public libraries Other organisations </li></ul><ul><li>The World? </li></ul>
    4. 4. DON’T PANIC! <ul><li>You can’t do everything … </li></ul><ul><li>Work with what you’ve got … </li></ul><ul><li>Start small … </li></ul><ul><li>Think big … </li></ul><ul><li>Grab opportunities … </li></ul>
    6. 6. ANNE CASSIDY GROUP <ul><li>Opportunity to take students to hear her talk </li></ul><ul><li>Approached English department </li></ul><ul><li>Small focused group, year 9, level 2 </li></ul><ul><li>Read the books </li></ul><ul><li>Talked about them! </li></ul><ul><li>Trip to see Anne Cassidy </li></ul><ul><li>Looking for JJ </li></ul><ul><li>Success! </li></ul>
    7. 7. VARJAK PAW PROJECT <ul><li>Approached by English teacher </li></ul><ul><li>Work with G&T students </li></ul><ul><li>Serendipity …Varjak Paw performance locally  </li></ul><ul><li>Started with reading group </li></ul><ul><li>Pulled in Drama, Art, Music, IT, Media, transition activities, information research skills, presentation skills, visual literacy …. </li></ul>
    8. 8. VARJAK PAW … cont … <ul><li>Read book, discussed story, plot, characters, themes … </li></ul><ul><li>Watched Utube presentation by author and read online reviews from other students </li></ul><ul><li>Watched performance … invited to preshow talk by artistic team and asked to give feedback </li></ul><ul><li>Compared book and production </li></ul><ul><li>Discussed production as a theatre critics </li></ul><ul><li>Information skills activity researching an animal and producing a poster using IT </li></ul><ul><li>Discussion about what makes a good story </li></ul><ul><li>Creative writing exercise </li></ul><ul><li>Visits from Year 5 pupils </li></ul>
    9. 9. VARJAK PAW … cont … <ul><li>Investigated music used in performance </li></ul><ul><li>Extended reading …. writing book reviews … display </li></ul><ul><li>Explored work of Dave McKean </li></ul><ul><li>Looked at other children’s illustrators with similar styles </li></ul><ul><li>Investigated silhouettes and producing own work in response to artist they liked </li></ul><ul><li>Used Dave McKean illustration as starting point for creative writing exercise </li></ul><ul><li>Investigated classic and contemporary animal poetry and produced own poetry </li></ul>
    10. 10. VARJAK PAW … cont … <ul><li>Looked at architectural photography </li></ul><ul><li>Workshop on factors to consider when taking photographs </li></ul><ul><li>Students took own photos of buildings and used Photoshop to manipulate images to produce personal response to descriptive passage from Varjak Paw </li></ul><ul><li>Watched film, Mirrormask </li></ul><ul><li>Discussed film in relation to plot, themes, audience, cinematography, lighting, sets, etc …. </li></ul><ul><li>!!!!! They want to perform one of their stories to the Year 5 pupils …… watch this space ….. </li></ul>
    11. 11. CARNEGIE SHADOWING <ul><li>Group aimed at KS4 students </li></ul><ul><li>Supported by ELS </li></ul><ul><li>Author visit </li></ul><ul><li>Carnegie Conference </li></ul><ul><li>Pulling in students, staff, ELS, local schools </li></ul>
    12. 12. OTHER READING GROUPS <ul><li>Booked Up books – ideal opportunity for small focused reading groups </li></ul><ul><li>Berkshire Book Award - local </li></ul><ul><li>Staff/6 th Form </li></ul><ul><li>Get Reading reading </li></ul>
    13. 13. AUTHOR VISITS <ul><li>In house visits as well as external opportunities </li></ul><ul><li>Make the most of them </li></ul><ul><li>Include other subjects than the obvious! </li></ul><ul><li>Dan Freedman, Sport’s journalist </li></ul><ul><li>Robert Crowther, paper engineer </li></ul><ul><li>Worked with English, PE, SEN, Graphics, Head of 6 th Form …. nice to have some different departments involved! </li></ul>
    14. 14. WORKING WITH DEPARTMENTS … <ul><li>Year 9 lesson on Graffiti </li></ul><ul><li>You tube </li></ul><ul><li>Photos </li></ul><ul><li>Discussion </li></ul><ul><li>Ideas for creating tags </li></ul><ul><li>Using book resources </li></ul><ul><li>Incorporated into SOW! </li></ul>
    15. 15. WORKING WITH DEPARTMENTS … cont <ul><li>Media links </li></ul><ul><li>Already teach A level Media Studies; recently introduced GCSE </li></ul><ul><li>BBC School’s Report </li></ul><ul><li>BBC tour for Year 10 students </li></ul><ul><li>Film Club </li></ul>
    16. 16. USE YOUR OWN INTERESTS: PHOTOGRAPHY <ul><li>G & T day </li></ul><ul><li>150 students from Years 8 – 12 </li></ul><ul><li>5 workshops (internal & external) </li></ul><ul><li>A level Art students </li></ul>
    17. 17. OTHER ORGANISATIONS <ul><li>Barrington Stoke book editing … </li></ul><ul><li>Random House reading group … </li></ul><ul><li>Hodder Wayland Focus Group … </li></ul><ul><li>Local community groups? </li></ul><ul><li>Public library links? </li></ul><ul><li>Other schools? </li></ul>
    18. 18. WARHAMMER WORLD <ul><li>Weekly Warhammer Club </li></ul><ul><li>White Dwarf magazine & books </li></ul><ul><li>Support from Games Workshop </li></ul><ul><li>Links to local gaming clubs </li></ul><ul><li>Trips to Warhammer World </li></ul>
    19. 19. PROFESSIONAL COLLABORATION <ul><li>Write ups for SLA & SLG newsletters … after meetings, author visits, trips, etc </li></ul><ul><li>Article on World Book Day for Publisher’s Association </li></ul><ul><li>Case study for SLA Guidelines on Managing Behaviour </li></ul><ul><li>Talk to BBOD (Cilip Group) on Reading Schemes – collaboration with public librarian </li></ul><ul><li>Visit to Aberystwyth University! </li></ul>
    20. 20. GRAB EVERY OPPORTUNITY Wokingham Eco bags
    21. 21. YOUR IDEAS! <ul><li>Start with a book you’ve read recently or one that you know well and have enjoyed </li></ul><ul><li>Or start with a book that has been made into a film … </li></ul><ul><li>Think of the issues, topics, etc in the book </li></ul><ul><li>How can you expand on these to involve other departments and activities? </li></ul>