Category Archives: Brighton

The Long Horned Snig Beetle, Rheracross Beetle and all the brilliant beetles!

The Stanford Beetle Brigade’s brilliant adopted author M. G Leonard got in touch with the team this week and shared a photograph of herself with her pets, and yep of course her awesome pets are beetles!

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The brigade had lots of brilliant beetle questions  for M.G Leonard and a few of their own Battle of the Beetle theories….!

Dear Maya,

We hope you are doing well? We’ve been enjoying the story very much so far. We just got to the bit where Lucrecia cutter visited the cousins. We have a suspicion that Baxter is Darkus’ dad. We think this because beetles don’t usually like the rain and his dad took an umbrella with him even on non-rainy days. We also have another two theories, one being that Lucrecia cutter turned Darkus’ dad into a beetle. The other theory is that Bartholemew created a mixture\potion that turns you into a beetle.

Jay would like to know what your favourite beetle is between a rhinoceros beetle and a long horn beetle.

Clara wants to know where you got the idea to use a rhinoceros beetle.

Spike wants to know what the best part of the book is in your opinion.

Yours sincerely, Spike Bird and the Stanford beetle brigade.

 

 

 

They also shared some amazing pictures of their very own beetle creations! I wonder if we could keep any as pets…?

M. G. Leonard had some fantastic feedback and answers to class questions, but will she reveal any clues to the their story suspicions?!

Dear Spike Bird and the Stanford Beetle Brigade,

I’m so glad you are enjoying the story. You may like to know that the characters of Humphrey and Pickering were inspired by one of my favourite books of all time, The Twits by Roald Dahl. I think they are very funny and I hope you do too.

 I’m afraid I can’t help you with your suspicions and theories because I don’t want to accidentally give away the ending, but I delight in hearing what you think may be going on.

  • My favourite beetle is the Australian Rainbow Stag, because I keep them as pets. And you always love your pet better than any other type of creatures, but between a rhinoceros beetle and a long horn, I would always chose a rhinoceros beetle. They are awesome.
  • I chose a rhinoceros beetle because they are the strongest creature on the planet, but even though the look deadly, they can’t really hurt you and they are vegetarians who love bananas and hide during the day. I loved the idea that something that looked scary was actually friendly, which is one of the themes of my books.
  • The best part of the book is a battle that happens at the end, and I don’t want to spoil it by giving anything away, but needless to say, it’s beetles versus bad guys. It was great fun to write.

Thank-you so much for the pictures of beetles you have created. They are awesome. I loved the name of the Long Horned Snig Beetle, and Karmen, Flowerroseno is ADORABLE! The Rheracross beetle reminded me of a crazy pokemon, and Ramer the glow wing beetle is so cool he should have a book all to himself. I couldn’t see the name of the brightly coloured beetle but it was fantastic. I’m really impressed by all your hard work.

Until next time Standford Beetle Brigade!

Team AAA
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Fishy goings on at Carden Primary

Hmmmmm….there’s something fishy about Carden’s third task this week…..read on to see what Imogen set her team…

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Solve your own local mystery!

As you know, I like to use elements of local history in my creative writing, but I also like to call them local mysteries… For today’s task, I have found a Local Mystery that needs your help to solve.

The Case of the Missing Lumpfish

Some aspects of this mystery are true, and others are made up. I want your investigation into this episode to be full of imagination and clue solving – and to be as creative and inventive as you like!

Our mystery is set in the Brighton Aquarium. Hopefully many of you have been lucky enough to visit this incredible place already. It was built in the Victorian age by the same architect who designed Brighton’s West Pier, (which features in The Amber Pendant,) and to this day, it’s still full of all the old-fashioned tanks that were used when it opened. I love the aquarium – I think its brimming with atmosphere, and a great place to set our mystery!

When the Brighton Aquarium was opened in 1872, many exotic species of sea life were acquired from across the globe – they even had a dolphin at one point. However, not all of them were suitable to be kept in captivity, and many of them sadly died. But people were so fascinated by these creatures of the deep that they would travel from far and wide to see these animals for themselves.

But in May 1873 something very strange happened: A number of fish started to go missing… And, weirder still, the room they were going missing from was always locked and sealed. No one could work out who could have stolen them – or how they could have got the missing creatures in or out.

MakingThe Case of the Missing Lumpfish a locked room mystery…

(By the way, ‘A Locked Room Mystery,” is a crime committed that is really hard to work out how the criminal got in, as the doors were locked, or how they could do it without being detected.)

Now, some of you may already know who was responsible (as this event really did happen!) but I want you to keep the answer to yourselves. This task isn’t really about getting it right, it’s about inventing the most interesting motives. I want you to think up the details behind this mystery: who or what stole the fish, and why they might have taken them…

As I mentioned before, not all my facts are a hundred percent true. Just like my books, I take something from local history and use it as inspiration for my stories, and I’d like you to do the same.

Your task today is to:

Solve the Case of the Missing Lumpfish…

The Victims

The Lumpfish of Brighton Aquarium:

“Lumpsuckers or lumpfish are mostly small marine fish. They are found in the cold waters of the Arctic, North Atlantic, and North Pacific oceans.” (Wikipedia)

I’ve drawn you a picture of a lumpfish! They look a bit like this.

(For the purpose of our mystery, Team Carden, the particular variety of Lumpfish stolen from the Aquarium are extremely rare and valuable…)

The Crime Scene

A locked room inside the Brighton Aquarium.

All the entrances to the aquarium were locked each night and the fish counted. But, each and every night, a number of these lumpfish kept disappearing. The only clue was a trail of water across the floor that trickled into the drain. (The drain led to an underground sewer system, leading to the sea. But is big enough for someone, or something to crawl through.)

The Task:

For this task, you are the detective in charge of the investigation.

Step One: Choose a suspect

I need you, firstly, to work out who or what stole these fish. I have put together a list of suspects who might be behind our crime.

The Suspects:

Milly Mayforth: twelve-year-old child genius and animal rights activist. She had recently been moved on from outside the Aquarium holding a handmade sign reading, ‘Sea Creatures belong in the Sea, not in tanks!”

Mr Brown:Local Fish and Chips Restaurant Owner. Who had a passion for frying up more exotic varieties of sea life.

Miss Lucile Lovegood:International collector of unusual and rare sea creatures. Who had recently been turned down on her offer to buy some of the Aquariums Lumpfish for her private collection.

Billie Buster:Chief tank cleaner and local gangster. He had the keys to the room.

Or, perhaps, it was one of the creatures contained in the tanks surrounding the Lumpfish:

The Lobster

The Octopus

The Large Sea Turtle

Or, anyone or anything else you can think of! I don’t mind if you introduce a Sewer Monster or something! Anything you like!

Step Two:

Now you have your suspect(s), you need to work out what their motive might have been. What did they want the lumpfish for – and why?

Step Three:

How did your suspect(s) carry out the crime? And what did they want the fish for? Consider the evidence again: the room was locked, and all of the fish counted each night. How did your suspect(s) get in? Were they helped by anyone? What is the significance of the water on the floor?

(If you have time, write your detective deductions out in a paragraph summarizing how you worked it out!)

GOOD LUCK TEAM CARDEN PRIMARY!

I can’t wait to hear how you go about solving this local mystery. Who you put in the frame, why they did it and how!

 

WHALE obviously Team Carden really took the oppor-TUNA-ty and to show of their BRILL-iant detective GILLS. (sorry) Have a looks at their fantastic work here and why not have a go at seeing if you can solve the FISHtery yourselves!

 

So how did you all get on? I have to say us at AAA HQ were flummoxed!

Fortunately Imogen didn’t leave us with the mystery unsolved…. read on if you want to find out what happened….

The True Suspect of the 1873 Case of the Missing Lumpfish was… (Open envelope…)

Answer: The Octopus! (All the other suspects were made up!)

Octopuses are highly intelligent and clever creatures. The one they have in the aquarium nowadays is given Lego blocks and a rocking horse to play with to keep him entertained!

Octopuses can breathe and move out of water for short periods of time and they have the ability to camouflage themselves into their environment – their very own cloak of invisibility. They can also crawl through tiny spaces and squirt out ink – a super villain indeed!

(They also happen to be one of my favourite creatures.)

The octopus in question was a new resident in the room at the aquarium. Each night, under cloak of darkness, he would slip free from his tank and dine on the delicious lumpfish. But by morning, before daybreak, he’d have slunk back inside to his tank looking totally innocent. No one suspected him at all – or realised he could survive out of water and leave his tank. It was only when a worker at the aquarium turned up earlier than usual and caught the octopus red handed inside the lumpfish’s tank that the mystery was finally solved!

So, the water trail in the room was him crawling around.

The suspect’s motive: because he was hungry. And the reason the octopus snuck back each night was because octopuses are nocturnal, so their natural behaviour is to hunt by night, returning to their lairs during the hours of daylight to sleep! So, after all that, the octopus was just behaving normally…

Case solved! I bet your versions of this event are even crazier, and I can’t wait to hear them.

If you are interested in finding out more about the real event, you can find an account here:http://thegentlemanangler.com/fish-species/disappearing-lump-fish-2/1339/

What an amazing task – the Carden really loved this one! We can’t wait for the next instalment!

Team AAA
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Carden’s BADDIES! *READ AT YOUR OWN RISK*

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Week 2 of Adopt an Author and Rose Muddle Mysteries author Imogen White didn’t hold back in encouraging Carden’s Year 6 to unlock their creative bad side…

Task Two is all about BADDIES! I want you to think about what makes them tick… what makes them bad… and most importantly of all what is their weakness. All great baddies need a weakness.

I LOVE writing baddies, and I have quite a few in my books. I have the ancient warlord Verrulf, the dastardly members of the Brotherhood of the Black Sun and the perfectly ‘perfect’ Missy, who looks like butter wouldn’t melt, but is in fact properly NASTY!

Eeeeek! I don’t know about you but I’m sensing we need to prepare ourselves for some bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad B.A.D eggs to appear before us… Any. Minute.

Team Carden Baddie Discussion:

Before you get stuck into creating your own baddie, take a moment to talk about the kind of book villains you love to hate! What makes them such fabulous villains for you? What do they look like? What does their name make you think of? What motivates them?

To help you along, here is a list of the top ten children’s book villains voted in a poll by National Book Tokens to celebrate World Book Day this year:

Top 10 Most Evil Villains
Lord Voldemort (Harry Potter series)
Dolores Umbridge (Harry Potter series)
Cruella de Vil (The Hundred and One Dalmatians)
The White Witch (The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe)
Miss Trunchbull (Matilda)
Bellatrix Lestrange (Harry Potter series)
Bill Sikes (Oliver Twist)
The Grand High Witch (The Witches)
Count Olaf (A Series of Unfortunate Events)

Which one is your favourite? Or, are there some others that aren’t on this list?

Voldemort is probably one of my favourite baddies of all time. From his bald head and slit-like nostrils, he commands any room he walks into… Yikes!

He is so evil that he would kill at will – in fact, he was even prepared to kill a baby.

Why do you think Voldemort became the way he is? What made him so bad? Or, was he always like this?

My thoughts: Voldemort, or Tom Riddle as he was, started off in a terrible orphanage where no one really cared for him. Maybe he might have been ‘brilliant’ in a different way if the start of his life had been better? Who knows…

I see Dolores Umbridge is on this list too. Wow! What a super villain she is! I love how she seems so nice, all dressed in pink and her passion for adorable kittens! And her sweetness and light voice – always smiling, even when she is saying or doing something utterly horrid!

Villains that seem like they are one thing – but then turn out to be something else, I think work really well.

What other characters can you think of that are like this? Perhaps you can find some on the list?

Now it’s time to create your own baddies…

I would like you to create your very own BADDIES! I want to see an army of them, and I want them BADDER THAN BAD!

These baddies could be used in the story you started last week, or they could be developed for use in another story.

By the end of this task, you should have a dastardly, but believable, baddie of your very own.

To make a really believable baddie, there are a few things to think about. See if you can answer these questions:

Q1: What is your baddie called?

Try and choose a memorable name, that might also give away a bit about their character. I think all my mother-in-law’s friends all sound like baddies, because they give each other funny nicknames! Perhaps some of these might inspire you…

Pat the Hat, Pick Axe Pat, Scary Mary, John the Scissors, (because he is a barber) Gappy Pete, Jack the Frame (he is an artist,) The Duke, Race Along Rita, and Hairy Harry.

You can see that lots of them rhyme or have alliteration, which makes them memorable! You can use one of these if you like or make up one of your own.

Q2: Does your baddie have special powers?

You can go really wild here! Do they have laser eyes, for example? Can they fly? Are they incredibly strong? When they eat nuts, do they turn into a squirrel? The wackier the better, I think…

It might be fun to tie these powers into their name? Hairy Harry for example, might have a massive beard that he hides things in? Racy Along Rita might run really fast…

(If you are following on from your opening last week, you may want to connect them to your found object – perhaps, your baddie is after it? Or scared of it?)

Q3: What does your baddie want to achieve – what is their goal?

What is your baddie’s end goal? World domination is always a popular one, but you could choose anything – and it’s good to think about the world that they’re operating in. Do they want to steal money, gold, or lots of chocolate? Do they want to become your headteacher and take over the school? Are they trying to kidnap your granny? Or do they want to become Prime Minister?

Or, again, you might like to think how you could tying this in to your previous story?

Q4: Where does your baddie come from?

Maybe they come from space? Or another country, another time in history? Or from your freezer! – you could choose absolutely anything. I’d like to see some really crazy ideas for this!

Q5: What does your baddie look like?

What do they wear? How do they speak? Do they appear to be really nice and normal – but it’s only to hide their more sinister side? Or perhaps they sport a super-villain costume?

Q6: What made your baddie so bad?

Were they born bad? Or did something happen to make them the way they are? Have a think, a good back story really helps to make your baddie believable, and also helps you to understand them more. You can have a think back to some of the villains we talked about above too, and what their backgrounds were.

Q7: What is their weakness?

As you discussed earlier, your baddie having a weakness really helps them come to life. And it also gives your main character a chance to overcome them.

By the way, if I was a baddie, my weakness would be mayonnaise! I can’t abide the stuff. (I’m shuddering at the very thought!)

And that’s it! Hopefully by the end of this you will have developed your very own CARDEN PRIMARY BADDIE ARMY! Scary stuff indeed…

GOOD LUCK Carden Primary – I can’t wait to meet your baddies!

*Rushes off to hide…*

*cowering in the corner* is it safe to come out????!!!!! Well no. quite frankly it isn’t and quite frankly if you are of a nervous disposition, you might want to look away now…. because Carden have created some of the baddest creatures in the cosmos  (be brave be brave and please please don’t give us nightmares!!!)

 

 

We are all a bit terrified and hope never to encounter the Black Knight, Bad Bob, Snaky Saisha, Dead Beatrice and the rest of the horrifying gang IRL.

Equally frightened was Imogen….

WOW! I am so super impressed by the work you did on this task! The amount of creativity and ideas you showed when developing your own baddies totally blew me away! You are all really great storytellers. Huge congratulations!

(Your baddies actually gave me goosepimples!)
I have written each of you a little note on your work…

Oo, ‘Black Beard.’ A great name! How sad that Bob, (as he was previously known!) was badly bullied and called a nerd – this made me feel sorry for him and gave the character more depth, and therefore more believable. Great stuff!
But then… Bob got so annoyed he began to change… His blue eyes turned dark red. Yikes! And his hair too. I love the idea of him running to his garage as the full change takes control, and hebecomes…
Black Beard! (Did he ever get a black beard by the way?) Oh, my word, he really does go bonkers doesn’t he! I’m terrified of him!

Best of all I love that his weakness is HOTDOGS! – who would have thought! I really loved the addeddetail of, ‘especially those with mustard in!’ I am so glad you gave Black Beard a weakness, so someone can overcome him – otherwise I would have sleepless nights! Great task work here. Well done!

‘The Black Knight’ sounds really dastardly! I loved his red eyes, and how you had developed a nemesis for him, ‘The Red Knight.’ Excellent!
You also gave him a really great backstory about why he became so bad. How he failed in a knight mission – an event he never recovered from. This detail really helped me understand why he became the way he is, making him more believable as a character. You followed this task perfectly.
BRILLIANT work!

Sintha Star is very disturbing! Well done! I loved how she isn’t normal because she is from Mars! Ace! And her big hair, and her ‘cold soul eyes like ice’ – what a fabulous description. Really impressed! And then, you managed to introduce your ‘orb’ from the previous task too! Full marks. What a great story!

‘Snaky Saisha is really cold blooded.” This opening line had me hooked straight away! Fabulous. And I loved the alphabet part, where she could say all the letters perfectly until she got to ‘s’, Ssssss. This idea was really in keeping with her snaky character – which I thought was brilliant! I felt really sorry for her when her classmates were mean to her – and then she turned BAD! This backstory gave your baddie real depth. Well done, you totally nailed this task!

I loved the way you described your baddie, ‘Dead Beatrice.’ A teenager with ‘royal red hair,’ and, ‘sky blue eyes,’ and how you made her complexion spotty and that she wore a long black leather coat. I can totally visualize her. Fantastic work!

But, WOW, didn’t she turn spectacularly BAD! Doing away with her own mother! YIKES! That is sooo BAD!
You also managed to give her a weakness – that being ‘Love.’ But more than that, it was a teenager type of love – falling for a boy, which again is in keeping with her character. Well done you. Great work!
Then, to top it all off, you managed to include your ‘bronze amulet’ from last week! Totally brilliant! And Dead Beatrice’s goal is world domination – NO! (I am quaking in my boots!) – thank goodness you gave her that weakness, so someone could overcome her! Super, fabulous work!

I really like how you started up your story, “…when something happened…” It certainly made me want to read on!
The Red Knight sure did have a sad start to life, which made me feel sorry for him. But now he’s gone BAD, all down to that fantastic sword you created last week! The one from The Fire Age! Brilliant work. The Red Knight is now half black and half red, equally full of darkness and death. He really is a proper sounding baddie, well done! You also managed to include his motivations – getting that sword back! – which is also his weakness. Excellent.
My favourite bit was how he graffitied the word ‘MAD,’ all over his castle – ‘The Tilted Towers.’ Ha! I love this – what a nutcase! You have totally nailed this task. Brilliant!

‘Bad Bob’ – a great baddie name! Very memorable. I love how he wasn’t always bad… once he was just Bob! This really made me laugh! I’m glad his mother at least loved him. Until… he went on that school trip to that chemical plant! And you left me on the cliffhanger of all cliffhangers… Bob stuck in that vat of chemicals… Oh no! My word, I so want to know what happened next. I love Bob already. Great work, and nice clear story telling. Fabulous!

‘Stealer Sam’ is a great baddie name. I felt so bad for him being sent to the orphanage – not because he didn’t have family, but because his parents couldn’t get a big enough family home to keep him. This is so sad – it made me feel really sorry for him. Great work on this backstory! But, who could have thought that a bite from his cute, fluffy pet mouse, ‘Bubbles,’ could have had such an effect on Sam. This part is totally brilliant! Because, the next day he transformed into Stealer
Sam – his hair turned black, he was now wearing a black cloak, and, (my favourite detail…) bright blue trousers. He felt very ANGRY!
I found your story totally fabulous, and I so want to know more about Bubbles the mouse. Where on earth is he from and how comes he has these devastating powers? Does he have an outfit too? I loved it, well done!

Mystery Mark – is a totally great name, it makes me immediately intrigued. I love how no one sees him or what he’s up to. These traits suit his name perfectly. Ace.
Mystery Mark started out so nice, didn’t he? But then he went from being bullied to becoming a bully himself. Very sad – and a great backstory.
Well done for bringing in the Sarsen Stone from last week’s task. But, I was interested to know whether Mystery Mark felt drawn to touch the stone in the museum – is that why he broke the glass? I really love this and want to know what exactly happened when he touched it. This is such an intriguing idea and his character is wonderful. Best of all, for me, is that the only way to overcome Mystery Mark is to talk very calmly to him, even when he is shouting and being very
angry. Excellent! (Another thing I thought of, with his name being ‘Mystery Mark,’ I wondered whether maybe he could have a symbol of some sort? An actual mystery mark of his very own, perhaps have it on his top or something? What do you think?)
I love your amazing ideas. Well done!

Your baddie, ‘Tigger Tiger’ is a nasty teacher – I love how her name sounds all friendly and nice, when really, she is dangerous!
Wow! Excellent detail about her being so hungry at the orphanage that she would escape at night and hunt like a tiger. I love how this detail ties in with her name.
And Tigger Tiger is after the magic zoo book you found in task one! Well done for getting this in. I am very intrigued to find out what happens next! Fantastic.

Great idea having your baddie, ‘Tragic Trophy,’ starting off good but explaining how his dastardly parents sent him bad!
And well done too on getting your magic trophy involved from last week’s task! I love the trophy’s magic powers – how it can give its owner the ability to mind read. Ace. And also arm cannons and makes them able to fly! Wow – I can totally see why his evil parents want it so badly! Great work!

‘Dimond is an evil woman,’ – oo, I love this straight away!
I adore Dimond’s costume she wore before she turned bad: pigtails, dungarees and pink glasses! – I can really see this in my mind. Brilliant!
Great idea that the Science Fair turned her bad too.
Dimond being trapped in a ship bottle is a very interesting idea – a bit like a genie? But then, she snuck off each night to burgle rich people’s jewels. But, best of all, I LOVE how only mustard can defeat her! Ha! Brilliant! A great task!

‘Deadly Dan,’ – I think is a great and memorable baddie name. I love the set up of Deadly Dan being rich and owning everything he ever wanted. And, I really like dogs being his weakness – I think you could have a lot of fun with this! Especially as it’s a dog that runs off with the family’s money! (is this the moment he cracks and becomes Deadly Dan?) A great start here – with some fabulous ideas!

‘Miss Bee likes eating humans…’ What an opening line – I was totally hooked! Well done. She’s a human bee – who looks like an ordinary girl. A genius idea. I love it. (I really want to know what she wears? In my mind she wears a yellow and black stripy jumper!)

Then she eats her friends and they become her worker bees – which is frightening and brilliant! – I love how the facts of your story reflect real bee behaviour. It is quite a horror story, isn’t it! You certainly have a very brilliant imagination! Great stuff!

‘Mal’s’ back story about how her best friend’s betrayal and her brother’s death is so very sad! I was really impressed that you got in your bracelet from last week’s task! Excellent. I really want to know how this bracelet is going to make her all powerful, so she can take her revenge and rule the world – Mwa-ha- haha!
I loved how you made her allergic to prawns, and I did wonder if her best friend, (who betrayed her,) would know this and perhaps use it against her? – what do you think? Fabulous work!

‘Keeper Kev,’ is a great name! I love how you chose him because you are a goalkeeper! (I thought he was going to go around keeping everything he found when I first heard his name! – I like your idea much more.) Poor Keeper Kev getting bullied like that. I felt so sorry for him, especially because the teachers didn’t
help him at all. But, WOW, that magic potion turned things around for him, didn’t it?
I totally adore his super long arms and legs – a brilliant goalkeeper super power to get hold of! FANTASTIC! I love how no one can get a goal against him. Ha!
I’m not sure if Keeper Kev is a baddie or not? Because, I really like him and want him to succeed. (Although putting salad cream in my sandwiches, as he did to the others, would floor me – what with my mayonnaise problem!) But, what you have created is a fantastic character in Keeper Kev. He is really well thought out and I am super impressed! Well done you!

I love your description of your baddie ‘Marv’s’ hair – ‘black like tarmac.” A great description. I also enjoyed how you gave Marv, a button nose and blue eyes – he sounds cute and harmless. But looks can be deceptive, because he is really evil! A great contrast here – well done! Well done too for getting your magic football back in from last week! The one found at the Waterhall that smelt of wet dog! (I loved that description!) What I wanted to know at the end, was how Marv uses the powers of his teleporting football to his advantage? – To become, perhaps, an even bigger villain? Well done – I really enjoyed this!

I love how colourful your baddie, ‘Silly Billy’s’ clothes are. And, wow! that cup of coffee really did transform him into someone evil and angry, didn’t it? I love how he wants that magic teleporting football to himself! (The one that you cleverly included from last week’s task!) His weakness of tomato sauce made me laugh too! I think you could have a lot of fun with this! I must say, you have really lovely handwriting! And your story has some super ideas. I really want to know how Silly Billy would use that teleporting football now! Well done!

Ooo…’Deathsythe’ – what a fabulous baddie name. I love his black hair and purple eyes – they totally compliment his name, don’t they? I want to know where that transforming purple cloud came from? It’s brilliant! Oh. My. Word. Deathsythe eats human shadows? – erm, yes please! This is totally fantastic! I love it.
I really want to read on and discover how Deathsythe gets defeated now! A really BRILLIANT idea. A massive thumbs up from me!

Super brilliant work from my super brilliant Adopt an Author Team at Carden Primary!

You have developed an army of truly terrifying baddies. Full of interesting backstories that explain why your baddies became the way they are. And amazing evil super powers and objects – and some really inventive weaknesses too. You have really impressed (and terrified!) me this week. Wonderful!

Wow Carden amazing work! We can’t wait to see what you’ve in store for us next week!

Team AAA
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The Stanford Beetle Brigade BEGINS!

The Stanford Beetle Brigade are ready and reporting for their duties! And it didn’t take long for their adoptee officer M.G. Leonard to set this eager lot some brilliant Beetle Boy tasks!

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You’ve got to really know your beetles, so M. G. Leonard asked everyone to create a fun filled beetle fact file!

Dear Maya
We were really over-joyed when we received our first e-mail. We have been busy creating our beetle fact files….

Stanford Beetle Brigade = experts in beetles! Have a look at some of their lovely work!

 

 

With their heads full of beetle facts they turned their attention to M. G. Leonard’s own beetle passion with some questions for her….

What made you interested in beetles?

Does your whole family like beetles?

Do you have any pet beetles?

How long have you been interested by beetles?

What is your favourite book that you have written?

What is your favourite beetle?

Are you thinking of writing any more books?

We hope you like the work we have sent you so far and we are looking forward to seeing what’s next.

We are enjoying the book so far!

Thank you for letting us adopt you!

Best beetle wishes

Stanford beetle brigade!

Stay tuned for M. G Leonard’s answer’s and more superb work from Stanford Juniors!

Team AAA
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INTRODUCING 2018’S ADOPTED AUTHORS!

We are currently experiencing same level excitement as Charlie Bucket, you know when he peels away the foil from his golden ticket chocolate bar??!! Yes, yes, we are THAT EXCITED….. because we can now reveal the Brighton & Hove primary classes who have successfully ADOPTED THEIR 2018 AUTHOR’S…..

*coughs* DRUM ROLL PLEEEEEEASE:

HELLO AUTHORS!

HELLO SCHOOLS!

We are absolutely thrilled that Rob Lloyd Jones will be returning to the project to take Year 6 from Mile Oak on a fantastic adventure with his wonderful book Wild Boy.

Next up we welcome Imogen White to the project who will be introducing Carden Primary to Rose Muddle in The Amber Pendent – an exciting magical mystery full of captivating twists and turns…..

Alex Milway brings to Benfield Primary the adventures of Pigsticks, the world’s most optimistic pig, and his sidekick Harold, an over-anxious hamster in his joyous and hilarious story Pigsticks and Harrold.

And finally, M. G. Leonard will be sharing insights into her beautiful and brave Beetle Boy to Year 5 & 6 Stanford Juniors. We can’t wait!

Running for 15 years by Collected Works as a Brighton Festival project, Adopt an Author is a very special programme promoting literacy and encouraging creative writing and illustrating. Over 10 weeks children will be corresponding with their paired writers, sharing thoughts on the book and making intriguing discoveries about the creative process. Pupils will be posing questions to the authors such as – ‘what encouraged you to be a writer?’ and ‘if you were stranded on a desert island and only had two historical people for company who would you choose and why?’ – I bet that one’s got you thinking!

Please check back for updates on what is going to be a very exciting Adopt An Author 2018!

 

 

Rock & Ryhmes

Over to St Luke’s Adopted Author Ali Sparkes who’s set a rad rhyming challenge….

Hello again, 5P!

I know you’re all reading Dark Summer so I wonder if you can guess what kind of rock this is…

To give you a clue, I found this at the top end of a pot hole in the Mendip Hills in Somerset while I was there researching for Dark Summer. I got to meet the people who run the Wookey Hole Caves tours – and they showed me the places where tourists don’t usually get to go including an amazing miniature cave, filled with tiny stalactites and stalagmites and frozen rivers of rock. It was beautiful but you could only reach it up a ladder, with a torch, which is why the public don’t normally go there. While I was there the cave manager agreed to turn off the torch so I could experience the ultimate DARKNESS. It was quite something. It was so utterly dark it felt like someone had pushed black velvet against my eyeballs.

I also got to meet a cave diver and rescue guy (the one called Dan who is in the story is based on Dany, who helped me with my research). He told me exactly how cave rescues work and little details like the warm oyxgen canisters they use to revive injured cavers, which they call Little Dragons.

Anyway, you’ll know by now that one of the things Eddie loves is messing around with words. You’ll have noticed that I messed around with the words to the song I WILL SURVIVE. I hope you all know it and can hear the music in your head as Eddie’s singing ‘…and then I spent so many nights remembering you look like King Kong and I grew strong… ‘cos girls with that much hair are wrong…’

Changing the lyrics to songs is a really good way of learning about rhyming and rhythm. Many people can rhyme words but not so many people can get then to scan correctly. This means the rhythm is right and when you read it out loud it really works. You should always read a rhyming poem you’ve written out loud to check the rhythm is right. An author who is really good at this is Dr Seuss who wrote The Cat In the Hat and many other rhyming stories.

Can you rhyme and scan? Give it a go. Think of a really well known song and then mess around with the lyrics. I’ll give you a theme to make it easier – how about FRUIT AND VEG! Anything to do with fruit and veg will be great. So if you rewrote Happy Birthday it might go like this:

I need spuds for my stew

And a big turnip too

And tomatoes

And potatoes

And a small slice of you

(Written by a polite cannibal.)

If you sing this now, you’ll find all the words fit the rhythm exactly. So – have a go. Use any song you like (but which most people will know, so they can hear the tune in their heads) and work fruit and veg into it somehow. Practise it out loud and see how you do!

Good luck, 5P.

PS. This line of warning, which I wrote this morning, will cease to rhyme, in two seconds time, when I randomly tail off without any further effort…

PPS. The rock in the picture is limestone with a bit of quartz and iron oxide on the top.

Never ones to shy away from such a challenge 5P accepted the task with gusto and created some first-rate rhymes!

Wow! A banana called Ana, a trip to Ghana, a nana called Hannah Montana from Louisiana! Scary peas, shoes stolen by emu’s, falling in love with carrot soup – 5P your rhyming is fantastic but also EXTREMELY FUNNY!!!

That was 5P’s last challenge – next stop THE DOME!!!!! Until then….

Team AAA x

6L’s Superb Storyboarding

We’ve caught up with the wonderful work that 6L have been producing for their adoptive author Ross Montgomery! A few weeks ago he explained the importance of planning each chapter of your book and asked the class to create some storyboards…
You’ve each designed an alien and started describing it. Eventually you’ll be putting your alien in a short bit of writing – but for now, we’re going to plan it. Planning is essential if you want to be a writer – often it helps you realise that the idea in your head won’t work as you thought! I normally plan my story out by typing out what happens in each chapter, but seeing as you’re all such excellent artists you’re going to be making a storyboard instead.
  1. Start by diving your sheet of paper up into 9 boxes – three lines of three. You could always do more/less, but 9 is a good place to start! If Miss Liddle prefers, she could give you a printed sheet with 9 panels on it already.
  2. Your story is going to be about a child who finds an alien near where they live. It could be they find it in their house, or on the way home from school, or when they go exploring in a forest. The choice is yours!
  3. In the first three panels, set up your story – why is your character doing before they stumble upon their alien? Add bits of dialogue if you want, but this is a storyboard so it doesn’t need much.
  4. In the next three panels, your character is going to discover their alien. This will be an important part of your story, so make sure it’s a surprising or magical moment! How would your character react – terrified? Entranced? Delighted? Disgusted? Remember the alien you designed – if they’re scary then your character will probably be petrified!
  5. In the last three panels, you’re going to show what happens next – we don’t have to finish the storythough! Does you main character become friends with the alien and try to hide him/her? Does the alien ask your main character for help? Is your story a horror story and the alien chases your main character away? The choice is yours – but remember, this is only the beginning of a longer story. It could always be a single chapter later on!

It’s safe to say 6L created some amazing storyboards, I think there’s a few budding graphic novelists in our midst! We’ve picked a few of our favourites…

Dear 6L,

Thank you so much for sending on your storyboards! I loved looking through these – there’s was such a variety of different ideas and story directions. I’m also busy writing at the moment – I’ve been given two books back by my publishers (TWO!) and need to have them completely finished by Wednesday, so I’m working like a maniac. Perhaps I might even be able to read some of them to you when I see you!
  • Amelia: I LOVED the Amazon joke in this! Properly made me laugh. Can’t wait to read more of your funny story!
  • Caitlin: I can tell you’re a fan of comic books – your drawings are lovely and you’ve chosen to “frame” each scene really well.
  • Ellie: …And the same goes for Ellie! This looked exactly like a real comic to me instead of just a storyboard. I’m intrigued by your mysterious alien!
  • Freya: This alien is adorable! I love how you set the scene with snow outside as well – this will work really nicely when you write your story.
  • Jack: What a story! It’s got a sad beginning and tons of destruction – just my kind of thing! However I DO want to find out more – about how Kia sadly dies, and how Peritron is killed – make sure you leave room for those details!
  • Lauren: I’m fascinated by your strange and wonderful alien! I also love how many different languages you know as a class – my girlfriend is currently learning Greek so we have lots of post-it notes with Greek words stuck up all over the flat, so it was lovely to see them used here…
  • William: …and then I see a story filled with kanjis too! You may well find this becomes useful for the last chapter of PERIJEE & ME (I’m also intrigued by frame 7 of your story – what’ stopping him going back in the house?!
For your next task, we’re going to combine the two different bits of work you’ve done so far – the descriptions of your aliens and your storyboard.

 

Oooooh we’re intrigued for the next challenge – can’t wait to see them! Until next time Ross & 6L!

Team AAA x

 

5P’S EXCELLENT EDITS!

“So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.”

That’s a quote from the brilliant children’s author Dr Seuss (above) as this week we’re sharing 5P’s EXCELLENT EDITS!

Before the Easter break Ali emailed her adoptees with updates on her super soup making! STOP Ali, you’re making us all hungry and we’ve still got another hour till lunch!

This week I am running, walking, making soup…

This is the soup I made on Sunday. Cauliflower, potato & cheese.

Loooooovely, if I do say so myself. I’m making lots of soup this week.

I don’t know why. I just AM, OK?!

…and redrafting. Or editing. This basically means I am going all the way through a story I wrote earlier and rewriting bits of it, adding extra bits, taking some bits away entirely. It tales a lot of concentration and in many ways is harder work than writing a whole story for the first time. On the upside, I’ve just engulfed one of my main characters in a swarm of bees. (Yeah. I’m like that.) I didn’t have that bit in the first draft.

Editing is a really important part of being a good writer. It’s tempting to think that the first thing you’ve written is brilliant and could NEVER be improved. But you always can improve your first draft. So this week I’m not asking you to write anything. I’m just asking you to IMPROVE something. I’ve attached your task. It’s some writing which is… a bit iffy. There are all kinds of problems with it. See if you can find them and improve them. You can rewrite bits if you like, adding stuff or changing words to make it more exciting –  or just to make it make sense. You can do this as a class or in groups, in pairs or on your own – I’ll let Paul decide.

Good luck, 5P!

Ali

PS. This message will self destruct in 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – RUUUUUUUUUUN!!!

Here’s the original text – and let’s see what 5P made of it….

What’s wrong with this story? Can you improve it?

Bella woke up in the moonlite and heard strange sounds coming from outside thw window, oh no, she thought, who could that be? She creeped downstares and opened the front door but there was only a shadow in the distance which scared her even more because it was making a mowning sound like a creature.

Suddenly it sprang out of the trees with a scream and Bella was scared to deth. She went and got a stick from the cupboard and threw it at the monster which was running towards the dore.

But as soon as she saw the monster she was gobsmacked because she knew it wasn’t a monster. It was something else.

 

We AND Ali were super impressed….

Well done on your editing before you went off on hols. From the samples I’ve seen it looks like you all picked up the obvious errors and also added some really nice – much better – descriptive words and phrases. And well done Kalina and Matt for getting rid of that ghastly word ‘gobsmacked’ and replacing it with something better. I put it in there because it’s an example of a cliché… the kind of thing which gets said a lot for a while and is a bit of a trend and quite annoying. If I smacked someone in the gob every time they said ‘gobsmacked’ I’d be a champion prize-fighter by now. And in prison, obviously.

Listen out for clichés in the news. The one you’ll hear all the time at the moment is ‘going forward’. It really doesn’t mean anything. Politicians say it a lot. They tend to use a lot of clichés. They’re always saying ‘let me be clear’ and ‘hardworking British people’.

Try to avoid clichés – like ‘scared to death‘ and ‘over the moon‘ and so on. Everyone knows what you mean but they get so boring and predictable. Words are for playing with. You can create your own clichés if you fancy it. Try it out for fun. Instead of ‘sick as a parrot‘ you could say ‘bilious as a bullfrog‘. Instead of ‘over the moon‘ you could say ‘orbiting Jupiter‘.  My favourite made up one is in the Shapeshifter series – ‘mad as a jar of gerbils‘.

A bilious bulfrog, yesterday.

Make a list of boring clichés and then come up with some 5P replacements! And start using them around school. After a while everybody else will start to know who’s from 5P without even looking at them.

OK – the MAIN challenge now. At the end of last term I sent you a small book called A SUDDEN DROP. We’ll be using this….

imgres-4.jpg

BUT…I’m afraid you’re going to have to wait until next week to find out what 5P’s next challenge was….

5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – RUUUUUUUUUUN!!!

Team AAA x

 

Satellite of love…

Ali got in touch with 5P this week and shared what she’s been up to on her travels in the North of England – inspired by a HUGE radio telescope she set them a fantastic task…..

Dear 5P

I’ve been up north. On my journey I went first to Crewe in Cheshire and then drove across the Peak District to North Yorkshire on Monday afternoon, when the sun was shining and the spring landscape was rather gorgeous. The views of the hills and valleys took my breath away! Then I drove past Jodrell Bank where one of the UK’s biggest radio telescopes is sited and saw this…

My jaw just dropped! The dish is HUGE, weird and kind of beautiful. I really wished I had time to stop and go to the visitor centre. I LOVE this kind of stuff. If any of you have read Destination Earth, you’ll know I have a streak of Sci-Fi geek running through me. I’ve visited the Goonhillie site in Cornwall twice now; they take you around on a bus tour to look at all their giant dishes close up – but most of them aren’t in use any more. This one, at Jodrell Bank, very much IS. In fact some of you may have been watching Stargazing Live on the BBC this week and there’s a good chance that’s where it’s all happening (I haven’t had time to check yet but it usually is).

So, this week, inspired by the huge satellite dish at Jodrell Bank, how about this..?  You’re on a school trip and just as the visitor centre is closing, you’re suddenly alone. Paul was too excited by the alien plushies in the gift shop and hurried away with the rest of 5P, leaving you behind while you tied your shoelaces. You should be going after them but, as the stars begin to glow overhead, you find yourself magnetically drawn to the huge satellite dish. It’s making an odd noise… whaaaaaat?

Over to you!

5P had some great fun with the Joderell Bank adventure – we’ve picked our favourite to share, we particularly love Johnny’s story and felt gutted on discovering the Bonbons were GONE! Ali thought it was brilliant too…

Johnny – you are a young man after my own heart. I too love bonbons. Especially lemon – although I’d be willing to try blueberry. I would also be horrifed to find the bonbons in the gift shop were all gone. Maybe some alien life force needs them to build a sticky, chewy death star…

Peace out Earthlings… until next time 5P…

Team AAA x

Brighton Festival Launch 2016

On Wednesday 17th February, the AAA team attended the launch of Brighton Festival, curated by Laurie Anderson. We got a sneak peek at the beautifully designed brochure and our project is listed in the ’26 Letters’ section. So pleased to see that all our schools and authors have been mentioned too.

BF launch