Monday, 29 March 2010

be you.

I went to see The Blind Side yesterday at the movies. It was a cute movie, and I can for sure see why Sandra Bullock won her Oscar.

Without giving too much away, the story of Ferdinand the bull was mentioned in the movie. Of course it was deliberate to the story line, and when you watch the movie, you will know why.

Ferdinand is a bull who, as you all may know, was created by Munro Leaf and illustrated by Robert Lawson. Ferdinand would rather smell flowers than be involved in bullfights. The story demonstrates a clear message, that even though Ferdinand is a bull, it doesn't mean he has to act like one.

The story has a message, which for children is important. Every person has the freedom to define who they are and what they want to be. This would be a great story to use as a stimulus for learning about aspirations or any PSHE lesson with children.

Happy Monday! Have a good week ahead!

Sunday, 28 March 2010

a little shimmer.

Last night I watched P.J. Hogan's Peter Pan. The dvd has been sitting on my book case for longer than I can remember. Judging by the cover, I didn't think it was going to be anything great and hence why I put it off for so long. Yet, I was pleasantly surprised at how entertaining it was and just goes to show, don't judge by the cover!

The movie got me thinking about fairies. Every young girl wants to be the fairy at the birthday party and the fairy in the school play. After this movie, I can see why.
Although, to be honest, I often found Tinker bell quite annoying, there were points in this movie where the fairies were all together quite good. These moments I loved. Their golden beings lit up the night sky. As an adult I find the image of a typical fairy pretty ugly and quite frankly a little bit scary! For the child, it's more about what the fairy does than what it looks like. What child wouldn't want to have magical powers?

Do you remember being a fairy as a child? I'd love to hear!

Friday, 26 March 2010

laugh a little.

Take everything with a pinch of salt. laugh.

It's what they do.

Do you have any laughter that could pop out to say hello this weekend?!
I do. A skype chat with a good friend. Tonight!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, 25 March 2010

a little bit of magic.

I was working in a Year 1 class today (5 year olds mainly). They were doing a phonics worksheet. Learning about the oa, ow, o _ e sound.

Phonics is always a funny one to engage children in.

Introducing... the magic pencil.

I made a 'c' shape first and then...

My body shook and I made a few exciting sounds as this simple pencil become something wonderful. It was magical.

The c became an o. The c became an e. The w was made up of two v's.

They thought these transformations were down to the magic pencil.

Of course they were...

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

meet a boy.

There was a boy. There was a Martian. They became friends.

The Way Back Home comes from Oliver Jeffers, the same author who wrote The Incredible Book Eating Boy (a previous blog post). Funny I didn't notice that until after I got home and looked inside the book.

I do love an author and an illustrator tied into one. I would love to be able to illustrate my own children's book but at the moment I can only create the words. Illustrating is a lot harder than it looks. Maybe I can do a collaboration some day.

What a darling little story this really is. A boy finds a plane in his cupboard and ends up landing on the moon after running out of petrol. He meets a Martian who also lands on the moon after his space ship engine breaks. It really is comical. They help each other out and the story unfolds..

A good story to use with children to problem solve. How will the boy and Martian fix their dilemmas? Can they help each other, how? Children can come up with the most imaginative and often unthinkable solutions!

Don't you just love the illustration?

There is something about the fine detail and the colours in these images that make them really stand out.

Monday, 22 March 2010

nothing no more.

This is the sweetest little story.

Nothing by Mick Inkpen is a story about a little cat teddy that thinks he is called ‘Nothing.’ He is called Nothing, because he does not know who he is. (I can see links here with Daley B by Jon Blake). As the story unfolds, we realise Nothing is actually known as Toby and belongs to a lovely little grandpa. Toby was the grandpa’s childhood teddy and over the years has lost his ears, nose, whiskers, stripes and tail.

It has to be said – this book really won me over for its cuteness. Most of them do. I love little Toby and the illustrations that portray his naïve nature. In fact, I prefer Toby as a little tatty old toy instead of how he was bought new. There is often something attractive about imperfection.

In terms of education. I think this could be a great book to ease young children into the issues of bullying. You can explore how Toby feels and why, and what change is made to make him feel a different way. (he makes friends, is helped to find his owner..etc)

At one point in the book, the grandpa shows Toby being held in an old photograph. Toby was brand new and looked very different to how he looks now. You could use this idea as a stimulus to look at black and white photography with children. Ask them about a particular object in a photograph and see if they can either research and follow the story of the object or make up their own story. A good one for History, or simply creative writing.

Do you have a teddy or toy that seems to become more cherished as the years go on and the more bedraggled it gets?

I do.

Happy Monday!

Saturday, 20 March 2010

the surprise daffodil day.

Every year I get what I like to call 'the surprise daffodil day.' As if out of nowhere, sunny clumps of yellow appear everywhere. This day was yesterday.

One school I worked at planted daffodil bulbs with the children towards the end of the year. The following spring they were able to take them home just in time for Mother's Day. The children followed the whole process patiently until their surprise daffodil day came along. Product represents a sense of achievement, but process is the real deal and where learning progresses the most.

A little late blooming this year but I knew they would make it.

Friday, 19 March 2010

happy friday!

'There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child. There are seven million' ~ Walt Streightiff

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

anyone up for a cup of tea?

The March Hare. If anything makes this film quirky (Alice in Wonderland) - it is this guy. Not really the usual blog post, but it's March, I love rabbits, and why not.

Ask your children if they fell down a hole like Alice- what fantasy land would they end up in? What adventures would there be?

Quite an exciting concept for a child.

Monday, 8 March 2010

give them everything there is.

Today I went to see the MA Children's Illustration Exhibition at Anglia Ruskin in Cambridge. I was impressed with the variety of illustrations and it really showed me how much different work was out there. I loved reading all the background stories. One individual used to doodle on chip paper from her Dad's chip shop, another individual would doodle in the margins of her law work papers.

I do want to pull up on one illustrator in particular. All illustrators deserve recognition, but Ann Ruozhu Sun's illustrations were particularly appealing to me. The following pictures are from her blog site which can be found here

What I love about these illustrations is the detail. One theme, but so much exploration. There are many colours, but the illustrations remain clear and easily depicted. It almost appears as though every inch of the illustration has been drawn separately and then placed together.

Children could use this sort of illustration as a stimulus. Depending on the specific topic, children could draw one picture in detail. The picture expresses almost everything you need to know about that one occurrence. I can see children doing a rainforest - a good opportunity for many colours.

Children are absolutely fascinated by picture books and illustrations - why not give them everything there is to see?

They will look for hours.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

little red.

There have been so many different visual interpretations of little red. The traditional and classic illustrations are most appealing to me. Here are some of my favourites..

and Gustave Doré..

I think it really is one of the greatest attributes of a child's conception - telling a tale and watching the many different personal interpretations unfold.