19th June 2013

Piccadilly, Puppies and a School Visit Tool Kit.

18.6.13 Me and the Yr 2s 1 - CopyYesterday, I was in Burton on Trent at William Shrewsbury School doing school visitty stuff.  My publisher, Piccadilly Press, are now part of Templar Publishing and had put together a lovely promo poster here… Abi School Event_Poster Template  I love it, and it was great to see it displayed around the school.

Pre the school visit, which was for Key Stage 1 children, I spent an evening cutting out puppies, about 200 of them actuatlly. It was quite therapeutic, although ‘Squeak’ did get decapitated when I had a moment’s distraction – not my fault, there was a brilliant programme about The Scottish Highlands on the telly… who wouldn’t get distracted?

The puppies (all five of them from Grub’s Pups) are a regular part of my School Visit Tool Kit. Every writer needs a School Visit Tool Kit, and this takes some thinking about.  The puppies: Pepper, Murph, Rosie, Tyke and Squeak, are magically transformed into puppy puppets by the children. I have a pre-made set that the children have while I read the stories – every time they see their character in the book they get to wave their puppet.  Then, they get to make them. I doubt I’d get my set back if I didn’t tempt them with the promise that they’d each get to make, and take, their own home!

My School Visit Tool Kit comprises the following:
– copies of the Ruby and Grub books and ‘Buttercup Magic: A Mystery for Megan
– puppy puppets
– hundreds of cut out puppies
– straws and card (for making Puppy Puppets)
– Grub Ears template and instructions (for making Grub Ears)
– Black and white and colour pictures from ‘Ruby and Grub’ for cut ‘n’ stick activity
– Black and white pictures from the books to colour in
– USB stick for ‘About Me’ powerpoint
– Laminate pictures for memory recall activity after reading the books
– Book signing pen.

I also have a whole host of Buttercup Magic resources that I take with me for work with Key Stage 2, plus some of my writing notebooks. Making resources age specific is really important, and something that took me quite a few goes to get right.  Having said that, sometimes I see year sixes looking longingly at the Grub Ears, and, for a moment, I wonder.

18.6.13 Busy bees 2The visit yesterday was one of my fave school visits to date. It was a lovely school, and one which was actively encouraging reading, so much so that they had set up reading corners for the children, incredibly imaginative ones too.  The staff were warm and welcoming and the children were a delight.  The children in Year 2 came up with a whole host of ideas for another Ruby and Grub book, which was incredibly sweet.  In one year group (and this is a first) there was a real live Ruby, Megan and Freya!  Had my characters really come alive?

Lots of fun was had making Grub Ears and Puppy Puppets, and we all managed to get 18.6.13 Busy bees 3covered in glue and glitter.  I even got to make tissue paper flowers out of those cute little circles of coloured tissue paper – remember those?

So a big THANK YOU to William Shrewsbury School for making my day one to remember.

About Abi Burlingham

I write children's books and paint pictures inspired by nature, animals, trees etc, mostly in acrylics. I am a crisp addict.
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10 Responses to 19th June 2013

  1. emmapass says:

    Sounds like a fabulous visit! I really must put in an order from some Grub ears for G-Dog… 😉

  2. Such a cool activity! And I love the pics — the kids all look so entranced with the project! And if I ever do a school visit, I’ll refer back to your kit!

  3. Sounds like you had a lot of fun. I have a number of school visits in the very near future, so I’m hoping they’ll be as fun-filled as yours was!

  4. jomcarroll says:

    Isn’t it wonderful when there’s a fine line between work and play … what fun you all had.

  5. I know, Jo. I keep thinking ‘and I’m getting paid for this?’

  6. Martin Shone says:

    Looks like you had a very busy but very rewarding and fun time, Abi 🙂

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