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  1. LATEST NEWS!!!! 

    The morning session is full but we are putting on an extra session in the afternoon from 1pm - 2.30pm but hurry tickets selling fast!!!

     

    We are pleased to announce that we have teamed up with Hungerford Bookshop who stock our books, to run a Storytelling and Treasure Island Making event during half term. The event will take place on Thursday 20th February between 10am -11.30am at the United Reform Church, High Street, Hungerford, tickets are £3.50 available from the bookshop.

    We will be telling our pirate story Pojo and the Chest of Dreams, then we will be making our own treasure islands followed by a book signing. The event will be suitable for ages 3-9 years.

    Spaces are limited so book fast!

    hungerford bookshop poster

  2. rockets

    Well the new term has meant a return to my crafty storytelling at my local school. I have a different group this year. The teacher has given me a group of 5 Year 2 children as she wants to raise their self esteem and this group really love their crafts. There are a couple in the group who are not always fully engaged with school. <blog_break>

    It's great for me to have a slightly older group. I had a reception class last year. So you will find all the projects this year will be aimed at 6/7 year olds. So even if I revisit a topic that I did last year he crafts should reflect their greater level of dexterity.

    Over the summer I've been sorting out our stock to make way for the creative literacy kits we are launching. Whilst clearing out I came across this foam rocket kit. 

    pack

    I can't remember the reason for buying it now but I thought the kids would love it. I also think this is easy to re-create without having bought the kit. 

    So with rockets in mind I found these stories.

    edward built a rocketship  we have lift off  my sister is an alien  zoom rocket zoom 

    Edward built a rocketship

    by Michael Rack

    We have lift off

    by Sean Taylor

    My Sister is an 

    Alien

    by Rachel Bright  

    Zoom Rocket Zoom by 

    Margaret Mayo and 

    Alex Ayliffe

     

    All the kids were familiar with My sister is an Alien. With the aid of a couple of factual books from the classroom Edward Built a Rocketship led us to talk about planets and the solar system. If I was to do this session again I probably wouldn't include Zoom Rocket Zoom, I don't feel it added anything to the session and the rhyming is not as good as the author's other books.

    Anyway back to the rockets, I had prepared the rockets by putting double sided foam strip down the long edge of the biggest piece of foam (30x17cm) and across the top edge. We then rolled the foam to make a long tube.

    tube

    cone flat cone

    We made the cone from a semi circular piece (dia 16cm) again I had already placed foam strip along one edge. We then placed it on top of the tube by removing the paper from the tape that I put along the top edge. We pushed the fins through the pre-cut holds and I help tap them down on the inside of the tube whilst the kids decorated the rockets.

    rockets

    A successful mission sorry session with the kids fully engaged and they've learnt a bit more about planets.

  3. Whilst reading yesterday's letter to the The Telegraph from leading educationists I was pleased to see their call for a more play based curriculum.

    Inevitably the media has focused on the call for children to start school later, this has meant the call for more play based learning has been overshadowed. This letter and most studies have focused on play based learning for the under 5s. I believe play based learning has a role at all ages. When we have a good experience whilst learning we retain the knowledge better. We have something to ground that knowledge to. For instance <blog_break>when I'm in schools telling our Chest of Dreams story there is a section where the characters follow the points of a compass to lead them to the treasure. So whilst I'm telling the story or just after I get the kids to follow the directions in the book. As the children have experience of using the compass points during the game they remember them. Should later on they need to recall the information they can go back in their minds to that experience.

    Play based learning is also valuable for dyslexics as they learn best through a multi sensory approach. If they were to read the same information about the compass points, they may struggle to understand it as their concentration will be on reading the words rather than understanding the meaning. However if they learn through experience they are more receptive and can easily understand the meaning. As dyslexia is massively under diagnosed there maybe many undiagnosed children in a class.

    So I think Mr Gove's dismissal of the letter mean that he is missing a great opportunity to give kids a lasting education rather than just equipping children to past tests and putting a whole group of kids at a disadvantage..

  4. Last November I wrote a blog explaining how we will be concentrating on our Create and Show range so I wanted to fill you in on what we have been up to and how you can help us by supporting our crowd funding projects. 

    We have created 3 more stories all based on a character called Pojo, but more about those in a moment. We have also done more research into the educational value of the story kits and found that they are a great vehicle for teaching various subjects, this has shaped the themes of the latest stories and those we have up our sleeves for the future. As well as teaching various topics the stories and play also help teach the literacy curriculum by promoting oral skills, drama and reading for Key Stage 2, Key Stage 1 and EarlyYears Foundation Stage.

    We have also been researching dyslexia, which is still under diagnosed. As the kits are, by their very nature, multi sensory, they are a great way to teach all kids, whether they are dyslexic or not. 

    We are launching a crowd funding campaign so that we can reach as many schools as possible to see our projects and a short video explaining a bit more about the kits please see our support us page.

    Anyway back to the stories. Each story has been adapted for young readers of KeyStage 2 age and early readers of EYFS and key stage 1 ages. Pojo, the main character, is a little toy dog belonging to a young boy called Sam. When Sam goes off to sleep Pojo gets itchy paws and goes off on little adventures.

    The first three stories are:

    Pojo and King Tut Tut's Lost Treasure

    Pojo and Caz the camel find themselves in Egypt where they help an archaeologist, Howard, find the stolen treasure from King Tut Tut's tomb. 

     nilepyramids_resized                                           
    painteddigger_resized

    Pojo Saves the Rainforest

    Pojo finds himself in the rainforests of Costa Rica where he meets Mono a howler monkey, Cedro the sloth, Toco the Toucan and has a close encounter with Alfredo the Alligator. The blog of our recent testing of this kit can be found here.

     Pojo and the Chest of Dreams

    This is a pirate adventure story. Pojo is shipwrecked and is rescued by Captain Goodheart and his crew, they go in search of the Chest of Dreams. The chest only grants the dreams and wishes of those who have been good.

    Rival pirates Captain Blackheart and his crew try to take the chest. The blog about our testing of this kit is here.

    paintedpojocrowsnest_resized

    We believe every child deserves to be taught creatively as well as it being a fun way to learn it also improves the way the knowledge is retained. So please help support us by clicking here.

  5. Today we joined a holiday club to test our Pojo Saves the Rainforest Create and Show kits. It was quite a large group with a wide range of ages but we successfully managed to test both the Early Years and Young Readers kits.

    We brought them all together for the storytelling and a discussion about Costa Rica and the animals that live there. One of the staff commented to me that it was the first time that they had seen the whole group engaged in one activity for such a long time which was really good to hear.

    After the storytelling we split them into two groups, Tonya took the youngest members to test the early years kit, whilst I took the older ones to test the young readers kit.

    I'm always terrible at remembering to take photos of our testing sessions as I am always so involved with the group but knowing that we will soon be putting together a video for our crowdfunding projects I did manage to take the little clip.

     

    Tonya then went back through the story with the early years group. The kids loved making the animal noises especially the growling whooping sound of the howler monkey and really interacting with the story.

    The play went down well with my group as well. A few minor changes as always but a great success and the kids learnt a lot about the deforestation of the rainforests.

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