ACS International School

All about books at St Benedict�s!

Published Monday 3rd of November 2014 09:44:58 AM

On a clear autumn morning children in costumes and colours of all hues ribboned their way through admiring parents as Star Wars shimmered on the air. Dorothy and the Scarecrow, The Wicked Queen and Snow White, Harry Potters and The BFG, Tiggers and Tigers who came to tea under the eye of a watchful Mary Poppins, laughed and admired each other�s costumes. It was the end of a glorious Book Week at St Benedict�s Junior School and the final much anticipated Dressing up Day.

What a week it had been! The theme was Picture Books. For five packed days children and staff breathed, read, shared with each other and created their own picture books. Visiting author- illustrators told how it was done in the real world and showed how we could all learn to draw and write with that all important �practice�! The whole event was organised by Mrs Frances Rutherford, Head of English and Mrs Celia Sweetman, Librarian.

An Assembly in the Cloisters kicked off the week�s activities on Monday morning. Videos created by the English Ambassadors showed staff and children with their favourite picture books. A short history of picture books followed, the week�s events were highlighted and the Choir closed proceedings with a spirited rendition of the Book Week anthem �Books, glorious books!� Book Week was underway.
Children and staff gathered in the Cloisters for the inter-House Debating competition to hear debates on such edgy motions as �IPads are preferable to books� and �Local libraries are outdated.� Young speakers from the Debating Hobby led proceedings. Speaking with unnerving confidence they relished working their audience. The debates were absorbing, charged with house spirit and provoked lots of pertinent interventions from even the youngest members of the audience. Bede House were the winners.

On Tuesday everyone enjoyed the visit by Lynne Chapman, the passionate and entertaining illustrator of many children�s books including Class Two at the Zoo. Enthralled by drawing since she first held a pencil, Lynne told children to carry a notebook with them at all times so they could practise and hone their skills. Later, the Pre-Prep and Nursery children joined her for storytelling sessions where tales, drawings, songs and the opportunity to do their own pictures of dragons and monsters kept everyone busy and happy. Tuesday also saw the welcome return of Clare Eastwood, our Poetry guru, to give a Poetry Appreciation Workshop to this year�s Second Year.

The School Read In was on Wednesday morning. A strange silence pervaded the classrooms, corridors and staircase of the Junior School as children and staff nestled down on cushions and immersed themselves in books and magazines for half an hour�s relaxation.
It was the imaginative and energetic Shoo Rayner who captured the attention of members of the Junior School on the fourth day. An author and illustrator of 180 children�s books, Shoo demonstrated how everyday experiences coupled with a twist of imagination can inspire and shape all genres of stories. Acting out tales of Welsh dragons, pizza monsters and fighting Viking boys, Shoo entertained and then gave the children a lesson in how to go about drawing the characters in the tales.

Throughout the week each class had also engaged in their own activities led by their form teacher. The creation of a class picture book from first idea to final product generated much excitement. Children worked out a storyline, wrote the text, did the illustrations, placed the text, and created a book cover with all the trappings. In addition teachers from the Senior and Junior School visited classes throughout the week to read favourite books and share childhood reading experiences. Children also practised their own reading and storytelling skills on each other as paired classes met for story time.

The final assembly in the Cloisters brought together everyone from the Nursery to Form 2. �Click Clack Moo� was enacted with gusto by members of the Drama Hobby; costumes were admired; class picture books looked at: prizes given out: a charming video of the week�s activities played and the Book Week anthem sung. As children left the music played, some started to dance. It was a great finish to a very happy and successful week.
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