I spoke, in my last post, about the writing workshop I’d given at a local school (Ormiston South Parade Academy) and how much I enjoyed it.
Well, today, I had the chance to visit the school again and talk to first year pupils in Miss Huddleston’s Brazil class. My youngest daughter happens to be a pupil in the class and, I’m told, was pretty excited about her dad going in for a chat. He’s an author, apparently. She may have mentioned it once or twice.
I wondered if I’d find this a tougher job than previously. Miss Harding’s Italy class was wonderful and was thoroughly engaged in creating the story. Being a couple of years younger, I wasn’t sure if Brazil would want to join in or would keep their concentration – I know what my little girl is like!
I need not have worried. Not at all. I had, yet again, the most fantastic time.
I was asked if I wanted the children seated on the carpet around me or at their desks. As they were already gathered around, I opted for this. It was more informal and less like a class. Before I had really had the chance to introduce myself, they started asking questions. I couldn’t help but smile. There was I, wondering if I’d be able to get the children interested and actively participate, and they blew me away!
It was wonderful, from start to finish. I spoke about my books, my writing journey and read some of my work. The children were inquisitive and they were genuinely interested. They were a delight. I was so proud to be standing in front of my daughter’s class talking about my dreams and achievements.
Then we came to the exercise part of the session. The class’s topic at the moment is Superheroes (how cool). I’d deliberately worn my Superman t-shirt and Batman socks for the occasion. We were going to create a story, or more accurately a poem, all about superheroes. My favourite children’s book is The Gruffalo, one they’d recently read, so we were going to follow the story but with a super twist. I left all the choices to them, with me writing down the suggestions they made and then having a show of hands to decide what we’d use.
Firstly we needed the main character. As the new Doctor Who was announced yesterday, the wonderful Jodie Whittaker, they wanted the superhero to be female. Powers or no powers? Well, Superman can fly and has x-ray and laser eyes. Batman has no such abilities, and it was this that had the vote. How about a name? The animals we’d meet, instead of The Gruffalo’s fox, snake and owl? The monster? The setting? The name? For every aspect, the class had so many brilliant choices. Here they are:
- Super Jasper
- Agent Eagle Eyes
- Super Noah
- Super Roxy
- Loud monster
- Lava monster
- Professor fish
- Lava cave
- Dark woods
- Invisible bridge
- Dark hole
- Car with a magical road
- Dinosaur filled woods
- The Adventures of Roxy the Superhero (you’ll see why in a moment)
- The Horrible Woods
- Roxy and the Invisible Bridge
- Roxy and the Invisible Hole
- Roxy and the Invisible Trap
- The Dark Hole
- The Adventures of the Lava Monster
- The Terror Forest
As there was a stuffed raccoon called Roxy watching me in the class (she had sneaked up behind me without my noticing), it was soon decided that she would be the star of our show. From the myriad suggestions, we narrowed it down to… (drumroll please):
Super Roxy is a black suited raccoon who lives in the woods with an invisible bridge and a large, dark hole. She meets a woodpecker, a dog and a cat whilst doing battle with a lava monster. The title (due to a draw) will be The Adventures of Roxy the Superhero in the Terror Forest! And, if I can, it will be written to the tune of The Gruffalo! Well, they certainly made it easy for me – not!
So, let’s begin.
The Adventures of Roxy the Superhero in the Terror Forest
A raccoon took a stroll
Through the deep, dark wood.
The raccoon saw a lava monster
Up to no good
She ran up a tree
To put on her black suit
Then ran back down
As the beast melted the roots
It disappeared across a bridge
That nobody could see
And vanished down a hole
So dark nobody could see
Hmmm… it’s not quite to the tune of The Gruffalo. I’ll work on it and see what I can come up with. Perhaps, it’ll be a continuation of what I’ve written above, if matching the rhythm becomes a little difficult, but I’ll certainly do my best.
Either way, I’d like to say a huge thank you to the children of Miss Huddleston’s Brazil class. Your teacher commented that the workshop had been amazing. I can only agree. It was amazing, she was amazing and you, the pupils, were amazing. You were all superheroes!