Friday's school visit went really well - it was lovely to be able to take my time and get to know the children better over the course of a whole day. Plus, they've been working with their teacher on the theme of Heroes and Villains, which suited my workshops perfectly.
Teachers tell me they can get the class to come up with characters, but it's hard to find ways to get the children to weave them into a continous narrative. So that's what we concentrated on.
I helped them all to think up an animal hero or villain, then each child create quite a detailed A3 drawing, placing their character in an incident, with a proper background and plenty of narrative content. Then I asked them to imagine their drawing was one page from a story. We drew a line representing the total length of the story, and considered whereabouts on the time-line their illustration fell: nearer the beginning or the end?
We didn't actually write until well into the afternoon: the children were only 7 years old, so the thinking and planning was more important. When we did start to write, I got them to decide on the most exciting bit of their plot and begin there, so each story started with a bang to get the listener hooked, just like they often do in films.
They were lovely kids and I had great fun, which is just as well, as I am going to repeat the same workshop twice more this week, with other Y3 classes at the same school.
In case you were wondering, these watercolour pencil sketches are unrelated to the workshop: they were done on the train there and back. There were limited easy victims around me, so I also drew the clouds out of the window. You can see more of my train sketchbooks on my website and read about some of my other school workshops here.
If you would be interested in a school visit, just drop me an email. You might also be interested in the new Learning Resources section of my website.