Category Archives: Brighton

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

Advertisements

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