Cathy Lewis Email: cathy@froghopper-design.co.uk www.froghopper-design.co.uk
<ul><li>The UK has just had the least  </li></ul><ul><li>sunny summer since records  </li></ul><ul><li>began… </li></ul>
A dream come true…
<ul><li>Interpretation for children:  What can we learn from the top children’s authors? </li></ul>
What we are going to do… <ul><li>Consider the tricks of the trade used by successful authors – and how we can apply these ...
How I hope you’ll feel after the course… <ul><li>Inspired to give it a go </li></ul><ul><li>Re-enthused about today’s chil...
Wake up! <ul><li>Whizzpopping words… </li></ul>
Maybe it won’t be dull and boring. Maybe it will be… FUN!
Myth one <ul><li>Children don’t read anymore </li></ul>
<ul><li>Tell that to JK Rowling! </li></ul>
What do all these block-buster movies have in common? <ul><li>Harry Potter </li></ul><ul><li>Stormbreaker </li></ul><ul><l...
<ul><li>They all started out as best-selling  </li></ul><ul><li>books </li></ul>
‘ Screen and paper literacies have formed a symbiotic relationship. Popular books are made into block-buster movies, and a...
So words  can  still do it for kids… <ul><li>But they have to be the right words! </li></ul>
Myth two <ul><li>Children don’t know how to play  </li></ul><ul><li>anymore </li></ul>
Myth three <ul><li>Children can’t enjoy themselves  </li></ul><ul><li>without technology </li></ul>
From a study by the Children’s Society charity: <ul><li>‘ When it comes to making happy memories,  </li></ul><ul><li>a day...
About kids’ reading…   <ul><li>A study of children’s reading habits carried out in 2005 by the National Literacy Trust sta...
So your interpretation should include: <ul><li>Adventure/excitement </li></ul><ul><li>Humour </li></ul><ul><li>The promise...
It should not be…
1) A Mrs Trunchball Teaching Tirade
 
2) A Twits’ Trail
The six rules for splendiferous interpretation: 1) Choose the right writer 2) Know children 3) Target the age range 4) Hoo...
1) Choose the right writer <ul><li>Writing for any audience is about respecting that audience </li></ul><ul><li>Writing fo...
2) Know children <ul><li>Your interpretation must engage with today’s children. To  </li></ul><ul><li>do it right, you nee...
Horrible Histories by  Terry Deary <ul><li>The best-selling children’s non-fiction books ever. They appeal to boys and gir...
3) Target the age range <ul><li>Children’s books are rigorously divided into age groups: </li></ul><ul><li>4-7s  Picture b...
In the world of interpretation, the  compromise is to produce one piece of children’s interpretation, but ‘layer’ it:   4-...
<ul><li>Try to make your activities as broadly-accessible  </li></ul><ul><li>as possible to target all the age groups (eve...
Pull ugly faces…
Crawl on their knees…
Take a different perspective…
Wake up! <ul><li>Amazing activities… </li></ul>
4) Hook them! <ul><li>No matter how fantastic a story or piece of interpretation  </li></ul><ul><li>is, it won’t get anywh...
Read the opening sentences of these children’s books: <ul><li>Old Granny Greengrass had her finger chopped off in the  </l...
A mysterious phantom haunted our school. No one ever saw him. No one knew where he lived. But he haunted our school for mo...
Case study: Winchester Cathedral children’s trail All this does is confirm a child’s suspicion that cathedrals are boring!
 
Wake up! <ul><li>Cook up a hook… </li></ul>
5) Create characters <ul><li>Children relate to children. People relate to people.  Think of all the  </li></ul><ul><li>fa...
What characters and stories will ignite children’s imagination at your site? <ul><li>Who is going to tell the story? </li>...
Wake up! <ul><li>Children’s books of today.  </li></ul><ul><li>What’s hot, what’s not… </li></ul>
    6) Lose the parents! A top principle of any children’s story is to lose the parents!  In fiction, children can’t have ...
  For example: JK Rowling’s  Harry Potter  (orphan) Jacqueline Wilson’s  Tracey Beaker  stories (orphans)  Phillip Pullman...
How to lose the parents in interpretation: <ul><li>In interpretation, write your children’s guide so that the child can ‘l...
Magic moment <ul><li>Corfe Castle story </li></ul>
The big difference  <ul><li>Interpretation is NOT a book on a wall. </li></ul><ul><li>Keep it short, snappy and fast-movin...
Case Study: New Corfe guide <ul><li>Casual  mention  of  ‘ghost’  </li></ul><ul><li>and ‘dungeon’ on front cover! </li></u...
Case study: Contemporary art exhibition <ul><li>No right or wrong </li></ul><ul><li>Encourages kids to interview others </...
Case study: Ghosts’ trail <ul><li>Tells the ghost stories but asks kids to investigate </li></ul><ul><li>Have to rate each...
Case study: Tank Museum <ul><li>Life in a tank snippets </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Did you know’s? </li></ul><ul><li>Naughty name...
Is he cracking the WW1 toilet joke?
Downe House audio trail <ul><li>Charles Darwin found school boring, thought his  </li></ul><ul><li>university years were a...
Headings to hook them <ul><li>Bird-watching, that famous boat trip … and the importance of dead pigeons! </li></ul><ul><li...
Wild Things <ul><li>Aimed at 4-7 year olds </li></ul><ul><li>First introduction to wildlife </li></ul><ul><li>Give common ...
Summing up… Children’s text, whether fact or fiction, is not a dumbed-down version of adult text. Learning is like vegetab...
Magic moment <ul><li>Ben’s story </li></ul>
And finally, two messages…
A MESSAGE to children Who Have Read This Book When you grow up and have children of your own do please remember something ...
A MESSAGE to Interpreters Who Have Attended This Seminar When you provide interpretation for children do please remember s...
Cathy Lewis Email: cathy@froghopper-design.co.uk  www.froghopper-design.co.uk
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Interpretation Masterclass Series No. 2 - "Childrens Interpretation"

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A workshop delivered by Cathy Lewis, Perth, WA October 2008
Part of the Heritage Council WA & Museums Australia WA Masterclass series

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  • Wanted to emigrate to Australia back in my 20s. Rejected on the points system. Kept this poster on my bedsit wall. Moved house and the poster went into a box of special things. Moved house again and the box of special things got put in the loft. There it stayed getting dusty and covered in cobwebs – just like my dream. I’d given up on it. Then I did my first seminar at an AHI conference two years ago. Jane James approached me…the rest is history. Why did I start like this? Because I want you to like me – to think this seminar might be interesting. To engage – maybe it made you think of a long lost dream? Anyone got one to share? But why…
  • MA course in fiction for children. Realised the similarities between writing fiction for children and writing non-fiction.
  • Have to start by dispelling some myths about children…
  • Books were selling by word of mouth long before the publicists got hold of it. Three books were out before the first film appeared. How amazing that she made it cool again for children to read books.
  • Give a child a ball – they’ll kick it, play catch with it, bounce it. Watch children at playtime at school. Youngsters use of the word ‘pretend’. Older kids chasing, tag, etc Example of Penny jumping into pond on walk
  • Children do love technology, but they can play without it. Example of visitors to our house…
  • Activity in new Winchester Cathedral guide. The children are told about the gargoyles and how the medieval folk believe dthat if you were ugly on the inside it would show in your face. So we ask them who can pull the ugliest face.
  • To approach the holiest part of the cathedral in the same way that the pilgrims did – believing that by suffering they would get closer to God.
  • One of the chapels has an amazing ornately-decorated ceiling. But it is so high that it strains your neck to look up at it. So we invite visitors to lie down and look up. Fantastic new perspective and enjoyed by young and old!
  • Get into groups of five. Hand out dip strips. Come up with a really inspiring activity that relates to that property which would apply to all age ranges – even granny! Anyone mentioning an educational link will be given a horrible forfeit - selected from Horrible Histories…
  • Swap around the dip slips. Come up with a front cover idea for a children’s trail, including title of the trail, irresistible strapline and suggested illustration. Draw layout for cover if you want although no marks will be added for illustrative ability! 15 mins for discussion 5 mins each presentation
  • Give me a few more examples…
  • In groups of about five, discuss the children’s books you read before the course. Not so much the story but the genre, age targeting, hooks, imagination-grabbing elements, use of language, etc. Then we’ll each report back on what we found is hot in today’s children’s books. Whether there is anything that’s changed since we were kids. And most importantly, if we can use any of our findings to inform interpretation projects… 10-15 mins discussion Each group has five minutes to report back
  • Tricky project as the sculptures on the trail were very modern and ‘arty’. Rather than tell the kids what each was, we invited them to say whether they liked each piece and how it made the feel. What they thought it was all about – and to interview others in their group to see what they felt. No one allowed to just say ‘it’s rubbish’. If that’s what they thought they had to say why. Trail trip to Tate Modern with my kids. Comments board at end so they could all have their say.
  • Mysterious green slime in the stables Ghostly figures around the gallows bridge… Deathly whispers in the dungeons The trail doesn’t just state the sightings, it invites the kids to investigate – and grade each area as to whether its: From seriously spooky to a ghost free zone
  • Lots of ‘Did you know’ and ‘Life in a tank’ snippets for children. Did you know: Carrier pigeons were the only method of communication in WW1 tanks? The metal of a tank can get so cold in the winter that your hands would stick if you touched it. The metal can get so hot in the summer, you can fry and egg on it. On operations, the men have to live inside the tank – cook, eat and sleep. But the best is the toilet humour… Name of first ever working prototype…Little Willie. Name of second prototype…Big Willie How does a tank man go to the toilet? Empty shell cases, bottles, plastic bags. Special hatches at bottom of modern tanks for throwing out toilet waste!
  • Beetle-mania – time he had beatle sin all his pockets and found another rare one so put it in his mouth. Ejected a foul tasting liquid… Girlfriend Fanny Owen left him because he liked bugs better than her. Loss of his 10 year old daughter to scarlet fever changed his views of god forever
  • Transcript of "Interpretation Masterclass Series No. 2 - "Childrens Interpretation""

    1. 1. Cathy Lewis Email: cathy@froghopper-design.co.uk www.froghopper-design.co.uk
    2. 2. <ul><li>The UK has just had the least </li></ul><ul><li>sunny summer since records </li></ul><ul><li>began… </li></ul>
    3. 3. A dream come true…
    4. 4. <ul><li>Interpretation for children: What can we learn from the top children’s authors? </li></ul>
    5. 5. What we are going to do… <ul><li>Consider the tricks of the trade used by successful authors – and how we can apply these principles to interpretation </li></ul><ul><li>Look at how to target the age range, hook their interest, keep them excited, create characters, use illustrations and introduce activities for all ages. </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on what today’s children like and want – using popular books as an example </li></ul><ul><li>Think about how to encourage intergenerational conversations </li></ul>
    6. 6. How I hope you’ll feel after the course… <ul><li>Inspired to give it a go </li></ul><ul><li>Re-enthused about today’s children </li></ul><ul><li>Excited about the possibilities of children’s interpretation at your site </li></ul><ul><li>Confident about targeting different age groups </li></ul><ul><li>Able to distinguish between educational projects and interpretation projects. </li></ul><ul><li>Ready to have FUN…! </li></ul>
    7. 7. Wake up! <ul><li>Whizzpopping words… </li></ul>
    8. 8. Maybe it won’t be dull and boring. Maybe it will be… FUN!
    9. 9. Myth one <ul><li>Children don’t read anymore </li></ul>
    10. 10. <ul><li>Tell that to JK Rowling! </li></ul>
    11. 11. What do all these block-buster movies have in common? <ul><li>Harry Potter </li></ul><ul><li>Stormbreaker </li></ul><ul><li>Eragon </li></ul><ul><li>Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events </li></ul><ul><li>The Spiderwick Chronicles </li></ul>
    12. 12. <ul><li>They all started out as best-selling </li></ul><ul><li>books </li></ul>
    13. 13. ‘ Screen and paper literacies have formed a symbiotic relationship. Popular books are made into block-buster movies, and as a result, more books are bought and read. Children’s stories have been transformed into films, television series, computer games and intricate websites. All these exciting, cutting-edge texts have one thing in common: they started out as books.’ Prue Goodwin, Reading in the Middle Years (9-11), Books for Keeps, September 2007
    14. 14. So words can still do it for kids… <ul><li>But they have to be the right words! </li></ul>
    15. 15. Myth two <ul><li>Children don’t know how to play </li></ul><ul><li>anymore </li></ul>
    16. 16. Myth three <ul><li>Children can’t enjoy themselves </li></ul><ul><li>without technology </li></ul>
    17. 17. From a study by the Children’s Society charity: <ul><li>‘ When it comes to making happy memories, </li></ul><ul><li>a day out is better for children than playing </li></ul><ul><li>with a must-have gadget…A good memory has an </li></ul><ul><li>element of ‘magic’ about it…’ </li></ul>
    18. 18. About kids’ reading… <ul><li>A study of children’s reading habits carried out in 2005 by the National Literacy Trust states: </li></ul><ul><li>‘ When asked specifically about fiction preferences, the most frequently chosen types were adventure, comedy and horror/ghost stories.’ </li></ul>
    19. 19. So your interpretation should include: <ul><li>Adventure/excitement </li></ul><ul><li>Humour </li></ul><ul><li>The promise of FUN </li></ul><ul><li>And a ghost if you have one! </li></ul>
    20. 20. It should not be…
    21. 21. 1) A Mrs Trunchball Teaching Tirade
    22. 23. 2) A Twits’ Trail
    23. 24. The six rules for splendiferous interpretation: 1) Choose the right writer 2) Know children 3) Target the age range 4) Hook them! 5) Create characters 6) Lose the parents!
    24. 25. 1) Choose the right writer <ul><li>Writing for any audience is about respecting that audience </li></ul><ul><li>Writing for a child does not demand less skill than writing for an adult </li></ul><ul><li>A children’s guide is not an adult guide without the big words </li></ul><ul><li>Write for children not at them </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure you pick the right person for the job </li></ul>
    25. 26. 2) Know children <ul><li>Your interpretation must engage with today’s children. To </li></ul><ul><li>do it right, you need to know them. </li></ul><ul><li>Listen to children, observe them, read their books, watch their tv programmes. </li></ul><ul><li>Talk to them in a language they relate to. Chat, gossip, giggle with them. Don’t teach or preach. </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid hip jargon like ‘Totally radical’, ‘Whatever!’, ‘Oh, man’, ‘Well lush’ (or the Australian equivalents!) </li></ul>
    26. 27. Horrible Histories by Terry Deary <ul><li>The best-selling children’s non-fiction books ever. They appeal to boys and girls. </li></ul><ul><li>Why? They are funny. They are subversive. They’ve got lots of toilet humour! </li></ul><ul><li>They have made history appealing to many children who would never have read a conventional history book. Read them!  </li></ul>
    27. 28. 3) Target the age range <ul><li>Children’s books are rigorously divided into age groups: </li></ul><ul><li>4-7s Picture books </li></ul><ul><li>5-8s Illustrated first readers </li></ul><ul><li>9-12s Novels </li></ul><ul><li>12s+ Novels and ‘cross-over’ fiction </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Authors have to be absolutely sure which age group they </li></ul><ul><li>are writing for. The sentence structure, plot complexity, </li></ul><ul><li>word count, etc, must all be tailored for the age range. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
    28. 29. In the world of interpretation, the compromise is to produce one piece of children’s interpretation, but ‘layer’ it:   4-7s: Will ‘read’ the stories told in the illustrations. Parents and older children can then read the text to them and explain as necessary   5-8s: Will read illustrations, headings, subheadings and captions.   9-12s: Will do all the above plus read the body text. Write your text for them.  
    29. 30. <ul><li>Try to make your activities as broadly-accessible </li></ul><ul><li>as possible to target all the age groups (even granny!). For example, get them to: </li></ul><ul><li>Imagine a scene </li></ul><ul><li>Explore/find/discover </li></ul><ul><li>Follow a quest, undertake a mission </li></ul><ul><li>Try something new </li></ul><ul><li>Interview others in their group </li></ul><ul><li>Come to their own conclusions </li></ul><ul><li>Do fun things like: </li></ul>
    30. 31. Pull ugly faces…
    31. 32. Crawl on their knees…
    32. 33. Take a different perspective…
    33. 34. Wake up! <ul><li>Amazing activities… </li></ul>
    34. 35. 4) Hook them! <ul><li>No matter how fantastic a story or piece of interpretation </li></ul><ul><li>is, it won’t get anywhere unless children read it. So you </li></ul><ul><li>need to ‘hook’ them.   </li></ul><ul><li>Hook them with: </li></ul><ul><li>A punchy title or sub-title </li></ul><ul><li>Fun or imagination-grabbing illustrations </li></ul><ul><li>An introduction that makes it irresistible </li></ul><ul><li>The promise of FUN </li></ul>
    35. 36. Read the opening sentences of these children’s books: <ul><li>Old Granny Greengrass had her finger chopped off in the </li></ul><ul><li>butcher’s when she was buying half a leg of lamb… </li></ul><ul><li>( The Peppermint Pig by Nina Bawden) </li></ul><ul><li>Until he was four years old, James Henry Trotter had a </li></ul><ul><li>happy life… </li></ul><ul><li>( James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl) </li></ul><ul><li>Something was tickling his feet. His bare toes had come </li></ul><ul><li>into contact, buried under the quilt, with something odd… </li></ul><ul><li>( The Shapeshifter by Ali Sparkes) </li></ul>
    36. 37. A mysterious phantom haunted our school. No one ever saw him. No one knew where he lived. But he haunted our school for more than seventy years… ( Goosebumps by R L Stine) It was 7 minutes after midnight. The dog was lying on the grass in the middle of the lawn in front of Mrs Shears’ house. Its eyes were closed… ( The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon) What a lot of hairy-faced men there are around nowadays… ( The Twits by Roald Dahl)
    37. 38. Case study: Winchester Cathedral children’s trail All this does is confirm a child’s suspicion that cathedrals are boring!
    38. 40. Wake up! <ul><li>Cook up a hook… </li></ul>
    39. 41. 5) Create characters <ul><li>Children relate to children. People relate to people.  Think of all the </li></ul><ul><li>fantastic characters in today’s fiction, characters that children get to </li></ul><ul><li>know, become friends with: </li></ul><ul><li>Harry, Ron and Hermione (Harry Potter) </li></ul><ul><li>Lyra Belaqua and Will (Northern Lights) </li></ul><ul><li>Alex Rider (Stormbreaker) </li></ul><ul><li>Artemis Fowl and Holly Short (Artemis Fowl) </li></ul><ul><li>Think of the wizards and witches, dragons, ice bears, trolls, dwarves, </li></ul><ul><li>fairies, daemons and all the other wonderful creatures that fill </li></ul><ul><li>children’s books… </li></ul>
    40. 42. What characters and stories will ignite children’s imagination at your site? <ul><li>Who is going to tell the story? </li></ul><ul><li>How is he/she going to tell it – first person, in character? </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t just talk about the importance of a place, talk about the people who lived or worked there </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t just talk about the importance of artefacts – talk about the people who used them </li></ul><ul><li>What did children do in those times? Give your child visitors something to relate to </li></ul><ul><li>Give comparisons about life then and now </li></ul>
    41. 43. Wake up! <ul><li>Children’s books of today. </li></ul><ul><li>What’s hot, what’s not… </li></ul>
    42. 44.     6) Lose the parents! A top principle of any children’s story is to lose the parents! In fiction, children can’t have a ‘proper’ adventure if a parent or guardian is present. How many children’s stories can you think of (other than picture books for the youngest readers) where the child goes through the adventure together with an adult?
    43. 45.   For example: JK Rowling’s Harry Potter (orphan) Jacqueline Wilson’s Tracey Beaker stories (orphans) Phillip Pullman’s Northern Lights trilogy (one orphan, and one child with a single mum who happens to be ill) Enid Blyton’s Famous Five or Secret Seven books (parents are always away, so the kids are left in the care of weird or doddery relatives) Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach (parents eaten by an enormous angry rhinoceros!)  
    44. 46. How to lose the parents in interpretation: <ul><li>In interpretation, write your children’s guide so that the child can ‘lead’. </li></ul><ul><li>Let them run ahead and find things for themselves, explore, have an adventure, face danger (finding secret passages, dark dungeons, the witch’s tree, etc), then run back and show their parents what they’ve discovered… </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t produce a ‘family trail’ which is designed for mum and dad to use as a preaching tool as they frogmarch the kids around a site. </li></ul><ul><li>But equally don’t produce a children’s trail that excludes adults. Encourage inter-generational activities. Make it fun for the grown-ups too. </li></ul>
    45. 47. Magic moment <ul><li>Corfe Castle story </li></ul>
    46. 48. The big difference <ul><li>Interpretation is NOT a book on a wall. </li></ul><ul><li>Keep it short, snappy and fast-moving. </li></ul>
    47. 49. Case Study: New Corfe guide <ul><li>Casual mention of ‘ghost’ </li></ul><ul><li>and ‘dungeon’ on front cover! </li></ul><ul><li>Illustrations reconstruct the medieval world </li></ul><ul><li>Back cover summarises content </li></ul><ul><li>Toilet humour </li></ul><ul><li>NT best-seller </li></ul>
    48. 50. Case study: Contemporary art exhibition <ul><li>No right or wrong </li></ul><ul><li>Encourages kids to interview others </li></ul><ul><li>Have to give reasons why like or dislike </li></ul><ul><li>What each piece makes them feel </li></ul>
    49. 51. Case study: Ghosts’ trail <ul><li>Tells the ghost stories but asks kids to investigate </li></ul><ul><li>Have to rate each area ‘Ghost free zone’ or ‘Seriously spooky’ </li></ul><ul><li>Gallows and dungeons </li></ul><ul><li>Bogey jokes! </li></ul>
    50. 52. Case study: Tank Museum <ul><li>Life in a tank snippets </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Did you know’s? </li></ul><ul><li>Naughty names! </li></ul><ul><li>Toilet humour </li></ul>
    51. 53. Is he cracking the WW1 toilet joke?
    52. 54. Downe House audio trail <ul><li>Charles Darwin found school boring, thought his </li></ul><ul><li>university years were a waste of time, and felt sick </li></ul><ul><li>at the sight of blood! So how did he get to become </li></ul><ul><li>one of the world’s greatest scientists? Find out as </li></ul><ul><li>you follow this amazing audio trail … </li></ul>
    53. 55. Headings to hook them <ul><li>Bird-watching, that famous boat trip … and the importance of dead pigeons! </li></ul><ul><li>Boundary Oaks: Where Darwin got beetle-mania…but what was bugging his girlfriend? </li></ul><ul><li>The Church – and how Darwin managed to upset everyone… </li></ul><ul><li>Great House Meadow: Where Darwin went back to bees…and did weird experiments with worms! </li></ul>
    54. 56. Wild Things <ul><li>Aimed at 4-7 year olds </li></ul><ul><li>First introduction to wildlife </li></ul><ul><li>Give common animals and plants a memorable twist </li></ul><ul><li>Toilet humour – poo, bottoms and belching! </li></ul><ul><li>Used by lots of interpreters… </li></ul>
    55. 57. Summing up… Children’s text, whether fact or fiction, is not a dumbed-down version of adult text. Learning is like vegetable puree… The right words always have, still do, and always will, ignite children’s imagination.    
    56. 58. Magic moment <ul><li>Ben’s story </li></ul>
    57. 59. And finally, two messages…
    58. 60. A MESSAGE to children Who Have Read This Book When you grow up and have children of your own do please remember something important a stodgy parent is no fun at all What a child wants and deserves is a parent who is SPARKY (From Danny the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl)
    59. 61. A MESSAGE to Interpreters Who Have Attended This Seminar When you provide interpretation for children do please remember something important stodgy interpretation is no fun at all What a child wants and deserves is interpretation which is SPARKY (Cathy Lewis with a little help from Roald Dahl)
    60. 62. Cathy Lewis Email: cathy@froghopper-design.co.uk www.froghopper-design.co.uk

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