Monthly Archives: March 2016

Sizzling Science Week

Did you know the third week of March each year is National Science Week? Many schools get extra excited about all things sciency, so it’s always fun to drop in and tell a few tales to add to the bubbling mix of fascinating science going on – especially in Essex. For almost ten years I’ve been going back to Essex for Science Week where there’s more than a whiff of wow science in the air. Last year they even arranged a solar eclipse! This year I spent a delightful day on Canvey Island at Castle View School in the Celebration Theatre with years 7 and 8, then in the fantastic library (with its very impressive student librarians). But I also found out about The Canvey Island Monster – a weird creature that washed up on the beach and got the scientists guessing. Needless to say, I met no monsters at Castle View – but an enthusiastic bunch of Accelerated Readers (many of those I spoke to are called Alfie). There was plenty of interest in arachnids (to say nothing of nervous teachers with arachnophobia).

The Sweyne Park School in Raleigh never ceases to amaze. For my ninth Science Week here, I met terrific classes in the superb library – and what fun I had (I think they did, too!). Mitchell excelled himself with a dazzling acting debut – pure pantomime. It’s not only great to see science is alive, well and sizzling at Sweyne, but also to know how much reading goes on. This library is one of my favourites and I’m always impressed at how Mrs Waghorn dreams up a cryptic science quiz each year. I wonder who worked out the clues to the puzzle and spelled out the secret message based on the elements in the periodic table. Great stuff!

Over the years I’ve visited a number of schools in Southend-on-Sea. This year I was delighted to meet a lot of sparky year 7 and 8s in the library, where we chatted about all sorts – even science! We covered a lot of topics and I was fascinated to find the science department has its own corn snake, so most people knew plenty of ‘snake science’ without any obvious signs of ophidiophobia. I met many keen readers and writers, too.  George showed me the book he and his friends are writing about ‘the shattered mirror’ and the secret message the broken shards spell out. I promise not to steal your great ideas (well, not ALL of them).

I’ll tell you what… I can’t wait for Science Week next year!

Mad March

Like Spring lambs and March hares, children’s writers have been skipping around the country (and the entire world, no doubt) for World Book Day, which seems to have turned into World Book MONTH. My March has been massively manic so far in hopping about the land meeting hundreds of enthusiastic readers in fantastic schools.

How can I forget the delightful classes at Meadows Primary in Oswestry? From the chicks and ducklings foundation classes to the owls, robins and wrens – we had a terrific time writing about animals and discovering all sorts of wow information. Who knew food chains could get so wacky – when we sang ‘There was a young teacher who swallowed a fly’? (to say nothing of a whopping hyena!) Thank you for a super time at your FABULICIOUS school.

Next was the FANTASTILASTIC Stokes Wood Primary in Leicester. What a lovely bunch – the whole school went on a lion hunt with such excitement – you were brilliant! Dressed as all kinds of random animals, the school was buzzing with enthusiasm (to say nothing of bursting with animal knowledge). The writing group did some amazing imaginative work – a big thanks to all.

For World Book Day I was back for my third visit to the SPLENDIFERABULOUS Parks Primary in Leicester. Not only were all the outfits awesome, but the teachers excelled themselves. We had lions, witches and yes, a real walking wardrobe! Thanks to all for still managing to laugh at my jokes for the third time. Apologies to the teacher who walked in just as I was doing a scary sound effect… I think she ran off screaming.

It was great to return to Longdon Hall School near Lichfield. What a warm welcome on such a wintry morning. I don’t know what they give you for school lunch but you’d all grown so much since I saw you last! Thanks to all for a really enjoyable visit – and especially to Adam for operating the PANIC BUTTON for when my stories got super-scary.

Year 6 at Bellfield Primary in Birmingham never cease to amaze me. This time they were truly TERRIFULACIOUS. Our Heroes & Villains session was great fun and everyone knew so much – but when it came to writing about ‘the villain next door’ in just fifteen minutes, the results were astounding. What a great bunch of writers, as well as a really friendly year group. Thank you so much for a SUPERIFICASTAWONDERMEGAMAGICALLORIFIC time!

So… where to next? Stay tuned…