In Philip Pullman’s magic novel, The Firework Maker’s Daughter, Lila, the daughter in question, learns to invent and make fireworks herself. When she does so, her father encourages her to name them. She makes Golden SneezesCrackle DragonsTumbling DemonsShimmering CoinsJava LightsLeaping Monkeys. Invent some names for your own fireworks. Make a list. Choose one and describe … Continue reading Firework makers
Writers notice things. The more we write the more we are likely to take note of. Sometimes we should change our viewpoint. When I was at school in Chester, I learned the value to the historian of looking up. Above modern shop fronts you could – and still can – see evidence of the older … Continue reading Look up!
I was daydreaming, this morning, about the kind of things that children really love to write. I thought that there is nothing like a clip board -and a list of names. For very young children, writing out a register is the best fun. Then you can go around the class asking an important question like ‘crisps … Continue reading Q & A
In the nineteenth century, women were allowed to go out cycling. It became a popular pastime. It wasn’t all plain sailing, though. Women were expected to behave themselves and certainly not act in an unladylike way. . The New Times published a list of ‘Don’ts for women riders’. Here are some examples from the list: Don’t … Continue reading Don’t!
Today’s list is all about food. Think about what you really like to eat. What would be your ideal banquet? What food do you choose when you can? What food have you never eaten but would like to try? What food have you eaten in different places that you would like to be able to … Continue reading A feast!
Here’s another page or three in your Book of Myself. Think about the clothes that you wear and clothes that you have worn in the past. Make a list of clothes from your life. What do you remember? What was comfortable? What not so comfortable? What clothes did you really like to wear? Make a list of … Continue reading Fashion notes
I thought we might begin the year with some thoughts about ourselves. It seems a good moment to capture something of who we are, just now. What are we thinking and feeling? What is important in our lives? Who are we? I am thinking that we could spend some time this week writing about our … Continue reading A book of myself
All families have lots of stories. Some families are always telling stories. Sometimes you have to ask. My grandfather told me stories of when my dad was a little boy. My favourites were about Jip, the dog. When Jip was a tiny puppy, Grandpa brought him home on the train. He hid him in his … Continue reading Tell me …..
Many of us walk the same route every day, it might be the walk to school and back, a trip to the corner shop or the regular dog walk. We may not always take the same route, but we may always go to the same place. The Dutch artist, herman de vries walks in a … Continue reading Walk maps
Non-fiction has a terrible reputation in schools. I have to say it has earned it -all that endless, pointless, writing of instructions, the torture of an explanation and the dreariness of a recount or a balanced argument, painstakingly written within the spiky scaffolding of a writing frame; the convoluted excuses - or the, more honest, … Continue reading Non-fiction